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“A nice hotel in a poor location”

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TUI SENSIMAR Savoy Gardens
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 July 2010

This was our first experience of a Thomson Gold holiday and our first impressions were very good. The reception staff were very friendly and efficient and we had a very spacious room with a lounge area; large bathroom with heated towel rail plus window and a very large bed. It was also spotlessly clean. The chambermaid checked every day to see if you needed any bottled water (1 litre free of charge) or if your pool towels needed changing. The pool area is quite small and you have to get there early for a sunbed; they say they remove towels from saved sunbeds if they are not used within half an hour but we only saw this happen once. There is also a very nice sun terrace and jacuzzi on the roof, but as there is no shelter from the sun we only used it once when we couldn't get by the pool. There was a good choice of food on offer at breakfast and evening time and we ate very well, however the serving area is a little cramped and we did find the restaurant staff a little unfriendly, they didn't greet you or smile much. The hotel is quite a trek from Funchal and the lido area but we thought this would be ok as we expected there would be decent evening entertainment at the hotel, but this was not the case. The Production Team worked very hard but I did not want to see the same four people performing night after night! The evening entertainment is held in the basement but this area lacked atmosphere and your view is restricted by lots of pillars; when the local dancers performed one night we only saw them by facing away from the stage area and looking at their reflection in the patio doors! You can sit out in the small courtyard off the entertainment area but again this lacked atmosphere, also the bar staff rarely came out to see if you wanted to order a drink. We did explore this beautiful island and booked our trips through Thomsons, even though you could have got them cheaper through other companies. The east and west tours were very good and would recommend them but we found the 'flavours of funchal' trip disappointing, it was 33 euros for a half day which included the cable car ride, a visit to the embroidery factory (a waste of time), the flower and fish market and a 20 minute visit to the wine lodge; you were also taken to monte for the tobaggon ride (an additional 12.50euros each), if you didn't want to do this you just came back down on the coach. You could easily do all of these yourself from town. We got a bus to the botanical gardens and spent a very pleasant half day there, also the presidents gardens are well worth a visit, as is afternoon tea at Reids. We also went to the casino on a saturday night but again this was disappointing; the venue was only half full and they were very stingy with your 'free drinks', our glass was half filled 3 times during the course of the evening. A singer did a 20 minute tribute to Tom Jones while you were eating dessert and the waiters put a quality questionairre on your table at the same time! The actual show was entertaining but it only lasted around 40 minutes. The casino area smelt smokey (we thought it was banned) so we decided to go back to the hotel; the production team were on that night so we ended up sitting on the terrace at the front of the hotel watching people come puffing up the hill. To sum up our holiday at the savoy gardens we had good days but poor evenings. It's a well apointed hotel but the location and evening entertainment was not for us.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank kevalmilner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,828 - 1,834 of 1,982 reviews

Reviewed 22 July 2010

Grumps Tours 2010

Just arrived back form a 2 weeks stay in Funchal on our first ever visit to Madeira. We had a fantastic stay at the Thomson Gold Savoy Gardens. The hotel is spotless, the food was excellent we had no complaint about the quality but the choice of food was limited. The gala dinner was excellent despite the reduction in choice of food offered on that evening. We stay in a Standard room with a Sea View, the room was very spacious and with a King size bed and the bed was very, very comfortable. Rooms on the Mountain View side are warmer but smaller than those with a sea view. The balconies are also bigger in the sea view rooms.
We ventured out most evenings to try and walk off our evening meal, walking down to the main road which runs in to Funchal 20 minutes walk either way to the Forum Shopping Centre and Funchal it’s self. The hills of Funchal certainly confirm if you are fit or not, you get a real thirst on by the time you’ve negotiated the last 50 meters, back to the Hotel

We didn’t do any Trips when we were away on holiday this year but talking to other guests the said that booking the trip at Strawberry World is definitely the place to go to book your trips (close to the Lido), 16 euros each for the North West tour instead of Thomson’s price of 44 euros each. The Thomson trip does include the cost of lunch, but, you could keep yourselves fed and watered for 10 euros each during the course of the day. The Euro rate being what it is - every little helps!!! Need anything from currency exchange to a newspaper, go to Joes on the way down towards the Lido. Sorry you do have to climb back up the hill, but he is the cheapest for nearly everything.

Daily entertainment was provided by Sarah (Little Boss), Kimara, Kieran and Johnny. They kept us all busy during the day organising games and events around the pool and hotel, from the Daily Quiz (Best Prize a free Bottle of Wine), to Killer Smite (winner gets a Thomson Gold Prize Wooohooo!). These kids were good fun and really good, and we enjoyed their evening shows; they must have put a great deal of time and effort rehearsing. Especially the bit when Kieran’s Trousers fell down but the ever professional Matt in The Box, turned the lights down to the quick fix could be achieved. They did not miss a Beat.

Finally we cannot praise Claire, Faye & not Forgetting Sarah our resident reps along with the hotel staff enough. Nothing was too much trouble, and they were always friendly.
Would certainly recommend this hotel and Thomson Gold to anyone wishing to go to Madeira.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank grumpsCoDurham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2010

Having just returned from a week in Madeira, and our stay at the Savoy Gardens, it is appropriate to list a few observations. On arrival at the Hotel we were dropped off from the coach at thye bottom of the hill on a main road, as the coach could not access the hotel due to road width restrictions. The appearance of the hotel from the outside certainly doesn't represent 4* status neither the Reception area, but the hotel is bright and spotlessly clean. we reserved a junior suite which was on the 4th floor, excellent views to the sea and Funchal. The room was spaceous, clean and very comfortable, no complaints, we had water, tea coffee replenished daily thanks to our maid Helena. The restaurant was bright and well furnished, but the food selection was often bland and repetative, the staff need a personality transplant and need to clear and re-set tables quicker with a smile!. The Gala dinner was poor, we felt the food selection was basic and gave the impression of 'school meals' with clattering clearing trolleys whizzing past the tables where we sat. The Breakfast was good, plenty choice with proper cornflakes, bacon, sausage and HP sauce. The entertainment team was excellent - well done Thomson. Overall we enjoyed our holiday but the location of the hotel would put us off returning to the Savoy Gardens, we would certainly return to Madeira.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank geordienorth1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2010

Just returned from a week at the Savoy Gardens in Funchal where we wanted to relax and sunbathe and generally do nothing. The hotel has recently been refurbished and although not the prettiest of hotels from the outside, it is well decorated and modern throughout the interior. We had a Junior suite on the 5th floor with great sea & city views and it was well worth the money.

Both being 30, we were by far the youngest at the hotel, but it has a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere and it is great that there are no children. The real wow factor is the sun terrace which has a jacuzzi and amazing views out across Funchal, plus a convenient honesty bar for drinks. We camped out here most days as it is much quieter than the pool which has constant activities throughout the day which were not to our taste,

We booked this hotel due to its modern interior and location to Funchal. We were concerned about previous comments of how hilly it was, but we found the walk into town took only 20-30 mins and we would often get a taxi back for just 5 euros. The only slight downside to the location is the road that runs in front of the hotel is surprisingly busy, another reason why we preferred the roof terrace.

We didn't realise how 'activity orientated' the hotel would be and we preferred to stay out of the way of all the organised parts of the holiday, which was easily achievable. We attended a couple of the evening entertainment events which were a good laugh, but again, not really aimed at us so we more often chose to go out.

Food was generally very good although it was annoying that the waiters were constantly getting ready for the next part of the day (i.e. at breakfast they are setting the places for dinner). One restaurant we would highly recommend is L'osteria on Rua de Casabranca not far from the hotel towards the Lido. Don't let the location put you off, the food is fabulous and very reasonably priced.

