Now, I'll admit up front that this review will be influenced by the free upgrade to a sea-view room, along with bubbly on ice that we received because we were there to celebrate my wife's 50th birthday (of course, that is hard to believe, as she looks so young !)
Nevertheless, we feel that the Madeira Panoramico is almost without flaw. (The only drawbacks revolve around the slightly out-of-the-way location, but more of that later.)
All staff, without exception, are friendly, cheerful, professional and helpful.
We went bed and breakfast. Breakfast was very good, in the airy buffet restaurant room, with great views over the terrace to the sea and the mountain. Wide selection of good quality hot and cold food laid out, buffet style and chef cooking eggs to order. No fuss, no waiting. Help yourself to everything.
Our room was lovely, with a balcony big enough to hold a table and two chairs. We found it an ideal spot to guzzle the hotel bubbly while gazing at the cruise ships in the harbour.
TV has English-language news channels and a couple of Portuguese channels which show a lot of English-language films with Portuguese subtitles.
Beds were comfortable. Extra blankets were provided, and the room has heating and air conditioning with electronic controls, so you can have exactly the temperature you need.
Minibar well stocked, but enough room for us toi squeeze in a few tins of beer and some milk. (We brought our own travel kettle and tea bags.)
Everything spotlessly clean.
Shower pressure can flay the skin from your back if you like that sort of thing: just turn it up to full!
We visited the hotel bar a couple of times, once when they had a Fado night on. The Fado singer was incredible! Her voice could easily fill a 500-seat theatre, at least, without amplification. Bar prices more expensive than in town, but not not too bad, and you get table service. Bar food is decent and plentiful.
Location: bit of a trek from centre of town; about 30 mins to town and 40 mins back. It takes longer coming back because it is uphill all the way. However, you can book places on the hotel's free minibus shuttle. There is not always space available on this, unfortunately, and it does stop at 6pm. However, public transport is very cheap and reliable and there are bus stops imediately outside the hotel on both sides of the road. Get a 3,5 or 7-day bus ticket from a kiosk in town and ride all you want within Funchal. This also includes going up to Monte, from where the famous tobbogan rides down the mountain begin.
We recomend going on a catamaran whale/dolphin-spotting excursion.
In fact, we went on a few excursions and had a great time. Book direct, in town, not via holiday rep. Avoid the ones which are significantly cheaper than the rest, though, as they include a trip to a timeshare resort, with a high-pressure sales talk.
Go to local hole-in-the-wall bars, if you speak just a little Portuguese: the locals
thought we were a great curiosity and were very keen to talk to us and practice their English. We had great fun ordering beer and toasted sandwiches in Portuguese! These bars are significantly cheaper than the flashy tourist bars. Guzzle the local Coral beer.
Sea-view rooms are excellent.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.