The enigmatic and paradisiac Portuguese island of Madeira, sits on the Atlantic Ocean, 534 miles from Lisbon, Portugal. In this breathtaking place, a mountain range that descends steeply to a roiling sea, you’ll find one of the most famous and glamorous hotels in all Europe. The Belmond Reid’s Palace Madeira is perched on a subtropical garden that hangs over the beautiful bay of Funchal, the island’s capital. Other interesting destinations in Portugal Porto and Douro Valley.
William Reid, who conceived it as a luxurious and comfortable haven for the elite, founded the hotel in 1891. Empress Elizabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi, used to sojourn there to alleviate the boredom of her claustrophobic life in the imperial court in Vienna. This was also a favorite destination for personalities such as the writer George Bernard Shaw, the poet Rilke, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who came to Madeira to practice one of his hobbies: watercolor painting.
The hotel was refurbished in the 1990’s without failing to uphold its characteristic luxurious British colonial style décor. Inside the splendid structure there are 163 rooms, including 35 suites. Each of the rooms, individually decorated in pastel shades, opens onto balconies or terraces with unparalleled views of the gardens and the bay. The most stunning are the presidential suites— the Churchill Suite and the George Bernard Shaw Suite—very spacious, including a bedroom with private bath, plus large living room and balcony. Read more about luxury hotels here.
The culinary and gastronomic offer at the Belmond Reid’s Palace Madeira is truly unforgettable. You can enjoy breakfast at the Garden Restaurant or buffet lunch on the outdoor terrace. During the warmer months, it is a treat to dine under the stars at Brisa do Mar.
In The Dining Room, you can taste the creative French cuisine while the Ristorante Villa Cipriani offers a superb menu of Italian cuisine. You can also enjoy a typically British afternoon tea in the lounge or on the terrace with panoramic views. Not to be missed, the variety of cocktails at the Cocktail Bar.
The Belmond Reid’s Palace Madeira offers a range of amenities that will make your stay even more pleasant: three large swimming pools and a fully equipped gym and spa for relaxing massages. They also have availability for golf, water sports, horseback riding, trekking through beautiful mountain trails or enjoying the picturesque Funchal with its harbor-side restaurants, nostalgic nights of fado—and of course, the excellent wines that have made Madeira famous. ■