Madeira housing for 2

Old Feb 25th, 2010, 06:34 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 76
Madeira housing for 2

My daughter lives in Europe, so seeing her is a treat. I'm heading to visit her the end of May, and we're planning a girls' trip to explore Portugal: 3 nights in Lisbon (will need help there too) and 6 nights in Madeira. From photos, the flooding cleanup is well under way, the island is begging people not to cancel, and apparently people are quickly booking for May. We like reasonably-priced hotels, preferably small ones with a local flavor, but we're flexible. There seem to be 3 areas: City Centre, Uphill, and Big Hotels down the beach - is that right? Are there clean, interesting Centre hotels, that are not teeming with other tourists, or should we opt for something further out, with more spacious grounds and a more relaxed vibe? We'll eat out and we like to try local foods (daughter's a vegetarian), but an included good breakfast is always a plus. Is renting a car, for hiking, a good idea, or will bus service work?. We're reading guidebooks but personal experiences would be most appreciated!
KathrynDay is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2010, 05:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
There's a vast choice of hotels in Madeira. In Funchal (the island's only large town), the hotels are mainly concentrated in what's known colloquially as the Hotel Zone. This is the area stretching westwards along the seafront from Funchal for about 4 miles along the road Estrada Monumental. Most of these hotels are large, modern places (several are very luxurious), with all facilities and great views of the ocean (note that there is no "beach" as such in Funchal).

There are numerous other hotels dotted around the centre of Funchal and in the hills overlooking the town. Breakfast is normally included in most rates. You won't have any problem finding somewhere "clean" as standards are very high in Madeira - what we do need is your budget in order to make some specific recommendations.

Another option is to stay outside Funchal in (for example Machico, Calheta, Sao Vincente, Canico etc). But most first-time visitors prefer the convenience and facilities of staying in Funchal. I'm not sure what you've heard, but I wouldn't describe anywhere on the island of teeming with tourists - if you mean like Disneyland or Vegas. Mostly, it's very laid-back and peaceful with few crowds.

Renting a car is a great idea as it allows you to explore the amazing scenery cheaply and quickly. Walking along the levadas (water channels) is a wonderful experience, and takes you to some jaw-dropping scenery. Be aware that most levada walks are linear, so you'll either have to re-trace your steps, or better still get a bus/taxi to the finishing point, then walk back. Please check carefully nearer the time on the condition of the levadas, as there has been some flood damage and exercise appropriate care when walking in the mountains.
Gordon_R is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2010, 05:42 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 76
Gordon, thank you! My daughter's done some winnowing down by websites; we'd rather spend money on meals and events than on hotel rooms. What she's come up with so far is (and please forgive my spelling) Quintasagoncalo, at 70 euros a night for a garden-facing room; Quint. de Sao Joao at about 137 euros, and A. Jardin de Lago, at $158. All include breakfast and taxes. One is half the price. We're not sure the amenities would make a difference... do you have any suggestion here? Another that keeps cropping up is Ab.. Dias, a family hotel in the centre. That's the one that seems to be booked most quickly.

We just realized we'll be there for a Festival. That'll be exciting - especially the fireworks.
KathrynDay is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2010, 10:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
Your daughter's done some great research!

As it happens, we've stayed at the Quintinha de Sao Joao several times, and it's one of our favourite hotels... anywhere! It's a real 5-star luxury boutique hotel in the grounds of an old quinta (manor house) with fantastic personal service and beautiful gardens. The interior is packed with antique furniture and there's a new spa and swimming pool. The location is about 20 minutes walk from the town up a hill. The only minor drawback is the lack of any restaurants in the immediate area (apart from the hotel's own excellent restaurant which specialises in Goan cuisine)

I don't know Quinta Sao Goncalo personally, but from googling it I see it's a B&B located in the hills on the eastern outskirts of Funchal, probably too far to walk into town centre but on a bus route. The view from the garden looks very nice, and it's got some good reviews.

The Jardin de Lago is another hotel located in a quinta in the hills. This would also be a similar choice to the QSJ though a bit pricier.

Two more suggestions in a similar vein to the three places already mentioned (although at the upper end of the price range)br /> Quinta da Bela Vista: www.belavistamadeira.com/
Quinta da Casa Branca: www.quintacasabranca.pt
Gordon_R is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2010, 10:49 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
Oh, just realised you also mentioned the Hotel Albergaria Dias. This is a well-known little hotel right in the Old Town of Funchal, so literally next door to many restaurants and shops. Rooms are more of 3-star standard, so a step down from the likes of QSJ or QCB, but it's family owned and very popular. I read on another website today that they narrowly missed being affected by the severe flodding a few blocks away.
Gordon_R is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2010, 07:58 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 76
This helps! I'll check your suggestions; there's also a Casa Papagaio that looks promising. Do you know anything about it?
KathrynDay is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2010, 04:11 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
Don't know that one, sorry...
Gordon_R is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2010, 06:01 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 730
bookmarking
lowcountrycarol is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:57 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 76
Gordon_R, many thanks. We've decided to splurge and go for the QSJ (I like your shortcuts), and will just do a lot of walking or use a bus. We'll think about renting a car after we get there, since taxis seem relatively cheap. What about renting one with an English-speaking driver for a day? Feasible, or could we have just as much fun on a regular bus?
KathrynDay is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2010, 10:55 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
Yes, totally feasible to hire a car plus driver for the day. Nearly all the taxis are large yellow Mercedes Benz cars, and many of the drivers speak good English and some specifically offer their services as driver/private guides for the day. You could either get the hotel to recommend someone, or else there are plenty of small tourist info places in the centre of Funchal and along Estrada Monumental who advertise this service. Not too sure about the prices (we always hire a car), but I have a vague recollection it's about E60-80 for the taxi per day.

Buses are OK but cramped and slow-moving so not recommended for a full day out unless you are on a budget.

It's easy to hire a car on the spot when you are there - loads of places can arrange for you or the QSJ can do it also. Driving around the island is great fun, but you need to be confident and well prepared for narrow, twisty mountain roads.
Gordon_R is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Durianeater127
Europe
4
Jul 15th, 2017 07:39 AM
patriciatbrogan
Mexico & Central America
11
Aug 19th, 2015 08:55 AM
europhile
Europe
6
Mar 29th, 2006 07:16 AM
michelleNYC
Europe
4
Jan 5th, 2006 11:41 AM
susie
Europe
7
Jul 18th, 2002 08:37 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO