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Reviews (2,378)
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Reviewed 6 January 2010

We booked this hotel after reading the excellent reviews on TA. Surely we thought, a hotel can not be this good. Sure enough it was.

We too had a very bumpy landing at Funchal on the 28th Dec 09 . Being told by the Captain at Gatwick that it was going to be an "iffy landing!" a bit scary - yes - but he got us down at first attempt. Other flights had been divered to Tenerife for an overnight stay apparentely or go around for a second landing!!!

The weather was very unsettled as the previous post says, but it did not spoil our holiday and it would not deter us from going at this time of year again. How could it, the Madeirians are so welcoming and pleasant and the island is just wonderful.

Arriving at the pristine Porto Mare reception, we were checked in by friendly, caring staff. Our room, a garden view on the ground floor was in a corner of the building and seemed rather dark, so we went back to reception to ask if another room was available. (something we have never done in all our years of travelling around the world) Marisella soon organised another room at The Residence and insisted we view it. This suite, complete with kitchen and double bathroom was superb.

We ate at three of the restaurants within the complex, a bit pricey, but food and service was again excellent.

The gardens are manicured to perfection and its so relaxing to stroll round looking at all the palms, plants and flowers.

New Year Eve, well, we have been to lots of Gala dinners for NY - this one has to be the most special. Organised to perfection by Cindy. (the storm had also abated to enable everyone to enjoy the evening) We chose the Buffet restaurant - food was excellent complete with hats, streamers rattles and whistles - the wine was also flowing too.

At 10.45pm guest were taken by coach to the stadium, high on the side of the hill and overlooking Funchal. It was from here we watched the firework extravaganza - eat ya heart out Australia - Madeira is the best for fireworks. Champagne flowed as we sat in awe of the fireworks. Cunnards - Queen Victoria was at anchor in the harbour - such a fantastic site.

After the 10 minute bombardment of gunpowder, back on the coach to the Porto Mare, where a buffet had been laid on compete with disco and there we danced until the wee hours of the morning. Even the staff came to join us, which we thought was great. Marcia - the Dancing Queen.

This is the very first time we have ever written about a holiday, we had such an enjoyable week on this beautiful island and wish we could return to The Porto Mare and Madeira right now.

Thank you Antonio and all your staff.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank ArryJac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2010

Just a word or warning Maderia has been hit by a very nasty sickness bug that is rife throughout the Island take extra care when visiting - we were sick for 3 days which totally ruined our holiday this year.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank sallytaylor74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2009

We stayed over the Christmas period and can highly recommend this hotel. Everything was good about it. We stayed half board, and the breakfast and evening meal were excellent. The evening buffet has a wide choice of meals as part of the package, or you can visit the other restaurants for which you get an allowance of 17 euros. Most meals would cost quite a bit more and we were happy with the buffet. It's a pleasant stroll into Funchal - about 25 minutes, but bus back to avoid the steep hill! Buses 1,2,3 &4 stop nearby, but be careful on the way back or you get an unexpected and worrying trip into the depths of the island! Check with the driver to make sure - they all seemed very friendly. Without exception we found all of the Madeiran people very helpful and friendly, as were all of the staff in the hotel.

The folk dancing and singing given as part of the evening entertainment was also good, and there were many groups performing in the town during the days around Christmas. Funchal itself is lovely, and the Christmas lights were a delight.

The only disappointment was the weather. We expected a bit of rain, but not five days worth with strong winds. Apparently the previous week was the same, and the strong seas had destroyed the Funchal lido - it looked pretty wrecked when we went to have a look. People at the hotel said the weather was poor last Christmas as well - something to bear in mind if you intend to visit at this time of year. We could also have done without Londoner Dave and his partner next door having rows in the early hours of the morning. "It was YOU that said that Dave! Shut up Dave, SHUT UP!" He didn't unfortunately. Even so, it was a lovely week, and we will definitely return to the island and the same hotel. And if Dave reads this - please shut up!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank capelbond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2009

This was our third visit to Porto Mare/Eden Mar which is unusual as we normally like to try different places. This time we just needed a break and felt Funchal was a safe bet as we knew we could have a relaxing time. We booked with Thomson as they had sensible flight times from Gatwick and we decided on the Eden Mar as it had been recently refurbished, had the flexibility of a kitchen and at the time of booking was cheaper than the Porto Mare.

Our flight was 1 hour late arriving in Funchal due to headwinds but the transfer went smoothly and we stayed on the coach at the Porto Mare and were dropped off at the Eden Mar as expected. There was a small queue at check in but it took a long time for us to get to the front of the queue (25 mins). The receptionist told us that we had been allocated a room in the Porto Mare and when we objected she said the Eden Mar was full but we may be able to move tomorrow! We told her that wasn’t an option. She also offered us a discount on dinner but as we had already paid for half board that wasn’t a lot of use and nothing else was offered in the way of compensation. She suggested we look at the room as it was “special” and if we didn’t like it she would see what else she could do. As it was now 15.00 and we had left home at 05.30 we agreed and went to the room. It was a nice room on the 5th floor and so had an excellent view but it wasn’t an upgrade as it was the same as the room we had in March 2009. I phoned the receptionist and said that we really wanted a kitchen and she said she would speak to her manager and ring us back. After another 25 mins she hadn’t rung back so we trooped down to reception and she was busy checking in the next residents. She spotted us hovering and when free came to us and said her manager had agreed to give us a “Superior Room” and she had just got a cancellation? We went and had a look but it was on the first floor and had a view of a palm tree. The room did not look “superior” to us and it also did not look as though it had been refurbished recently (apart from the kitchen) and the bathroom certainly had not with black stained mastic round the bath.
We therefore decided to stick with the Porto Mare room and make do with the mini bar as a fridge to store milk (not provided with the tea and coffee) and the odd bottle of wine and beer.
The Porto Mare was up to the usual high standard except perhaps for the restaurant where there seemed to be a lack of a management presence. On our previous two visits the deputy General Manager used to walk round and keep the staff on their toes but he has apparently been promoted to Brazil. The clearing of dishes particularly at breakfast was a bit slow and on one morning I wondered what was crunching under my feet on the terrace and it turned out to be the remains of a broken wine glass from the previous evening. Glad I had some solid shoes on that day.
Also beware of the male waiter who brings you a more expensive bottle of wine than the one you ordered and pretends not to understand when you challenge the bill at the end of your meal.
We still enjoyed our holiday in Funchal after the initial set back but November is perhaps not the best time to visit as it did rain on a quite a few days. I would go back to the Porto Bay group but having visited the Cliff Bay I would probably say there but only on a B&B basis. It is just a bit nearer to the town centre and there are so many restaurants to choose from offering special deals off season.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank john117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2009

This holiday was exactly as I hoped it would be.The food was spot on..What a selection for breakfast.Went half board and found the evening meal to be of a good standard.Went
A la Carte one evening and they remove the cost of half board from the bill.If it is relaxation you want then you have it in abundance here.Remember though even though you get tea making facilities here they dont leave milk....

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Happymiddlesex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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