Perched high on a rocky hillside is a pink Palace.
Madeira was, at the beginning of the 20th century, one of the most famous holiday destinations for the upper class Western Society. However, much has changed over the last 100 years. The tourism industry developed massively but an irreducible hotel managed to stay true to the best of old-fashioned hospitality, celebrating 125 years of dedicated and bespoke service in 2016..
Local cake (Pasteis de Nata and Bolo de Mel) and Maderian wine awaited us upon our arrival which we enjoyed out on the balcony facing Funchal Bay. At this level, it’s all about the details.
Belmond Reid's Palace
Over the years, European royalty, politicians, playwrights and actors – memories of a bygone era, have visited this hotel. One of the best examples is the Churchill Suite. Named after the great men who stayed in it, when the idea of a reopening after 9 years of closure (due to the war) has spread.
Winston Churchill said about Madeira (01 January 1950) :
“I’ve been greeted by many people in the world for whom I have done something but never in my whole life been greeted with such enthusiasm by people for whom I have never done anything.”
I think the hotel must be run by ghosts for the simple reason that you will go out for a drink or take a dip in the pool and the room will be immaculate on your return. You will never run into someone, even with twice daily cleaning visits. Next time, I will double-check if they did’t put GPS trackers in the pockets of my bathrobe.
A nice and surprising addition is the pillow menu, where you get to choose your pillow (I know… obviously). You can pick the type (memory foam, feather etc) and the scent (lavender, jasmin ect) – A wonderful touch.
The service is second to none and the view over Funchal harbour is just beautiful. The room, in which we were staying offered an old-world charm, your bed will be open when coming back from diner, your slippers will be tidied up, mini bar will be refilled.
The orientation of the swimming pools complex (27° et 29°) allows you to enjoy the sun really early in the morning. With a direct access to the Ocean and extra pool leading straight to the cliff side, filling itself with saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean with the rhythm of the waves.
After a memorable day enjoying the sun, the afternoon tea is a must. It is highly advised to book a table in advance as a lot of walk in guests come to enjoy homemade pastries, a light breeze on the balcony. The graceful sound of a piano in the distance.
Finding the sun a litlle too intense? Why not go to the spa? Next to the gym, you will find any of the most popular treatments with rooms facing the ocean.
The sub-tropical gardens overhanging the Atlantic Ocean are beautifully manicured. I can assure you that if you sit down on one of the loungers, it won’t take longer than 5 minutes for a staff member comes out from behind a tree to bring you a blanket or a pillow.
Have you already seen a Jade Vine flower ?
That being said, Reid’s Palace is not the ideal place to go clubbing all night long (yet) but if you’re looking for the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail at the bar during one of the many organized events(jazz nights, Fado evenings …). Reid’s Palace is the place to go – even if you’re not staying at the hotel.
It seems that the ballroom comes straight out of a luxurious cruise ship. Because of the renovation, the usual breakfast location was unavailable, so fortunately for us, this is where we enjoyed our breakfast every morning.
And what a breakfast! The breakfast alone is reason enough to return! The fruit buffet offers more choice than your regular local market along with beautiful Mozzarella di Bufala and a tasteful daily egg menu.
Reid’s Palace is among one of the best Hotel in Europe. There is something that has and will be there forever. A new marketing plan is on its way and will, without a doubt, revive Reid’s name by addressing and bringing a younger crowd. I can only assume that with time, undergoing modernisation and those to come. Being in such a wonderful location, Reid’s Palace could become one of the best hotels in the world.
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