As a destination, Madeira has really come into its own in recent years. A more compact, private-feeling alternative to mainland Portugal, the island is a short 3.5 hour flight from the UK, and offers everything from subtropical climates to rugged, stunning greenland and scenery. It also recently began its certification with EarthCheck, solidifying its sustainability credentials for planet-savvy tourists.
The charming holiday destination has had a fresh, modern reinvention as of late; offering everything from world-class food and drink to nightlife for a younger crowd. In short, whoever you are, Madeira will welcome you with open arms and with an itinerary that will work for you.
Savoy Palace, Madeira hotel review
Rooms and facilities
In 2021, Savoy Palace was declared Portugal’s leading luxury hotel – and it’s not hard to see why. With 16 floors and 352 rooms boasting ocean and garden views, the location is unrivaled. The design of the hotel is one that will impress even the biggest architectural buffs, with bold, modern details combined with a traditional, classy feel overall. The rooms themselves are spacious, fresh, and luxurious, with thoughtful details included such as the ‘Pillow Menu,’ which I thoroughly enjoyed using. Another highlight has to be the huge showers, which are unbeatable after a long day enjoyed in one of the resort’s many rooftop pools.
Food and drink
When it comes to food and drink, Savoy Palace really shines. The hotel has an impressive seven restaurants across its grounds, serving everything from casual brunch to Japanese and Mediterranean-inspired fine dining.
A must-try is the hotel’s much-lauded (and visually impressive) Galaxia, where you can enjoy a stunning five course meal complete with expert wine pairings. My favourite however was Pau de Lume, the establishment’s newest gem. Serving Portuguese sharing dishes, healthy options, local wines, and delicious treats, grabbing a leisurely brunch here is a must — and that’s before the super cool industrial aesthetic within the place is even taken into account.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab a delicious gelato cone from Savoy Palace’s outdoor ice cream shop, which has the friendliest, most attentive staff around.
As mentioned, the food and drink offered at the hotel are second-to-none in Madeira, but another huge shout out has to go to Savoy Palace’s eponymous spa. At 3,100 square feet, it is Europe’s biggest nature-inspired spa, created with the Laurissilva Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in mind.
The stunning spa offers everything from relaxation rooms and sensory showers to specialised treatments for the face, body, and nails. I experienced the spa firsthand, visiting one of the 11 treatment rooms for a full-body massage that relaxed and rejuvenated, before a long swim in the beautiful heated indoor pool.
As well as the pools within the spa, Savoy Palace also offers a large outdoor swimming pool for summer swims, along with a series of rooftop designs for peak luxury year-round.
What to do nearby
If you can tear yourself away from the Savoy and its many impressive facilities, you’ll find plenty to do in the nearby area. While Funchal’s old town is just a stone’s throw away (go for the traditional food market), travel a little further out and you can easily discover the delights of the surrounding ocean. Whale-watching is popular on the island, and well worth doing — I even managed to catch sight of three blue whales, the biggest creatures on the planet!
A special mention must also go to the nearby NEXT hotel, which is a perfect alternative to the Savoy for visiting millennials with a little less cash to spend. With rooms starting at €102 per night, this fun, modern space has become an institution for the younger crowd – visiting or local.
A luxury stay on a quiet, scenic island.
Rates start at €195 per night www.savoysignature.com/savoypalacehotel