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“Some room for improvement but also some excellent features”

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Hotel Riu Palace Madeira
Ranked #1 of 13 Hotels in Canico
Certificate of Excellence
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Some room for improvement but also some excellent features”
Reviewed 7 May 2014

Some room for improvement but also some excellent features

Practicalities: Wifi 60 minutes per day per device in the lobby bar (so if you have a smartphone and a tablet take both and you get 2 hours). Hotel wifi is 20eu a week otherwise. For AI guests free safe, bottled water and pool towels. Transfer – about 15 mins. Check in – quick and they give you a glass of Madeira together with pool towel cards and safe instructions. You are also asked to pick dinner shifts.

Location : A short, nice prom by the sea with a cafe at one end. Shop across the road and a short row of shops, car hire, a Spar and a restaurant just up the hill. But that's it.

Getting about : Bus stop across the road. The 155 goes into Funchal roughly hourly at 2eu20 each way (note the route involves a fair bit of going up and down which is alarming at first). A 155E motorway service goes a couple of times a day in each direction. The hotel runs a free bus service into Funchal but it's timed in such a way that if you use it you can't have lunch in the hotel – deliberate penny pinching on the hotel's part. We found the optimal combination was to get the 08:30E service in and then the 1230 or 1330 155 back. There's plenty to do in Funchal, it's a great city. There are no other buses and it's very difficult to see anything more of the Island but the area around the hotel and Funchal. If we go back we shall hire a car. The buses are fine if you only want to go the Funchal. Local bus runs until midnight. Taxi rank outside the next hotel.

Room : Nice spacious room. Clean with nice balcony. Fridge. TV only had a few English Channels (no BBC1 or 2). Deckchairs and mats for them. No tea/coffee facilities so if you need them take a travel kettle. Maid service excellent.

Food : Breakfast – the usual selection. Crap bacon. Cava everyday. No sign of omelettes which might have been nice. Note they tell you breakfast doesn't start until 8am but if you are happy with continental breakfast plus eggs you can go in earlier (and then catch the 0830 express bus into Funchal). Lunch – excellent. Plenty of choice, leisurely and relaxed. Dinner : We disliked intently the 1830 and 2030 shifts for dinner as neither time suited us and they close the doors at 1845 so you can't get in. Unless you are lucky enough to get an isolated table the tables are close together. But the main problem of this way of doing things is that everyone wants the same course at the same time so you get queues and the staff preparing that course get overwhelmed. And despite this the staff still take your plate away before you are finished – any sign of inactivity and it's gone. Plenty of choice, though there was repetition – we had hake 4 times in a week for example. Fish was disappointing for an island in mid Atlantic. Caviar one night.

Drinks : Beer is draught Super Bock 5.1% ABV but only available for AI in 200ml glasses in the bars though they will give you 400ml with meals. Included with AI is 300ml bottles of the local Coral lager and (never seen this before) the low alcohol version of Super Bock. But I found all the beer too fizzy and generally unpleasant. Both Coral and Super Bock brew a stout which is excellent but not available in the hotel sadly. Wine – the white is fine. The red was like Ribena and the rose poor. We discovered that wine in Madeira costs around 1eu a bottle which is perhaps why they give you loads at dinner. But note it is all bottled wine and not out of plastic box. Cocktails – huge range for AI. Spirits and not measured and are branded. So it you fancy a large Johnny Walker Red Label you can have one on AI (it would otherwise be 7eu). Never seen this before.

Entertainment : Very little in the way of daytime activities. Piano and sax in the lobby bar from around 1930 – 2015 – but the roof in the lobby bar is low and it's acoustically dreadful. I felt sorry for the players. Then 2030 – 2130 the band play – exact band varies as some people have days off. They are quite good – good range but inevitably over 7 days some repetition. At 2130 there's a show. These varied – we most loved the University Singers – 14 blokes in uni gowns – was like something out of Monty Python. Some dance shows which were OK. Parrot show was very miss-able. Nice function room with bar.

