I have recently returned from a week's holiday to Estalagem. I was under the impression that I booked a four star, all inclusive holiday. Whilst this was probably the case some twenty years ago, it is now a two star at best.
Estalagem Do Mar sits at the north of the island which is much cooler than the south (Fungal etc). The weather was wet, windy and grey, but picturesque, with the crashing waves against the black rock- stunning. Whilst weather is never guaranteed when you are abroad, at least in most hotels or resorts there are indoor activities to entertain you. Unfortunately, Estalagem had an antiquated pool area with dried on rust on the floor, the bottom of the pool had dark stain- not sure what that was. The table tennis area had low lighting and the gym was reported to me as being almost non –existent. Throughout the week there was no entertainment and limited resources in the bar area. There was nothing specifically for children of any age.
The food was pretty much local dishes, but tasty with limited choice. The staff were nice, friendly and helpful. There is virtually no information about local attractions. The local area was bleak, grey and desolate, feeling ghost like or void people and atmosphere. The Caves (a twenty minute walk away makes up for it), a visit or two to fungal or anywhere south of the island is a must, providing, character, entertainment and above all (surprisingly) very good weather.
Whilst staying at Estalagem I resigned myself to the fact that there were limited alternative options for my daughter and I. Once I did that, I allowed myself to rest, sleep and to do nothing, which I needed to do; I returned home feeling rested.
For those of you who have already booked, especially families with children, consider hiring a car, bringing a range of entertainment resources such as, toys for the pool, bat/ball, portable DVD player etc (a saving grace for me).
I will not be returning to Estalagem or that region, however, Fungal was fab (especially the weather, cable cars, shopping and the tour buses). I will endeavour to explore the south of the Island at some point.
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- Also Known As:
- Estalagem Do Mar Hotel Sao Vicente
- Estalagem Do Mar Sao Vicente, Madeira Islands