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“Pestana Carlton is a very good "4 star" hotel”

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Pestana Carlton Madeira
Ranked #32 of 88 Hotels in Funchal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We have just returned from our two week holiday in Madeira. We really enjoyed our stay at the Pestana Carlton and I would certainly return to the hotel, although with slightly lower expectations. This hotel is a good hotel however not without some little niggles, which I think are fair to share, on the basis that this hotel is sold, in the UK, as a five star platinum resort. The Pestana Carlton is very good but five star means exceptional. It isn't quite that good!

There are many positive features here however aspects of the service and some of the facilities are not five star and may be a bit of a disappointment. Nothing spoilt our holiday.

The hotel was built in the seventies and you can tell in places! It has been refurbished and it looks like there must be some on going programme to improve the other areas.Whilst there are some areas which are still in need of a little modernising, the hotel is exceptionally clean and very comfortable. The old fashioned style is actually almost charming!

Check-in at hotel reception was very busy on the day we arrived. Most guests seem to arrive at the same time on a Monday, so be prepared for a bit of a queue.Once at the front of the queue, the check in process was swift and staff were friendly and helpful.

Our room was on the 14th floor in the tower, with a spectacular sea view. The sea view is well worth the upgrade. Just stunning. We have enjoyed late afternoon drinks on our balcony overlooking the ocean and Reid's Palace Garden. We were also able to enjoy the evening entertainment on the terrace from our balcony and that has been pretty good each evening.

The bedroom was large, freshly decorated and very comfortable. Plenty of storage. The bathroom has a single vanity unity, bath and shower attachment, with adjoining room with toilet and bidet. We had all we need.

Tea and coffee is provided in room on arrival although I brought plenty of tea bags from home to avoid the 6€ replenishment charge. We also bought water, snacks and drinks/ mixers from the Spar over the road. Ice can be requested from the Pub on level 6 and we used our mini bar for keeping drinks cool. Avoid the house wines from The Pub. Undrinkable, nasty stuff!

Maid service was daily but inconsistent. The beds were made but on some days our used glasses and cups were cleaned. On some they were not are not. Turn down service in the evening means a small corner of the duvet is folded. Nothing more. Towels are changed but this was also a bit at random and there was a rather complicated request for guests to use bins in different area of the bedroom for certain things, to enable the hotel to recycle. In reality, this just isn't practical. Pool towels are provided and the room maid will change these for you.

The garden pool is pleasant, although shade is quite limited and the parasols, which are old, tired and threadbare, have to be requested. We have always been able to get sun loungers and a parasol but some days are very busy and I noticed some guests struggling to find loungers together. We have giggled at the staff we nicknamed the "pink parasol police " who keep themselves busy doing nothing much more than move the parasols as soon as guests leave the poolside. One parasol is inadequate for two people and this affected my enjoyment of the poolside.

Words escape me on how to politely describe the lower level Atlantico pool, when you first go down in the lift! This lower pool area, near the sea access, is clean but far from 5 star quality or finish. It is reminiscent of a Butlins pool. It is desperately in need of upgrading. The indoor Atlántico pool however is very modern, clean and comfortable.

The garden pool restaurant and bar seems popular. We used it twice. Once to get drinks. I was the only person at the bar and was ignored by 3 waiters for a very long while, before any of them served me! They were too busy shouting at each other! We also went for lunch. It was very busy and we waited an hour for our food. We had been warned there would be a long wait. Once we got it, the food was really quite nice. Go, but avoid peak times! Other options would be to go to the Red Lion or Pub Number 2 over the road for a snack or the Atlantico Pool Snack bar at sea level which did a baguette/beer offer for 6.5 Euros

Timeshare and holiday club reps are on the prowl most days near the hotel lobby. We have sussed out the route to the lifts to avoid them or we pretend we are having a row! Linger for any length of time and you will be approached. I would exercise caution, as we heard of guests who were stuck for several hours.

There is wireless access. It is free and accessible on floors, 5, 6 and 7 near Reception but not accessible in your room and not by the pool. Very restricted and inconvenient. We borrowed a network cable from Reception, which did allow us internet access in our room for free. This was only possible because we had a laptop with us. No good for SMART devices. Whether we like it or not, convenient wireless access is now an expectation of most people and the current arrangement at the Pestana Carlton was a bit frustrating.

