Set high on on the hills above the capital, Funchal, Casa Velha do Palheiro is a former summer residence of a local dignitary built in the early 1800’s. Set amongst the lush green trees and alongside the famous gardens of the same name, it’s a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of Madeira’s main city. The sound of birds and the trees is pretty much all that disturbs the silence. It’s an elegant hotel, country-house in style with antique and period furnishings and just a touch floral in its accent colours. It all works and makes for a peaceful retreat. Taking tea and breakfast on the terrace is a joy and the hotel’s award-winning restaurant is highly recommended, serving quality gourmet food with style and elegance. Gentle walks through the gardens or lazing by the pool, days are relaxed and restful on the Palheiro Estate. The food is impressive, the staff are helpful but not overbearing and it makes for a totally relaxing stay.
THE SPA at CASA VELHA DO PALHEIRO
Spa lovers can spend their days at The Palheiro Spa, a short walk from the reception. The facilities include heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Turkish bath and sauna. The spa is decorated in neutral tones featuring a light textured wallpaper and dark wood. There are three treatment rooms that open onto walled gardens. With the window open you can hear the gentle sound of the wind in the trees and the birds singing – it’s bliss. There is a relaxation tea room with fruit, mint and green teas on offer. The spa is light and where possible the design offers glimpses of the lush semi-tropical gardens outside. The outdoor pool was where I chose to hang out post-treatment, swimming a few laps and enjoying the sun.
I opted for a personalised massage where the therapist by touch, determined where my stress points were and then duly set out to relax and revive them. A cleansing hot towel back cleanse began the ritual followed by a full body massage that utilised kneading techniques, some pressure point massage and plenty of oil. It was calming and soothing, and deep enough to work out the knots, but not so so deep that it hurt.
THE BEST BITS
Breakfast on the terrace in the morning sun
Walking through the gardens
Enjoying cake in the tea house
The lush, green garden setting of Casa Velha do Palheiro
Chilling post treatment by the outdoor pool
ROOM TO IMPROVE
Promote it more, the spa was quiet
It’s a great space and worthy of more activity
Rooms at Casa Velha do Palheiro: from £157