The Best Hotels in Funchal, Portugal, for Every Traveller

Castanheiro Boutique Hotel sits in the heart of Funchal and offers incredible views
Castanheiro Boutique Hotel sits in the heart of Funchal and offers incredible views | Courtesy of Castanheiro Boutique Hotel / Expedia
Amar Grover

Funchal, the lively capital of Madeira, has an almost bewildering range of accommodation, encompassing modest hostels, swanky boutique hotels and venerable quintas (manor houses). Cut through the confusion and find your dream destination below.

Madeira, found north of the Canary Islands off the Moroccan coast, has an enviable climate and lush, rugged scenery in spades. Its largest city and capital is Funchal, a one-time port of call that’s now a free-standing destination. Centuries-old British involvement in shipping Madeiran wine has helped make it a popular destination with British tourists, and must-visit attractions include the Madeira Cable Car, Funchal Cathedral and the Old Town.

1. The Cliff Bay

Luxury, Chain Hotel

The Cliff Bay massage area with sea views
Courtesy of The Cliff Bay / Expedia

An enviable clifftop location overlooking the Atlantic lends this resort-like hotel stunning views of the ocean, city and rugged mountainous backdrop. It’s a luxury property full of polished marble and blessed with a two-Michelin-star restaurant, Il Gallo d’Oro. Elsewhere, its spacious rooms have private balconies. Pretty terraced gardens, two swimming pools and an expansive sundeck complete the wow factor.

2. Quinta Jardins do Lago

Luxury, Bed and Breakfast

Quinta Jardins do Lago exterior with gardens and city behind
Courtesy of Quinta Jardins do Lago / Expedia

Built in the mid-1700s as a private residence, this handsome, stately mansion stands in steep residential hills overlooking the heart of Funchal and the Atlantic beyond. Old-world charm and luxury abound in high-ceilinged rooms filled with solid antique furniture and matching vintage decor. However, it’s the magnificent gardens with more than 500 varieties of exotic plants and tropical flowers that steal the show. Croquet, table tennis and a heated pool mingle among the luxuriant flora.

4. The Vine

Luxury, Spa Hotel

The Vine pool with loungers and city beyond
Courtesy of The Vine / Expedia

Two blocks back from the marina of Funchal, the Vine has an ultra-modern design and swanky vibe inspired by Madeira’s wine-making tradition, infusing shades of purple, mauve and burgundy into its decor. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and recessed and under-bed lighting; some even have free-standing bathtubs near the foot of the beds. There’s a long heated rooftop pool with a bar, a vinotherapy spa (including a red wine “bath”) and a highly regarded French restaurant, Uva, headed by chef and gastronome Thomas Faudry.

5. Quinta da Casa Branca

Luxury

Quinta Da Casa Branca exterior in glass with gardens and mountains beyond
Courtesy of Quinta da Casa Branca / Expedia

This impeccable quinta was built in the mid-1800s by the Leacock family, whose forebears launched the celebrated Madeira wine industry. By 2002, the imposing manor saw long angular Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced wings discretely added to the extensive botanical-like gardens. Rooms range from sleek, almost minimalist, accommodation in the modern boutique annexe to heritage suites with chandeliers and fireplaces in the original manor house and adjoining villa.

6. Sé Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel

Se Boutique Hotel garden with vintage decor and furniture
Courtesy of Sé Boutique Hotel / Expedia

Just metres from the cathedral, this compact modern hotel lies among the narrow streets and lanes of historic central Funchal. Simple white-walled rooms with stripped wooden floors and decorative azulejo tilework circle a plant-filled courtyard. More shrubbery lines a charming rooftop bar and terrace carpeted with artificial grass. While breakfast is served at a nearby restaurant, the hotel proudly offers afternoon tea – “one of the best British traditions” – though there may be walk-on parts for enemy croissants and rebel custard tarts. Hurrah!

7. Belmond Reid’s Palace

Luxury, Chain Hotel

Belmond Reids Palace outdoor pool with dining area beside at sunset
Courtesy of Belmond Reid’s Palace / Expedia

The puckered coastline and cliffs west of the city centre are well developed, and among its pioneering properties is this huge hotel that opened in 1891. Built by William Reid, a Scots wine merchant, it’s long been an island stalwart favoured by the good, the great and the grand. Spacious rooms and suites have a lean but luxurious English country-house feel, while the two pools and tennis courts luxuriate among charming terraced gardens. Michelin-star William, the gourmet restaurant, showcases the best Madeiran produce.

8. Museum House

Guesthouse

Museum House Hotel room with minimal decor, wood floor, photography on wall
Courtesy of Museum House / Expedia

This modest centrally located hotel comprises just six, mostly double, rooms on a quiet street near the Municipal Garden. The simple, unpretentious accommodation features mini-fridges, stripped floors, all-white decor and perfectly serviceable flat pack-type furniture; the vibe is more neat down-to-earth guesthouse than a formal hotel. Facilities include an ATM – useful, perhaps, for a splurge in the neighbourhood’s abundant bars, cafes and restaurants.

9. Castanheiro Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel

Castanheiro Boutique Hotel pool with loungers and city view
Courtesy of Castanheiro Boutique Hotel / Expedia

In the heart of old Funchal, Castanheiro is a cluster of five distinct but linked buildings, which neatly combine heritage with modernity. The older pair – an 18th-century artisans’ atelier and 19th-century merchant’s mansion – stands across a courtyard from early-20th-century mansions that once housed craftsmen and a bakery. Arched masonry and exposed beams in the public areas lend character and atmosphere. However, the rooms are unambiguously contemporary and unfussy with decor carefully matched to various pastel shades above their picture rails.

10. Santa Maria Hostel

Hostel

Santa Maria Hostel lounge with red colour scheme, sofas and wood floor
Courtesy of Santa Maria Hostel / Expedia

Barely a block from the seaside cable car terminus, Santa Maria occupies a former turn-of-the-century school. Boldly coloured rooms include slightly spartan though surprisingly large doubles and triples, a couple of ensuites and bunk-bed dorms. Breakfast and linens are included, with towels and laundry on request. The cheery youthful vibe comes with a decent restaurant – mainly Madeiran and mainland Portuguese cuisine – which spills beneath awnings onto the cobbled lane outside.

Looking for more? You can set off to discover the best things to do in Funchal or explore the city’s best museums and art galleries. After a long day, enjoy a delicious meal at one of these top restaurants before a nightcap at one of the best bars in Funchal.

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