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“Hotel rather 'tired' but nonetheless good value for money”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Encumeada

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Hotel Encumeada
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Ribeira Brava
london
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Hotel rather 'tired' but nonetheless good value for money”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2011

The hotel is being refurbished and indeed needs it. Rooms very worn and not sparkling clean. The bedding and carpet were wet in the first room we were show to - must have been a leak in the room - it had been raining. Room warm enough as there was a radiator and electric fire in room. Needed it as weather was bad - snow!!!!!. A shame because it meant we did not get the superb views much of the time. Do not stay there on a Saturday they host parties there and the rooms are certainly NOT sound proof. The design of hotel meant that noise really travelled. We heard next door 'arguing' at 1am. Got a much better sleep on the Sunday though when there was no one next door and no parties. Buffet breakfast (hot and cold) adequate. Because weather conditions bad we stayed at the hotel in the evenings and had the buffet dinner 13.50 Euro, and it was OK, meats and fish choices but no clue what they were. Ok to get bottle wine with dinner on first evening and bring what's left back in the next evening. Reception staff not particularly friendly or helpful, just OK. The hotel was just OK, not great but it was very cheap for B&B and thus really good value for money. Unless you want to walk locally or on the Paul da Serra you don't gain anything by staying in Encumeada. We had a car and thought it would be a lot more convenient for the north west coast, however I don't think we gained anything because the road from Ribeiro Brava to Sao Vicente is so good and fast, yet the road up to Encumeada is quite steep and windy that is was very slow.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank woodlans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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157 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
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English first
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
256 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2010

The location is undoubtedly the show-stopper - only 35 minute drive from funchal airport and 10 mins north of Ribeira Brave it's not difficult to access, even if reliant on taxis. The location is really for walkers though, I'm not sure what people would do if they weren't interested in hiking through the nearby levadas and mountain paths.
The hotel itself is average - for 40 euros a night I didn't have high expectations and they were suitably met! Room was average and restaurant similar. Breakfast was pretty poor but included in the price so can't really complain. What brought the experience down for me was the noise - the acoustics of the property are such that noise echoes right round the hotel, especially from the reception area where there is seating for large groups to congregate. This can be annoying if you're hoping for an early start to beat the heat, though in fairness most groups tend to drift off to bed by around 10.30 as most are there for the same reason - the walking!

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Steve_Amy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prague, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2010

The place is perfect, the hotel is very good, I really enjoyed the stay. BUT:

I strongly recommend renting a car, if you stay in this hotel. There is a bus-stop in front of the hotel, but it is good only for going to Funchal, Ribeira Brava and Sao Vicente (otherwise it takes all day just to get somewhere else). I and my boyfriend were 20 years old when visiting Madeira, so it was impossible to rent a car.
As the hotel is in the mountains, it is cold there (and in the rooms), so it is good to bring your own kettle.
And the last piece of advice: DO NOT BUY THE MAP ("wunderkarte" or something like that) at the reception desk!!! (it is horrible, we got lost several times) :-) If you dont have any, follow the road up to Encumeada, there is a gift shop at the "miraduro" and better maps are sold there.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank pani_kecupova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunfermline, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
148 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 October 2010

I first came to the Estalagem Encumeada a couple of years ago - high in the mountains (~2500 ft) in the middle of Madeira and came back again for its peace and quiet (except for the cocks crowing and birdsong).
So it's not in Funchal! So much the better to escape the city's bizz and fumes and the tower block hotel zone . Ok - a car is essential but that adds to the fun. Nowhere on the island is inaccessible. Locally, the walking is spectacular (sensible footwear required!) - as is the everchanging shadows and scenery as the clouds pour over the ridges like dry ice.
The inn's approximately 10-15 years old and could do with some refurbishment as it's becoming a bit 'tired'. That said, it's still excellent value for money - reflected by the occupancy rate . It's clean and comfortable, with daily linen changes - but don't come here looking for packaged entertainment. That's not what this inn is about - though you might just get wrapped up in the weekend festivities (wedding receptions, christening parties). I was made very welcome.
I chose B&B and a la carte dining for (affordable) variety. Breakfast buffet (hot and cold) is quite basic but adequate. The wine list is extensive and you'll find something for most tastes / budgets.
And, by no means least, the staff are wonderful - friendly and helpful. With a name like Ronald(o) who could help being on first name terms - they like their football, hee hee!!

