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Hotel The Cliff Bay
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Reviews (3,202)
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Reviewed 13 February 2009

We stayed at Cliff Bay for 2 weeks, our holiday booking had been fransferred from the Eden Mar (where we have stayed twice before and loved it!) as it was undergoing refurbishment. We were upgraded from B+B to HB and were given taxi transfers, brilliant!

This hotel is extra special; the staff, facilities and accommodation are impeccable and meals out of this world, although we found that drinks, both in the dining room and bar, were overpriced!

Delicious snacks to be had in the Magic Tea house if you walk to the west along the promenade from the Lido area. Or if you are in Funchal, wander through the old town where there is a cafe Xarambhina - pizzas are amazing and there is always a warm welcome!

This was our 3rd holiday in Madeira and there are still many places to explore and enjoy. It is a wonderful place to relax midwinter when it is so cold and icy at home. We shall certainly return.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Trekwise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2009

We spent 8 nights at the Cliff Bay Hotel. We had a beautiful room on the top floor with magnificent views of Funchal Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean. It really is a very impressive resort with sea level salt-water pool, indoor/outdoor heated pool, free internet, lovely bars and gardens and lots of pool chairs that are NOT reserved with towels and belongings. It also has direct access to the sea. Our first impressions were not too good, no hot water on the first morning and I had to wait more than 15 minutes to get the lift down to breakfast. The phone in our room didn’t work, so I had no choice but to wait for the lift to arrive as there was no foyer phone. These issues were promptly resolved and we appreciated the bottle of Champagne as a token gesture for the inconvenience. Most of the staff was quite pleasant and courteous; however there was no ‘attention to detail’. E.g. dead flowers in our room were not removed for the entire week, bathroom amenities were not always replenished and the shower floor was not cleaned properly. The bar staff never returned to ask if we’d like another drink, even when they walked past and saw empty glasses, we always had to flag them down. These are little things that you would expect from a resort of this calibre. We also noticed staff working double shifts so they were probably exhausted. I guess that explains why our breakfast order was constantly incorrect or not understood. We thought the dress code in one of the restaurants was a bit crazy for such a hot climate. The food was pretty ordinary to say the least and not worth getting ‘dressed up for’. The other casual looking buffet restaurant didn’t allow men to wear shorts. Music in the hotel dining areas was repetitive elevator music. We ended up eating out on most nights and getting to Funchal was quite easy, a taxi ride costing about €5 or a 15-20 minute walk. This hotel I think survives mostly on its return clientele and caters mostly for retired guests. Overall, we loved the hotel’s facilities, our beautiful room, and the excellent service from the pool-side staff, but found it a bit pretentious and snobby and that goes for the guests too, not just the staff. If you want lots of peace, quiet, rest and relaxation, this place is for you. If you want a bit more action, then I suggest an alternative resort.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank VSWSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2008

We've just returned from Cliff Bay in Funchal. The hotel is in a good location - it looked as though all the rooms had some view of the sea and it was set back from the road on one side with a little garden, and on the other there was a lovely garden & terraces with ++++ seats to sit and look out over the sea and Funchal town.
The staff were all friendly and could speak english (as could most of the population). There is internet access at one computer in the reception, and I think also there were a few computers in the spa, although we didn't use it. We only ate and one of the restaurants (they have 2 plus a bar). The Rose Garden was were we had breakfast which was very nice with lots of choice and cava if you want alcohol first thing in the morning! We also ate at the buffet there which was nice but very expensive - 80 euros for 2 of us plus orange juice. There are some restaurants within easy walking distance along the same road as the hotel. We ate at 2 of these - one an italian - it was on the first floor of a shopping mall overlooking the estrada monumental - wouldn't recommend that, and also at the sushi place next door to it which was quite nice.
The hotel has a mini-bus which takes you to town or back several times a day (though not in the evening) and we found that really good - always had a seat. The buses around Funchal are hair-raising but very efficient and cheap. We were too scared to rent a car in case we met with buses careering round the blind bends on the edges of cliffs!
The only problems with the hotel were:
1. the beds - they were really, really, really, really hard. Like sleeping on the floor. The pillows were really squishy and we both had sore back/neck/shoulders/hips etc etc after a couple of nights. (And I prefer harder mattresses in general)
2. there were little ants in our room (on 4th level) - they were really interested in the fruit which was in our room on arrival and in the contents of the bin. Luckily they didn't seem to venture into the rest of the room so they didn't bother us too much.