Overall, a very good value for money holiday in a good location with something for everyone.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank whooker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2010

We were not sure what to expect after the floods but we had a brilliant holiday, The hotel is clean and the bedrooms are very comfortable. We stayed in a Junior Suite and it was well worth the extra money. We had a third floor room with great views down to the sea. Before we arrived in Madeira I had made my mind up I was not going to do a THomson trip as they are very expensive as compared to Strawberry World but in the event in the second week I did both the East and West Tours with Thomson and had two really good days out. The Nuns Valley tour on the other hand was a waste of money and I could have done that using the local buses. After 3/4 hour we still had not travelled far from our hotel doing pick ups and Campos de labos was the pits. However that was the only negative thing I had of the 2 weeks we were there. The Hotel reps( not enterntainment ones) Sara and Clare went out of their way to be helpful. My husband did many walks with Madeira Explorers who are used by Thomson. The guided walks were excellent and he had a thoroughly good holiday. I have balance problems and did the Mimosa walk but I didnt do any other Levada walks as I felt I was too slow. The food was good quality and really enjoyable. Much better that the gold hotel we stayed in at Mallorca for the last 6 years.. The Gala evening- I liked the waiter service my husband didn't but the menu was quite varied with a hot buffet selection as well. The starting time was 7 but we had to wait for all guests to come down. You really do need trainers to walk into the city centre , ask the local guide for directions you don't have to go to the bottom level by the lido . It is worth going to Monte we went once by cable car and a second time on the no 48 bus which can be caught by the Lido ( 10 mins walk down hill ) use a giro bus card 3.20 each ( 2 journeys on card) this can be obtained from Reception. The bus journey is a totally differnt experience to any journey in the UK. If you are a seasoned walker try the Pico Aerio trip with guide must have a good head for heights and good walking boots walking poles are an asset on all levada walks . If not do the journey that buses go up to the summit. It is wonderful being above the clouds.
At the airport -- BIRMINGHAM was dreadful flights were late leaving because the security checks and passport control was a real nightmare not enough staff and that alone not including check in took 1 hour 40 mins . FUNCHAL again thomson got us to the airport before check in desks were open. SEcutiy and check in was 1 hour 20 mins we made the mistake of going through passport control which is just before the gates far too ealry there is nothing air side of the passport control just one very hard working man at a cafe with no seats dishing out indiffernt coffee.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jackiemac_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2010

Having just returned after a week at the 4 star Savoy Gardens and after finding these reviews very helpful we thought it would be fair to add ours. The hotel was very clean and comfortable and big enough not to feel too over crowded. Being late 30's/early 40's we were among the youngest but as the hotel doesn't allow guests under the age of 18 stay we knew we weren't going to be disturbed by any children and as we anted a quiet week away this was a God send. The food was good even if a little bland at times. For a 4 star hotel we would have expected daily replenished tea & coffee facilities in the room rather than just having 2 tea bags and being told if you want any extra you have to pay 8 Euro per week for the pleasure. It was the first 4 star hotel that we've stayed in that tea or coffee weren't brought to your breakfast table, it as very much "help yourself", however breakfast choice was excellent.
The Entertainment team were very good. Daily poolside activities from 10.30 to 3.30 on the hour and the 2.30 quiz was always a crowd puller. In the evenings the team would put on a different show each night with outside enterainment midweek and on Sunday we had a fantastic couple of lads from the UK known as Operatunity who surprised us all with a top drawer quality act.
Everyone was very friendly from the hotel staff, the Thomson staff right down to our fellow guests who were all British in this Thomson Gold hotel.
Not sure if we'd go back to Madeira, it's very hilly and the hotel is on the third tier of hills, I take my hat off to those people in their 70's and 80's that were in the hotel as the hills were tiring for us.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank richteacharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2010