Breakfast is very good. It is plentiful and varied. Only the really fussy could find fault. Fruit, cereals, breads, cake, pastries, cold meats, cheeses, hot breakfast, eggs, bacon, beans, mushrooms, sausages, omelettes, juices, sparkling wine, tea, coffee, hot chocolate. Quite bizarre music played in the restaurant at breakfast mind you!

Overall this hotel, whilst very good, did not meet my expectations, based on how it was advertised by Thomson and compared to other platinum graded Thomson resorts (and we have stayed in five at least!) it just isn't quite offering the standard of service and standard we have experienced elsewhere. Both my husband and I would happily return. It is just not as good as the brochure would have you believe.

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. There was plenty to do and great restaurants locally (The Forte, Basilico, Chalet Vincent, Villa Cipriani), stunning scenery and some enjoyable excursions are available around the island and to the gardens. We also did the Wicker toboggans which we enjoyed. Overall a relaxing and comfortable place to be. 4 stars from me!

Room Tip: Sea view is a must! We had room 1419 with a sea view. Stunning.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JoanneDi-Pede
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GSMPCM, Guest Relations Manager at Pestana Carlton Madeira, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2013

Dear Guests,
The Pestana Carlton Madeira Hotel would like to thank you for your review.
Achieving quality and our guest’s satisfaction is our daily goal. Unfortunately we did not meet your expectations; therefore we present our most sincere apologies for falling short.
We have taken good notice of all your comments which benefit of our best attention. Please rest assured that we will do our best to improve our services.
August is in fact a very busy time. This happens not only in the hotel but all around the island It is the summer time when more people choose to enjoy their holidays and there is no doubt that the inviting good weather contributes as well.
Despite your remarks, which we have taken positively, we are very happy to read that you would like to return. We look forward to the opportunity to welcome you again in the near future. Please be so kind to let us know of your arrival before-hand.
With kind regards,

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Reviewed August 11, 2013

We stayed for 11 nights at the Pestana Carlton. It is a big hotel in a superb location. We stayed in Room 1721 on the 17th floor overlooking the pool. The view from our balcony was amazing. Our room was a very large lovely 'standard' double, the bed was enormous. We had tea and coffee making facilities but after reading reviews on here I took my own tea and coffee supplies and we bought milk from the Spar across the road avoiding the high 'fill up' charges. We also bought water as the bottle provided in the room was 3 euros. We were only bed and breakfast so cannot review the other meals but breakfast was excellent. Lots of choice. Thank you to the very overworked egg lady for remaining cheerful and keeping my partner happy each morning with delicious omelettes. The pool area is beautiful with plenty of seating without having to get up at 'silly o'clock' to reserve beds. Watch out though, the pool is sea water and does sting the eyes. There was a very mixed age group with plenty of families which we didn't expect. We both had massages in the Spa, they were lovely. The hotel is not far from the town centre but it's a fairly steep hill down to it. The buses are cheap and reliable though. We got a taxi back most evenings, about 5 euros. The hotel does lack evening atmosphere. There's really only one terrace area with an open bar and average entertainment but the seating is very uncomfortable. Pub number 2 across the road is a good alternative with much cheaper drinks. The cable car and the road with the painted doors are both 'must do's'. Madeira is beautiful, it was our first visit and we will definitely return.

Room Tip: The views from the sea view rooms are breathtaking, the higher floor the better.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sandra H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GSMPCM, Guest Relations Manager at Pestana Carlton Madeira, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

Dear Guests,
Thank you very much for the review you have submitted in this website about your stay at the Pestana Carlton Madeira Hotel.
Our main goal is to ensure memorable holidays to all our dear guests, therefore your opinion is very important for us.
We are very happy to read that you have truly enjoyed your room and the lovely views which we have to offer.
We also thank you for your rewarding words regarding the kitchen staff and the spa staff, these are the best incentive to carry on the good work.
We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again in your next visit to Madeira.
With kind regards,

