Madeira is the perfect island for beautiful almost-tropical scenery, whether you’re walking in the mountains high above the clouds or enjoying the sound of the waves by the coast. When we visited last December, we were lucky enough to stay at two stunning and tucked away quintas in the city of Funchal famed for Madeira wine cellars, lush gardens, harbour and cathedral. These stunning Funchal hotels are owned by the same island family, and both are gorgeous.
Two fabulous historic hotels in Funchal, Madeira
Quinta Jardins do Lago
Perched above the city with spectacular views, this quinta is set in immaculate grounds which are simply stunning. The staff will want to show you it all before you see anything else – it really is beautiful! And hiding in the greenery is the hotel’s octogenarian tortoise who loves a banana! Definitely a crowd-pleaser! The gardens are dotted with rare species of plants, and on a hot day, it is lovely to stroll through the dappled sunlight, enjoying the pretty flowers and the heady aromas. At the bottom of the garden is a beautiful pool area, with a view across the city to the sea. It’s hidden away and to us felt like a little slice of the Caribbean in Europe.
Check flights, compare prices and read reviews Quinta Jardins do Lago
The hotel is spread across a newer wing and the old family house of the Blandy’s (of Madeira wine fame). Our room was in the more modern part of the hotel, and the piece de resistance for us was the balcony and views for miles. When we were there, all the rooms were being upgraded. The decor was old school Portuguese, and I believe the look and feel is a little more modern as a result of the refurbishment. In the manor house, there are a small number of suites which I imagine are exquisite.
We ate at the hotel several times – be it for breakfast in the garden, for dinner in the 18th Century dining room with furniture from the Napoleonic era or by the pool for a lunchtime snack. The quality is excellent, the choice superb, and the staff really are proud and happy to work there.
Read more about Anna’s stay here on her blog, Quinta Jardins do Lago.
Quinta da Casa Branca
This hotel is a member of Small Luxury Hotels, and you can really see why. It’s sublime. Whether it’s the new modern and slick wing of rooms, the suites in the Manor House, or the private villa we were lucky enough to stay in. Yet again the grounds are stunning, and the hotel remains owned by the former residents. They’ve really kept it how it should be at the same time as creating a wonderful hotel.
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This hotel is very close to the city, but you enter the gates and step into peace and tranquillity. The garden is beautiful, and it is surrounded by a small banana grove that has been retained. There are two pools – a modern one and also a smaller one in front of the manor house which is almost too beautiful to make a splash in (featured image).
Our private villa was beautiful. It was big enough that I would happily have moved in. It’s very traditional on the outside, but on the inside, it is a charming and opulent residence. Open the shutters, and the sun streams in across the gorgeous old wooden furniture and the bright textiles that decorate the space. We particularly enjoyed the sun deck that ran along one side of the house and looked into the depths of the sweet-smelling garden. While everything about the villa was fantastic, the bathroom really was a highlight. I want to recreate this at home, and the Claus-Porto smellies really are some of the best I’ve ever found. There’s also a small spa hidden away in the hotel grounds. If soaking in the bath isn’t enough, then I would definitely recommend a relaxing treatment!
Dining here was an absolute treat. On one night we ate in the Manor House and surrounded by spectacular furniture and antiques we had a marvellous evening, and the food was sumptuous. In fact, when we checked in at this hotel, the first had already passed on my dairy allergy, so they were ready for me. The food here was exquisite. Breakfast in the more modern wing was equally plentiful and tasty, and we enjoyed sitting on the terrace enjoying the morning light. One evening we dined simply in the bar – it’s swanky and modern and dotted with bits of family history. And I must say the pressed apple juice was delicious!
Read more about Anna’s stay here on her blog, Quinta da Casa Branca.
Both of these Funchal hotels are so unassuming, hidden behind the quinta walls and discreetly luxurious in beautiful surroundings. Having an outdoor garden space in the city and being able to really relax is a superb achievement in a location like this, just a 20-minute transfer from the airport.
This was our first time away on our own since becoming new parents. I can’t think of a more relaxing place to have stayed in those nervous early days when we wanted good food, a good night’s sleep and the most relaxing and luxurious child-free time possible!