The grand dame of Madeira, Belmond Reid’s Palace embodies traditional luxury travel at its very best. Exuding a genteel elegance, the hotel has rooms decorated in a classic style with every room looking out across the sea or gardens, or both. Large bathrooms feature amenities by Penhaligon’s, there’s a touch of English hospitality running through the backbone of the service, which comes into it’s own at high tea on the terrace. It has a large spa, reported to be the best spa in Madeira.
Situated on its own private promontory on the edge of Madeira’s capital, Funchal, it’s just a few minutes walk to the centre and has it’s own lush gardens, two outdoor pools, sea access and bathing loungers by the water plus a large modern spa. There are a couple of restaurants on site but none as impressive as the iconic Villa Cipriani, serving classic Italian food overlooking the sea and hotel.
Breakfast is an event in itself with a fabulous buffet of fresh and local fruits, cheeses, meats, breads, pastries and a well stocked hot buffet plus daily special items cooked to order. When I asked for a fresh green juice – it was no problem. I received an apple, cucumber and ginger juice as requested. now that’s service.
There’s a couple places where the hotel is showing it’s age, maybe some carpets could be updated and the bridge and billiard room both seemed under utilised.
BEST SPA IN MADEIRA?
The spa is situated in a stand alone building, on the cliff’s edge with sea views in a garden setting. The modern space is punctuated with volcanic stone and clean cream walls and a touch of wood which gives it a spacious feel, calming and refined. Some of the treatment rooms have a balcony and lounger for post treatment relaxation looking out over the sea. The couples suite has a larger outside terrace with jacuzzi, showers and loungers which can be booked for longer spa sessions.
It was great to experience the couples suite, but we were ushered into the changing rooms post treatment and not offered the chance to relax anywhere. It was all a touch formulaic.
Having noted an outside space, I asked to chill there, and the staff made this happen. So, post- treatment we reclined on sun loungers on a private spa terrace soaking up the views of Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Aromatherapy Associates, Ytsara and La Prairie
The 45 minute, Belmond Reid’s Palace Regional Spa Treatment is a quick and simple relaxation massage using Ytsara relaxation oil and a local aloe vera balm. It was a calming massage, not too intense and focussed mainly on the back, shoulders, and head. The whole experience was most enjoyable.
THE BEST BITS:
The old world charm and excellent service
Dinner in Villa Cipriani
Sipping Madeira wine on the balcony after dark
Jumping from the diving boards into the sea
Experiencing the local aloe vera balm during the spa treatment
ROOM TO IMPROVE:
Soften the spa journey for the guest
Offer guests the chance to relax post treatment (I had to ask)
Introduce or offer herbal tea post treatment
From EUR 275 per night, for a double room on a bed and breakfast breakfast basis, (taxes and service charges included).
The 45 minute, Belmond Reid’s Palace Regional Spa Treatment is EUR 80