Hotel Quinta da Penha de França Review, Madeira, Portugal | Travel – The Telegraph

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A charming oasis of tranquillity and subtropical planting amid the chaos and construction din of Funchal’s port area, this former quinta (working farm) has been augmented with a modern hotel annexe, a swimming pool and numerous cottages but retains a sense of history.
A stone’s throw from Funchal’s casino and a clutch of high-rise hotels, the quinta is a 10-minute walk from the marina with its bars and restaurants and 15 minutes from the historic centre. The surrounding side streets have some good restaurants too. A sister hotel, Penha França Mar – linked via a footbridge and lift – offers access to the sea via steps and a bathing platform.
The original old house, with its white exterior and black shutters, has been somewhat swallowed up by modern additions – among them a four-storey hotel annexe, though even this has a terracotta-tiled roof and wrought-iron balconies in the traditional style. Furnishings are mostly antique. The shady grounds are abundant with banana, palms, wisteria, jacaranda and strelitzias.
Family-owned, the hotel has a strong service ethic and bedrooms are kept spotless. Facilities include two seawater pools (one at each hotel), a games room with snooker and card tables, a cool spacious lounge, two restaurants and a bar. The free Wi-Fi has astonishing reach; I was able to access it in the restaurants, by both outdoor pools and even underground (in Penha Franca Mar’s scuba diving centre – an unexpected bonus).
Quinta da Penha de França has 76 guestrooms scattered throughout the gardens and in the annexe, most with a private balcony (the exception being those in the main house) and all with either a garden or sea view. The décor is simple, old-fashioned and somewhat faded in a “country house” style but the shower and aircon work a treat. Facilities include​ ​​cable ​TV, minibar and safe.​ ​Penha França Mar has 30 rooms and three suites decorated in nautical style.
Restaurant Casa de Jantar, with indoor and outdoor seating, serves as the hotel’s breakfast room and is open to the public for lunch and dinner. Evening meals were basic but authentic, including local staples such as scabbardfish cooked with banana, and beef skewers. Breakfast was the big disappointment of our stay: fatty bacon, congealed scrambled egg, watery fruit salad, dreadful coffee from a push-button machine, and surly service. Stick to the pastries.
The adjoining Joe’s Bar, with the atmosphere of a pub, is the opposite, with friendly, informed service and a great range of cocktails, wines and spirits. Penha França Mar has a poolside restaurant serving snacks, salads, grills and a few typical local dishes, with friendly service and stunning sea views.
At €85 (£73) per night, this is​ ​regarded as one of the best-value four-stars in Funchal.
The newer annexe is for the most part wheelchair-friendly, with wide doors and a lift between floors; rooms in the old house and cottages require guests to negotiate stairs.
My 13-year-old was accommodated, on a temporary bed in our room, but he was the only child we saw during our stay. Most guests are of mature years.
9 Telegraph expert rating
9 Telegraph expert rating
9 Telegraph expert rating
Hotel Quinta da Penha de França, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal


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