Quinta da Bela Vista
This stunning Madeiran Quinta near the town of Funchal dates back from 1844 and, as the name suggests, has lovely views over the surrounding mountains and Funchal Bay.
Recently restored, the house still retains the feel of a private home with paintings and antique furniture in many of the rooms and communal areas. There are 89 elegant bedrooms, including 10 interconnecting rooms, with views over the mountains, the ocean or the gardens and each has been beautifully furnished with meticulous attention to detail.
The two restaurants serve delicious cuisine and the hotel has a variety of facilities which include a freshwater swimming pool, a small fitness centre with a Jacuzzi and sauna, tennis courts and a library. There is a golf course nearby and the Quinta has a boat which guests can charter at an additional cost.
Why We Love It
Bela Vista was the first quinta on the island to become a five-star hotel.
Casa Velha do Palheiro
Originally a hunting lodge built for an infamous Madeiran count who blew his fortune, Casa Velha was subsequently bought and turned into a boutique hotel that's now part of the Relais & Chateaux portfolio.
There are 37 rooms spread out between the main house, the Garden Wing and the Golf Wing. The main house has a cosy feel and traditional furnishings from elegant mahogany furniture to Persian rugs lining wooden floors. There is a lovely sitting room with fireplace, bar and the restaurant.
The Garden Wing houses most of the standard rooms, which are spacious and beautifully lit, with elegant furniture and floral decor. The Golf Wing has a small sitting room, as well as the larger superior rooms.
The golf course in question is just below the hotel, and to the side are the famous Palheiro Gardens which guests have complimentary access to. There is also a tennis court, large swimming pool and small gym which connects to the spa.
Why We Love It
The main building has an exhibition room showcasing the wooden and iron hammocks once used by unfortunate servants to carry the aristocratic owners families up and down the steep slopes of Madeira.
Quinta Jardins do Lago
This beautiful quinta is situated on a hilltop just outside the historic city of Funchal. Built in the 18th century, during the Napoleonic wars, General Beresford, the commander of the British forces on the island, chose it as his residence.
All the rooms are south facing, with large balconies and panoramic views overlooking the gardens and the sea. The large swimming pool is surrounded by mango trees and there is a poolside bistro bar for informal dining. In the evenings, the elegant 'Beresford' restaurant serves first-class Madeiran and international cuisine, and there is a bar with garden seating for a sundowner or a nightcap.
The 2.5 hectares of mature gardens are full of wonderful examples of rare and old trees, and are home to the hotel's resident giant tortoise. There is also a small lake, from which the hotel takes its name. Other facilities include a library, billiard room, sauna, Turkish bath and gymnasium. Quinta Jardins de Lago is a welcoming hotel with an intimate and relaxed atmosphere.
Why We Love It
During the Napoleonic wars, General Beresford, the commander of the British forces on the island, chose it as his residence
Belmond Reid's Palace
The hotel is also renowned for its ten acres of lush semi-tropical gardens, which are beautifully maintained and contain plants from around the world.
Nowadays, the hotel continues to evolve to suit a modern clientele. For adults, a spa opened in late 2006, offering a range of treatments created by some of the world's top spa brands, plus aromatherapy and reflexology. There is also a sauna, a steam room and a state-of-the-art gym.
The rooms are all air-conditioned and individually decorated in a traditional style, with balconies or terraces overlooking the gardens or Funchal Bay. A wide choice of restaurants includes high quality French and Italian cuisine, and an outdoor seafood restaurant during the warmer months.
There are three swimming pools (two of which are seawater) and two tennis courts, with coaching available. Other activities available locally include windsurfing, scuba-diving, golf, horse-riding, whale-watching trips and scenic walking trails along the island's famous levadas.
Why We Love It
Set on the cliff tops overlooking the Bay of Funchal and the Atlantic, the hotel is a famous Madeira landmark, having hosted famous names including Sir Winston Churchill.