Because of that we wouldn't go back to that hotel (unless they change the beds-if they did that I think I would have been tempted to give 5 stars) though we would recommend Funchal in December as the weather was glorious and warm - better than the UK at the height of summer!

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank MKA_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2008

You have 2 choices - you can do hours of research wondering just which is the best hotel (comfort, location, service etc) in Funchal - or you can trust this and all the other reviews and just come here.

There is just nothing not to like! We stayed in a seaview room (overlooking the garden, 447) and it was enormous and couldn't have been more comfortable. We could have upgraded to a superior top floor room for 280 euros for the week but thought there was nothing else we could ask for or need. Our views were excellent and had there been a bit more sun then we would have had it on our balcony all day. The ones overlooking Funchal harbour would only get morning sun.

The service was impecable and we were invited to a champagne reception and a madeiran wine tasting amongst other things. But it is the little things that often impress, I bought our Hop on Hop off Tour bus tickets from reception and when I lost them after getting off at our first stop - reception made some enquiries for me and a couple of days later we were given complimentary tickets for the bus and I am sure that was the Cliff Bay influence.

The spa and pool area are just divine. The water was sufficiently heated to go into the outside part of the pool and it was such a relaxing place to chill and read a book- although the Cactus bar prices were a bit steep - 9.95 euros for a cheese toastie was the cheapest thing on there - buy hey, it is a 5 star hotel.

There are huge public tevelvisions dotted around (one of cinema size proportions if you want to watch any English or European football matches while you are there.) There is library where you can get english books and leave the ones you have read. They also seemed to be putting our more Christmas decorations each day - goodness knows what it is going to be like by christmas eve! Lovely, as are the stunning flower displays.

The taxi drivers seem to think of a number and double it when they drop you off at the Cliff Bay. We were charged from 3.60 euros to 8 euros!!! If you want to walk it takes about 20 minutes into town and I do recommend you visit the park on your right just before you get into town. Lovely place for a coffee or lunch.

So in short, if you are are wondering if Madeira will suit you - it will - go! and if you are wondering where to stay - stay here. Sorted.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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6  Thank jean-s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2008

The only negative statement I can make about the hotel is that I would not take teenagers there as the guests are, like me, rather old. Other than that, we found the hotel superb with very high levels of comfort and service. The breakfast is very very good - good enough that it would be a waste of money to go `a la carte`. The grounds are excellent. The bar prices are very expensive but the quality of what you get is a certainty - unlike some of the local restaurants and bars.

One word of warning about Madeira. The much vaunted Toboggan ride is more than a rip-off, it is threatening and bordering on being criminal. Even the taxi driver who took us to the airport was ashamed of this. Essentially the ride only takes you half way down the slope and the dumps you in an alley where there are a few taxi drivers and other men waiting around. They then tell you its a 5km walk down to Funchal and you have to take a taxi. (You find yourself in a maze of alleyways) then charge you 18 euros - off the meter! Our airport driver said its is only 2km and that they take the roundabout way. The ride which only takes 4 minutes or so basically costs you 63 euros.

Also do not expect friendly service from older male waiters and keep away from the very expensive restaurants unless you like fish. Nearly all the expensive restaurants we ate at were very disappointing and there are so many restaurants there that it is easy to get an acceptable meal for two for about 35 euros. The restaurants at the top of the hill ( to the right) charges us 74 euros for a mean which at best was mediocre.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank kemyst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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