Clifftop location with numerous ocean-view vantage points
Outdoor saltwater pool, one of the largest on Madeira
All rooms have furnished balconies, most with sea views
Four restaurants and two bars -- one with live music
Buffet breakfast included (and includes sparkling wine)
Spa with indoor-outdoor pool, sauna, and Turkish bath
Free fitness classes at the gym and pool
Free daily shuttle bus service into Funchal center
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Tube-style TVs in rooms and some dated decor
Outdoor pool can be cold
Fee for in-room Wi-Fi
Some sea view rooms only have partial water glimpses
The lti Pestana Grand Hotel is a 177-room four-pearl property occupying an impressive building perched on a clifftop on Madeira's most southerly point. Rooms are bright and attractive, all opening to balconies and most with sea views -- though amenities (like tube-style TVs) are not up to scratch for a hotel with luxury aspirations. Hotel amenities, however, are impressive, with four restaurants, a spa with an indoor-outdoor pool, and one of the largest saltwater pools on the island. The hotel is in a quiet residential area around 15 minutes' drive from the historic center. More up-to-date rooms, though with fewer sea views, can be found for around the same rate at the Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa, just a few minutes away along the coast.
Relaxed hotel with stunning sea-view panoramas and a bit of romantic flair
The curving, symmetrical facade of the upmarket lti Pestana Grand Hotel has a porticoed entrance with more than a passing resemblance to the prow of a ship. Inside the smart, contemporary building is the double-height lobby area with a circular atrium. The space feels bright and welcoming, with polished marble floors and large urns containing plants and bright-red tropical flowers. Large feather-themed contemporary artwork sits above the reception area with its colorful mosaic-tiled desk. There are many huge windows throughout the hotel and the lobby area is no exception -- a rear wall of glass looks out over the grounds, the pool (the largest saltwater on the island), and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Floor-to-ceiling windows make the lounge bar area, with its eclectic mix of upholstered furniture, feel like part of the hotel's manicured tropical gardens, while outside on the deck there is a chilled-out, peaceful vibe accompanying the lovely sea views. The hotel is mostly favored by older couples, many from the U.K., though families with kids also make up a share of the clientele.
Clifftop setting a 15-minute drive from Funchal's historic center
Set on a headland atop the rocks of Ponta da Cruz and overlooking the breathtaking cliffs of Cabo Girao, the hotel sits at most southerly point of Madeira. This is a quiet, somewhat residential setting, and there are also a few restaurants and a shopping mall (Forum Madeira) within a five-minute walk of the hotel. Funchal's historic center, with its pretty streets and numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes, is 15 minutes away by car (the hotel operates a daily free shuttle bus into town). An attractive pedestrian promenade stretches along the cliff tops and connects to Praia Formosa (Madeira's largest beach) in about 20 minutes. The beach is also accessible by local bus in about 15 minutes, or is less than 10 minutes away by car. Madeira Airport is a 20- to 25-minute drive.
Simple rooms with slightly dated style and amenities
The 177 rooms are all bright and colorful, with red velvet upholstery, tropical-print drapes and bedspreads, and neutral carpeted floors. All open to balconies with wicker furniture and either look over the sea (133 rooms have sea views) or towards mountains and banana plantations. Some guests have complained that a few sea-view rooms have views that are partially obscured by the adjacent apartment building. Standard amenities are a little lackluster, with empty mini-fridges (rather than minibars), Wi-Fi that's not free, and tube-style TVs. Electric kettles are provided, though there's a fee for refills on coffee and tea. Bathrooms are bright and modern, with granite and marble tiling, and bathrobes come as standard; most have shower/tub combos but separate walk-in showers can be requested. The spacious suites are decorated in more contemporary neutral tones and have separate lounge areas with views over the sea. Bedrooms in suites do include flat-screen TVs and all bathrooms have separate showers and tubs.
One of Madeira's largest saltwater pools plus multiple restaurants and a spa
Set amidst the tropical plants and with sea views, the hotel's outdoor lagoon pool has small islands with palm trees and is one of the largest saltwater pool in Madeira. However, the pool is unheated and can sometimes be very cold. The deck is filled with sun loungers and there's a poolside bar serving snacks and drinks. The Magic Spa features an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, plus whirlpool tub, Turkish bath, sauna, and fitness room. Free classes are offered for guests in the gym and pool. For kids there's a splash pool and an outdoor playground, though no club or organized activities.
A decent buffet breakfast (including sparkling wine) is served in the Atrium Restaurant and is included in all rates -- seating outside is popular and there can be a long wait for these areas. Buffet dinner is also served, but to mixed reviews regarding quality and value. There are three themed restaurants to choose from -- an upscale Moroccan restaurant with blue domed ceiling (a la carte dinner only), an Italian Trattoria (serving only a la carte dinner), and a traditional Portuguese Grill open for lunch and dinner. The Coast piano bar provides evening entertainment and has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gardens (as well as cozier seating tucked away behind the bar). The Havana Lounge, with cigars, is situated in the library.
A free shuttle runs to Funchal during the day, a convenient perk given the residential setting. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and parking is free as well. The property also has multiple meeting spaces that can be divided for events.
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