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Reviewed August 9, 2013

We have just returned from The Pestana Carlton Hotel after a 10 day family holiday. The hotel is lovely and modern with friendly, helpful and welcoming staff. We stayed on bed and breakfast basis and the quality and variety of the breakfast did not disappoint. The views from the hotel are stunning - we were offered an upgrade for a discounted rate to a junior suite which was well worth the extra money and can highly recommend if you can afford it. Travelling with two teenagers meant that rather than us all being in one room, we had our own double room with ensuite bath and shower room and my daughters had their own room (in the lounge area) with their own bathroom. Our room had views of both the mountains in one room and the ocean in the other. There are three pools - the garden pool, the ocean pool and an indoor pool and jacuzzi. There is also steps down in to the ocean for those of you that are stronger swimmers and like a dip in the ocean! The staff cannot do enough to help you. Plenty of sunbeds although you still get the usual crowd putting their towels on sunbeds to reserve them although the staff do try and stop this where possible. There are plenty of sunbeds to go around, it just tends to be the premium spaces overlooking the ocean that tend to be snapped up by those who must get up very very early to reserve them! The location is really good - one direction takes you into the centre of the town which is a stroll downhill and a little harder work going uphill on the way back. The other direction takes you towards other hotels, restaurants and bars. We did eat once or twice at the hotel for lunch and on our first night there in the hotel pub - the food is excellent but a bit pricey. The hotel offer a buffet style evening meal but this is currently 29 euros a head, so again not cheap. There are so many restaurants surrounding the hotel though that you will not be short of finding somewhere to eat. Can highly recommend the hotel and would definately stay here again.

Room Tip: We had a corner suite on Floor 12 which was excellent and very spacious.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank firecon28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

We stayed in Pestana Carlton during the last week of July and first week of August 2013.
The hotel positioned itself as a five stars. The hotel is located near the centre of the city, just 15 minutes walk.

We (family of 4 people) stayed on the 18th floor in two rooms with doorway inside. One room was on the corner with two large windows, it looked like a studio with panoramic view on Funchal and mountains. The rooms are cleaned two times a day.

It needs to use 3 lifts for reaching the ocean, that is very convenient. Then tourists have to use a ladder for coming down to the ocean. The temperature of water in the ocean is 23 degree.

There are two shallow swimming pools with warm sea water outside and two inside the buildings. We used one constantly.

The hotel organizes live concerts every evening. It is calm relaxing show on the comfortable terrace.

Our service included only breakfast which was good enough but not completely perfect because I was a little tired eating bacon and eggs during two weeks. For food I personally could estimate the hotel for 4 stars, my son agrees but my wife and daughter agree to give the highest mark for meal. We visited for lunch and dinner several restaurants which are located near the hotel. We liked restaurant Chalet.

There is no animation during the day except aerobic two times a week, that is suitable for the calm, relaxing pastime. Tourists here can play golf, billiard, badminton and other games for free.

There is a big and beautiful garden in the hotel.

There is SPA centre with different services. Sauna, Jacuzzi and gym are free of charge.

There is a free Wi-Fi on reception and nearby. It is possible to use free Internet in the rooms but only trough cable's plugin.

Staff speaks English, they organized some excursions here. Staff is organized very well, we didn't have any problems during our holiday there.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Anatoly L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2013

Having stayed at the Pestana Palace in Lisbon recently we plumped for the same group for our visit to Madeira. We were pleased with the hotel, but it was not of the same superlative quality as the Palace. The hotel is very large, however, you never really feel crowded and the facilities cope really well with the numbers. The only quibble here would be the number of lifts, 3 for the main building , 2 down to the pool area and then 1 public lift to the sea level pool, and 2 others for the Beach Club holidaymakers. A few reviews complained about sunbeds, but we never found this to be a problem; the pool staff made every attempt to stop people reserving beds; and often the beds would be free by lunchtime as there seemed to be a fluid movement of families using them. We were rather put off by one English lady sunbathing topless which we did not feel was appropriate in a family hotel.
The location is quite good, close to bus stops, the ferry to porto Santo, well worth a trip, and a good 15 minute stroll downhill to the town. It really is a bit of a slog coming back so take a taxi if your budget allows.
The breakfast offered the usual array of fruit, cooked options and a really excellent array of different breads. You can ask to have expresso coffee, or the cona coffee as the norm. The service was good and we never felt rushed to leave. We did not eat in the hotel in the evenings, preferring to explore the many restaurants in Funchal. We did once have lunch in the poolside bar, expensive but what a location! Worth it, just the once! We also had one liunch at the Hotel pub - pricey but good. For days in the hotel, we ate at the Bar 2 across the road - good steak sandwiches really reasonable prices and free internet.The Reception will book tables for you in local restaurants, just ask.
The chambermaid service was a little erratic ; our son did not get the evening the chocolate the rest of us received, and we did not get towelling robes which our daughters and son had! However, the speed of service was faultless.
The rooms are spacious and well designed. We had a standard seaview which was really beautiful. The smoking on balconies by other guests was irritating but not too much of a drawback. Our children had rooms facing the road; to call it a mountain view is pushing it a bit. The suites looked amazing, but we spent little time in our room so i wonder if the extra expense would really be justified.
Internet could be better - only available on floors 5 and 6, so lots of people in lobby trying to get connected. In a 5* hotel, i would have hoped for more access.
So, I am being picky in the above review: it is a really lovely hotel and i recommend it to you.

