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Casa Velha do Palheiro 4.0

Funchal, Madeira, Madeira Islands

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Review Summary

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  • Historic 19th-century country estate with sea views
  • Gorgeous manicured gardens plus 18-hole golf with sea views
  • Classically styled rooms offer flat-screen TVs and minibars
  • One-bedroom suites have living rooms and whirlpool tubs
  • Classic bar, restaurant, tea house, and golf clubhouse
  • Modern pool in the garden with lounge chairs
  • Four-room spa has an indoor pool and modern gym
  • Library serves snacks and afternoon tea
  • Volleyball, croquet, tennis, billiard room, and ping-pong
  • Free shuttle service to downtown Funchal
  • Boat excursions available from the Funchal marina
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout, parking, breakfast, and a DVD library


  • Hotel isn't on the sea and is removed from central Funchal
  • No air-conditioning

Bottom Line

Casa Velha do Palheiro is an upscale resort dating from 1801, with 300 acres of gardens, nature trails, and an 18-hole golf course with sea views. The 37 rooms are done in classical country style, and while they include flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, they lack air-conditioning. Suites provide sitting areas, and some have whirlpool tubs. The property itself is relaxing country retreat with a garden pool and elegant spa. Dining is a laid-back affair, with a glass-enclosed cafe, library for afternoon tea, a classic restaurant, and bar lounge. The hotel has a modern gym and tennis court. Travelers might want to also consider the Enotel Lido Madeira, which has air-conditioning and oceanfront views, though rates there are generally higher. 

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Historic country estate with elegant grounds and sharp, classical interiors

The Casa Velha do Palheiro dates to 1801, when the first Count of Carvalhal -- Joao Esmeraldo -- built the estate, importing trees from around the world for the 300-acre property. The count would drive his horse-drawn carriages along the grounds' tree-lined paths, passing by its red and white camellia trees, fish ponds, and carved hedges. Much of the hotel’s original design has been preserved, such as the original horse stable that remains by the outdoor pool. Legend has it that a ghost haunts the Baroque-style chapel in the gardens. The historic main house features details like wooden floors and arched doorways, while antiques and historic photographs pay tribute to the property’s past. Famous guests have included the king and queen of Portugal, Dom Carlos I and Dona Maria Amelia, who once attended a picnic on the property. Today the hotel is a peaceful retreat for well-heeled travelers and golfers, the latter drawn by direct access to the Palheiro Golf Course.


Sprawling, secluded property a 20-minute drive into Funchal

The hotel is located in a wooded area about 500 meters (1,640 feet) above sea level, offering direct access to the 18-hole Palheiro Golf Course, with views of the marina. The location is appealing to those seeking a retreat -- and golf --  but its almost a 20-minute drive to Funchal's center along a winding, twisting road. Free shuttle service to Funchal, which has galleries, museums, restaurants, and bars, is available. The Monte Cable Car is a 20-minute drive from the hotel and offers amazing views from the top. Hiking at Pico do Arieiro is a 40-minute drive to the trailhead. From the marina, about a 15-minute drive from the hotel, the hotel operates fishing excursions and dolphin tours. Madeira Airport is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel.


Pleasant rooms and suites with country decor and garden or golf course views

The 37 rooms at Casa Belha do Palheiro are done in country decor that complements the hotel’s overall plantation architecture. Accents include floral fabrics, mahogany furniture, and lovely garden or golf course views. Guests can choose rooms in the historic main building or in the newer golf and garden wings, but none of the rooms have air-conditioning. Bathrooms are also done in the country style, and have heated towel racks, hairdryers, and shower/tub combos; suites and Superior Rooms also have separate showers. Junior Suites and Suites come with espresso machines. Three Junior Suites -- the Conde de Carvalhal Suites, Rei Dom Carlos Suite, and John Burden Blandy Suite -- have large windows providing lots of natural light. The Frank Dillon Suite and Andrew Pickens Suite (named after the painters) have separate bedrooms, sitting areas, and whirlpool tubs in the bathrooms. All rooms have flat-screen TVs with 30 cable channels, heating, safes, minibars, and daily turn-down service. Coffeemakers are available on request.


Golf course, on-site dining and bars, indoor/outdoor pools, spa services, and activities

The 18-hole, par 72 championship Palheiro Golf Course is a huge draw for golfers, who a get discount as hotel guests. The clubhouse bar and restaurant offers marina views from the terrace, and serves local specialties like onion soup with poached eggs. The Casa Velha Dining Room is a classic-style restaurant with ample mahogany tables and serves a buffet breakfast that's included in the room rate. The glass-enclosed Casa de Cha cafe serves coffee, tea, and light meals. The Conservatory Bar in the Palheiro Spa, which has four treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room, and an attractive indoor pool, focuses on healthful meals.

The outdoor pool has lounge chairs and patio tables. The gym, which has modern cardio, weight machines and free weights, overlooks the pool. The hotel also has a billiard room, a tennis court, and ping-pong, among other activities. The chapel is a venue for weddings, and there’s one meeting room with a computer corner that can accommodate up to 25 people. Guests are allowed to use the hotel's gardens for free as well. The hotel can arrange excursions around the island as well. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

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Rua da Estalagem 23, Palheiro Golf Sao Goncalo, Funchal, Madeira Islands 9060-415, Portugal


351 291 790 350