Estalagem da Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal Book from Book from £91 per night

Part modernist, part traditional quinta, this minimalist clifftop hotel gets architects in a lather - and they’re not the only ones
Whale-spotters used to stand on the terrace and light fireworks to alert neighbouring harbours to passing pods. A century on, that terrace is used to host European DJs for full moon parties in the summer. The rest of the time it's a sun deck with expansive views of the old whale roads. It's that sort of place. Funky.

This is not a designer hotel that erases the past in favour of the future; it works with it to create something far more interesting. The 54-room hotel, with its restaurant, bars and many chillout areas, sits on the cliff top overlooking little Ponta do Sol and the sea. The views are to die for, though visiting architects are more taken with the hotel than the vistas: the marriage of old quinta with modernist annexes is inspired. The outdoor spaces are especially enticing, from the traditional palm-lined terrace to the infinity pool; everywhere you look there’s a frame for the view. Crucially, the village is close enough to Funchal for a night out, but far enough away that you feel you’re getting a break from the city.

Highs

  • The views: taking a chromotherapy bath in the spa as the sun sets over the Atlantic can’t be beat
  • The uplifting modernist architecture combined with the prices attracts a more youthful crowd than any other hotels nearby
  • Summer nightlife, and chill-out areas inside and out to recover
  • This part of Madeira gets more sunshine than any other part of the island
  • Great value, especially considering that transfers to airport and levadas are included; but if you want something even cheaper, EPDS's little sister hotel, Hotel da Vila, is a short walk away

Lows

  • The hotel car park is small: parking is tricky but not impossible
  • Some may find the food a little bland, but it's served up with stunning sunset vistas
  • The accommodation looks a bit blocky from the outside, and the bedrooms feel a tad corporate - but they are sleek and bright

Best time to go

This part of Madeira is the sunniest part of the island. Enjoy it at any time of the year, but if you’re looking for nightlife, summer is busiest. In July there’s Madeira Dance, a weekend festival that attracts quite a few; Madeira Dig, the digital arts and music festival sponsored by the hotel, takes place in December: your chance to hobnob with Japanese graphic designers and DJs from Berlin.

Our top tips

If you're coming in summer, consider hiring their catamaran to explore the small bays along the coast. The diving and snorkelling off this coast is superb.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 54
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Like the rest of the hotel, the spacious bedrooms have clean and sleek lines, but the real emphasis is on looking out: all have sun terraces or balconies, and amazing views over the sea or up to the mountains.

Interiors are nearly identical, so it's the view which determines the room category. Mountain (or "Garden") View look out on to the banana plantations of the mountain opposite and the village of Ponta do Sol; Sea View rooms seem to jut out above the cliffs with views of the rocks below and the ocean stretching as far as you can see. Floor-to-ceiling windows let the light in to a room with navy and white striped bed linen and either a double or twin bed. Mountain View rooms are a little cheaper and a little noisier; also, the acoustics between some rooms could be better. All have air con and cable TV.

The bathrooms are clean, sleek and compact, with slate floors and showers. Disappointingly, toiletries are a bit budget. There is a minibar in all rooms and one of the hotel bars is open all night.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The restaurant is in prime position for watching the sunset – that’s if you haven’t been able to bag the best spot in the chromotherapy bath in the spa – and serves up fresh Modern European food with a Madeiran twist.

Breakfast is served in the restaurant - though there is a small terrace attached - and is a good European-style buffet, with hot and cold dishes and homemade cakes, too. Lunch is light - a change from the rustic restaurants nearby. Expect the likes of goat's cheese vol-au-vents, chicken, baked scabbard fish (unique to Madeira) and various light desserts. Dinner makes the most of the sea: lots of prawns, plus beef fillet, pork medallions, pasta and salads. Staff are very helpful and friendly.

It’s a short walk into Ponta do Sol if you want to eat out: there's a restaurant, a pizzeria and a couple of cafes. There are also several bars dotted around the hotel (one or two open all year), and an honesty bar by the pool. In the summer, the former whale-spotting deck becomes a rocking bar with live music and DJs. Another more refined bar, in the old finca building itself, opens for coffee during the day.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Float in the infinity pool over the cliffs - exquisite

  • Swim in the waters off Ponto da Sol's protected pebble beach

  • Or take a 4-hour cruise in the hotel’s catamaran to see dolphins, seals and turtles. They also arrange trips to the Desert Isles: marine reserves off the southeast coast

  • Chill out in the spa: there’s a steam room, sauna, 2 treatment rooms, and a stunning chromotherapy bath overlooking the cliff. And chocotherapy - being smothered in cocoa butter is big round these parts!

  • You'll love the restaurants, shops and market of steep cobbled Funchal, and the hotel provides a shuttle bus to the centre every day (except Sunday): a 25-minute trip

  • The diving and snorkelling off this coast is superb

  • Catch the shuttle to their private beach, Faja dos Padres. It’s a volcanic black sand beach and even has its own restaurant

  • The shuttle also ferries guests to Calheta Beach, the art centre of Ribiera Brava and Palheiro Golf Club

  • Jump in the car and explore all the fishing villages on this southern end of the island

  • The hotel arranges mountain/levada walks daily, with drop off and pick up, weather permitting. Levadas are irrigation channels that usefully provide a wonderful network of walking trails throughout the island

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Nightlife
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing

Kids

It’s not that great a place for little kids – too many steps with a buggy and the atmosphere is a bit too serene. Having said that, those aged up to 4 are free and babysitting can be arranged. There are extra beds but no baby cots so you'll need to bring your own.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Families Should Know:

There are no lifeguards around the pool

Distances:

  • Airport: 25 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 15 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

The location was excellent. Our room was good and comfortable with quiet air conditioning, large balcony, great bed, ample storage. The bathroom was a little tired and needed updating. The breakfast was excellent but the dinner menu did not change for the whole 11 nights. <br>Service was excellent - quiet, efficient and friendly. <br>We stayed for 11 nights but were disturbed for 5 of them by loud music played in the village below the hotel until about 2 in the morning - we were aware of music events but the warnings should be more prominent.

