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“Trip to the past”

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Belmond Reid's Palace
Ranked #5 of 88 Hotels in Funchal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 1, 2011

We, a couple in the 30s and 40s, stayed in the Madeira Reid’s for 7 nights in a standard room. The room was located in the old part of the Reid’s and was at a first glance a little disappointing. The balcony was very small and the room lacking of space to stuff the clothes. After the first impression, we felt quite comfortable in our room, certainly, the sea view and the palm tree in front helped much (beware of a room facing the street side, if there are any).
We didn’t have any complains about the breakfast, one time the service was a little slow, but waiters generally were very friendly and the variety of the food good. Staff at the pool was very helpful, fast and friendly as well. The pools are great and good for swimming. Swimming in the sea is made easy as well with a cord you can follow to a moored buoy.
We were invited to a cocktail with the management and couldn’t go, because dress code was jacket and tie only, which I refuse to do on holiday.
And yes, there were many old guests, but it is rather mixed with families with kids…and we all get old as well one day.
So all in all, the hotel is full of history and our room was small, but service, location and pool area made it up. We would recommend the Reid’s for a trip to the past.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 31, 2011

Our expectations were high: Reids is 'one of the world's great hotels' and No 1 on TripAdvisor. So it would seem churlish to write anything other than great praise, but some how our stay left us slightly disappointed.

We have been lucky enough to stay in truly some of the world's best hotels and appreciate what a 5* hotel should offer. Outstanding service and courtesy is right up there as would be comfort and perhaps even opulence. In these areas Reids scores only 7 out of 10.

There is a difference between 'old and historic' and 'old and worn out' and the breakfast restaurant is a clear example of this. Probably built in the 70's - the polystyrene ceiling tiles, bright flourescent lighting and anodised aluminium windows would be more in keeping with a 2* Torquay hotel than a 'Grand Old Dame'. Even the pale blue polyester staff uniforms lacked any resemblance of what a luxury hotel should represent. During our half term stay, service at breakfast was chaotic with too many people surrounding the buffet and too many tables crammed in. Really, not very 5*!

The lifts were worn, chipped and tatty - not old and historic, just lacking in maintenance.

Our room was just fine with comfortable bed and a great view. Free WiFi is included! But a leaking towel rail was badly rusted and corroded.

The pool area coped well with the number of residence and pool staff were very helpful in finding sun beds and setting up parasols - and doing it with a smile, something some of the more surly staff could well learn to do!

We really enjoyed dining at Ristorante Villa Cipriani - great food and a setting to die for.

I suspect that at less busy times, it's more 'business as usual'. Overall, we enjoyed our stay and am sure most guest would feel the same. Luxury hotels are all about the fine detail and it's here that Reids needs to have a little look at itself.

  • Stayed: October 2011
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4  Thank CPH0_0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ExperienceManager, Manager at Belmond Reid's Palace, responded to this reviewResponded November 15, 2011

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your kind and detailed contribution, which will incentive us to keep working hard to be at the top and deserve the preference of discerning travellers like you.

I am glad that you have enjoyed in general your stay with us. In fact during half term we had a lot of families in the hotel, so it would be normal to have busy times around our delicious buffet, but with all the team coping with it.

I totally agree with you, a hotel as ours lives on the details and I thank you for allerting us on some of them, where we were not delivering at the level. I hope you have reported at the time of your stay some of them that could be easily solved.

We have our on going maintenance plan, and besides that, important investments are made also on a annual basis. We took note of your comments and would address them in the best possible way and hope that you will give us the honor of your visit again to check those improvements.

Once again I thank you for your review, which we have taken and consider as a constructive one.

With best regards from Sunny Madeira.

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Reviewed October 31, 2011

I booked this hotel for my partners 50th birthday and feel I could not have made a better choice all the staff were so kind and made our stay very special. It is a wonderful hotel and although expensive I thought that unlike the two or three hotels in this price range I have stayed at in the past it was well worth it I can't realy think of a negitive thing to say about this place.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank alan252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2011

A week in mid-October was great. Wonderful service and even our basic "comfort" room had everything one could want, linen bedding, a balcony with a view of the pool, sea and Funchal, and chambermaid service which couldn't be found wanting. Sunbeds were attended with towels and umbrellas with a wave to the attendants, and a coffee or sparkling water could be ordered from the pool restaurant by using the service bell on each sunbed table (a nice touch). We enjoyed the enthusiastic tour of the garden and the interesting Madeira wine tasting.

Food was very very good rather than excellent, we'd say. Not Michelin star standard, but still very enjoyable. Great atmosphere and view from Cipriani and it was warm enough to eat outside. We found the service at Les Faunes almost faultless and we explored an excellent selection of different wines by the glass at reasonable prices.

