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
This was my third or fourth visit to Reid's Palace and certainly did not disappoint. I have never stayed in the beautiful old hotel but have enjoyed the delicious afternoon teas and also drinks in the cocktail bar.
The staff, without exception, are all delightful and they really add to the ambiance. Give it a go; you won't regret it, ever! Anne & Eddie
There was much to enjoy about our week at Reid’s, but quite a few negatives. Our welcome after many hours travelling was slightly half hearted, and we were offered a glass of water and told to sit and wait. Our room was well kept, and the pool area and heated pools were delightful. But it is the lack of a comfortable sitting room - nowhere to relax on cooler days, and the hotel can be very draughty. The bar is a great let down with hard chairs and harsh lighting....certainly not a place to linger despite the lovely views. Also the lack of casual dining inside the hotel, only the Michelin restaurant, drove many of the guests to eat in nearby restaurants.
We were staying in another 5star hotel but decided to treat ourselves to afternoon tea. Staff were very attentive and offered more sandwiches, scones and tea/coffee if we wanted. Amazingly beautiful view but unfortunately today it was a bit windy so we didn't manage to linger as long as I'd liked. Staff very friendly and attentive. Felt like a film star for the afternoon, dressing up and just enjoyed it. Will be back on our next holiday here. Easy to book, just asked our hotel to call them a few days before.
There are certain hotels that you look back on with pleasure. Reid's has just added itself to our list!
We had never been to Madeira before so we thought we would push the boat out a bit by staying at Reid's in case we never returned to the island.We had a week there and didn't want to leave....and staying at Reid's was part of the reason.
Hard to be critical at all. The location, the building, the facilities, the staff, the service and everything else we experienced was just what you might hope for in a "grand" hotel. The staff in particular had that balance of being friendly and welcoming but also efficient and professional. The breakfast was excellent for choice and quality and we had afternoon tea one day and that was a most enjoyable experience too with the ambience of the terrace, and the view, adding to the pleasure of the afternoon tea itself. We didn't eat any other meals at the hotel because we wanted to sample local cuisine in the town. There is a real danger that you could check in and happily spend your time on your balcony, in your room, in the gardens, at the pool etc. and never venture out!
If you have the opportunity to stay here, you should do so.
We have visited this hotel on each occasion we visit Madeira. Whether it’s to attend a concert or go for afternoon tea, this hotel offers a touch of nostalgia. A beautiful building with a time honoured history that makes this hotel heads and shoulders above the rest. It’s what make Britain great. The staff are smartly dressed and so efficient it makes you appreciate how colonialism really works. I love it and highly recommend you save your pennies and enjoy what remains of traditional hospitality.