Cristiano Ronaldo is famous for his moves on the football pitch and he also happens to be Madeira’s most notable celebrity. To honour his hometown, the football superstar opened his first hotel in collaboration with Pestana in Funchal set on the waterfront near the marina and only 25 minutes away from the airport.
The hotel features a Cristiano Ronaldo museum which is free for guests and exhibits the footballer’s numerous trophies and awards, but this far from the only reminder of the star you will find in the hotel. Corridors are decorated with green carpet giving the effect of a football pitch and some bathrooms even have artificial grass on the walls, which from a design aspect works very well.
Keeping active is encouraged with an outdoor fitness centre and a ‘Get in Shape’ programme which has been devised by Ronaldo himself. There is a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the marina with comfortable wooden decking, as well as a sauna and outdoor jacuzzi.
Bedrooms are decorated in an ultra-modern style with cool greys, splashes of colour and minimalist-style furniture and some rooms have views onto the harbour. The rooms are designed with a digital and interactive experience in mind with motion-sensitive LED lighting, free WiFi, film and music streaming on HD TVs via Bluetooth, as well as soundproofing to ensure a good night’s sleep.
The CR7 Lounge restaurant offers delicious food such as pizzas, burgers and snacks in a laid-back, contemporary atmosphere, with an open kitchen and wood-fired stove. Superb cocktails are served in the bar area. For those looking for a good party with great DJ sets, head up to the Off-side RoofTop bar where you can have fun and enjoy excellent views of the city.
Relax in the charming, green city of Funchal on the island of Madeira. Surrounded by mountains, this vibrant city faces the depths of the blue Atlantic and boasts a mild climate all year round.
Funchal is Madeira’s oldest city and where the island’s first settlement was established. Exploring the old town you can spot testaments to its history through some of the remaining 15th century buildings such as the Corpo Santo Chapel. The Rua de Santa Maria is one of the city’s oldest streets and you will spot some old family-run businesses.
Its prime position in the Atlantic means that Madeira has often been used as a stopover for ships traversing the Atlantic, and as its main port city, Funchal became a key trading point. The city has come on a long way from its roots as a fennel-growing pirate haven and has evolved into a world class destination renowned for its modern and lively atmosphere with many great restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues, not to mention the natural beauty surrounding the city.
It is one of the main ports of call for cruise liners and many cruise ships berth in Funchal on their maiden voyage. Seeing multiple cruise ships in port is quite a usual sight in this city and the cafes, restaurants and historic centre are just moments away from the port. The nightlife scene has much to offer visitors with bars and clubs open until the early hours and the popular Madeira Casino offering nightly entertainment.
Alongside the popular cosmopolitan areas like Funchal, Madeira is a rich, beautiful island with experiences to cater to many tastes. With nearly two thirds of the island’s surface classified as a nature reserve, there is no shortage of beautiful natural scenery. One of the most popular activities is hiking along the Levadas and mountains; these routes follow the 16th century ‘Levadas’ which are open air canals used to carry water from the dense forests and waterfalls to the island’s towns and cities. These hikes take you through some of the greenest parts of the island and you can marvel at the luscious laurel forests and picturesque waterfalls.
For those looking for adventurous breaks, Madeira has a wealth of activities including diving, surfing, swimming with dolphins, boat trips, mountain-biking, canyoning and even coastal paragliding. Many of the island’s hotels have swimming pools so you are never far from somewhere to cool off.
Like many archipelagos, Madeira has a number of fascinating customs and delicacies that are unique to the island. The toboggan rides through the city of Funchal, where people barrel down steep hills in large wicker baskets aided by ‘drivers’ in boater hats, is an intriguing sight to behold and an exhilarating experience. As an island nation, seafood plays a huge role in Madeira’s gastronomy, but its mild year-round climate creates the perfect conditions to grow delicious produce such as bananas, pineapples and sugar cane. One of the island’s traditional drinks is ‘Poncha’ made with brandy cane sugar, lemons and honey and no trip would be complete without sampling some traditional Madeira wine.
It typically takes 4 hours (direct) or between 5-6 hours (connecting) to fly to Madeira from the UK. Some airlines (such as British Airways, Easyjet and Jet2) offer direct flights to the island, while others connect via Lisbon.