My husband and I recently travelled here following TA reviewers for relaxation and service in luxurious surroundings. It was our first time in Madeira.
Indeed, most of Cliff Bay is awesome - hotel, staff, grounds, location - within walking distance of Funchal, with breathtaking views over the city, the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Direct access to the ocean. Shops and restaurants nearby, bus station up in front of the hotel.
It is a 16 years old hotel but looks like brand new. One of the most beautiful hotels I saw in Funchal and the most photographed from the trip boats everyday. The plant life is beautiful to look at and does not obstruct too much the sea view. Main and ground level lobbies are beautifully decorated with statuettes, paintings, vases, floral arrangements, carpets and a globe fountain.
Check in/Check out : (Very) good. Upon arrival, around 10:30am, they met us with professionalism and told us we were too early for check in, our designated room being still occupied. We were nevertheless allowed to use the grounds, spa, pools, bars. At 2 pm we asked if the room was ready and it was (they had not phoned us, as some other resorts do). The room was splendid so we did pardon the waiting. Check out was quick, at 11am, and again we used the hotel’s facilities for the next 5 hours.
But - 1. Front desk staff is a little solemn and stiff. They don’t pay attention to people, unless you ask something. Maybe this is not a bad thing. The management is, indeed, very aware of your presence everywhere in and around the hotel, they are available for whatever your need or query. Like Lina Jardim.
2. Prior to check out and upon returning from pool, at 10:30am we found that we had been locked out of our room, with the key card not operating. We had to go to the reception to get it re-authorized. They said it might have been deactivated by the cell phone…
Rooms : Very nice. Large, clean, long side of the rooms is totally windowed. Most of them have great exposure to ocean or harbor views.
The view from our balcony was picture perfect, Funchal and Ocean. My morning entertainment was watching the garden sprinkler systems watering at 7am, boats and cruisers coming in and out of the harbour and gull flocks at the back of fishing boats.
Large room, sitting area, wide flat-screen TV. 3 movies/day at fixed hours, but not until I called the reception one night, after 45min. waiting. DVD player, electric kettle, safe box, minibar, A/C-very silent and efficient, Wi-Fi. Large beds, good mattress and pillows. The marble bathroom had a double sink, tub, shower cabin and separate toilet with bidet. Magnifying mirror, hair-dryer. Soap (best toiletry they have), shampoo, shower gel and body milk. Bath robes, slippers. And (many) different-sized towels. large wardrobe and drawer cabinet.
But – 1.Slippers got dirty after a week and were not changed in 10 days. I saw too many people coming from spa to elevators wearing dirty slippers.
2. Few toiletries, and of not so good quality, no hair conditioner.
3. Bath robes one size, too small for strong-built and fit people.
4. Some people hang their clothes outside on the balcony wall. This is an eyesore.
We also had the opportunity to see two other room types, a top suite (elegant and multifunctional), and another room with different furniture, both facing west and sun-flooded and hot in the afternoon.
Spa : Very good. Pool, reflexology, back massage, face treatment… On the (2) days it did rain, we spent our afternoons in the Spa area, a bit small but very accommodating - nice loungers, snack bar (Cactus Bar), gift shop, shower, dressing, lockers area with candles, fragrance and relaxing music. You can even have a massage outdoors, at the edge of the cliff overlooking ocean and Funchal!
In Spa there is a pool with freshwater, half indoors. Pool gym sessions take place in this pool, 2 times/week led by a gifted (and funny, this is important!) trainer who does also Pilates 1 time/week!!! Incredible for a 5* hotel and spa, it should have been everyday gym and at least 2 times/week Pilates. So, in my 10-day stay I had 2 pool gym sessions (Tuesday and Friday) and 1 Pilates (Thursday). All Porto Bay Madeira have one and the same trainer.
Second pool - seawater, at ocean level with a separate section for kids. a large sun terrace area with another snack bar. In fact the spectacular architecture offers multilevel terraces with sunloungers and awesome panoramic view over Funchal and the mountains, ocean and coast line in the west. Three types of loungers, better in Spa and upper terrace, and one, very good, type of umbrellas. Perfect pool towel policy allows you to have as many towels as you need.