9/10, , August 2016

Nice, minimalistic rooms with great views of the Atlantic.The bathrooms need updating.You reach the hotel by a futuristic concrete lift and it all feels a bit like going to Scaramanga's lair. Once inside, it is all glass and modern art. The hotel arranges for free transfers to and from the airport and to other places you may wish to visit. We went to Funchal, Calheta and Ribera Brava.The food in the restaurant was excellent, but can get repetitive.The wine list was great. <br>The service in the restaurant was a bit stiff and it got very busy at breakfast. Otherwise, a great stay.

9/10, , April 2015

This hotel is all about the stunning views. Peaceful, quiet and extraordinarily scenic. The surrounding area and tiny village (easily walkable) is small but pretty and unspoilt and offers a selection of eating and drinking options. <br>The hotel restaurant is pleasant, again with lovely views and the food is good - although the fish is just as good in all the surrounding local eateries which are well worth trying out! The hotel breakfast is plentiful with a range of options served in the usual buffet style. The bar service and ambience is a bit hit and miss - but fine for a nightcap. There is also a pool bar that was usually unstaffed but is run on an honesty system. <br>The rooms all seem to have beautiful views, either the sea of the gardens. The rooms are simply decorated but bright and clean. The hotel also offers a daily shuttle service to Funchal and also to and from the airport (both about 30 minutes) which is great.

8/10, , May 2016

The food was delicious, beautifully presented but the menu did not change in the 8 days we were there apart from twice there being specials. Otherwise very good and would definitely recommend. Our room was called Sea view but you had to lean out of balcony to see the sea, it was more mountain view.

9/10, , October 2015

We really enjoyed our stay in Ponta do Sol and the Estalagem hotel was excellent overall. We would certainly stay there again, possibly next year. We were on holiday with another couple and they felt the same. The main selling point for the hotel has to be the cliff top location, surrounded by beautiful gardens and plants with amazing sea and coastal views. The hotel room, although simply and basically furnished was always clean and functional. Food in the hotel was of a very high standard and although the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful we felt that on occasion the service was a bit slow at dinner. On one evening it took about 40 mins from ordering a sweet to arrival at table. The breakfast buffet was an excellent array of eggs, hot and cold meats, cheeses, fruits, pastries, breads, coffee etc. In fact there was so much on offer for breakfast I thought it got rather complicated needing so many trips to replenish plates. For instance each day would feature types of cake such as chocolate cake, brownies, cheesecake, Madeira cake,honey cake,Tiramissu, creme caramel, mousses plus different types croissants, breads and a similar array of fruits and cereals. All the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful and we enjoyed our stay. <br>Main Likes ..... Location, gardens and plants round hotel. <br>The shuttle service from hotel was excellent as were the drivers. Comfortable mini-bus. <br>You do have to be careful walking from hotel rooms to the restaurant as there are quite a few steps which can be slippery after rain. <br>Not a great deal going on in the village Ponta do Sol itself but relaxing in the hotel gardens, visits to Funchal, relaxing by the pool, walk to Rebeira satisfied us.

8/10, , October 2015

The main good aspect is the food, especially dinner. Breakfast is decent - excellent fruit and bakery spread. However the quality of the cooked section could be improved upon. I did like the laid-back/not too 'in your face' approach of service though, with helping yourself to coffee/tea etc. <br>Excellent house-keeping team. The general upkeeping of the hotel is poor - definitely not what it was portrayed like on the hotel's own and other websites. This is not a new hotel and it shows, much more could be done in terms of the conditions of the furniture, maintenance etc. <br>On the whole, I can't say I am not disappointed, especially with what was put across from the websites etc. Sadly I don't think I would want to come back or recommend it to other people.

7/10, , June 2015

No need for a car - the hotel courtesy bus will take you out every day if you wish - for free! <br>Try cafes used by locals in Ponto Do Sol - very friendly and tasty snacks and meals.

10/10, , March 2015

A beautifully located hotel with excellent facilities and food. Everyone extremely friendly and helpful and wanting to please. Thoroughly recommended.

10/10, , February 2015

This is the 3rd year that we have been to this hotel and cannot rate it high enough. The people are exceptionally friendly and nothing is too much trouble for them. The free use of the shuttle bus to Funchal and Levadas are a bonus. The hotel is modern and tranquil and with a good spa and small but working gym overlooking the sea.

10/10, , February 2015

The sunniest & best location on the Island, and a great hotel, very relaxing with ocean views you can get lost in...we explored the WHOLE Island. Make sure you have a car as we filled 7 days, lots to do, sailing, dolphins, walks, great drives. Great coffee but food is generally basic but fresh, so don't expect gastro pub or fine dining. For winter sun far better than the Canaries (very clean, pretty, amazing views, garden state) but then again I don't lie on beaches for hours. Madeira has pebble beaches, but I like a bit more to do. The infinity pool at the hotel with ocean view was enough for me.

10/10, , January 2015

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