Top 5 Madeira hotels: from luxury villas with landscaped pools to historic grands with famous personalities in the guestbook

By Tetiana PavlichenkoJan 10, 2024 20:15 PMHotels
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Top 5 Madeira hotels: from luxury villas with landscaped pools to historic grands with famous personalities in the guestbook
Madeira hotels are surrounded by beautiful landscapes of unspoiled nature. Source: Image Frank Nürnberger/Pixabay

Madeira tempts travelers with stable warm weather, moderate ocean waves suitable for swimming, and idyllic mountain scenery that looks like something out of a postcard. Active and thrill-seekers test their mettle on the famous levada trails, winding mountain biking routes, or explore the local scenery from dizzying heights by paragliding down steep cliffs. Those who like a more relaxed vacation spend their time sunbathing on pebble beaches, swimming in the ocean at sunset and enjoying fresh seafood on sun terraces. And travelers who want to enjoy a secluded vacation or the company of a loved one, prefer to spend their leisure time on the territory of luxury hotels and resorts in Madeira, only occasionally dropping into town to one of the restaurants.

What is the weather like in Madeira?

Top 5 Madeira hotels: from luxury villas with landscaped pools to historic grands with famous personalities in the guestbook
Madeira's landscapes are enchanting at first sight. Source: Image Michał/Pixabay

The vagaries of local nature can make you experience all 4 seasons in one day. Among the most stable options for where to stay in Madeira, you should consider the southwest coast, such as Ribeira Brava, Calheta and Ponta do Sol. Funchal and Câmara de Lobos also enjoy moderate and warm weather throughout the year. The average temperature on the island is around 25 degrees Celsius in summer, between 20-24 degrees Celsius in spring and drops to 18-20 degrees Celsius in winter. But periodic thunderstorms with heavy downpours are not uncommon on the island, particularly between December and April.

Where in Madeira is the most beautiful place?

Madeira's nature is incredibly diverse. The southwest coastline is occupied by mountains covered with banana trees, avocados and exotic flowers, and beautiful bays such as Ponta do Sol and Madalena do Mar, with picturesque fishing villages. The northern part of the island is home to one of the most photogenic black sand beaches in Seychelles. In Santana you can see cute 15th-century houses with thatched roofs, while Porto Moniz has lava pools. Many travelers stop for a rest in Funchal, and the most interesting places of the island is visited during short trips. For example, go for a walk through irrigation tunnels, or levadas, high in the mountains.

Whatever your idea of the perfect vacation, Madeira has hotels to suit your taste, from historic resorts to designer villas and spa hotels with stunning ocean views. Here are the top 5 best of them.

Reid's Palace, Funchal

Top 5 Madeira hotels: from luxury villas with landscaped pools to historic grands with famous personalities in the guestbook
A luxury hotel over a cliff edge resembles a palace. Source: Image Belmond.com

One of Madeira's famous historic grand hotels was opened in 1891, bringing with it Old World glamor. Nicknamed the "Pink Palace", the hotel is perched on a picturesque cliff overlooking the Bay of Funchal. Its grounds are surrounded by 10 acres of colorful tropical gardens, completing the beautiful scenery around it.

Today, it has been outfitted with modern luxury amenities, but it has also retained some details of its entertaining history that can be found throughout the hotel. For example, the lovely 19th-century dining room or an old photo of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who learned the art of tango here and left the photo as a memento of his teacher. The list of famous guests of the hotel is headed by Winston Churchill, who visited the hotel in 1950.

The hotel rooms have elegant Victorian decor with fancy wallpaper in delicate florals and pastel-colored walls. All rooms feature solid dark wood desks, vintage frilly lamps and antique mirrors. Some suites also have private balconies, white canopies and hidden TVs that will appear from closets at the flick of a switch. Hotel amenities include two heated outdoor pools, a gym and spa, and the excellent William Restaurant is headed by chef Luis Pestana, who hails from Madeira and is also the island's only Michelin-starred chef.

Take a break between beach time and exciting island adventures on the famous black and white terrace, enjoying afternoon tea with superb pastries and ocean views framed by palm trees.

Funchal Cottages

Among the best hotels in Madeira, this one stands out for its exceptional design and privacy measures. The hotel consists of several luxurious villas with interiors that you would only see in the most fashionable design magazines.

The idea and its realization within this retreat belongs to designer and publisher Cristina Leitan Abreu and her husband Ricardo, CFO and golf manager. They breathed new life into five dilapidated buildings, transforming them into stellar villas with suspended landscape pools, yoga lawns and bold color palettes in the decor. For example, staying at one of the Pirate House villas will feel like you're on a remote island. Except that instead of a clumsy hut, you'll find a delightful cliffside retreat with exquisite design and luxury at every turn. The two-bedroom villa is furnished with carefully selected furniture, much of it designed by Cristina herself and crafted by local carpenter Jorge. Clunky Ligne Roset Togo sofas, custom-made light-colored curtains that resemble coconut peels, floor-to-ceiling windows and some interesting details like a lilac Art Deco couch create a quirky and luxurious space.