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank BonnyRonnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wales
Level Contributor
185 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 226 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 July 2010

This hotel, booked through www.TravelRepublic.co.uk, which remarkably cost only £24.84/night B&B (total, not each), was great; it's high in the mountains in a beautiful, peaceful location and we had a large, comfortable corner room with 2 balconies and fantastic views. It was very quiet except on the Saturday (see below).

The staff were generally friendly and helpful, though some at reception seemed a bit reserved, probably not speaking much English.

Breakfast was virtually the same every morning and not very exciting, though adequate. Dinners were very good, however, very substantial and again very cheap. For example one delicious dish we had several times was scabbard fish ("espada") with banana and passion fruit sauce at a price of €7.80. Tuna steak with tomato and onion sauce was the same price and there was a massive portion of fish. Both dishes came with a large salad and lots of potatoes. After the first night we realised that it was simply too much to have a starter as well or there was no chance of eating a dessert too!

Other positive points:
1. There were few guests so the hotel was pleasantly quiet;
2. Drinks are relatively cheap;
3. Internet access is only €1/hour and is reasonably fast;
4. There is a nice pousada/restaurant about 1 mile down the hill (15 minutes brisk walk, 20 minutes back uphill if you are fit!). We ate there 3 times and it was very good and quite reasonable;
5. The weather was perfect: cloudless and comfortably warm all the time.

Negative points:
1. There is no swimming pool at the hotel;
2. The road past the hotel is steep so, apart from the car park, there is nowhere level to take a walk nearby;
3. There was a huge, noisy wedding party on the Saturday night. Although the music stopped at 2.30am, we were kept awake till 4.30am by guests talking and laughing; not sure if this was in a room or in the lobby. Apparently there is a wedding reception most Saturdays;
4. It was often very windy at the hotel and this rattled the room shutters during the night.

Overall, however, we loved the place and can certainly recommend it.

Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Whistleman2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
283 reviews
109 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 329 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2010

I won't bore you with rambling essays about "what I did on my holidays" and irrelevant photos of butterflies and electricity pylons... Suffice it to say that the Estalagem Encumeada is in a good location for walking on the high ridge across from Pico Ruivo, but has few other advantages.

The rooms are average and adequate but not outstanding. The reception area (which doubles as a lounge and bar) is large and quite attractive. The dining room - on a lower level - is also spacious but poorly heated, dimly lit and rather lacking in atmosphere. (No sign of any wedding parties.) The buffet dinner at €13.50 was reasonable, with a selection of salads as well as soup, meat and fish. But the breakfast - served in the same area - was of a far lower standard, with little choice.

I stayed as part of a group on a walking holiday and found it OK for a one night stop. Because of the location and lack of dining choice, it wouldn't really be suitable for an extended stay unless you had your own car and were prepared to do a lot of tortuous driving.

  • Stayed March 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rentaquote
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essex, England
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 2010

On the wall of the hotel, coming downhill from Miradoura Encumeada, it says "Residential Encumeada", but the hotel seems better known on the internet as "Estalagem Encumeada". While researching the holiday, I thought there were two distinct places. While trying to find the right one in the clouds in the early afternoon of our arrival day, I was somewhat confused. They are in fact one and the same place and I'm going back.

Our visit coincided with the wettest Maderian 'winter' in living memory. It rained most of the time we were there and if it wasn't actually raining it had either just finished or was thinking about starting again. I'm Irish, my wife is Icelandic. The Maderians, like us, are island people and we can do business. In fact, we did business and took to Madeira like ducks to the proverbial. Warm rain beats the -2º we'd left behind at Stansted and the +2º we came back to a week or so later.

Winter? We recorded temperature extremes of 14ºC - 19ºC for the whole of our stay, whether on top of Paul de Serra or down in valleys and mountain trails, day or night, walking city streets or hiking levadas. If this is Winter (in mid-Feb.) bring it on, anytime. We can cope with extremes, especially those kind of extremes.

Residential Estalagem Encumeada sits about 3000' amsl. 750' higher, maybe a mile as the road winds upward, is [the] Miradoura Encumeada. Looking down on the hotel are peaks another 1000' higher. This is high mountain terrain and Estalegem Residential Encumeada nestles comfortably within it.

The adiabatic lapse rate gets its sums wrong up here in the top of the valley above Serra d'Agua and the mis-maths deliver an extraordinary micro-climate to the Encumeada. Right across from the hotel, at the side of the road we found young jacarandas; thriving. I mean jacarandas come from Kenyan lowlands and lurve warmth. On one of the drier days we found tiny lizards scurrying around on hotel brickwork mid-morning. These creatures don't even start their motors below 12ºC. Estalagem Encumeada is a magic place.

