The 5-star Pestana Grand, perched on the Ponta da Cruz cliff overlooking the ocean and the Cabo Girão observation deck, is one of the best 5-star hotels in Funchal.
It is a 30 minute walk from the hotel to the Praia Formosa beach, or 5 minutes by taxi, and the hotel enjoys easy access the Promenade do Lido for a pleasant stroll along the coast.
Rooms are bright and decorated in a classic style, drawing inspiration from seaside colours. Large windows let in plenty of light and with balconies and with inland or sea views.
Cool off in the outdoor saltwater pool, one of the island’s largest, which snakes around the hotel grounds providing plenty of space for swimming and relaxing. The hotel hosts water aerobics and stretching classes in and around the pool. Alternatively, feel rejuvenated in the hotel’s Spa and pamper yourself in the panoramic indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and gym, treat yourself to a range of massages and treatments on offer.
Children can keep themselves amused with their own outdoor pool, playing in the expansive gardens, in the seasonal Kids Club or in the hotel’s playground.
There is no shortage of places to wine and dine with 4 onsite restaurants and 2 bars. Enjoy a variety of international dishes in the Atrium (buffet service) and Trattoria de La Fontana (Italian) restaurants, whereas the Cabo Girão restaurant features typical Madeiran cuisine. For those looking for north African flavours, look no further than Au Tagine which, as its name suggests, serves a range of aromatic Moroccan dishes including tagine. Nip to the Pool Bar for a drink and snack in the in the sunshine, or head to the Coast Bar for cocktails and live music.
Finally, if you have forgotten to pack your sunscreen, no need to worry as there is an on-site shop selling all of your holiday essentials.
There is a free private car park (subject to availability) and the airport is a 25 minute drive away.
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.