Arrival at Madeira airport was quick and easy. I have an electronic passport so I was through passport control in about 2 minutes. Our bags were already off when we got through so within about 15 minutes of landing we were on the minibus to our hotel. The trip took only 5 minutes.
We were very impressed on arrival. Check in was smooth and easy. We didn't opt for a sea view room but it didn't matter really as we had a gorgeous view of the mountains from our balcony, also we could watch the world go by on the street below. The room was large and comfortable with a TV, DVD player and excellent air conditioning system. You can buy movies on your TV (although we didn't), also the TV gives weather and flight information - however the weather information was never accurate! The bathroom was large and clean with a good shower, a large mirror and a little shaving mirror. A note of caution - there is a random little switch next to the light switches with a picture of a cleaner on, if you press this it turns on a red light outside your room which means you don't want it cleaning. We pressed it by accident and then wondered why our room didn't get cleaned for 2 days!
We were on a bed and breakfast basis and the breakfast was excellent (although I didn't try the hot food), there was plenty of choice and it was all good quality. There is even hot milk provided so you can make the very strong coffee more milky without making it cold.
The pool area was wonderful and the sunbeds very comfortable, they don't tip up when you sit on them like most places I have been! It is also very clean, an army of cleaning staff mop the floor around the pool morning and evening. I agree with most other reviews though - the pool is very cold although once you have braced yourself to get it in it is worth it. You can get pool towels from reception which you can have changed everyday.
The drinks and snacks at the hotel are very expensive, you can get them much cheaper at the little snack bar down the road!
Santa Cruz itself is gorgeous, so unspoilt by tourism. It is lovely to take walks around. We ate several times at both the Bilheteira restaurant and Bom Jesus restaurant in the square and found the food there to be excellent and very cheap. I would recommend them both.
We went in to Funchal twice. The hotel provide a courtesy bus although the last bus back is very early so you can't use it in the evening. However you can get a bus from Santa Cruz to Funchal for 2.30 Euro. You just have to pay the driver. The journey gives you amazing views of the island although the driving can be very scary sometimes!
Restaurants in the old town section of Funchal are lovely and most do a set 3 course menu for about 14 Euro where you have about 4 choices in each course - great value for money.
It is true that being so close to the airport the planes do fly pretty low over the hotel however we found that this did not bother us at all although I can see how it might annoy some people.
We ate at the hotel buffet twice in the evening - the price is 22 Euro but they gave us a 20% discount voucher on arrival. I have to say that while there was plenty of choice and the food was nice it was much better to eat at the cheaper restaurants in the village.
If you are looking for nightlife however this is not the place to come to!
We loved Madeira and would return in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This beach hotel in Santa Cruz (Madeira) is situated directly beside the sea. Funchal is just 15 minutes away, while Funchal airport is only 5 minutes from the hotel. The promenade and the aqua park are also nearby. There are also stony and pebble beaches in the area. The hotel, which was built in 2006, has a total of 262 room on 4 floors, where we feature 4 junior suites suitable for families. The hotel offers a fully air-conditioned environment with spacious lobby, lifts, 24-hour reception, hotel safe, three bars, two restaurants and parking facilities. It has congress centre (890 m²), room and laundry services, as well as a kids club and games room. All rooms with en suite bathroom, balcony, air conditioning, individually adjustable central heating, direct dial phone, clock, satellite TV, CD / DVD player, radio, safe deposit box, hair-dryer, fax / modem connection, minibar, electronic security lock and 24 hour-room service. It offers an outdoor swimming pool for adults and children, indoor swimming pool (for a fee) and spa facilities with Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room / Turkish bath, Vichy room, a gym, studio for classes, 4 massage and treatments rooms, physician's office. The nearest golf course is only 10 minutes away and the hotel provides a golf desk and clubs closet. A breakfast buffet is served each morning. Lunch and dinner may be eaten from a buffet or a la carte. The following are all accepted as methods of payment: American Express, MasterCard and VISA. There is a transfer service to Funchal available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vila Gale Santa Cruz Hotel Santa Cruz
- Vila Gale Hotel Santa Cruz
- Santa Cruz Vila Gale
- Vila Gale Madeira
- Vila Gale Santa Cruz Madeira