The Best Hotels to Book on Madeira, Portugal, for Every Traveller
Enjoy a stay at a farmhouse, surf retreat or wine hotel on the Portuguese island of Madeira | © Colin Watts / Unsplash.com
The flower-filled island of Madeira, Portugal, is famous for its eponymous wine, cake and mild, subtropical climate. To help you make the most of your holiday here while you discover the local cuisine and nature, we’ve compiled a list of the top hotels for you – bookable with Culture Trip.
Banana trees and laurel forests cover Madeira’s slopes, sliced by a network of levadas (aqueducts), granting hikers intrigue as they roam. The island varies enormously from side to side, encouraging exploration on two feet or two wheels. Make pit stops for black scabbardfish, a local delicacy, washed down with poncha, a traditional sugar-cane spirit. Where does the road lead? A local quinta (farmhouse), surf retreat or wine hotel, if you follow our guide.
Hostel, Budget Hotel
Courtesy of Jaca Hostel / Booking.com
This stylish hostel, which mixes dormitories with private doubles, is located right on the beach. It has a restaurant and two beach bars and is offering communal kitchens with microwaves and fridges. Once a family home, it retains a cosy feel in the quiet coastal town of Porto da Cruz, backed by a dramatic mountainous hinterland that begs to be explored. Cliffside yoga sessions are available, as are books and board games.
Quinta do Pântano
Villa, Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of Quinta do Pântano / Booking.com
This beautifully restored farmhouse, with its cluster of neighbouring houses, offers a tranquil base from which to explore the island. It’s rural, sure – but also conveniently located for Madeira Airport and Santa Cruz Beach. The houses, dotted around lush gardens, can sleep between two and eight people. The working farm produces flowers, vegetables and fruits, the latter of which you’ll find in your homemade jam at breakfast.
Budget Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of Hotel Amparo / Booking.com
Acclaimed interior designer Nini Andrade Silva is behind the 12 jaunty blue-and-white bedrooms at this small, family-run guesthouse in the centre of Machico – a town on the east coast, bordered by a small praia (beach). The restaurant, where the nautical theme continues, provides a taste of the island, with dishes such as spit-roasted meat served in the famous bolo do caco (sweet potato) flatbread.
Hotel Vila Bela
Courtesy of Hotel Vila Bela / Expedia.com
Located in Porto da Cruz, just 100m (330ft) from Praia de Alagoa, this small hotel offers a mix of double and family rooms. The hotel owns a surf school nearby that’s perfect for eager learners and has access to a communal swimming pool adjacent to the promenade in Porto da Cruz. The restaurant serves typical local cuisine from scabbardfish to limpets, with tables poised to take in the dramatic mountain-arched coastal views.
Luxury, Spa Hotel
Courtesy of the Vine / Expedia.com
Sleek and seductive in intense shades of deep purple and green, the Vine is a contemporary interpretation of the fortified wine from the island by local designer Nini Andrade Silva, layered onto an ultra-modern building in the streets of the capital Funchal. Expect furniture shaped like twisted vine branches and leaves, reflecting the seasons. The rooftop swimming pool and bar are not to be missed for the views of the sea and hilltop São João do Pico Fortress, nor is a dinner at the excellent Uva Restaurant. In keeping with the oenological theme, the spa offers treatments using vinotherapy products from DVine.
Belmond Reid's Palace
Luxury, Chain Hotel
Courtesy of Belmond Reid's Palace / Expedia.com
The grande dame of Funchal has stood the test of time, its pink walls a much-loved landmark. Views from here out over the sea are worth the journey to Madeira alone – but so, too, are the old-world atmosphere, lush botanical gardens and lobster ravioli or scallop carpaccio at the Michelin-starred William Restaurant. But don’t miss the Villa Cipriani either, named after Belmond’s world-famous Cipriani Hotel in Venice, and its Italian-accented taglioni verdi (green pasta), accompanied by sea views.
Pestana Churchill Bay
Courtesy of Pestana Churchill Bay / Expedia.com
Set in the little fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, overlooking the bay where Winston Churchill often came to paint, the Pestana Churchill Bay pays homage to the erstwhile British prime minister throughout its 57 rooms, with reproductions of his paintings and a bar where memorabilia take pride of place. As the first hotel in this south-coast settlement, just outside Funchal, it offers clean-lined rooms, a rooftop pool and a restaurant serving local specialities.
Castanheiro Boutique Hotel
Courtesy of Castanheiro Boutique Hotel / Expedia.com
Five historical buildings have been converted into 81 rooms at this charming hotel, in the old part of Funchal. Between them, they represent three centuries of local heritage, the earliest being an 18th-century listed house, which was once an atelier for Madeiran craftsmen. Period antique furniture weaves the buildings together. Bedrooms are light-filled and attractive, and some come with kitchenettes. The rooftop pool has spectacular city views.
Quinta da Casa Branca
Courtesy of Quinta De Casa Branca / Expedia.com
Amid beautiful botanical gardens (ask to have pink snowball and yellow trumpet flowers, as well as silk-floss trees, pointed out to you), this manor house and its sleek, contemporary glass extension offer some of the most luxurious digs on the island. There’s a swimming pool, a health club and a restaurant within the manor house, where gastronomic dishes draw on the island’s rich bounty.
Estalagem da Ponta do Sol
Courtesy of Estalagem da Ponta do Sol / Expedia.com
Much admired from afar, due to its spectacular location perched on the edge of a cliff, far above the pounding waves of Ponta do Sol, access to the hotel is through an elevator cut into the rock from ground level. The 54 rooms are minimalist, in tones of black and white, pared back to allow the outside in through the vast windows. The food mixes local and international favourites with, yes, more views of the sea.
These recommendations were updated on August 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.