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Pestana Casino Park
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Reviewed 8 January 2013

I stayed here for 1 night on a Business trip.
The check in was smooth. I had a sea view room, the room was clean and spacious.
Small Balcony with table and chairs. Mini Bar, toileteries in the bathroom, double sink in the bathroom. Fluffy bathrobes in the Wardrobe and a Safe.
The beds and pillows were very comfortable.
The room service menu was good and was available 1200 - 2300hrs.
Nice pool and pool towels provided.
The beakfast was a Buffet choice and plenty of choice.
A 10 minute walk into Funchal town centre.
Would definielty stay at this hotel for Business or pleasure.

Room Tip: Sea View a good choice.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank AnnieCat60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2013

Firstly, it has to be said that we had a nice stay at the Pestana Casino Park Hotel. However, the question is, is it or is it not a 5 star hotel and is its worth paying the extra! I think not!

We have returned from a stay between 28th December 2012 and 4th January 2013. However, before compiling my own review of Pestana Casino Park Hotel I have read the latest review, to see what others had to say. Having read other reviews l feel that there are two hotels in one, one for those who get a quality service and one for those who don't; our stay fell into the latter category. I am pleased to read that one reviewer concurred that this is an over rated hotel and should only be a 4 star hotel.

In the hotel rating game there is clearly a quantity and quality issue. By providing a quantity of facilities the hotel, like the Pestana Casino Park Hotel has, it can then get its 5 star rating. Unfortunately this, in our experience is at the expense of the quality in the service provided.

It has to be said that the location of the hotel which is close to the centre of Funchal is very good, currently the best location of any major hotel, I believe. The innovative architecture of the hotel by Oscar Niemeyer, might not appeal to everyone, but is interesting. Unfortunately the hotel in places, like the room we had, looked a little 'tired'. It could do with a little TLC.

There were, regrettably, a number of issues we felt let the hotel down, in no particular order, including:

Firstly, the chambermaid service was extremely inconsistent. Some days the toiletries were replace, on other days they were not. On other days face clothes were provided on other they were not. How well the room was made-up again varied from day-to-day. These should not be issues in a 5 star hotel. These are issue of staff training, taking a pride in their work and, most importantly, management over-sight.

I have read a review that complimented the hotel on its turndown service. We only experienced a turndown service on one night during our stay which, coincidentally, coincided with a fax being delivered to our room. This should not be an issue in a 5 star hotel. The fact that another reviewer appears to say they got this every day is a very worrying level of inconsistent service being provided and again what is going on? Is there adequate management supervision?

I assume that to become a 5 star hotel the property needs to provide a mini-bar in the bedrooms. I could not understand why the hotel provided a small but decent size refrigerator containing just 4 bottles of small soft drinks. I have never seen a mini-bar like this anywhere else in the world. This issue was reflected in the 24 hour room service menu which after 11 p.m. becomes just 4 items, again attempting to be a 5 star hotel but really failing to do so.

Our bedroom temperature at night often reached 24oC, if not higher. However, the room air conditioning system simply stopped supplying cool air, making the bedroom extremely uncomfortable. This may be an intentional design of the system ('free cooling') but we had some very uncomfortable nights.

The breakfast arrangements are clearly not right. The hot food buffet is left to 'stew' which makes some of the food very unpalatable. The hot drinks are served from machines more suited for an industrial canteen than a 5 star hotel and certainly cannot cope with the quantity of users. Even asked for a pot of tea on occasions seemed a hard job and despite asking it for two we often got a very small pot and had to re-request it! Only one chef doing eggs, that is omelettes to order, as well as doing all fried eggs, at the same time, meant that there were some very slow hot food lines!

On the 30th December, in the neighbouring Congress de Congressional, next to the hotel's, there was a party being held in a marquee, which kept us awake till 5.15 am with very loud music, despite apparently a lot of complaints from the hotel guests and other neighbours and the police apparently being called. Apparently in Portugal you can do this with impunity! A lot of interesting conversations around the hotel the next day as well as inconsistent excuses from the hotel staff.

We specifically booked the hotel based on it offering a New Year Gala which was a nice experience. The only criticism was that it vastly over priced for what it was. If you stayed on an all-inclusive basis it would have been good value. We know some people had an all-inclusive package which did cause confusion on occasions as there was no lack of clarity and generally a lack of information.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ace97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2013

I'll keep my review brief as other reviewers have covered many details. I would just say that our experience of the hotel was all positive. We were very well looked after by Dalila, who had handled our booking and we were allocated adjoining rooms as we were a family group and the rooms had everything you needed, including bathrobes and slippers. The New Year's Eve Gala Dinner was superb, though expensive, but New Year is the height of the season in Madeira so you would expect to pay top prices. The price did include all drinks throughout the night though.

