Madeira, a Portuguese Island in the Atlantic, west of the Mediterranean is an oasis of green landscapes, gardens, flowers with a sublime tropical climate. The Island is located just northwest of the Canary Islands and off the coast of Africa. It is of volcanic origin, its climate surprisingly mild because of its privileged geographic positioning.
After our 3 hour 25 minute flight from London we were warmly greeted by the team at Barceló, swiftly taken to our transfer which was by boat. This was a breath-taking way to be introduced to the Island, the scenic route accompanied comfortably by light snacks and drinks. What a splendid way to take in the Madeiran coastline.
Perfectly located in the capital of the Island, is brand new hotel Barceló Funchal Oldtown. This stylish city hotel compromises a cluster of 17th century buildings which have been sensitively transformed into a modern aesthetically designed stay taking inspiration from the natural wonders of UNESCO world Heritage site, Laurisilva Forest.
The hotel features symbolic elements of the Island, one of which is inspired by Madeiran embroidery. There are 111 modern and exclusive rooms, choices vary from a Deluxe City View or a Deluxe Side Sea View some of which have charming balconies. The rooms are light, airy, and fully equipped with everything you need for a getaway. A comfortable base from which to explore the islands greatest treasures.
The hotel offers two restaurants, focusing on giving guests a flavour of Funchal. First, ‘A Bordadeira restaurant’ the name and interiors are inspired by the Madeiran tradition of embroidery (translated as ‘bordadeira’) serving an a la carte menu with international influence. After checking in and some time exploring The Madeira Flower Festival, dinner was at the second ‘Noz Café’ which transports guests to Laurisilva Forrest, dishes are locally inspired and sourced.
We ordered some casual bites, highlights include the delicious red tuna with chilli sauce and mango & soy mayonnaise, the Cauliflower popcorn with siracha mayonnaise, the chickpea humous with olives and the truffle butter. Dishes are also carefully paired with an impressive selection of local Madeiran wines, championing the region’s history of winemaking.
- Pay a visit to Bordal. Currently Bordal is one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of the famous Madeiran Embroidery, so for those looking to broaden their knowledge on this tradition and art should experience this tour. The tour showcases 150 years of tradition, showing the process of manufacturing from design,drawing, stamping all the way through to the finished product.
- Take the time to browse the shop, where you will find an array of exquisite pieces of embroidered linen, clothes, table cloths, coasters and much more. For those who love traditional handcrafted arts, this a must visit.
- Stop by the Farmer’s Market to try a selection of delicious tropical fruits grown on the Island. Then catch the Funchal cable car which offers unparalleled views of the city.
- For those looking for adventure, explore the Island on a tour with Bravelanders. Led by Ivan Rodrigues, we were picked up by a Land Rover and toured off road all over the island. Not only was this a spectacular way to take in unforgettable views of Madeira, what made this tour so special was being led by Ivan a passionate and personable local with endless knowledge and stories to tell. An experience you’ll never forget.
- Head straight to B-Heaven, the rooftop at Barceló Funchal Oldtown and take in stunning panoramic sea views over the marina. Wait until night and be mesmerised by the sparkling lights, a drink at the bar and if you’re feeling daring a dip in the plunge pool. A glamorous spot to enjoy live music and dance away the night.
Rates start from €150 per night on B&B basis.
Rua Da Alfandega 9 9000-059 Funchal Portugal