We chose Jardins do Lago on the strength of TripAdvisor reviews, in particular because we wanted a quiet room and good facilities. The hotel staff were really friendly and informative - they all spoke good English and were willing to take time to explain things and assist us. We stayed in a superior panoramic room with balcony, with a glorious view which encompassed the lush gardens of the hotel, the rooftops of Funchal and the sea beyond. The room was clean, serviced daily, and very large, with a good amount of storage and a safe. I would have preferred stronger bedside lighting and a better WiFi signal but reception was fairly good on or near the balcony. I found the mattress a little hard but better hard than soft, as far as my back's concerned. The air conditioning wasn't really adequate for the size of the room, so it was warm at night. I mentioned this in my feedback form at the end of our stay, as it would be an issue in summer. There was no noise from neighbouring rooms.
Breakfast was lovely, a good buffet spread, hot bacon and mushrooms, eggs cooked to order (best scrambled, I found) and a wide selection of fresh fruit. The lunch menu, served by the pool, was good too - excellent club sandwich and vast servings of cake. We had dinner in the hotel twice during our week's stay (it was much cheaper to eat in Funchal itself) and the food was very good indeed. The traditional scabbard fish with banana was given a modern twist and I loved it.
The weather improved as the week went on, falling into a pattern of rain in the morning and warm, sunny afternoons. We swam in the pool, perhaps not the warmest I've been in but it was refreshing after sunbathing and we had it mostly to ourselves. No restrictions on sun loungers as in other Madeira hotels I've read about; in fact the hotel didn't have any petty, restrictive rules as far as I could see, it was a very easygoing place to stay. The gardens are more extensive than they first appear and we took a long ramble around them. There were flowers here and there, despite it being winter - I'd love to see the place when it's in full bloom, it must be quite a sight.
The hotel runs a courtesy people-carrier into Funchal 4 times a day (10.30, 12.30, 3.30 and 5.30) but having spent quite a bit on taxis (anything from 5 to 9 Euros a trip) during the 12.30 - 3.30 gap, we eventually asked the shuttle driver about the local bus timetable and found that one stopped just yards from the hotel door - the Number 15. I failed to mention this in my feedback form at the end of our stay but I think it would be very beneficial to guests to be given this information in the 'Hotel Services' booklet, especially as the hotel is out of town and the route on foot into Funchal is very steep and, at times, without a pavement. Any extra transport information would be gratefully received, I'm certain.
We had one of the best holidays we've had, staying at the Jardin do Lago, and we intend to go back again next year. I'm not easy to please and I'm usually rather disappointed by hotels which so often don't live up to their promises, but with the unfussy ambience, the friendly, intelligent staff and the peaceful surroundings it exceeded my expectations. We'll be taking our driving licenses next time and exploring the rest of the island of Madeira - can't wait!
As you might expect, higher rooms have better views.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.