My friend and I visited this hotel through a suggestion from Saga staff. We had both suffered fairly recent bereavements and just needed a relaxing break in the sun and the all-inclusive package had some obvious attractions.
We arrived towards 21:00, later than most people I suppose, but the hotel had gone to some trouble to arrange that we could dine properly with full facilities. We were expected and particular special arrangements for our accommodation had been properly noted and acted upon. The reception staff were friendly and helpful. Their English was excellent.
As the week progressed we were delighted to discover that the restaurant and bar staff retained their pleasant attitudes and helpful nature.
The restaurant with its outside dining area was pleasing generally, but we found that the staff were just too accommodating on lots of occasions when a particularly garrulous large group of French people insisted on shifting tables and chairs by themselves to make huge dining tables for up to twelve or fourteen people. This detracted from our enjoyment for many meal times, largely by reason of the noise created, throughout the week although I must say that the staff never let the problem get to them - in an obvious manner. I would say that a maximum of 8 people at any table would probably be enough.
Although we enjoyed much of the food offered, we found the variety was perhaps too limited and many 'quality' items were noticeable by their absence from the buffet selection. For example we were not offered any salmon or tuna in a salad sense nor any prawns or any shellfish options. We were able to purchase prawns shell-on from the a la carte menu. Chicken in all its forms together with pork were the most frequent offerings. Fish was frequently offered but in unrecognisable sauces (to me) and did not tempt me once. Eggs were never offered other than as fried and scrambled at breakfast. The mass cooking of the bacon, tasty though it was, left large amounts uncooked completely, let along frazzled! I know it is probably a bit of an English things to say, but at breakfast time, some HP Sauce or Tomato Ketchup would have been a great treat. We would have liked boiled or poached options at breakfast and would certainly have liked egg halves or whole as an addition to the salad bar.
I am probably being a bit 'picky' with this range of comments and it would be true to say that although I was not thrilled, I was not greatly disappointed either.
We found the beer to be acceptable, of a lager-like quality and a bit fizzy sometimes, and my friend found the wine more to taste that I did. I preferred to pay 11 Euros for the Vinho Verde on a few occasions.
It was disappointing that the Wi-Fi capability of the hotel was strictly confined to the main lounge and parts of the dining room, and no options were available. These areas were often busy and fairly noisy in a chatty sense but not private in any way. This service is frequently provided free in an increasing number of quality establishments.
The main lounge was the location of the stage and dance floor. It was fairly typical of what one would expect in a holiday hotel, but the act with parrots and cockatoos looked so dated and unpopular these days, hardly anyone approved, that we spoke to.
Our room was excellent. Very clean and with ample space/seats etc. We had a balcony sea view which was pleasing. The ceiling fans provided a nice touch as far as we were concerned, but perhaps a bit on the low side if you wanted to stretch! Bedding and towels were good quality and nice to use. We had thought to take our own coffee and tea bags which were very useful and welcome. There was a small kitchenette in the room with fridge, microwave and kettle.
The location of the hotel discourages any strolls into Funchal, but the bus service is helpful in this regard. The two half day trips we went on were perfectly timed and of suitable duration for us.
The area is extremely limited for alternative bars or restaurants (only two) nearby.
The pool area of the hotel was delightful and never over crowded whilst we were there. I was irked at being asked to pay for sun umbrellas though. All-inclusive, I had imagined, meant just that.
Overall conclusion: a reasonable hotel that clearly tries hard to please a whole range of international guests. At best it would not rate more than three stars though, in our view, because of the restaurant limitations. The staff would achieve five stars anywhere!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Pestana Ocean Bay All Inclusive is an All Inclusive hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and domestic beverages) located in Funchal, Madeira. It is located 1 minute on foot from Formosa beach with panoramic views of the Câmara de Lobos hillside. It offers an outdoor swimming pool with a jacuzzi, a Health Club with sauna, Turkish bath, gym and game room and a playground. For dining, we offer one restaurant and 2 bars. Take advantage of our free transfers to the centre of Funchal. All rooms face the sea and each has a balcony and Wi-Fi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pestana Bay Ocean Aparthotel Hotel Funchal
- Pestana Bay Ocean Aparthotel Funchal
- Pestana Bay Hotel Madeira
- Pestana Ocean Bay Madeira/Funchal