We tended to go down to breakfast at 8.30 and found the food and service at that time excellent, and the restaurant not too busy. You could even have a glass of bubbly if you wished but it was a bit early for us. Yes, shame it is only a coffee machine now but this seems to be the norm nowadays.

We were not on an all inclusive basis but there are plenty of reasonably priced bars and restaurants nearby. Maybe it isn't the hotel to go to if you want all-inclusive.

The reason to choose this hotel is the location. A short stroll down the hill - or you can walk through the park instead which is even nicer, and you are right in the centre of Funchal. The grounds of the hotel are extensive and beautiful and even though the hotel was busy there was plenty of room for everyone and we always managed to find a sunbed or quiet place to sit.

The free wifi was excellent and you could pick up the signal in the restaurant whilst at breakfast which was good. Quite surprised to be able to get BBC1 on the tv!

We were independent travellers and booked our own flights and just emailed the hotel to book our rooms. The hotel booked taxi transfers for us. All went very smoothly.

A bonus was warm sunny weather for most of the week, with just a bit of cloud the last few days.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank almalass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RicardoLeal, Manager at Pestana Casino Park, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2013

Dear Tripadvisor Reviewer,
Thank you very much for your wonderful review about the Pestana Casino Park Hotel. Your kind words will incentive us further, to keep striving for more and better to our customers.
We are glad that you have enjoyed your holiday with us and that you are thinking to come back and make part of the wonderful Casino Park hotel's family.
I thank you very much for your compliments about the service we provided to you, specially the fact you mentioned Dalila! Your comment was the best award she could get and asked me to thank you on her behalf!!!
We also do sincerely hope other visitors will have the opportunity to read your review.
Best regards from the Sunny Madeira!

Ricardo Leal
Unit Manager
Pestana Casino Park Hotel

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2013

We stayed at the Pestana Casino Park from 28 Dec to 4th Jan and as usual, it didnt fail to make us feel very welcome and comfortable (it was our 4th visit and not the last!!).

We stayed in a room on the 2nd floor, with a view to Funchal/harbour, which was superb, especially on New Year's Eve when the firework display was taking place. On our arrival, we were checked in very quickly, but then this may have been, as it was late Friday afternoon and not a peak day when there are so many flight arrivals from the UK etc. Upon arriving at the room, we found a bottle of Madeira wine, as well as a basket of fruit had been left, which was a very welcoming and thoughtful gesture, in view of my 50th birthday having just past a couple of days before and our daughter's forthcoming 17th birthday on the 31st Dec.

Room was very clean and spacious and if ever we met the evening "turn down" room maid, she would ask us if we needed anymore towels etc, which we never did as these seemed to be changed on a very regular basis. Air con/heating very quiet and no noise apparent (we nearly forgot to turn the heating off before going to bed, as the system was so quiet!!). Apart from a few inconsiderate holidaymakers of other rooms near to ours, letting their doors slam at all hours, instead of closing them quietly, there was no noise at all from outside the hotel, though on the 30th Dec, in the neighbouring Congress Theatre, next door to the hotel's Casino, there was a private party being held in a marquee, which kept a lot of us awake till 4am with very loud music, but this was a one off, as we have never experienced any noise in the past whilst staying at the hotel. There is excellent reception and access to the BBC/ITV television channels, as well as many foreign ones.

Contrary to many past reviews I have read, the bathroom was spacious and enough room for 2 people and the towels were all in perfect/white condition. The beds were very comfortable and the linen was very clean and fresh. No tea/coffee facilities in the room, which is a shame for a 5 star hotel, but as we have done in the past, there are reasonably priced travel kettles on the market here (some incorporating 2 cups and a spoon within them) and it is well worth taking one of these and getting milk, sugar etc, from the close by Spar supermarket, by going straight ahead out of the hotel main entrance, down a ramp and turning left at the end and it is just there on your right. This supermarket is well stocked with all sorts of provisions, as well as alcoholic drinks, toiletries and a small line of souvenirs.

As it was our daughter's 17th birthday on the 31st Dec, we were given a bottle of champagne at breakfast on that day, which was a very nice thoughtful gesture (although my daughter doesnt drink), but we saved it anyway.