Whale and dolphin watching is highly recommended. We left harbour on one of two fast RIBs about 2pm and came back about 5pm having found a pod of pilot whales and then an unbelievably large pod of spotted dolphins. We grabbed a mask and a snorkel, popped over the side of the rib and hung on while the rib went slowly enough for us but fast enough for the dolphins to swim under, ahead, behind and indeed jump over us. 2000m to the sea bed so the clear sea was the deepest aquamarine blue with shafts of sunlight and the amazing dolphins all around us. The marine biologists running the trips were both knowledgeable and enthusiastic - a rare and wonderful combination. We went out on a windy day with quite a swell but the rib was very stable and the team were very safety conscious.

So what were the "buts". Well, we had a couple of completely comical (but somewhat irritating when you're on the receiving end) "Fawlty Towers" type breakfasts with missing orders, mixed up orders, and finally restaurant staff starting to argue amongst themselves about what had been ordered by who. An hour and a half, and then the eggs were over-cooked and inedible. I gave up and used the buffet that day! A few nights later one of the same waiters tried to get us to sign for our food at the Cipriani when we are booked for half board. Oh, and the hotel forgot to invite us to the weekly cocktail party. Hardly the end of the world, given the general amazing standard of service.

So yes, very very good. But not faultless. We'll be back. But we'll book independently. Thomson offered a convenient booking service but which wasn't any cheaper than doing it independently. But they messed up airline booking seats so badly and were so inept at sorting it all out I'll never use them again for anything.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Neal54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2011

We stayed as a family at the hotel in October with our two young daughters and came away with mixed impressions. There are a number of positives about the hotel. Good transfer from the airport to the hotel (although 85 Euro's each way when a taxi is only 32 Euros is extortionate), welcoming staff and a good view of the harbour. Nothing compensates for the negatives unfortunately and we came away from a 7 day break feeling very disappointed.

There are two parts to the hotel. The modern part, built I'm guessing in the 60s with aluminium framed windows and a rather ugly facade, and the older part which is much more traditional but with equally ill equipped bathrooms in need of renovation (see photos). The rooms themselves in both sides are dated and not particularly well equipped (we changed from the new section to the old in an attempt to feel less stuck out on a limb) with bathrooms very past their prime. All bathrooms contain alarm cord pulls over the bath and non slip rubber mats for the old and infirm. Showers are taken standing in the bath with a shower curtain and uncontrolled hot water that seems to vary in temperature. Anyone over 5 foot 6 will find it impossible to stand straight under the shower head. Not exactly 5 star facilities.

There are a large amount of aged people just sitting around in their chairs, stony faced and silent. This gives the place a very odd atmosphere. Rather like an old people's home but at 615 Euros per room per night. Other negatives include, very expensive hotel excursions, quite a long walk (20 minutes plus) into Funchal. (there is a free shuttlebus available but it stops at 5pm so dinner in Funchal requires a long walk or taxis) and breakfast in what looks like a works canteen, again in the new block. It's worth mentioning that the food at breakfast was very good and service attentive, but when its full the room has all the hallmarks of a school assembly hall, one large room full of tables and noise.

At this point I was putting the foibles of the hotel down to experience and would have marked it as 'average' with the comment that it's more suitable for the over 70's but then it all went far more seriously wrong... after signing up for the Champagne Gala dinner (78 euro's a head, half price for under 12s) we were refused entry to the restaurant due to lack of jacket and tie. We were all very smart and had spent the previous hour getting ready, looking forward to the event. We were met with a blank refusal and the request that we dine in an alternative restaurant. No entry. No compromise. This was by the general manager who was open shirted himself. After explaining I had recently had an operation on my neck and was unable to wear a tie we were told in quite aggressive tones by the manager that I wasn't coming in, although my family were welcome. We explained again that I was unable to wear a tight collar due to the operation and the manager finally relented but was obviously unhappy at this break in protocol. The whole issue was handled very badly with an aggressive and overbearing tone which ruined the evening, upsetting the whole family. This restrictive attitude was also commented on by other guests at nearby tables as unnecessary so they were obviously not too upset at the sight of someone without a tie. Its also worth noting that the dinner was approximately half full. Perhaps if they were more accommodating more people would go.

When we did finally get to eat the buffet was rather average for the price, a selection of cold starters and then a few carvery dishes. The only exception was the desserts which were very high quality. Another downside of this ridiculously archaic attitude was that the hotel subsequently invited us for a 'guests cocktail party' but we did not go due to the dress code being jacket and tie, only to find out later that many guests did go ‘inappropriately dressed’ and were welcomed as such.

On departure the bill was incorrect, they actually charged for 3 adults instead of two for the champagne dinner and (we only found out later when home) the hotel had added another guests drinks to the bill too - too late to query it now. We weren’t the only people querying their bill at the time so it looks like there’s an issue there.