Days here can be spent doing Pilates, grilling seafood bought at the Mercado dos Lavradores market, and watching whales in the distance at dawn or ferries passing by.

Casas da Levada

Top 5 Madeira hotels: from luxury villas with landscaped pools to historic grands with famous personalities in the guestbook
A family-run hideaway turned into a chic hotel. Source: Image Casasdalevada.com

A couple of decades ago, Joaquim and Maria Helena Abreu purchased a ruin on a small plot of land on Madeira's west coast near Ponta do Pargo. Here they planned to build a country family retreat where they could vacation with their two sons. But then the couple decided not to hide this special place from the general public and turned it into one of Madeira's best hotels for family vacations with outdoor adventures.

After renovating the old buildings, they added a landscaped pool, herb garden and mini-farm to the grounds. One of Andre's sons became an architect after growing up. One of his best creations, the Hobbit Bar, has become a real highlight of the hotel. It is a fairytale space with a chic interior and a living roof. Another feature of the bar is that there is no bartender here. Hotel guests can make their own drinks for themselves and then simply log what they drank. Once settled at the bar with their original drinks, they can admire the amazing purple-orange sunset through the round doorway.

The hotel has six apartments with different layouts ranging from one-bedroom studios to a 5-bedroom rustic stone mansion. Together, these rooms create a mini village. A DIY breakfast is included: the kitchen has all the basic ingredients (eggs, milk, cereal, oranges, jam, tea and coffee) and lovely bags of fresh bread are hung on the door handles every morning. The design of all the rooms is different, yet they all share some common features. Wood-burning fireplaces add to the coziness created by soaring staircases, patchwork rugs on the concrete floor, old photographs and log coffee tables.

Quinta do Furão

This four-star cliff-top retreat in Santana on the northeast coast of the island covers 5 hectares, with 3 of them occupied by vineyards, orchard, herbs and vegetables. The style and comfort of the hotel and its restaurant harmonize with the relaxing scenery of the surrounding nature. If you come here at night, you will be greeted by the soft smell of burning logs from the chimneys of the houses nearby, and during the day it will be replaced by the aroma of sweet potato bread (a local delicacy), which has just been taken out of the hotel's wood-fired oven.

This place could top Madeira's top hotels for comfort and first-class service. On Thursdays there are a number of free daily activities, from guided botanical walks and wine tasting to a poncho-making workshop. In addition, guests won't miss the lovely outdoor pool amidst the vineyard. The hotel has good access to the levadas, so it is often chosen by travelers intent on exploring them as best they can.

After a tiring walk, stop by the restaurant to replenish your energy. It is a wooden building resembling a ski chalet, with a wood-burning fireplace and high ceilings. The menu features typical Madeiran homemade mountain food, full of flavor and plenty of protein, from tuna with mashed potatoes and truffle sauce to Portuguese beef and chicken kebabs. The menu is complemented by an extensive wine list. The hotel has 65 rooms, completely renovated in 2020. The interior is furnished in a homely atmosphere with a mix of dark wood, botanical prints, patterns and a variety of textures.

Savoy Saccharum Calheta Resort and Spa

Top 5 Madeira hotels: from luxury villas with landscaped pools to historic grands with famous personalities in the guestbook
The interior makes a reference to the sugar cane production on the hotel site. Source: Image Savoysignature.com

This place in Caleta, in the southwest of the island, stands out from the rest of the hotels because of its atypical Madeira architecture, with its brutal facade and flower-strewn roof. This contrast is emphasized by the other traditional resorts nearby. Also nearby are a marina, a rum factory and some good fish restaurants.

But the five-star Saccharum has much to boast about on its own grounds. Its amenities include five bars, a game room with ping pong, a yoga area, a chef's garden, a luxurious spa and a delightful landscaped pool, whose photos probably appear on social media more often than any other in Madeira. After grabbing a pina colada at one of the bars, guests settle down on a poolside lounger (the hotel has four) or head to the private rocky beach via the free shuttle service to Funchal.

The hotel has over 230 rooms, which are decorated in earthy tones reminiscent of sugar cane hues. This is a reference to the resort's name, which refers to one of the varieties of this plant. The site of the hotel was formerly an old mill for processing sugar cane. In addition to the name, the history of the place is reproduced in the various photographs and decorative details of the machines dotted around the hotel.

Savoy Saccharum is one of the best hotels for entertainment in Madeira, after which you can relax in a cozy room to the soporific whisper of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean outside the window. In the morning, enjoy a sumptuous buffet breakfast with a generous selection of fruits, savory pastries, omelets, hot dishes and snacks.

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