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Pestana Casino Park Hotel 4.0

Funchal, Madeira, Madeira Islands

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Iconic building design by Oscar Neimeyer, a famed modernist architect
  • Within walking distance of Funchal's historic center
  • Bright and spacious rooms, most with sea-view balconies
  • Direct access to the striking Casino do Funchal
  • Infinity swimming pool overlooking sea
  • Four restaurants, two with sea-view terraces, one poolside
  • Free breakfast buffet with sparking wine and good selection 
  • Colorful spa with indoor pool, sauna, and steam bath
  • Fitness center, game room, multi-sports court
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Some rooms have a view of a building site (in 2016)
  • Small TVs in some rooms and no tea/coffee facilities (available on request)
  • Air-conditioning can be iffy
  • No free shuttle into town

Bottom Line

Pestana Casino Park Hotel is a 379-room upscale property occupying a landmark piece of iconic modernist architecture. Its location is excellent, too, set on a cliff top overlooking the harbor and with Funchal's pretty, historic center within walking distance. Rooms are spacious and bright -- with a few exceptions -- and while most have sea views, others overlook a large building site. The style throughout is thankfully contemporary, which isn't always the case with the Pestana chain. The colorful spa is a highlight, an infinity pool has superb sea views, and eating and drinking options are excellent. A buffet breakfast is included, with sparking wine. Rates are reasonable for the category, although families with kids are probably better off in the neighboring Pestana Carlton Madeira.

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Scene

Upscale hotel set in iconic piece of striking modernist architecture

The Pestana Casino Park Hotel is hands-down the most striking and iconic hotel on the island of Madeira. It was designed by celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, considered one of the most important figures in the development of modern architecture. Niemeyer is known for creations involving sweeping curves and undulating lines, and this masterpiece is no exception. The lobby is characterized by swirling ceilings and warped furnishings, hallways are spacious and minimal, and even the sprawling tropical gardens and terraces have a subtle modernist styling about them. The hotel is part of a complex that includes the famously futuristic Casino da Madeira, also designed by Niemeyer. Renovations have made most interiors more contemporary, and sometimes they clash a bit with the vibe, but overall this is one of the more pleasant Pestana outposts in the Funchal area. Most guests here are couples -- most of whom are on the mature end of the spectrum -- though some families with children pass through as well.

Location

Cliff-top overlooking cruise terminal and walking distance to Funchal center

The hotel is set on a clifftop immediately overlooking the long cruise ship terminal and the Bay of Funchal beyond. Guests have direct access to the striking Casino da Madeira, though otherwise there are a few restaurants within a short stroll. A rental car will be helpful to see anything of interest or to explore the area, especially as the hotel doesn't offer a free shuttle. Funchal's historic center is about a five- to 10-minute drive away (or a 15-minute downhill stroll) and is full of museums, bars, and eateries, as well as the quaint cobbled streets of Old Town. Gorgulho Beach and the Lido Promenade are within a 10-minute drive, while Praia Formosa is a 10- to 15-minute drive. It's a 15-minute walk (or three-minute drive) to Marina Funchal, where ferry connections to Porto Santo Island are offered. Madeira Airport is about a 20-minute drive. 

Rooms

Bright and spacious rooms with sea- or mountain-view balconies

The hotel has 379 rooms spread over six floors, decorated in a palette of beige and browns with patterned carpets, dark woods, and a subtle touch of Japanese and Old World design elements. Some Suites feature bright-pink silk sofas, while rooms have soft beige armchairs and attractive framed illustrations. Others -- like the Suite Sea Side View that we visited -- look a bit busy when all of the patterns are put together. Still, decor is mostly contemporary and cohesive, even if some pieces of furniture are slightly worn.

Rooms start at 25 square meters (269 square feet), with Executive Rooms measuring 28 square meters (301 square feet), and Suites 52 square meters (560 square feet). Beds have mattresses by Portuguese brand Biconica with white linens by Coelima, another Portuguese brand. All rooms open to large balconies or terraces with mostly superb views over the bay or mountains, with many taking in both -- though some also include the building site for a new hotel (as of 2016). 

Standard amenities are just that, and include soft drink minibars, safes, small flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, and free Wi-Fi (though signal strength can vary). Electric kettles are only available on request, and while air-conditioning is available, it's not exactly reliable. Suites have DVD players and larger TVs. Well-maintained, have twin basins in elegant white marble vanities plus wall-mounted hairdryers, toilets and bidets, and shower/tub combos, as well as speakers connected to the TV. Higher category rooms have separate soaking tubs and rainfall showers. Robes are provided as well. 

Features

Impressive dining options, infinity pool, nice fitness center, and flamboyant spa

Consensus points to an excellent buffet breakfast with plenty of variety and sparkling wine -- thankfully, it's included in room rates. It is served in the vast and high-ceilinged Panoramic Restaurant, with wrap-around glass windows and a spacious sea-view terrace. This is also the venue for live evening entertainment a few nights a week. Three other bar-restaurants include the a la carte Sunset, the cozy Aqua Restaurant & Bar, and the Dockside eatery and bar by the pool with lovely alfresco ocean vistas. All-inclusive rates are available.

The hotel's main swimming pool is one of the more stylish around, with plenty of loungers and a sea-view. The infinity edge also overlooks the cruise terminal. While the pool has a small separate kids' area and there's an outdoor playground, child-friendly facilities feel like an afterthought. There's also a rather flamboyant-looking spa with a freeform heated swimming pool with hydro-massage zones, plus sauna, steam rooms, and various massage treatments available. Guest can soak in a covered hot tub, though it overlooks a seating area. The hotel has multi-sports courts and a small, modern fitness center with wood floors and tall windows, though there's not much in the way of weight-training options. There's also a game room with billiard tables. 

A business center is also available along with 10 meeting rooms, a conference center, and an auditorium with natural light and audiovisual equipment. Capacity in the largest meeting room is 400 guests. There's a daily parking fee and pets are permitted with an extra deposit. Somewhat surprising for a hotel in this category and location, there is no free shuttle into Funchal, which is disappointing.

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Address

Rua Imperatriz D. Amélia, 55, Quinta da Vigia, Funchal, Madeira Islands 9004-513, Portugal