Madeira is a lovely place to visit, great weather and scenery. With a hire car (159 Euros for 4 days) you can see the whole island using an efficient road network. It's a shame that the holiday was let down by a hotel that puts its traditions higher than the happiness of its guests. There are many five star hotels in Funchal which are forward thinking, less stuffy and put their guests first. They deserve the business and should be chosen over Reids.

Room Tip: Rooms in the old part are better.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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16  Thank GsyReviewer101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ExperienceManager, Manager at Belmond Reid's Palace, responded to this reviewResponded October 31, 2011

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your contribution and detailed review.

I am glad to read that you have enjoyed Madeira island, as well as the variety and service delivered at breakfast. It is however with great regret that I read your disapointment with some of our services. I thank you also for allerting on the glitches with the water, which could have been solved if informed at the time.

Location wise, distance to downtown and shuttle bus it would be self explanatory by the majority of other reviewers, as well as the equipment in the rooms.

Regarding the taxi and a transfer service waiting for the guests at the airport, there will be definitely a difference of price, specially when a mini-van for 4 people would be requested.

I may understand your disapointment regarding the dress code, however as mentioned to you, the whole hotel is smart casual, being jacket and tie or tuxedo requested only 2 times a week in the main restaurant. This is not a compulsory dinner and other options are available (tea terrace, Villa Cipriani and room service) within the hotel premises, so guests will have the choice knowing the dress code in advance. This information was passed to you together with the confirmation of the hotel booking, during the rooming, on the hotel directory, television programme, lounge of the hotel and in the entrance of the restaurant. By all means there was never an aggressive tone and there was for several times an invitation to explain the dress code of the hotel, which was denied by you, despite the approach tentative. The explanation of the medical problem, was not given at the begining and the reason why we are strict with the dress code in the restaurant, is of course with respect to others. It is a strategic decision of the hotel that can be discussed, but is informed and reinforced just for that outlet.

Cocktail reception all the guests in the hotel are welcome, and the dress code mentioned applies for the ones willing to dine in the main dining room. Beforehand to avoid the comment, I have made myself available to explain the dress code, and would assume you would remember the answer.

All the bills are signed by our guests and at the check out a print out is handed to be checked and explained any discrepancies, that should not, but can happen. Please contact us, and we would explain or rectify any mischarge.

I really would like that you would not stay with such an impression of the hotel, and would not agree with your statement. Over 60's are definitely welcome in the hotel, as well as all the other ages. I believe you have seen for yourself that there would be a space for all and from young families as yours, to young couples and larger multigenerational families, there was a good atmosphere.

We would very much like to welcome you again, and if not in the hotel at least in Madeira.

Best regards from Sunny Madeira.

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Reviewed October 15, 2011

This is a genuine review from someone who has visited this hotel many times before. As many times that I have been to Reids,it simply never disapoints.The levels of service,rooms/suites,food,kindness are still as good as I first went. The hotel has many many repeat guests,this must mean that the hotel and staff are doing what is right. I simply can not find anything to complain,or moan about. This time I came with my mother,she loved every moment she had. The first thought I had when I got into my room was(836),,,"How lovely I'm back at Reid's."

Room Tip: Get a room/suite in the old wing,the floor boards might creak,but it so much more atmospheric.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank Simon0965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2011

my wife and i were part of a group tour consisting of staying here for a few days and then on to lisbon. this was a historic hotel that has kept up the look of history while having the luxury and service of today. the room was bright, refreshing and well maintained. the breakfest buffet was healthy, indulgent and an exploration of the island delicacies. the location was a nice but not too long to the city for food, shopping, exploring etc. the grounds of the hotel ground were fun to walk and had a breathtaking view of the cliffs and water. it was a grand visit !

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank thomasannen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond Reid's Palace

Address: Estrada Monumental 139, Funchal, Madeira 9000-098, Portugal
Phone Number:
Location: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Funchal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Funchal
#2 Family Hotel in Funchal
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Funchal
#3 Spa Hotel in Funchal
#5 Romantic Hotel in Funchal
#5 Luxury Hotel in Funchal
Price Range: $318 - $718 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond Reid's Palace 5*
Number of rooms: 158
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on cliff tops overlooking the Bay of Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean, this legendary hotel has, for over a century, been a standard-bearer for excellence. The hotel is located on 10 acres of subtropical gardens, boasts enviable access to the sea and is within walking distance of Funchal's shops, restaurants and night-life. With its reputation for excellence and discreet service, Belmond Reid's Palace is the ideal place at which to relax and be pampered. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reid`s Palace By Orient-Express Hotel Funchal
Reids Palace Funchal
Reids Palace Hotel Funchal
Belmond Reid's Palace Madeira/Funchal

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