Seawater pool staff – Very good overall, spot-on, 2 times - lazy.
Restaurants : Very good. Main buffet/a la carte restaurant is Rose Garden. At dinner it has smart casual dress code but being elegant and on table reservation system, most of the people came in dining dress and nice-aged ladies had jewelry to accent their ensemble. Lovely! And so appropriate for the other restaurant, one storey up, Il Gallo d’Oro, Cliff Bay’s pride.
The Blue Lagoon is the poolside restaurant for lunch mainly, with good choice of salat-bar and tasty meats and fish, fresh pinapple juice-which is not no be served at Rose Garden, unfortunately.
Le Cliff Bar-Le Bistro is the main bar with live entertainment every night and the place for afternoon tea (they have a different tea, not the usual/immortal Tetley from the buffet breakfast)
Fitness center/Gym : (Very) Good. Cardio-vascular and strength equipment. Nothing for leg press. Very good : water dispenser and fresh tissue box.
Diving centre. Tennis court. And game room.
Not much entertainment. Every night a band is playing live music, mostly the usual hits from the 60’s-70’s. I liked the saxophone night, good player and nice music.
Staff (not front desk): Very good. As they pretend to be one of a kind. They try to accommodate anything that you need them to accommodate. One morning I asked the restaurant manager on duty why don’t they have blue cheese and we had it right at dinner. Hmm, not bad! And some other food requests were immediately fulfilled.
Food : (Very) Good. British were delighted, kept thanking every night for the wonderful, marvelous, excellent…! Even my husband loved it! Deep-fried “goodies” fast food type at breakfast - sausages, mini potato cakes, bacon strips, tomato slices, or watery scrambled eggs, beans, porridge. Same layout everyday, no change, no surprise, not to mislead people… And yes, they have sparkling wine, mineral water, fresh vegetables and fruits, cereals, eggs to order, dairy, charcuterie, pastry….same everyday, for 10 days ! For dinner - fish and seafood (great quality), meat, fresh and cooked vegetables, cakes…. Pretty much everything. But I had high expectations for the restaurant and I also wanted soy/rice milk, high-fiber (rye) bread, brown rice, more nuts, not so creamy soups, wider variety of (lightly) cooked vegetables, better tea or at least a tea box to choose from, and chocolate cakes enough for everybody. With Mr. Benoit as chef, I was expecting at least crêpes, not pancakes! But I loved La crème caramel and Umm’Ali hot dessert.
Each dinner has a different theme, and Sundays, at Portuguese dinner, a live performance with Madeira folklore is presented in the Rose Garden Restaurant.
Courtesy bus - A big bus makes several transfers daily going from Villa Porto Mare to Cliff Bay and then to Funchal, so you have to book your seats at front desk. The last run from Funchal is a little early, 5:40pm.
A vast number of the holidaymakers in this beautiful hotel are mature couples, who come here for a nice relaxing time, swimming, sunbathing, body treatment. The juniors are working out in the morning in gym, the seniors are swimming at 6am in the freshwater heated pool.
We had a newcomers’ cocktail evening, which apparently is held every Thursday evening - a nice way for us to meet the managers and other fellow tourists and a great way for the hotel to know our expectations and perception of the hotel.
And this is a very good hotel. I must say we had a wonderful holiday. Highly recommended.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Atlantic Ocean stretches as far as the eye can see at the foot of The Cliff Bay which is perched on the top of a natural promontory. The hotel is surrounded by gardens with innumerable secluded corners and centenary palm trees extending to the very edge of the cliff face. The panorama is completed by a magnificent view over the bay of Funchal to the left of the hotel.The most influential restaurant guide in the world, the Michelin Guide, has awarded a star to Il Gallo d'Oro, The Cliff Bay's gourmet restaurant run by Chef Benoît Sinthon. This is Madeira's first and only star ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Cliff Bay - Porto Bay Hotel Funchal
- Cliff Bay Porto Funchal
- Cliff Bay Hotel Funchal
- Cliff Bay Hotel Madeira
- Hotel The Cliff Bay Madeira/Funchal