Rep – pleasant, friendly and helpful Thomson rep – Lorraine – many thanks.

Staff – very friendly and helpful. The odd surly one (usually in the pool bar) but the majority are excellent.

Generally : This is a nice hotel well worth it's four stars with glimmers of 5 star. AI well worth while. The clients are almost entirely elderly (70 plus) (mainly German) and things are arranged to suit them. So this helps explain the shift system for meals. And the reliance on waiter service for just about everything except buffet food. If you are young or have children then this probably isn't a hotel for you (unless you want to drink all day, and in which case you should be well pleased with the first class range of AI drinks). The location counts against it, but if you are happy to lounge by the nice pools, take excursions or go to Funchal and you don't mind the predominantly elderly guests then this hotel is perfectly suited to you. Book it at once before it gets more expensive.

Room Tip: Higher is better
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank g4shf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Arnside, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

We arrived in the afternoon just in time for lunch, excellent choices for food and drink on an all inclusive basis. The service was excellent throughout our stay, reception couldn't do enough for us. At reception, which no one told us about, you can get maps of the area, information sheets and it is where you have to book the shuttle bus to Funchal but dont forget to get a ticket or you may get thrown off the bus. Car hire was locally sourced from Insularcar at there office near The Royal Orchid Hotel, a few minutes walk away; and they take cash so no need to leave your card details! Driving around the island is no bother as it is only slightly bigger than the Isle of Man. Park in Funchal in the car park near to the bus drop off point and where you can catch the 155 bus to and from the hotel for 2.10e each. Will definately visit this beautiful island again, if only to enjoy the landing at the airport again!! Oh and If you like a softer bed, ask for a topper by email.

Room Tip: Ask for a high level, pool view. West for morning sun, east for evening sun.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank GeoffK65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brimingham
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014 via mobile

The Riu Palace Madeira is really a lovely hotel. We stayed on the all inclusive basis and wanted for nothing. Good food and plenty of variety (including lots of choice for my 16 month old daughter), a variety of drinks available all day (soft drinks, juices, beers, wine, spirits and cocktails). The staff work hard to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves.

There is entertainment on all the time, but it's not entrusive.

We had a room on the fourth floor. It was very comfortable, and surprisingly large for a hotel room. This was a corner room and had a double sized balcony. Fully enclosed and with shade during the day, this provided a safe place for my daughter to play.

The only downside to our holiday was that I got ill with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug. I ended up spending a day in bed, unable to eat or even to keep water down. I had painful stomach cramps all day. The hotel staff were very considerate while I was unwell. I was telephoned a few times to check how I was, and offered room service. When I felt better and was up and about the staff ensured I had a cold drink at all times. The Thomson rep was helpful too.
Unfortunately it transpired that I was not the only guest to fall ill. In fact six people, all from different parties, had the vomiting and diarrhea bug. The hotel staff tried hard to limit the spread by encouraging everyone to use antibacterial hand wash before entering the restaurant.

The bug didn't spoil my holiday, but it definitely reduced my enjoyment! I don't blame the hotel and I'd still recommend a stay at the Riu Palace Madeira.

Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank TheWeirdTeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

We arrived early afternoon and were greeted with the Riu tradition a sample of the local Maderian wine.Needless to say 1 led to 2.Our luggage was taken to our room and was there before we were.The evening meal (long trousers gents) was just brilliant,spoilt for choice as there was two cold service stations, the main hot station along with specialized show cooking.The evening entertainment was varied with a special act followed by the resident groups.The bar staff did an amazing job,keeping up with all the orders that the waiters were taking at the tables and the drinks that you ordered being accompanied by a serving of peanuts.
All in all a brilliant break and will go again in the not too distant future.

Room Tip: Ask for room over looking the pool but with a sea view in block No 1 it may cost a little more but i...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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1 Thank Laurence P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bexleyheath, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2014

Excellent holiday April 2014 one week - hotel staff food, everything was first class. Will definitely return to this hotel. Fantastic position right on sea front. Fantastic pool areas.
Overall layout of hotel was wonderful and situated in a quiet location of Madeira. No noisy
disco's, clubs, or busy roads nearby, which is just what we wanted, peace and quiet!!! Ahhhhh.

