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
Luxury from the moment we touched down on Madeira soil. Our private transfer was waiting for us. We had no preconceived ideas about the hotel but what a welcome from such efficient staff.They organised a reservation for us to have dinner with in our first hour of arriving 7:30pm before we unpacked, so efficient! Our room was on the ground floor with patio windows opening onto the garden so peaceful. The room was very spacious, lots of wardrobe space, fridge well stocked with free soft drinks etc. A lovely surprise when we came back from our first meal was a lovely bottle of bubbly and a note from the management. (We we’re celebrating hubbies birthday & anniversary) The food in all the restaurants was of the highest quality and the staff & service outstanding. We ate in the evenings at the Italian & The William (Michelin Stared) restaurants wow you could t have wished for anything better. We have eaten at many Michelin restaurants and it comes up there with some of the finest! Pool service was also very good. We used the courtesy bus to take us down into Funchal, friendly driver, clean, air con bus, saved the legs. The spa, I had two massages with the lovely Sonia, thank you, I would recommend! We will certainly be back, we had such a wonderful relaxin 10 day holiday!!
We booked this trip as a short getaway. We had no preconceived ideas of the island or the hotel. On arrival, we were greeted and welcomed truly. The hotel is beautiful and well located. Our room was a Corner junior suite with two balconies and was absolutely perfect. The bed was comfy, the bathroom spacious and fully stocked. Every area of service was outstanding from housekeeping to room service. Food quality was excellent and the buffets lavish. The three pools were great and the service around them quick and friendly. We used the hotel shuttle bus, which was clean and air conditioned. We will certainly return as we had one of the most relaxing breaks ever.
Recently visited here on holiday. I have to say the staff are lovely and welcoming. The food at breakfast which is a buffet and everything you can imagine to eat was lovely, nothing was too much trouble. The hotel although clean is very tired looking, especially the carpets in the corridor, stairs and room, curtain lining stained and worn. It could do with a huge refurbishment. The hotel also forgot to send our airport transfer, but told us that the delay was due to an accident, which was not the truth. This cost us 60 euro, so was not impressed having had to wait 35 minutes for it to arrive. In the hotels present state I would not return.