Casa Velha Do Palheiro
What We Love
- Breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- The subtropical gardens are home to rare and exotic plants and flowers from all over the world
- Imaginative reinterpretation of traditional Portuguese cuisine served in the award-winning restaurant
- The spa’s Caci Ultra non-surgical facelift
What To Know
- Walking the long, steep, hairpin approach to the property isn’t practical
- You can hear a pin drop here, and the bucolic ambiance will not suit partygoers
- Ground floor guestrooms in the two wings can appear gloomy when the weather is overcast
- WiFi is free in the public areas
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Parking On Site
Converted from an early 19th-century hunting lodge, Casa Velha do Palheiro maintains a classical veneer that upholds the property’s noble past. The sober palette is enriched by colorful and decorative design flourishes including floral drapes and printed fabrics. Delicate sprays of fresh flowers arranged on polished mahogany furnishings further enhance the chic-rustic look. Madeira’s history and that of the estate is depicted through a series of fascinating lithographs that grace the walls, and the refined ambiance of a bygone age pervades the entire building.
Bed and Bath
Guestrooms reflect the country house theme with their pastel-hued walls, flower-patterned décor and pastoral motifs. Comfortable oversize beds replete with marshmallow-soft pillows are set over wall-to-wall carpeting. Dark wood furniture lends weight to the dimensions. Bathrooms feature chunky enamel tubs with authentic brass fittings and traditional Portuguese tiles embellish the shower units. Some of the rooms afford pleasing garden and golf course views.
Regional gastronomy characterizes the menu at Casa Velha restaurant. Madeira-born executive chef Francisco Quintal draws on the Atlantic Ocean and traditional Portuguese recipes for his inspiration; southern European influences add zest and panache. An eclectic wine list includes Blandy’s own vintage Madeira. Signature treatments at the boutique spa include sports massages and special anti-ageing procedures. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools provide further recreation. Golfers meanwhile can play the stunning Cabell B.Robinson-designed 18-hole layout that meanders through the estate. The adjoining gardens are a world-class visitor attraction.
In the Area
The hotel is perched high above Funchal so guests will need transport to enjoy city sights such as Blandy’s Wine Lodge. Take a tour of the winery before tasting a heart warming Malmsey or a dry, chilled Sercial. History buffs should head for Quinta das Cruzes, the mansion-museum where João Gonçalves Zarco, the man who claimed Madeira for Portugal in 1418, lived. Terrace tables are quickly snapped up at Riso, the city’s celebrated rice-with-everything oceanfront eatery. For local character with a Mediterranean accent, make a date with Dona Amelía: The grilled scabbard fish is an island delicacy.
How to Get There
If you are a golfer and like a stylish hotel with atmosphere and excellent service in fantastic surroundings, this is it. The hotel brings you back in time and you are treated with first class food by a friendly staff.
We last stayed here over a decade ago and decided to return as we had enjoyed it so much back then. We booked a junior suite in the old house this time and took their HB and golf package which included airport and golf transfers - so no car. The setting is attractive and tranquil with excellent staff. Our room was airy, sunny and comfortable - a bottle of wine awaited and the fruit bowl was replenished daily. We only had an espresso size coffee machine in the room - too strong for our taste. The ensuite has Molton Brown accessories.
The food is very good. The HB arrangement gave a choice for dinner from the chef's daily preparations or from a reasonable a la carte, certainly enough to provide variety for a week. There's also a light menu if you want a wider choice. Be prepared for the rather pricey wine prices at hotels in this category.
The breakfast is also good - continental and cold plates with fruit and a cooked buffet. The cooked breakfast buffet disappointed as it wasn't that hot when we tried it. You can dine on the terrace if desired.
The outdoor pool is pretty cold but there's a lovely spa. The golf is tricky and wasn't in great condition but it wasn't busy and the clubhouse has a lovely veranda and a good restaurant.
Now we've been back we won't leave it as long before we return to this quality venue.
If you want to stay in an elegant place, within a wonderful park, in an extremely peaceful environment this is your place.
The service is good and the people are friendly. It’s a little bit far from town but who would want to move from such a place? You would want, because of the restaurant management. First, prices are very high compared to quality and diversity of food. They could be justified by the place, but if you are a guest of the hotel you are already paying for it. The half board offers a menu with zero alternatives for starters and dessert and only one for the main dish. The a la carte menu gives limited alternatives and is even more expensive. Worst of all the kitchen resorts to third rate restaurants’ ways as serving a 20 plus euros risotto made with precooked rice. I can prove it because I received the above mentioned risotto less than five minutes after ordering it, while it’s impossible to prepare a proper risotto in less than 12-15 minutes. Probably they count on the fact that, by taxi it will cost you around 40 euro for the round trip to Funchal restaurants. Better walk to the golf club house and eat there.
It’s a shame because the place is a real paradise.