Room Tip: We had a 7th floor room with sea view.. Excellent!
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank Jan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2014

We have recently returned from our first trip for a week to Madeira and our first experience of an all inclusive hotel and have been very pleasantly surprised on both accounts.

I was travelling with my 2 children or should I say young adults as one is 17 the other 20. The hotel offered excellent service from the moment we arrived offering a welcome drink of Madeira wine, for my daughter who did not fancy this the staff did not hesitate in providing her with a soft drink instead. We were booked in by Jorge, and were made to feel immediately at home. Staff were also on hand in the reception to help move our cases to the hotel room.

The hotel room itself was very large and cleaned to a very high standard, the only downside maybe was that there were only 2 chairs on the balcony and 3 of us so we were unable to sit outside together, not that we were in the room much though due to the beautiful country to explore. The beds we found to be comfortable, and there was plenty of storage space to put clothes and suit cases out of the way. We were on the top floor and had a good view of the sea.

We did not use the pools very much, simply because we had booked several trips to go on, but did used to sit on the terrace before our meal at night, as soon as we sat down there a member of staff was on hand to take your order for drinks etc.

The food in the restaurant was amazing and I don't think I ate the same menu twice in the evening during the stay as there is so much choice available each day, always plenty of salads or vegetables, a variety of meat and fish, pizza and a good vegetarian menu. For the majority of our stay our waiter was Ruben who was very polite and friendly, nothing was too much trouble.

Every member of staff we encountered during our stay, always had a smile and a greeting for us.

As I'm sure most people are, we were very sad to leave and are currently in the process of booking a return trip for early next year, hopefully for slightly longer.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tabby173
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grays Thurrock, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2014

This is our second visit to the Riu Palace, the last being Christmas/New Year four years ago. The staff remembered us and were very welcoming and go out of their way to ensure that you have a good stay.

Sadly my suitcase was delayed from Gatwick for over 72 hours when we told reception they were on the case phoning the airport for updates and advising us the latest information. On check in Maria on reception gave us bath robes which was a lovely gesture and we had been upgraded to a very good room with full sea views. We stayed on the all inclusive package which is well worth the money, most of the drinks and sparkling wine are included in the package. The food is excellent with plenty of choice and very nicely cooked with outstanding presentation.

It was my 60th birthday on Friday and a bottle of champagne and a flower arrangement was left in our room along with a nice message, as returning Riu member guests we were given a nice mug to take home with pictures of Madeira on it. The waiters in the restaurant came and decorated our table on the terrace with candles, flowers and sweets at breakfast time and in the evening the same in the restaurant, they also came and sung happy birthday. The sparking wine is most welcome at breakfast.

We will come back again as this is a stunning hotel, nice pools, plenty of sunbeds and peaceful, there is waiter service around the pool area.

Well done to the management and staff on keeping up such a high standard, the staff are so nice and go about their jobs with a smile.

Room Tip: Rooms facing Funchal get the sun in the afternoon, perfect for sitting on the balcony.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Lesley124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Madeira

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Madeira
Address: Praia dos Reis Magos | Canico de Baixo - Portugal, Canico, Madeira 9125-024, Portugal
Phone Number:
Region: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Canico
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Canico
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Canico
#1 Spa Hotel in Canico
#1 Family Hotel in Canico
#1 Romantic Hotel in Canico
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Madeira 4*
Number of rooms: 327
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located opposite the oceanfront promenade of Canico de Baixo. 8-Storey building. 10 M to the sea; access to the ocean across a walkway. 13 Km from Funchal (complimentary shuttle service from the hotel; weekdays and Saturdays. Not available on public holidays). 2 Km from the city centre. 2 Km from various shops. 10 Km from the airport. 50 M from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Madeira Canico
Hotel Riu Palace Madeira Canico

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