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“Nice rural accomodation”
Review of Solar Da Bica

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Solar Da Bica
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Sao Vicente
Certificate of Excellence
Budapest, Hungary
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Nice rural accomodation”
Reviewed 15 October 2009

The guesthouse lies on the relaxing northern part of the island. The whole island is laid back and the northern part more so. The town can be very tranquil especially outside high season. The whole place is lovely with a nice indoor pool and a beautiful garden.

You'll need a car to get there, but if driving the place is ideal to discover the north coast.

  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LTamas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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134 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Perth and Kinross, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 October 2009

Solar da Bica is a unique privately-owned small hotel located in a very beautiful part of Madeira in the mountains close to the Nothern part of the island and Sao Vicente - a small town on the sea front. It has been constructed to a very high standard with use of natural materials under the supervision of the owners. Views from our room window were spectacular to the valley below and high volcanic-rock mountains above.
Service was very friendly and unobtrusive. At the time we visited only B&B was available and no evening meal which meant we had to take the car to eat out - mostly at Sao Vicente - a distance of around 5km - on the seafront with a choice of mostly OK restaurants. Lunch usually averaged about €7 each. Evening meals were rarely more than €10-12 each. A car is essential to be able to tour around or go walking on the levadas or mountain tracks. There is public transport but it appears to be infrequent and we did not use it. We chose to tour around the west of the island and would book a separate holiday to explore Funchal more. Funchal has the major attractions but there are many beautiful small towns scattered round the more rural parts and the wild but spectacular Paul da Serra plain at around 1000m.

Car access to the property is "interesting" and a fairly steep and winding climb leads to a modern church and the entrance to the hotel lane opposite. The entrance is very narrow and some care is needed evidenced by the amount and depth of scrape marks at the sides, but taking it slowly is OK. The car park opposite the hotel is also on a gradient and care is needed to avoid the car nearest its entrance. The grounds are well-kept and pleasant and a small garden with 4 tables with chairs and parasols. We chose to eat there one evening and borrowed a couple of plates and knives from the owner who was happy to oblige. We would not eat in the bedroom due to the cream coloured carpets and light upholstery! (The furniture, fittings and decor were all of a very good standard). There is free internet access at a PC in the lounge which was very useful for personal and business emails and flight purposes. Breakfast was buffet style - simple and typically European - geared more for German or Dutch holidaymakers.

Note there is no air-conditioning in the rooms, which we found too hot the first couple of days. In fact there was a wall storage heater which had been left on and I had to unplug it and request that it not be switched back on!

This is a location where you need to find something to do unless you want to use the small pool or sit in the garden, hence a car and a plan are essential. There were only a couple of children evident and there is not much for them to do locally.

Liked most - the friendly service, the beautiful location and the quality build and fittings of the hotel itself, the pool and garden. Warm sunny climate (nearer the South and lower down).
Liked least - no air conditioning! Dodgy entrance and car park at an upwards angle. "Free" car hire (arranged via Thomson.co.uk/Simply Travel) where we paid €171 for an extra driver and to cover the €500 excess and a fuel deposit - no warning of this but added a considerable cost (europcar were the hire firm) . Not Solar da Bica's fault but will be raised with thomson.co.uk separately. The car supplied had been well used at 65,000km, one headlight did not work and it had not been cleaned properly or at all - a poor show from Europcar.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Elnojj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lyon, France
Level 6 Contributor
198 reviews
105 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2009

I went to Solar da Bica in July 2009, following two good stays in 2005 and 2006.

Our last stay was extremely disappointing and so bad.

Actually, it was a three days fiesta in the area and it was absolutely impossible to sleep during the night up to 6 AM! I did sleep only from 6 AM to 9 AM. The reason is that the music of the fiesta was extremely powerfull even with windows fully closed, and Solar da Bica is very close to the main source of music/ noise.

The owner imformed us briefly that it will be noisy the day before - but we didn t get this crucial information during our booking in May and we didn t get the explanation that it was impossible to sleep.

After this terrible night, we check out - as planned - and we didn t get any discount. We were asked to pay the full price for not sleeping . 83 Euro per night including the fee of the booking by Madeira Rural:

We did not get any excuse and we were told by the owner that they did not sleep also.

It seems that the owner have missed the fact that we are regular customers and we are making their wages...we just get the bill - similar to a supermarket cashier!

So thanks for this stay and I would personnally recommend to the readers to investigate any other alternatives before a booking to Solar da Bica:

I hope it helps to avoid terrible hollydays and save your money!

