Pros: Location, easy to walk to central Funchal. Kitchenette is handy, but not suitable for actual cooking. See later&pictures for kitchenette specs. The sea views! Sea in on your door step, not somewhere distant, and you can relax listening to the waves.
Cons: Studio rooms are smallish, but ok for two. The restaurant touts in the neighbourhood are annoying.
Garden view studios have either morning or evening sun, and triangular, smaller balconies. Sea view studio is the best bet, weather permitting, sun all day long. Junior suites come in many shapes and sizes, some have two rooms, some one. The one room versions are actually excellent, roomy enough, everything in logical order, very functional, and slightly larger kitchenettes, but might have balconies which are sunny only before or after 3p.m. The two room junior suites have enough space for extra beds, but do not contain more furniture than the one room suites.
Kitchenette has two hot plates, sink, fridge and three cupboards with cutlery, a few glasses, two kitchen knives, wine bottle opener…
Kitchenette does not have a microwave, an oven, toaster, counter space… it’s handy for tapas, keeping drinks cold, maybe some sandwiches or very simple pasta, but that’s it. Then again it’s easy and inexpensive to eat at the local restaurants, if you take some time and find out which restaurants are pleasant. Touristy restaurants serve just about the same, uninteresting stuff. Pay a few more euros and you’ll get excellent meals. But if you for example have kids and it would be easier and more practical to eat at “home” in the evenings, sadly this kitchenette is not really equipped for that. Nor is the hotel really aimed towards families needs, the outside pools are freezing even during summertime, and inside the pool area is more designed for adults than children. The studio rooms also tend to be a little small, especially when you add a babycot or an extra bed plus everything else a child needs. This is a good hotel for adults. Families would perhaps enjoy Porto Mare/Eden Mar/Residence-hotels, which have loads of facilities, and belong to the same, excellent hotel chain.
Beds are comfortable, and large, 2x100x200. In southern Europe the beds are often too hard for our liking, these beds are a nice compromise. The pillows were of good quality, there were 6 in our room, and the bedding was nice. Some of the sea side studio balconies are practical, since they are like small holes in the building, protected from the wind from both sides. This is ideal when the weather is so so, and it often is. Like in February, when we last visited Madeira, on most days the sun was shining in the afternoon, and was great to sit on the balcony, but there was absolutely no one in the outside pool area on most days. It had been raining a bit every day in the afternoon, but then the weather cleared up for a while round 3. pm. In the evenings the temperatures were round 11 degrees celcius.
There is free wifi in the hotel lobby, and it even works in the breakfast restaurants lobby side corner. Also in some rooms, which are located above the lobby, you can use the wifi for free. If the wifi does not reach your room, you can get a cable connection in most rooms for 10e/24h.
Breakfast is adequate, even for those who wish to avoid carbs. They don’t have live cooking stations, but sufficient amount of options. After a few days, the breakfast gets a little tiresome, as it is pretty much the same every morning. We stayed more than one week, and seriously considered changing hotels, since we were so tired of eating the same fare every morning. Restaurant personnel made unnecessary amount of noise when preparing the tables for lunch. The noise level was so high, that it regularly frightened our baby. Therefore, we went to breakfast separatedly, the other one stayed in the room with the bebe.
In the evening, themed buffes are served in the restaurant. We ate there a couple of times, and it was ok. Nothing extra special, but an easy option, and so many dishes that there is something for everyone.
The good news is, that the inside pool now is pleasantly warm. The saunas are only heated by request, so you have to know in advance when you wish to use them, and inform reception. The whirlpool was too cool, not 34c.
The tv is small, and placed too high on the wall in the studio rooms. Even in the suites the tv:s are small, but in some, there are two. The selection of channels includes for example BBC entertainment, a movie channel, travel channel etc. Very decent selection considering it’s Portugal.
What we’ll always remember about this holiday in Madeira is the kindness of a receptionist, Maria. She was truly professional, kind and considerate towards customers. Nice hotel altogether, but what really makes a hotel great, relies on the attitude of the staff, and Maria’s was five star.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Porto Santa Maria lies at the water's edge in the very heart of Funchal's old centre. Its close relationship to the sea, the outstanding and exclusive views over the harbour where the cruise ships dock, its picturesque surroundings and the unique flavours of its cuisine result in genuine urban tranquility. A congenial hotel offering 146 rooms, restaurant, bars, direct access to the promenade, outdoor pool, indoor pool, SPA, gym, parking...all in the heart of the city. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Porto Santa Maria Funchal
- Porto Santa Maria Hotel Madeira/Funchal