Belmond Reid’s Palace
What We Love
- Glittering guestbook crammed full of prestigious patrons
- Cool pools: freshwater, seawater and an ocean-level pool and bathing jetty, cut into the rocks
- Subtropical gardens with more than 500 plant species
What To Know
- Free shuttle service to/from Funchal
- A strict dress code is enforced in the dining room (open Tuesdays and Saturdays): jackets and ties must be worn
- Afternoon tea is very popular; make a reservation in advance for the best spots on the terrace
- Free WiFi
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
From its dusky pink façade to its chandelier-studded ballroom and afternoon tea terrace, Belmond Reid’s Palace, on the Portuguese island of Madeira, is a grande dame that can count Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Captain Scott as former guests. Teetering on a rocky cliff above the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by 10 acres of subtropical gardens, the hotel may have a dramatic setting, but inside it’s all comfortingly traditional and luxuriously old-fashioned.
Bed & Bath
Guestrooms have an English country pad theme (floral fabrics, lacquered furniture, marble bathrooms) and are sprinkled with such homegrown touches as traditional embroidered bed linens. All have sizable balconies with views of the Atlantic or the palm tree–studded subtropical gardens. The vibe is resolutely traditional, but flat-screen TVs, DVD players, iPod docking stations and free WiFi come standard. Free soft drinks from the minibar and sweet local snacks on arrival are a nice, homey touch.
Dining options range from the jacket-and-tie formality of the Dining Room, a former hall-of-mirrors ballroom with ornate ceilings and twice-weekly dinner dances and champagne receptions; fancy French at Les Faunes; and Ristorante Villa Cipriani for hearty Italian fare served with spectacular sea views. Afternoon tea on the terrace is a Belmond Reid’s institution. Tuck into finger sandwiches, scones and homemade pastries, sip from a selection of more than 20 teas (including Reid’s own blend) and take in the sweeping views of Funchal as a pianist plays in the lounge. The 10-acre gardens boast more than 500 plant species, and they lead down to a terrace with saltwater and freshwater pools and a historic ocean-level pool and bathing jetty. On the grounds you’ll find tennis courts and a sublime spa offering La Prairie treatments and an outdoor relaxation terrace.
In the Area
Dubbed the Hawaii of the Atlantic, Madeira lies southwest of Lisbon and due west of Marrakech. As you prepare to land in the capital, Funchal, you’ll fly over deep gorges, rugged mountains and banana plantations before swooping onto the landing strip, cut into a cliffside. Take a traditional toboggan ride from the village of Monte to Funchal, a bone-rattling milelong descent down a winding road in a two-seat wicker basket. The sleds are steered by local men who wear thick rubber boots, should they need to break on sharp corners. Follow the paths that run alongside the island’s levadas, an ancient network of channels used to irrigate vineyards and orchards. The tracks cut through stunning laurisilva forest, rugged mountains and rural villages. Funchal’s two-story food market, Mercado dos Lavradores, is packed full of colorful stalls selling some of the island’s best produce. Don’t miss the tropical fruit tastings on the second floor, where you can sample sweet custard apples, lemon-spiked passion fruit and fresh sugar cane.
How to Get There
The most wonderful experience beautiful surroundings staff are brilliant so many teas to chose from sandwiches cakes are delicious this is not a cheaper experience but is worth every penny and a walk in the gardens after finishes off the experience
Photos of the hotel’s incredible history adorn the walls. Royalty, world leaders and celebrities have graced the hotel with their presence. And you can see why. A stunning outlook in a beautiful setting just walking distance to various local restaurants and the town of Funchal.
The standard room on floor 2 was spotlessly clean and adequately large. The bathroom was small with a single vanity and a shower in the bath which was a disappointment. The shower temperature was very inconsistent being scolding hot for 5 seconds and cold for 5 seconds. I elected to shower in the men’s changing rooms on the 1st floor.
The breakfast was a highlight. The hot buffet food was excellent with constantly replenished fresh food. A la carte menu was also served with daily specials. The coffee was very poor in my opinion. I gave up with it after a couple of days.
The Italian restaurant Cipriani was excellent both times we visited and our favourite of all.
We ate once on the veranda which was also excellent - I can recommend the burger which was stacked and delicious.
Cocktails were a little inconsistent but strong and reasonably priced and highlighted by the staff who were suitably respectful for such an establishment yet very entertaining.
The pools were tepid but bearable. They certainly didn’t appear to be heated as advertised. Maybe not in the summer months. The largest pool was salt water which made floating easy and swimming a little odd. There’s a lift down to the lower sea terrace where sea access is possible and a pontoon is anchored. Sun beds were plentiful even though the hotel was busy and very comfortable with mattresses and pillows. A nice touch was a waiter pager within arms reach to call for food/drinks.
Especially good was the maid service waiting to refresh our room as we went to breakfast each morning. It was always done before we returned. And turndown each evening while we were out to dinner.
We loved Madeira and Reid’s Palace. A classy hotel with classy guests. The dreadful shower would make me think twice before a return.
The room we booked had the view we expected, furnished to a high standard. We used many of the facilities and services of the Hotel. Whilst we had some issues this was sorted by senior management. The William restaurant in particular we enjoyed and certainly met expectations for its 1 Michelin Star. The 3 pool options together with Spa, its wellness programme and poolside service allowed us to sit quietly and enjoy the sun in a number of different areas outside. The gardens are a place for solace and gentle stroll. Hope to be back