My wife and I have just returned from a fantastic week in Madeira. It was our wedding anniversary, so we decided to get away from it all for a break. As we were celebrating, we upgraded to a junior suite at the Pestana Carlton (room 805 over looking the pool). As soon as we arrived, we certainly experienced the ‘WOW FACTOR’!
We were met at reception by a very friendly staff member, who showed us around the property and to our room. It was late by the time we checked in, but still there was no problem. The room was amazing! A flat screen TV, a huge bed which was decorated with rose petals and towel art swans, a bottle of Champagne chilling in an ice bucket, a massive balcony which could be accessed from the living area and from the sleeping area, and the bathroom. The bathroom, well it was amazing. There was a bath in the middle of the floor, his/her wash hand basins, a massive powerful shower and WC. There were all kinds of toiletries for our use, and plenty of clean towels every day. We found bath robes and slippers in the sliding glass closets, but we didn't use them.
Each morning we were treated to a breakfast with numerous options. Hot food such as bacon, sausages, eggs etc, all kinds of breads and cakes, cereals, your choice of juices, tea/coffee and the most wonderful fresh fruit selections imaginable. You could also have an omelette to order, which we really enjoyed… Delicious! The staff in the restaurant are really helpful and friendly, and nothing is too much trouble for them.
Our room was serviced each day to a very high standard, and overall we found that everything in the hotel was clean and comfortable. We ate at the pool bar one afternoon, and found the food average and drinks very expensive. It didn’t bother us really, as we enjoy exploring and didn’t exactly go hungry for any part of the week!
The staff in the hotel are absolutely fantastic. They all speak excellent English, which saved our embarrassment as neither my wife or I speak any Portuguese which is shameful. Every member of staff we met was friendly, helpful, and had time to talk to us about anything from the weather to a restaurant recommendation. They are simply a really great bunch of people.
At The Pestana Carlton in Funchal, the Guest Service Manager deserves an award. I contacted the hotel before our visit, and was lucky enough to have her answer my questions and provide clarification for me. She made our stay extra special. We met her most mornings on the way to breakfast, where she’d always have time to chat to us, and ensure our holiday was going well. Apart from being extremely good at her job, she is just a lovely person. I can’t thank her enough for giving us the ‘Movie Star’ treatment!
Internet in the hotel as wired in the rooms, and WIFI is available in reception. I really think at this stage that places like this should have WIFI available throughout the building. It also cost €28 for the week, which was a surprise to me. I maybe naively assumed that Internet access should be free these days, particularly in hotels of this high standard.
We didn’t opt to have dinner at the hotel; as I said, we like exploring surrounding areas and sniffing out nice places to eat and enjoy a few drinks. The highlights of our eating experience were the Red Lion which is just across from the hotel, and a place called Beef and Wines which is just beyond the Red Lion. I know the review is of the hotel, but I need to talk about these two places! Anyway, it is important to stay in the closest hotel to both restaurants, as you will be completely full when you’re finished in them. The Pestana Carlton is about a thirty second walk from the Red Lion, and maybe two minutes from Beef and Wines.
The Red Lion is a nice place, with genuinely friendly staff members. I had a pepper steak, which apart from being excellent beef had the most incredible sauce! I have never had pepper sauce as hot! Wonderful stuff. The salads are lovely too, and the prices are reasonable. Our waiters couldn’t do enough to help us, and we were even offered free dessert and coffee after our meal! We couldn’t accept though, the steak was huge!
You must check out the strangely named Beef and Wines restaurant. The place was something of a fluke for us. It was our last night and we decided to take a chance on it. It was excellent! Their speciality is something called picanha beef, which comes on a massive skewer. It seems you can have as many slices of this stuff as you can manage! It is served with nice vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, black beans, and more I can’t remember. The smokey sauce which is part of the dish is wonderful. The waiters just walk around all evening with these two foot long skewers asking if “anyone wants more meat?”! The flavours are just out of this world, and the wine deserves a mention too. It was excellent. To top it all off, the serving staff were great too, good for a laugh and very friendly. We were disappointed we didn’t find the restaurant earlier in the week as it deserves a second visit at the very least.
Pub Number 2, which is just across from the Pestana Carlton is a great bar for some after dinner drinks. The place doesn’t seem to close, and the prices are very reasonable! They have free WIFI, which came in handy. Moynihan’s Irish Bar down the street from the hotel is good for lunch (toasted sandwiches, baked potatoes etc), but we didn’t try it for dinner. There is a small supermarket down the street from the hotel too which is very convenient, and the place next door to it is great for a cappuccino.
Back to the hotel, I would have no problem in recommending this to anyone as a very pleasant base in Madeira. It has a sense of grandeur, but is very friendly and homely too. As it is located only twenty minutes from the airport, transfers are quick and easy. It is about ten or fifteen minutes on foot from Funchal, and if you don’t fancy walking it the porter will have you a taxi in moments after you step outside. Everywhere in the hotel building feels cool and airy, and there is a nice feeling of spaciousness. There are little touches which will just make you feel very welcome, for example we had a call from the Guest Service manager at one point just to check if we were ok and if we needed anything.
One thing we did notice about quite a few of the restaurants around the hotel is the lack of air conditioning. It was very hot the week we were there, so it was uncomfortably warm inside some of the buildings. The area is also quite hilly, but the narrow streets are somehow charming, even if the pavements are only barely adequate or at some points, nonexistent! After a long walk in Madeira’s beautiful sunshine, it was so refreshing to step back in to the welcoming and air conditioned reception of The Pestana Carlton.
I would recommend this hotel to couples wanting a luxurious and self indulgent break, where everything you could want in a sun holiday is right at your fingertips. There is a relaxed atmosphere about the area, with the locals appearing to be very friendly and delighted to help bumbling tourists like us!
When I return to Madeira (like Arnie “I’LL BE BACK”), I will be staying at the Pestana Carlton without doubt.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Pestana Carlton Madeira, one of the most lively hotels in Madeira, enjoys a privileged setting in Funchal, at the top of a slope on the island of Madeira, providing fantastic views over the bay of Funchal and the sea. This luxurious and charismatic hotel in Madeira is a reference point for any visitor to Madeira, due to the excellent conjugation of a family atmosphere with the sophistication of its excellent installations. Once you are in the hotel, you will find at your disposal a wide range of services you can enjoy, including 3 leisure areas. In the Garden Pool, you will find a heated saltwater outdoor pool and a swimming pool for children. In the Atlantic Pool, there is a salt water outdoor pool with access to the sea and an indoor pool with Jacuzzi, relaxation rooms and bar. The Magic Spa offers an indoor heated swimming pool with sauna, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, gym and treatment rooms. To promote the cultural gastronomic diversity of Funchal, this 5 star hotel in Madeira has 3 restaurants and 3 bars, with excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean, with a variety of flavours that will satisfy the most demanding tastes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pestana Carlton Madeira Funchal
- Carlton Hotel Madeira