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
- 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
We stayed at Reid's last week for a four day break. This was our second visit and will not be the last. Nothing about the hotel disappoints in any way. Great new entrance, lovely staff (we appreciated being welcomed by the general manager). Our room was very comfortable with amazing views over the bay and harbour. Lovely little balcony to sip a glass of wine.
The gardens are the main attraction for us. We walked through them on the way to breakfast each day and again in the evening. Sitting there is so peaceful. Enjoyable food festival with Michelin chefs while we stayed and a great Masterclass. Thank you
The best hotel in Madeira Island, perfect location by the sea. A classic service with very good and nice staff, congrats. Amazing dinner by the pool. Afternoon tea is always a must. I go every year and find it even better.
What a fantastic afternoon tea, overlooking the sea! From start to finish everything was superb. The staff were attentive and friendly, nothing was too much trouble. The food was excellent, scones were served warm as they should be. This is far better than anything I’ve experienced anywhere. Don’t forget to book though!
This palace is stunning. It's like stepping back in time, very genteel. The architecture itself is so enjoyable and the views take the cake. You will receive a lovely welcome and it's not snooty. The staff went out of their way to make our stay excellent. We loved the food. The pools are temperature controlled. This place is worth the experience of staying here, but Madeira adds to everything. It was nice after strenuous hiking to arrive back at the palace for the amenities. We found the waitstaff at the Cipriani restaurant very engaging. We had a car, and there was ample parking.
Overall, we were very disappointed with our stay. Although the hotel and grounds are lovely, service was terrible across the board - from housekeeping to room service to poolside service to dining. We had to call every day to request extra towels and water in our room. And why give guests a buzzer at the pool if no one comes when you press it?? Really?? This is not a 5 star hotel by our standards.