Madeira is famed for the quality of its hotels. The majority are four stars and above, with top-notch facilities. In Funchal, options range from majestic old hotels on lavish estates to ultramodern high-rises with terraces that lap the sea. Simpler options also abound, including quiet pensões (pensions) and little albergarias (inns). Elsewhere on the island, hotels are similarly of a good standard. Consider also staying on a farm or rural bed-and-breakfast, usually in a remote part of the island. Known as Casas Rural (www.madeira-rural.com), these really only make sense if you’re traveling by car. Several low-key inns and bed-and-breakfasts also dot the island.
Some of the larger Madeiran hotels cater to package-tour operators, which offer relatively low prices and reserve huge blocks of rooms during peak holiday-travel periods. This may be one place where do-it-yourself travelers are better off going through an agency.