We were staying on a B&B basis - we did not try out any of the restaurants in the hotel for evening etc meals, as there are plenty of restaurants nearby to be tried out (Bernini, situated 5 mins away from the hotel, by walking straight ahead of the hotel entrance and then turning left at the end of the short ramp), is a lovely and welcoming restaurant, which offers delicious and not overpriced meals, but I do advise you get there before 9pm, as even after this time, it can get crowded). Please do try some of the other small cafes/restaurants in town, as some of these do serve lovely and identical dishes at a fraction of the price to some of the restaurants in the vicinity of the hotel - (one example, A Indiana Cafe (informal), situated on the corner to the right of the Se Cathedral in Funchal on the pedestrianised road called Rua Joao Tavira). Another restaurant, called Mesao, in a backstreet called Rua das Murcas, running alongside the Apollo Restaurant in Funchal. Here, the service is very fast, the dishes are very filling/tasty, as well as competitively priced. Above all, we noticed, all who were eating there were couples and families.

The breakfast could be crowded at times not a "bunfight" though, as some past reviewers wrongly called it, but this is because it gets very crowded after 9.30am! The food was plentiful, but it seemed, if you left it till after 9.30 to eat, a lot of the hot food would have turned lukewarm/dried, so try and get there for around 9am to avoid this happening. As opposed to previous years, there are no longer tea/coffee pots served and instead, you have to help yourself at a tea/coffee machine, which is not 5 star at all, especially when the machine has run out of a particular beverage, i.e. coffee/cocoa and all you get coming out is hot water, upon which, you have to ask one of the waiting staff, to open up the machine and replace the empty beverage cartridge with a new one. Fortunately, there are tea bags of all varieties at the side of the machine, which you can help yourself to and all you need to do is pour the hot water from the machine. Again, as opposed to previous years, the breakfast restaurant (called the Panoramico), has now reverted to placing paper serviettes on the tables, which again is not very 5 star (very minor observation, but unfortunately could be a sign of cutbacks within). You can get even better quality serviettes in back street cafes/restaurants in Funchal! Having said this, the standard of service by the waiters/waitresses was superb at all times, considering they have a heavy, on the go all the time workload at breakfast, which more than compensated for the standard of serviettes/lack of tea/coffee pots.

Front of house staff were superbly attentive at all times, especially Jorge, Orlando, Constantino (all porters) and not forgetting Aires, who was equally superb/consistently helpful at his job. Dalila Rodrigues (Guest Relations Manager), was very professional at her job and very attentive at all times. The lobby area (and indeed the whole of the ground floor), was always very clean and a housekeeping member of staff could always be seen keeping these areas tidy.

The indoor pool, spa etc, was very inviting and relaxing and again, very clean throughout. The outdoor pool was, as usual, very cold and we never saw anyone getting into it. The surrounding areas, where the sunloungers are situated, are all hosed down regularly and the gardens are all well maintained. The Dockside restaurant (by the pool), is very pleasant and is made moreso, by the standard of service offered by the waiting staff (especially Teresa, with her lovely nature and customer skills). However, as will come as no surprise, the prices for a standard filled baguette are far too high, but it is worth it, especially when the sun is shining and you can either look over towards the harbour down below/ahead at the hills over Funchal, whilst relaxing/enjoying a drink or snack at the table al fresco.

There is free wi-fi in the hotel, but not in the room, though you can get internet connection in the room - (which can be a bit slow), by asking reception for an ethernet cable (if you dont already have one). Wi-fi is available, by getting an access code from reception, which has a validity time of 3 days and you can get connected anywhere on the ground floor (even around the pool, as well as the lobby directly outside the lift, of the floor you are staying).

With regard to the mosquito outbreak in the latter part of 2012, we did not see/get affected by any and didnt even bother to unpack and use our mosquito repellant plug-in devices for use in our room. When we were flying back to Gatwick, the cabin staff announced, they were going to have to spray some aerosol in the cabin, due to new UK legislation (whether this was to do with the possibility of any mosquitos having entered the cabin/prevention against any viral infections, I do not know).