My husband, and our neighbours travelled to funchal on our first ever visit to madeira in May. We had a fantastic stay at the Savoy Gardens. We had booked a last minute Thomson Gold package and in view of the events surrounding the eruption of the Icelandic volcano were glad we did. However, we had no delays as a result, although it was touch and go up to the day before we travelled.
The hotel is spotless and I agree the beds are very comfortable. The food was excellent we had no complaint about the amount available, quality or variety. The gala dinner was superb despite the reduction in choice of food offered on that evening.
Strawberry World is defineatly the place to go to book your trips (close to the Lido). We paid 16 euros each for the North west tour instead of thomsons price of 44 euros each. The thomson trip does include the cost of lunch, but, we managed to keep ourselves fed and watered for 10 euros each during the course of the day.
Entertainment was provided by Kimara, Johnny, Kieran and Sarah. They were really good and we enjoyed their shows, and they were good fun. They also were kept busy during the day organising events around the hotel. Thomson rep Anita invited us to join her for a walk into Funchal and to the market. Do go with her. She informs you about all sorts of things as you pass on the way and if like us you wish to leave her once the tour of the market is complete you will have learnt a bit more about this interesting place.
We ventured out and about most evenings. The hills of Madeira certainly confirm if you are fit or not. In our case" not". So Taxi's are a good way of getting back to the hotel. Prices varied our cheapest was 5 euros from downtown. Just confirm if the taxi is metered or agree a price before you get in.
Need anything from currency exchange to a newspaper, go to Joes on the way down towards the Lido. Sorry you do have to climb back up the hill, but he is the cheapest for nearly everything. The Euro rate being what it is - every little helps!!!
Finally we cannot praise the hotel staff enough. Nothing was too much trouble, and they were always friendly. Also sam & Claire our resident reps.
Rooms on the mountain view side are warmer but smaller than those with a sea view. The balconies are also bigger in the sea view rooms.
Would certainly recommend this hotel and thomson gold to anyone wishing to go to Madeira.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled with friends
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2  Thank jillyv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about TUI SENSIMAR Savoy Gardens

Address: Azinhaga Casa Branca 7, Funchal, Madeira 9004-543, Portugal (Formerly Savoy Gardens)
Region: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Funchal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 47 Speciality Lodging in Funchal
Price Range: £65 - £125 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — TUI SENSIMAR Savoy Gardens 4*
Number of rooms: 119
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cradled against an oceanfront hillside and located in a quiet and sunny suburb of Funchal, within approx 2km from the city centre, the renovated Hotel Savoy Gardens (ex-Vila Ramos), renowned for the provision of friendly and personalised service, offers amazing mountain and sea views across lush verdant plantations. The Savoy Gardens is a friendly boutique-style hotel that provides its guests a modern feel and a traditional quality. All 119 completely renovated rooms include 9 suites. All have their own furnished balcony and are equipped with air-conditioning, direct dial telephone, flat screen TV set with interactive TV, FREE internet wireless system, tea and coffee making facilities, safety box and mini-bar, plus a fully equipped bathroom with bathtub, shower and hairdryer.The elegant and new interiors are all designed in soft colours with excellent materials to create a relaxing atmosphere throughout the hotel. The Savoy Gardens Hotel features the Restaurant Laurissilva, serving a daily buffet breakfast and themed Buffet dinners with cooking station. In a reserved cosy area, this restaurant also features a elegant a la carte dinner service. The Cica cocktail bar serving evening cocktails and the Palmeira bar serving snacks, hot and fresh drinks throughout the day as well as a daily suggestion of healthy and delicious light dishes for lunch. One outdoor freshwater heated swimming pool, a panoramic rooftop 360º view terrace with sun-lounges, jacuzzi, shower and self-service bar - the ideal location to spot the daily arrivals and departures of cruise liners in Funchal's harbour. Some of the facilities are also located in the lower-ground floor, such as the Spa with themed and seasonal promotions and special spa packages, the hairdresser, a games and TV room with internet desk and the Night Club Magnolia with nightly live music and entertainment. The Savoy Gardens Hotel is a new concept in Adults Only accommodation. Conceived as a place for rest and fun specially dedicated for those seeking a relaxing although extravagant vacation: unique experiences, amazing entertainment programmes, personalised service and attention to detail and all the commodities and services of a hotel for guests over 16 years of age. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Savoy Gardens
Savoy Gardens Funchal
TUI SENSIMAR Savoy Gardens Madeira/Funchal

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