Family-run hotel set in gorgeously landscaped gardens
Stunning bay views from multiple vantage points
All rooms open to furnished sea-view balconies
Panoramic pool and terrace lined with loungers
Free buffet breakfast served on al fresco terrace with amazing sea views
Two restaurants and a wine cellar with Portuguese selections
Small spa offers massages, aromatherapy, and beauty treatments
Free shuttle service into Funchal center
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Decor is dated
Rooms overlooking road prone to noise
No in-room tea/coffee facilities
Restaurant can be pricey for the quality
Ocean Gardens is a three-pearl family-run hotel set off a clifftop road, a 15-minute drive from Funchal's historic center. Stunning ocean views are seen from numerous vantage points, including all 47 rooms, two restaurants, and the pool terrace. Interiors and rooms old school and dated, though the lovely gardens are some of the best tended in the Funchal area. Some rooms can be prone to occasional traffic noise and there's nothing within walking distance, though for guaranteed sea views at very reasonable rates this is a solid option. For a hotel that's a bit closer to the city center, the Madeira Panoramico Hotel has more modern rooms. For cheaper rooms along the coast, travelers could consider the mid-range Dom Pedro Garajau Hotel, though views are less impressive.
Peaceful, family-run hotel with beautiful gardens and stunning views
Approaching from a winding coastal road, it's hard to miss the distinctive pastel pink, low-rise building that houses the Ocean Gardens. The entrance sits at the far end of this block, and inside the lobby combines chunky wood paneling with antique-style furnishings to create a formal, old-school feel. As the name suggests, there's a real focus on the hotel's grounds at this hotel. Paved and grass footpaths meander through relatively small but beautifully tended gardens brimming with colorful flowers, mature palms, and myriad other tropical flora. The gardens continue up to a peaceful pool terrace that provides some of the finest panoramas of the bay. The site's historic legacy is a small cave dated from the 17th century, that once housed a cannon used to defend Funchal Bay from pirates. Nowadays the family-run hotel provides one of the best places in the area to watch New Year's firework displays. Given its romantic setting, if not entirely romantic style, it's perhaps not surprising that most guests here are couples.
On a cliff overlooking the sea, a 15-minute drive into Funchal's old town
The hotel is situated in one of the Funchal area's more remote locations, set high up on a winding, clifftop road on the eastern outskirts of the city. Access is only by road and there's nothing within walking distance -- there aren't even sidewalks to navigate the area safely on foot. Public buses stop right outside the hotel, and a free hotel bus connects to the historic center in 15 minutes. There, guests will find restaurants, bars, and sights such as the 15th-century Se Cathedral and the Mercado Dos Lavradores marketplace selling fresh produce and fish. Nearby beaches include Praia Formosa (15 minutes away by car), and Gorgulho Beach along the Lido promenade (20 minutes away by car). The Palheiro Golf Course is a 10-minute drive away, while the hotel's position also means speedy access to Maderia Airport, which is just 15 minutes away.
Dated style with sea views plus minibars, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi
Decor in the rooms follows that of the rest of the hotel, which veers toward old fashioned. There are antique-style furnishings, floral or blandly colored bedspreads, floors done in tile (Standard) or polished wood (Superior Rooms and Suites), and a general air of the traditional. It's not the most inspiring look, from a design perspective. One big plus is that all rooms open to furnished balconies with sea views; some have sweeping panoramic vistas while others have views that are a little more restricted. Amenities include minibars, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, safes, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, though no electric kettles for tea or coffee. Junior Suites add separate lounges with sofas and additional TVs. Bathrooms are clean, with separate toilets, wall-mounted hairdryers, and multi-jet shower units or shower/tub combos. While not particularly busy, the road that many rooms overlook can produce some traffic noise.
Free buffet breakfast and rooftop pool with panoramic views
Buffet breakfast is included in the rate and gets mixed reviews from guests. It's served in the hotel's Belle Vue Restaurant, whose al fresco terrace runs its length and provides panoramas of the bay. The rustic Churrascaria Montanha is also open for lunch and dinner serving an a la carte menu, impressive wine list, and of course lovely sea views. The restaurant can be a bit pricey for the quality of food, particularly when compared to the restaurants in Funchal's historic core.
While not huge, the hotel's pool is long enough for a swim and lined with sun loungers. Lovely gardens surround the pool and grounds. However, reports suggest kitchen fumes can waft towards the pool area. A small poolside spa provides massage treatments, facials, and aromatherapy, among other treatments. Parking is free and readily available, and Wi-Fi is also free throughout the hotel. Two guest computers are found in the lobby.