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The Residence Porto Mare (Porto Bay) 3.0

Funchal, Madeira, Madeira Islands

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Extensive seaside gardens with subtropical plants and an orchid corner
  • Spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes 
  • In a quieter setting next to the Lido promenade
  • Part of a three-hotel resort with shared facilities like tennis
  • Use of four swimming pools (indoor and outdoor)
  • Free shuttle bus into the center of Funchal
  • Free Wi-Fi in public areas

Cons

  • 10-minute drive to Funchal's old town
  • Double beds are twins pushed together 
  • Wi-Fi in rooms is an additional cost
  • A lot of time-shares (a pro for some)

Bottom Line

Travelers are drawn to this mid-range, 99-room hotel for two key reasons: the beautiful sea-facing gardens and the warm, comfortable atmosphere. Together with the Suite Hotel Eden Mare and Porto Mare Hotel, The Residence belongs to the Vila Porto Mare resort. The relaxed vibe and non-city center location appeals to more mature couples, and the high number of time-share holders and returning guests gives it a communal vibe. Facilities across the development include four restaurants and a spa. There’s no pool at The Residence itself but it shares use of the resort’s four pools. Spacious studios and apartments all have kitchenettes, plus direct access to the gardens or a sea view. For a slightly chicer stay in a similar setting, the Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa has comparable rates.

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Scene

A simple seaside escape with a home-away-from-home atmosphere

The Residence is not a base for a quick city break in Funchal; guests come here to relax amid the sprawling subtropical gardens or unwind by the sea. With its self-catering set-up and quieter setting, the hotel attracts more mature couples, and, thanks to the number of time-share holders and retuning guests, there’s a real community vibe. On the most part, usability and practicality are prioritized above style; the gardens are beautifully maintained and the marble lobby makes a smart first impression, but the general hotel decor is a little dated and uninspiring. Expect to see lots of wood paneling, neutral hues, and just a few sparingly deployed pieces of modern art throughout. 

Location

Next to the Lido promenade, a 10-minute drive from Funchal’s old town

This hotel occupies the west wing of the three-hotel Vila Porto Mare resort, in a hillside spot overlooking the sea. The resort sits in a popular touristy region dominated by hotels and restaurants, a five-minute walk along the seaside promenade to the popular Lido area. There’s a supermarket right outside, handy for self-catering. The pebble beach at Praia Formosa is a five-minute drive away and it’s a 15-minute drive to Camara de Lobos. A free 10-minute shuttle bus runs several times a day into Funchal’s old town, or it’s a half-hour walk, with one uphill section. Madeira’s airport is half an hour away by car.

Rooms

Spacious and functional rooms with plain decor and kitchenettes, ideal for self-catering 

Rooms are similar in style to those at the Suite Hotel Eden Mar. Beige dominates, but the marginally better quality materials (granite worktops, larger marble bathroom) and attention to detail (splashes of color through the rugs and modern artwork) remove an element of the bland, chain hotel feel found in its sister property. However, there’s still the feeling of functionality over style. Air-conditioning, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players come standard. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi costs extra. Kitchenettes (housed in a separate room in the apartments) have mini-fridges, two small cooktops, microwaves, and toasters. Marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos in the entry-level Studios, and the apartments include an extra walk-in shower. Double beds are twins that have been pushed together. The 320-square-foot (30-meter-square) Studios can sleep three people, with the third guest on a rollaway bed. Spacious One Bedroom Apartments are 750 square feet (70 square meters) and have a living area with dining table, plus a dishwasher in the separate kitchenette. Two-bedroom apartments are also available. All rooms face the sea, but those on the ground floor don’t quite have a sea view. However, these are the only rooms with a patio and direct access to the gardens. Rooms on higher floors have a balcony.

Features

Lovely subtropical gardens and popular restaurants, plus access to pools and features at sister hotels

The Vila Porto Mare resort is well set-up for its time-share holders and guests looking for easy access to a choice of restaurants and pools. Each of the three hotels here has its own reception, while the facilities and the glorious gardens — housing over 500 unique botanical species — are shared. There’s no pool directly at The Residence (at 99 rooms, it’s the smallest property), but guests have use of four pools (indoor and outdoor) within the resort grounds. Other facilities across the resort include four restaurants (the Italian eatery, Il Basilico, gets good reviews from guests), a spa with seven treatment rooms, and good-size gym. Wi-Fi is free in public areas, but you’ll need to pay extra for the convenience of access in your room. For getting around, a free shuttle runs regularly to Funchal’s old town and city center during daylight hours and there’s free parking on-site for those with their own cars.

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Address

Rua Leichlingen 7, Funchal, Madeira Islands 9004-566, Portugal