Buyer beware: you are not renting a private villa here. You are renting the 3rd villa on a small plot of land, with the owner (Noel - wannabe local Lord of the Manor, with his ‘team’ of 2 local helpers) living in one, and Noel’s girlfriend living in the other (don’t ask...I honestly don’t know...but weird).
The downstairs of the villa (see attached pics) faces the other 2 villas and has no blinds or curtains of any kind, downstairs. We felt the full pain of this on our very first morning when, during breakfast, Mr. Noel (as he insists on being called by his ‘team’, who grovel around behind him) and his girlfriend came waltzing, bold as brass, down the side of the villa - my wife grabbing whatever she could to cover herself up quickly - and started chatting to us about the merits of putting the pool cover on overnight.
It got worse from there. Throughout the week, you could feel Mr. Noel and his girlfriend constantly watching you. They loiter in the garden (see pics attached) and watch you by the pool. They have the gardener (poor old Nelson - lovely guy, but spends all day being ordered around the garden by Mr. Noel) there all day every day. You literally have no privacy.
The villa is lovely and modern, with four nice bedrooms and pretty much everything you need. The pool is cold as ice - Mr. Noel claims it is heated but it isn’t. The internet signal is very weak (cheapest package, me thinks) and only works downstairs. And you will need it, folks. You will need to download on your iPad anything you want to watch in the evening, as the TV setup is extremely poor. Ironically, the only time we WANTED to speak to Mr. Noel (to get the secret PIN code to watch a football match) we couldn’t find him. It turned out he’d gone out for dinner with his girlfriend. We eventually got his phone number from Nelia the cleaner (lovely woman - very kind and helpful, and very hardworking) and called him, but he said he couldn’t remember the PIN and sounded seriously upset that I’d interrupted his dinner.
The local ‘town’ of Calheta is, and I exaggerate not one tiny bit, garbage. After a 10-15 minute walk down the cliff face (30 mins back up - don’t believe the hype), I cant tell you what a disappointment it is. There are a couple of AWFUL ‘restaurants’ (see my reviews) with cheap plastic furniture and the terrible local lager, Coral - which is the only beer you’ll drink on the island, by the way.
We had a couple of good days out in Funchal, and to be honest I wish we’d just stayed in Funchal. There wouldn’t have been any weirdos peering into our villa all day, that way.
We had an amazing time in this beautiful house. There are so many small touches which really make this house a home. Communication with Amanda was fantastic, always responding promptly to emails. The pool and views are as amazing as they look in the pictures and whilst it is a steep walk down to the marina we took the advice of other visitors and just paid four euros for a taxi ride back to the house. There is lots to see and do, we hired a car to give us flexibility and took lots of day trips to different parts of the island. The natural pools in Porto Muniz are lovely and worth the trip particularly if there is nice weather. I would recommend this property to anyone considering staying in Calheta and if we return to Madeira will be back in touch with Amanda immediately.
This was the first time we had booked a property via Holiday Lettings, so we were slightly apprehensive. As the initial booking is only a request to the owner (even though a deposit is paid) there is a worrying period where you are committed to the property, but you can’t book flights. Luckily in our case Amanda confirmed our booking quickly. She then followed this up with recommendations for both a taxi transfer & car hire, as we needed both (due to a staggered arrival).
The recommended taxi firm (Madeira Airport Transfers) was waiting for us on arrival, a pleasant 45 minutes drive followed (via the numerous tunnels of Madeira). On reaching the property the driver helpfully rang the contact number Amanda provided. A swift conversation later and the electric gate slid open, and a smiling Solanda was greeting us. A guided tour followed explaining all the facilities available to us, before discreetly disappearing.
Even though the photos are great, they do not quite capture just how impressive this property is. It is modern, very tastefully furnished and decorated and immaculately clean. Outside there is a panoramic view of the sea and no other properties in sight. The swimming pool is big enough to swim in and to “play” in, the kitchen is extremely well fitted out and the barbeque provided numerous great meals.
Calheta is a 10 minutes’ walk down a twisty steep road. This is a bit scary at first when the locals appear to drive directly at you before swerving around. But you get used to it. We chose the easy option for our return trip, a 4 Euro taxi ride … there is a taxi rank outside the supermarket (which is a decent size and well-priced)…. Just ask for the “big pink house up the hill”
We were a party of six, us with our “twenty something” daughters and their partners. The property is spacious with a number of inside and outside areas giving everyone plenty of space.
If you are considering taking younger children just be aware that the property/grounds are raised, so we personally feel they would need to be supervised when outside.
We had a great family holiday, the hire car was used for a few days out, and a few supermarket runs by the “children”, though had it been just the two of us we may not have bothered… as we were content to stay local, and the taxis were well priced & very friendly.
A great property in a great location and Solanda was a star, making sure everything was just right
We would definitely return.
Three generation family holiday - age range 72 down to five months. Wonderful experience: perfect location and views, friendly and capable staff, great house and lovely pool and garden. A car is a must - with one there is loads to do. Cannot recommend highly enough.
If you want the perfect accommodation, perfect setting and perfect everything, then this is it. We read all the reviews of this property and knew that it was the one we wanted to book. Amanda the owner made booking easy. Really helpful advice about the island and really quick to respond to queries. It was our first time visiting Madeira and we were staying over Christmas with the kids and grandparents also, so we needed something that would accommodate us all; and with it's four en suite bedrooms and expansive terrace space, we never felt we were on top of each other. The view from the swimming pool is breathtaking! We spent many evenings sitting watching the sun go down and we even had the luxury of swimming at night because of the heated pool. The manager Solanda did everything she could to help us have an enjoyable stay and we had many a lovely conversation with her as she gave us recommendations of where to eat and things to do, she even brought us a welcome basket filled with local goodies, which we promptly enjoyed! We also met the gardener who was very proud of his homegrown bananas and brought us some during our stay. The grounds of the property are out of this world....the sheer, lush mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. On Christmas day we had an amazing meal at the Savoy which is just down the road, we ate at a few of the restaurants which are near also....walking distance if you don't mind a trek up hill afterwards. We had amazing weather and it was only cloudy on one day which for December we were so happy about...but we were dreading coming back to a cold and foggy London! Somehow after our week's stay in Calheta everything pales into insignificance. We loved our week long holiday in this amazing villa; we all feel rested, rejuvenated and inspired. We look forward to coming back again really soon. We miss the sun, the views and our home for a week.
The hosts of this elegant villa with interesting artwork and wonderful views are exceptionally obliging and helpful. Solanda who manages the property is discrete, kind and efficient. The villa is spotless and offers everything you could possibly need for a self-catering holiday. If you can't find it, you haven't looked properly! The pool is private and salt water, which is great and skin-friendly. We didn't see or hear much from the two dogs - we suspect that they are more 'party labs' and probably found just two of us a bit boring. They are a lovable pair. Nelson, who takes care of the garden and pool is very friendly and willing to chat if you wish. The garden is peaceful,spacious and pretty. All in all, pretty perfect.
We only needed a taxi from the nearby harbour once, after a particularly hard walk in the hills and needing to carry shopping back. It is a bit of a pull, but good for walking off dinner in one of the nearby restaurants. However, if you have mobility problems it would be necessary but very reasonable at a few euros. Calheta is a lovely town with friendly residents.
You certainly wouldn't regret holidaying here.
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