One handy hint (if you havent already experienced it for yourself). For the first time when taking a holiday, we didnt book through a main tour operator, i.e. Thomson, Atlantic Holidays etc (which includes a rep), simply because there was no longer availability for the dates we wanted - (we had to take into consideration our daughter's college start date of the new term in January). Although we were a bit worried, as we had never travelled this way before, we went through the travel agent Kwik Travel, superb service and communication throughout, thereby booking airport transfers through them as an extra on top of the holiday. If you dont want to get to the airport for your return journey and be met with such a long queue at check in, if you were to get there by coach, at least with a private transfer, you can get there well before the tour operator coaches and be at the start of the queue and not have to wait for so long! But what's the hurry, you're still on holiday and it doesnt end until you step foot on the plane for your return journey home!!

To summarise, although I gave 2 negative points relating to paper serviettes/no longer serving tea/coffee in pots), these were very minor observations and did not, in any way spoil our time at the Casino Park, as it was thoroughly enjoyed and made even more enjoyable by the friendliness/professionalism of the staff throughout. I do agree with other reviewers, the hotel is slightly over-rated and should be a 4 star, but saying this, we will definitely be returning again in the not too distant future.

Room Tip: High floor facing harbour
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Liz F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RicardoLeal, General Manager at Pestana Casino Park, responded to this reviewResponded 9 January 2013

Dear Tripadvisor Reviewer,

Many thanks for your fantastic review about our beautiful hotel.
Pestana Casino Park Hotel is indeed a very special place and your kind words will incentive us further, to keep striving for more and better to our customers.
We are glad that you have enjoyed your holiday with us and that you are thinking to come back and make part of the wonderful Casino Park hotel's family.
I thank you very much for your compliments about the service we provided to you, specially the fact you mentioned some members of our staff! Your comment was the best award thet could get and asked me to thank you on their behalf!!!
We do sincerely hope other visitors will have the opportunity to read your review; We couldn’t do better!!!
THANK YOU!
Best regards from the island of flowers and eternal Spring.

Ricardo Leal
Unit Manager
Pestana Casino Park Hotel

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2013

we booked for Christmas with a group of friends through Travel Republic, our friends had not been on all inclusive before. We were booked into the Pestana Bay originally but due to re-furbishment we were moved to the Casino Park we did have 2 weeks of hassle with Travel Republic over this for our friends booking. We were very excited as this was a 5* hotel. On arrival it certainly looked the part beautiful hotel set in large grounds. Reception was very slow and although we had requested rooms near each other we did not receive them, however with rooms not too far away it was not too bad. The Pestana Casino park is not normally an all inclusive hotel but we received wrist bands. The rooms were fantastic with wonderful views, very clean and comfortable and cleaned every day with fresh sheets even on Christmas day however our friends room was 203, on a higher level than ours and faced the casino - they were kept awake all night by the noise coming from people leaving the casino and had to change rooms which was not easy as reception insisted that they had chosen the rooms themselves until we explained we had been moved from another hotel, they were insisting on a extra payment as the only other room was a sea view even though we had been told the hotel was only 60% full. The restaurant was lovely and the staff could not do enough to help you, they reserved a large table for us at each sitting, food was beautiful and alot of choice apart from the seafood buffet one night (I am alergic to sea food) every dish including the salad choice had some form of seafood in it so I was left with bread and cake that night. The Christmas eve gala dinner was exceptional 5 courses served to your table with different wines for each course, crackers and table decorations beautiful festive. Right now the bad side - bar service as we were all inclusive we were not 'allowed' on one side of the pool bar and were told in no uncertain terms you need to be this side. We were spoken to and served like 2nd class people. Anyone who did not have a white band on were served to their table, given crisps, nuts etc their tables cleared, we had to do our own, the coffee machine on the harbour bar was broken each day and they refused to make us any coffee we were told to go and use the one upstairs at the inside bar. Again on the inside bar if all inclusive only allowed on one side and there was no one around to serve although service was always available on the non inclusive side. Also if you dont like rude German people do not go as hotel had a lot of German guests who felt they did not need to wait for anything or could just sit on top of you or just take your chair if you were not sitting on it. The hotel Casino was also a big let down - it was just 2 tables one for cards the other roulette the rest were slot machines, it was overrun with the locals as the only Casino on the island. We tried to pass on our comments to the hotel but were met with deaf ears. On a better note Funchal is beautiful and the christmas lights and entertainment are fantastic. The cable cars upto the top of the mountain and the tobogan run down were unbeliveable. We would go back but maybe to a hotel that does all inclusive. We did not let it spoil our Christmas but our friends now have a bad view of all inclusive. Maderia is a beautiful island and well worth a visit I would just avoid the Pestana Casino Park.

Room Tip: Rooms on level 1 are better, rooms above from 233 onwards have a good view
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Fififoxy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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