Room Tip: As long as your vertogo is not too much, go for a higher level room.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Abigail G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2013

The Pestana Carlton deserves five stars just for its location. It sits on a hill overlooking the ocean and Funchal harbor. The views are magnificent. The hotel is a short 5-10 minute walk from the heart of the city. It could not be more convenient.

We stayed in a mini-suite that offered lots of room, superb views, and the attention to detail you would expect in a fine hotel.

The breakfast buffet was included in the room price and it offered lots of variety and quality selections. Dining outside overlooking the ocean was always a treat.

This was my fifth trip to Madeira but my first stay at the Pestana Carlton. The Carlton will be my first choice for future trips. I can recommend it without hesitation to the most discerning traveler.

Room Tip: It is absolutely worth selecting an ocean view room. The vistas are spectacular.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Reg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

It is an excellent hotel with a superb location and view. I stayed there for 9 nights in a junior suite with sea view. The view was amazing and the suite itself was very nice and very big. Very nice furnishing, very clean and comfortable beds and a pretty large bathroom with both shower and bathtub. The lobby is pretty big and the reception is well staff so you don't have to wait to much. The staff is nice and very helpful. The pools are great, but sometimes there is a shortage of sunbeds, but that is to be expected with such a large hotel. The ocean pool was my favorite because it offers easy access into the ocean, but the top pool has a better view. The breakfast had a great variaty and there is something for everyone and the tables on the terace offer an excellent view. However the restaurants of the hotel were very expensive and the choices were not that great so we ended up eating in one of the restaurants across the street from the hotel which offered a great selection and decent prices and large portions. The location of the hotel is great, very close to the harbor and to the center of the Funchal. You can book at the reception tickets to take the ferry to Porto Santo and I would highly recommend a trip there because the beach is absolutely amazing. The reception can book you whale/dolphin watching boat trips but they are more expensive than if you book at a travel agent in town. All in all I enjoyed my stay here and if I ever have the opportunity to go to Funchal again it will definitely be Pestana Carlton.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank sograd89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pestana Carlton Madeira

Address: Largo Antonio Nobre, no 1, Funchal, Madeira 9004-531, Portugal
Phone Number:
Location: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Funchal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Funchal
#6 Business Hotel in Funchal
#17 Family Hotel in Funchal
#23 Spa Hotel in Funchal
#27 Romantic Hotel in Funchal
#31 Luxury Hotel in Funchal
Price Range: $91 - $221 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pestana Carlton Madeira 5*
Number of rooms: 290
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pestana Carlton Madeira is a luxurious and charming 5-star hotel in the city of Funchal, on the island Madeira with views of the sea, garden, swimming pool or Funchal bay. It's only 10 minutes on foot from the city centre, with a private car park available for a fee. It features two enormous outdoor saltwater swimming pools, direct access to the Atlantic ocean, and a dive centre where you can experience your first underwater adventure and take boat excursions. For deeper relaxation, you can take advantage of all of the services available at the Spa, including the 25-foot indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath and relaxation rooms where you can enjoy a Magic Spa treatment. The hotel features Wi-Fi, four restaurants and two bars. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pestana Carlton Madeira Funchal
Carlton Hotel Madeira

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