What an unsettling couple of years it has been with the onslaught of the global COVID-19 pandemic. With many lives and businesses affected, if there is a silver lining, it’s given us all a chance to reboot and come together. So without further ado Planet Elldrew have dusted off their keyboard to bring you our first post-pandemic blog on Madeira and Reid’s Palace hotel.
Madeira Island, off the northwest coast of Africa, is a volcanic, lush and evergreen oasis that traditionally attracts cruise ships and older travellers. When COVID-19 shut down much of the planet, Madeira took the opportunity to develop a new positioning strategy promoting the safety of their island to younger professionals less reluctant to travel; a strategy that seems to have paid off, after all it got our attention!
Funchal, the city’s capital, is known for its harbour, gardens, immersive art and tip-top restaurants (not to mention its infamous wine cellars), and who can ignore their cable car, providing the perfect way to view the city from above. Hotel development has been on the rise over the past decade and whilst initially tempted by some of the more recent additions, like the Savoy Palace, we kept being drawn back to the 5-star Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel.
Effortlessly reputed as one of the best hotels in Funchal, with a history spanning 125+ years, Reid’s Palace has arguably the best location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Old-world with modern touches, a real grand dame property steeped in history, frequented by famous names past and present.
Impeccable attention to detail (and service) set in 10 acres of clifftop gardens, with 4 restaurants, 2 heated pools (one seawater and one freshwater), spa and fitness facilities, tennis courts including a sea level diving platform and fresh seawater rock pool, you really have found a small piece of pink heaven when you stay at Reid’s Palace. The breakfast alone will tempt you out of a restful slumber and we must mention the popular Afternoon Tea service that attracts guests from around the island; it’s like taking tea at The Ritz London, just with spectacular terraced views across the harbour.
A leisurely walk from Funchal (around 20 mins) or a 5 min taxi ride, with local shops and restaurants, we loved our stay at Reid’s Palace hotel. We already miss floating around their amazing heated seawater pool (the salt ratio literally doesn’t let you sink). Everything you would come to expect from a property in the Belmond collection.
- It’s worth tipping the pool attendants a small note every couple of days, they will remember you.
- Concierge will happily provide restaurant recommendations and take care of bookings/transport.
- Hire a motored Tuk Tuk (rickshaw), from your hotel or the harbour, and sit back and explore Funchal. 2 hours from €20 per person.
- Looking for a vibrant restaurant/bar scene? Head to the old town where there are plenty of cobblestone streets with alfresco dining (advance booking highly recommended).
Check out our Madeira restaurant review, Nini Andrade Silva’s restaurant at the Design Centre was sublime!