Stayed here for 11 days (May 6th - 17th) for the flower festival using our first Pestana Options credits (this is a scheme we were coerced in to joining a couple of years ago - having paid £5000 up front it enables us to stay at any Pestana hotel or their partner hotels for up to 10 weeks in 10 years across the world for 30 Euro's or equivalent per night in a studio apartment, this is literally just the room and does not include any food). When we joined the scheme we were led to believe we would be valued, treated as VIP's and have a bottle of wine in our room on arrival however in reality things were different.
As it was our first time at the Village and I have never had to book all aspects of a foreign holiday seperately before, I requested by email that 7 of the days to be half-board so we wouldn't have to organise a meal when we got there, but this was not to be. The reception knew nothing about it and the Owner Relations office was closed with it being a Monday (we were not told). We checked in and we and all our luggage were briskly taken by some Herculean male to our room and abandoned. No mention of where the bar, restaurant or Owner Relations office was.
I have MS and limited mobility so the hill up to the hotel was a huge problem.It would have been nice if hotel staff rather than another guest had told us that it is much easier to access the Village Garden through the Mira Mar car park entrance (alongside the jewellery shop) and taking the lift to floor 7. The hotel knew I had problems as we were allocated a room with a call system accessed by just 3 steps which I managed OK.
The hotel room 3003 (a studio apartment with kitchenette) was clean and well maintained and although a number of other guests did seem to think it was acceptable to blatantly stand and stare into it through the balcony doors (it was at ground floor level) we did find the privacy curtains useful.
The gardens are indeed beautiful and an Oasis of calm (they won the flower festival hotel garden award whilst we were there) and even my husband managed to unwind and relax there (he prefers gardens to pools and beaches).
I found the pool area clean and there were enough longers for all - it is not permitted to reserve them! However during the first half of the holiday the water was too cold for me to use the pool but in the last 4 days the heating must have been turned on and it was slightly warmer than the air temperature so was very pleasant and it was lovely to ease my aching legs from the walking in Funchal.
Now, the food... The buffet breakfast at around 12 Euro's is probably the best meal they offer - traditional hot English or continental with fruit, cereal, yoghurt, fruit juices, cheeses, ham, salami and a variety of breads, rolls and croissants along with tea and coffee are an excellent start to the day and I always ate well then knowing the evening buffet was not always up to scratch. No complimentary water is available for the evening meal and at over 4 Euros for a bottle of still water for 2 people and other drinks even more expensive we refused to pay for any and had to cover the bland and repetitive evening buffet food with the sauces to add some liquid to them. There was hot food - chicken, pork or beef usually braised but as this is obviously the way the Portuguese cook it and we were in their country I cannot fault it from that point of view. I chose the cold buffet though with salad and pasta/tinned tuna etc (it is safe to eat salad there as the water is safe to drink from the tap so food washed in it is also OK). However this buffet was alittle repetitive after the fourth night. We would return to our room after dinner and have a glass or two of red wine which was perfectly acceptable from a 3 litre box we brought from a supermarket for a little over 5 Euros!! Hubby also managed to buy some beers on special offer from the small Spar shop just outside the Mira Mar entrance as being a bitter man (drink not temperament!) he found the local lager weak and unpalatable.
Getting there was easy - we caught the aerobus from outside the airport and which stops outside all hotels on the way to Praia Formosa - at 5 Euro's each this was excellent value and much better than the prices the hotel tried to charge with a taxi (25 Euro's each way) or shared minibus (15 Euros per couple each way). Whilst waiting at the bus stop for our return journey a taxi driver who was heading there to collect a friend took us to the airport for 10 Euro's - 'good for us, good for him!' and he took us practically to the check in having loaded our luggage on the trolley etc.
So in summary
1.Use the Aerobus to get there and if you have limited mobility get off at the Mira Mar then:
2.Use the Mira Mar car park entrance and take the lift to level 7
3.Buy alcohol elsewhere and drink it in your room (it is not permitted to consume items not brought on the complex in public areas for obvious reasons)
4.If you are on the Options scheme don't arive on a Sunday or Monday if you have pre-ordered food vouchers.
5. Go for breakfast and fill up, it might be wiser to eat out or prepare evening meals in your room if you don't like buffet dinners and ridiculously expensive drinks. There is a small Spar shop ouside the Mira Mar entrance
6.There is free wi-fi available in the reception area which is useful
7. There are a few UK TV channels if you need to keep updated with the news, weather at home (hehe) or your fix of soaps.
8.Probably not an ideal hotel for children as quite a distance to the beach and it is probably more suited to horticulturists who want a calm and peaceful escape.
9.Take the Open Top bus tours - the yellow bus is 12 Euros for 2 days and it is a wonderful way to see Funchal and the surrounding areas, the cable cars to Monté and the botanical gardens are also amazing if you are brave enough (we have done them 3 times over the last 4 years).
10. Taxi's to and from the town centre are around 5 Euro's (catch to the Mira Mar and use the entrance as above) or you can use the Giro tickets on local but somewhat crowded buses.
11. Do not be put off by my experience - having MS I obviously suffered a number of issues able bodied folk wouldn't, and dispite it all I had a wonderful holiday and didn't want to come home, and using our 'Options' we are planning a trip to Gran Canaria next year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The architectural design of Pestana Village and the landscaping of its gardens have been especially planned to be in harmony with the natural beauty and tranquility of the resort’s setting. This sensitivity to the environment will give the resort a truly village-like feel, with low-rise traditional style buildings surrounded by a wealth of colorful and immaculately cared-for gardens. The Pestana Village shares the grounds and services of the Pestana Miramar Hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pestana Village Garden Resort Aparthotel Hotel Funchal
- Pestana Village Garden Funchal
- Pestana Village Garden Hotel Aparthotel
- Pestana Hotel Funchal
- Pestana Village Garden Resort Aparthotel Madeira/Funchal