One day, at Porto Moniz, I went paddling in a rock pool. The locals were all wrapped up and intrigued to see this strange visitor taking the waters. They ain't seen an Irish winter, or an English one for that matter. I'da been in completely, but had no swim gear with me that day. Later in the week I sneaked a swim, late afternoon, in the outdoor pool at MadeiraTivoli. (Separate report elsewhere on this fine establishment.)

We didn't find the torn stair-carpet others are moaning about at Estalagem Encumeada. In fact the stairs laid out for us was stone and 'traditional'. Our room was directly above the 'infamous' restaurant where the supposedly rowdy weddings happen. We can't comment because, it being Lent and the carnaval over, there was no wedding while we were there. Timing is everything.

On the Sunday evening, for a small premium, there was a dinner to celebrate St. Valentine's Day. To our great delight, a fine crowd turned up and they were almost all 'native' Madeirans. From as young as 6wks to as old as .... well I'm not a good judge but there were grandads and grandmas, mammies and daddies, boys and girls and a few 'young lovers'. All except us and one other [French] couple were 'locals'.

We had a beautiful dinner, with Maderian bubbly (much better than champagne!) as an appetizer, a bottle of very nice Maderian red, a rose for every lady, the finest of cuisine across five courses, malmsey as requested and eventually, to finish off, a very fine local brandy. Just one tiny trick they miss is 'local young wine' served in carafe and drinkingable by the litre. For that you need to find the Restaurante Cancela beyween Canhas and Paul de Serra. (I think it is sited at Churrascaria)

Madeirans know how to make wines and Estalagem Encumeada stocks many of them. It has as good a stock of fortified Madeira as you'll find on the island (well apart from Blandy's) and very good prices on all bottles. We had 3yo at €9.50 and 5yo at €14.50 across the bar at reception. In London, you'd be looking at £15 and £25. For a good bottle for drinking on the balcony, ask Clive for "rainwater". Trust me on this! Oh! All the staff speak English after their fashion. Clive speaks beautiful English, slowly and almost in a whisper. We got to like him a lot and he was a veritable mine of local knowledge.

We found the 'normal' or everyday dinner quite entertaining and can confirm there are no labels on the warming trays. We always turned up about 7 by choice so we saw no cold 9pm food. But the staff were keeping an eye on things and did not overfill the trays and replenished from time to time. Thing is if they were to put labels on the trays what language should they use?

While we were there, we shared on different days with a Spanish couple who knew no English but could figure a little Portuguese, Germans who knew no Portuguese but had a little English, a Dutch couple with beautiful English, some English walkers who 'understood' Portuguese, Swedes, French and the Portuguese National Footsol Squad, like 20 strapping young men from Portugal, Madeira, and the Portuguese colonies.

The hotel team was entirely unfazed. They'd heard it all before and no doubt will again and again and again. Madeirans are a naturally reserved and cultured people. Not unlike many other island people, they've dealt with 'foreigners' for centuries. But, time and again, when we met fluent English speakers we got through to bubbly, friendly, happy, patriotic, intensely proud people: proud of their island, proud of their culture, proud of who they were: "Maderian first, then Portuguese". Dammit, the first inhabitants of Madeira were settled in, long before America was discovered by Europeans (other than Irish or Icelandic sailors that is).

We've read all the other reviews on this site. We can say that we experienced almost all of the good and some of the bad, well apart from the torn carpet. A couple of points must be made to end. The 'orange' drink described as cordial is actually mango juice
or a similar mix. It is a pure fruit juice and is to die for.

They do have tea but you have to look for the label "preto" as all the other teas are actually 'tisanes' and herbal remedies. You don't need to bring your camping gear to Estalagem Encumeada. Just put the bag marked 'preto' in a cup, add hot water. Milk decants from the cooler. The sugar is in the gold and brown bags alongside.

Our room had a very efficient CH radiator and we had it on all the time, not to keep warm but to dispel moisture. It did the job admirably, including drying out the room after I left the patio door open one night and the rain got in. Big time. We slept through that. Must have been last night's Madeira.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank WallToAll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Encumeada

Property: Hotel Encumeada
Address: Feiteiras, Serra d' Agua, Ribeira Brava, Madeira 9350-000, Portugal (Formerly Estalagem Encumeada)
Region: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Ribeira Brava
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Ribeira Brava
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Encumeada 3*
Number of rooms: 49
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Also Known As:
Estalagem Encumeada Hotel Ribeira Brava
Residencial Encumeada Ribeira Brava
Hotel Encumeada Madeira/Ribeira Brava

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