The Pestana Carlton Madeira has so much going for it, excellent staff, ideal location, beautiful swimming pools, nice bars and restaurant and breakfast almost too good. It is so near the ideal hotel but is currently let down by a couple of things that would seem easy to fix.
Firstly there is no smoking/non-smoking allocation of rooms. As a result we found our room constantly filling with smoke from our neighbours as they smoked on their balcony. We tried shutting the veranda doors and switching the aircon up to full. It made a lot of noise but had little effect on either temperature or smoke. This was even less funny when we were awoken by the smoke from their 4am cigarette.
Secondly the gym really lets the otherwise superb facilities down. While the age of the average guest is admittedly high, the equipment is a joke even for someone of middle years. The one upright cycle machine was broken throughout out visit, another "chopper style" cycle machine provided little benefit for anyone under 70. The one ergo/rowing machine was so old that the rubber grips round the hand bar had gone altogether leaving only the underlying thin bar. The chain and cog so worn that as soon as one put any half serious effort in the chain slipped numerous times each stroke making any significant exercise impossible. There is no cross trainer but there is a treadmill though I was unable to test it due to a calf injury. While I do not generally do weights in desperation for some exercise I tried, only to find that they were of a size strictly for the 70+ and not too healthy market.
Unlike all other gyms I have been in there were no paper towels or spray bottles to wipe down the machines so you got hands etc on whatever your predecessors had left. The gym is situated in a room with no windows and we could not detect any effect from aircon. Bizarrely the room next door was empty but for 4 unused sun loungers and had windows for ventilation and views of the garden. I did not see anyone in it throughout our stay.
I spoke to the manager about this (after numerous attempts at other levels completely failed) and she was very professional and most charming. We were later told that the rowing machine had been fixed by the customer relations rep but it remained no different. We suggested that smokers and non smokers be allocated rooms in different areas (which would cost nothing) to the same person who stated that they did not do this as it was illegal to smoke in all hotel rooms and people only smoked on their balconies. She seemed completely careless when we informed her of smoke from neighbouring balconies entering rooms.
This hotel is so strong in other areas I am surprised at the above. The manager intonated budget constraints but as free bubbly is served at breakfast, if budgets are so tight surely by spending the money currently used to provide free alcohol at breakfast alone the gym facilities could be made good or at least average (our work gym at home is so basic we jokingly call it the "grim gym" but it still has 2 working ergo rowing machines, 4 working treadmills, cross trainers and upright bicycles all well maintained and numerous weights & other equipment). After working up a good appetite and thirst I am sure that fit clients would spend more in the hotel restaurant and bars than those that take advantage of the free breakfast bubbly. Moreover more slightly younger and fit clients would no doubt bring more ladies such as my partner who greatly enjoyed splashing out on massages, facials, body exfoliations and paying for your fine wines while leaving the breakfast bubby to those who started earlier. Similarly I would rather pay for all drinks in the evening and did not partake of the breakfast alcohol.
I suspect by merely separating smoking and non-smoking rooms at zero cost and bringing the gym up to an even average standard this hotel will greatly increase occupancy and revenue with or without free alcohol at breakfast. I also believe that you would make far more from the pool table if it was not 10 Euro to play it (we did not see anyone use it).
Our many thanks to all your wonderful staff and many thanks for all the hard work in maintaining everything else to such a high standard and hope the above is useful.
- 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