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank TCARBONNEL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lisbon
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2008

Solar da Bica is located in a fantastic place, very beautiful surroundings. We were welcomed by the owner, a very nice and helpfull woman. Unfortunately, I spent an awful first night because the bed of our first room smelt very strongly of dampness and I am very sensitive to this kind of smell. Actually the owner offered us to choose between a bigger room with twin beds and this one smaller but with a double bed. In spite of the owner advice, we chose the double bed, but it was an unfortunate choice. Overall it was very clean and nice. The furniture is kind of new and it is all well designed. The next morning the owner asked us if everything was right and I explained the problem. Since a few tourists had left, she offered us another room, a big one, with a double bed and a nice view. We moved in, and I liked it a lot. The breakfast was ok, I would say average compared to other places. It is true that there is a new homemade cake every morning but I am not too much into portuguese cakes. We were almost the only ones to use the common room with free coffee and tea. The small court yard is very nice to admire the nature surrounding the place. The only thing is that we didn't find any really nice restaurant close to the place for dinner, but it was March and it was still cold, so maybe in Summer the villages arround look more animated. I would definitly recommend this place and, if I come back to Madeira, would like to stay there again, in spite of a slightly higher prices than in Funchal for the same kind of service.

  • Liked — the service, the surroundigs, very nice and helpfull owners
  • Disliked — the bed in one of the room smelt dampness
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank anka4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2007

We stayed at this hotel in May of 2007 and had a wonderful time. The hotel is beautifully furnished with very modern and traditional running side by side ... lovely smart dining room, but with an old wooden press and beams.

Lovely bedrooms, stunning views. Cleaned daily to a meticulous standard, by the very houseproud owners ... cream carpets throughout ... would adivse that this is not really a place for children. They would be bored most likely, and dramatically changed the mood of what was a smart, calm, adult retreat.

Be aware, very narrow driveway, that you will have to get used to in the car, but is perfectly safe!

Note also, not withing walking distance to restaurants, and food lovers will likely be disappointed with dining out on the island as a whole - although the food at the hotel was lovely and homecooked. The hotel website states that there is a facility to grill own food, but this is out of action, and we suspected was possibly not quite finished yet, or was an abandoned project.

If you could self cater, then this place would be perfect - and in the end we often brought a bit of a picnic, inc. own wine, back to the hotel, which the owner did not mind at all. There are tables and chairs outside to catch the evening sun before it dips behind the mountains.

A lovely, smart, clean and interesting property, with lovely owners, wonderful fresh breakfasts, but limited by evening dining. Own car essential.

  • Liked — Cleanliness and furnishing, friendly owners, lovely breakfast, completely relaxing.
  • Disliked — Proximity to restaurants, lack of self catering/bbq facility.
  • Stayed May 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank aberstudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2007

This B@B just above the lovely village of Sao Vincent on the north of the island is perfect. The house is a conversion that would be a perfect home for anybody. The people who run the B&B are so lovely and friendly and you are treated to hospitality of the highest order. Food is great, amenities good and cleansiness is of the best order. Now the road is open from Funchal and opens up the Island north district you really should stay over this way and explore. This B&B is perfect. Cant reccommend it high enough. NB you will need a car to drive to nearest restaurant or sort a taxi but you can eat in B&B for 20 Euro per person. Miss it already!!!!

  • Liked — Design and layout
  • Disliked — cant walk to a restaurant
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Ferdinand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Solar Da Bica

Property: Solar Da Bica
Address: Sitio dos Lameiros | S.Vicente, Sao Vicente, Madeira 9240-211, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Sao Vicente
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Sao Vicente
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Solar Da Bica 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Solar da Bica is a cosy and quiet rural tourism unit, nestled at the magic and idyllic Sao Vicente valley, in the Madeira Island. Located in an area with one unique view over the valley, it offers unforgettable landscapes through the breathtaking scenario of the mountains, including the exuberant vegetation of the Laurissilva Forest and the deep blue Ocean. It's the perfect location for those who search authenticity, rest, peace of mind, contact with nature, a calm and unpolluted environment and cultural heritage and integration in a traditional and rural life style. The property results from the reconstruction, adaptation and preservation of the traditional typology of two century-old houses, constituted by 13 rooms. The main house is the typical "Solar", traditionally associated to the residence of noble families, with characteristics of a manor house but with a smaller dimension. In terms of cultural heritage, it presents a great number of interesting and unique elements, such as the kitchen and some antique furniture. At the secondary house, the wine press, traditional floor and ceiling preservation stands out. At the green spaces you can also find numerous stonework and metal pieces that were part of the ancient Madeira's daily routine. Although it preserves many of the original elements, Solar da Bica was adapted with modern infrastructures, of which are worth mention the indoor heated swimming pool, the sauna, the panoramic garden and the biological vegetable-garden. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Solar Da Bica Sao Vicente, Madeira Islands

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