Estalagem da Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal
Book from GBP Book from £109 per night

Estalagem da Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal

Part modernist, part traditional quinta, this minimalist clifftop hotel on the sunny south coast is the perfect base for exploring Madeira

Part modernist, part traditional quinta, this minimalist clifftop hotel on the sunny south coast is the perfect base for exploring Madeira

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. It's centred on a graceful two-storey quinta, once a sugar cane estate irrigated by those famous levadas, which is perched on an ocean promotory above the pretty little village of Ponta do Sol. Whale-spotters used the clifftop as a lookout, lighting fireworks to alert neighbouring harbours to passing pods.

A century on, the artfully restored quinta houses a chic bar, with a wraparound terrace and an intimate restaurant upstairs. Up on the clifftop, there's now a sun deck with a perfectly blue infinity pool, a wellness room with sauna and indoor chromotherapy pool, and an open-air bar which hosts 'Purple Friday' parties for sociable guests and digital nomads. It's that sort of place. Funky.

The views are to die for, though it's worth looking inwards too: the marriage of old quinta with modernist annexes is inspired. A lift whisks you up the cliff and across open-sided bridges to the main courtyard, where sculpted loungers sit beneath swaying palms. Around it, the 54 bedrooms are simple, white and supremely comfortable. Ponta do Sol is one of the most charming - and sunniest - spots in Madeira. A long-standing favourite of i-escape reviewers and guests, this boutique hotel is a superb, stylish and surprisingly affordable base for exploring this mesmerising island.


  • The views: soaking in a cliffside hot tub 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 other hotels on the island
  • The excellent 'modern Madeiran' cuisine beats most local restaurants: you can dine in without feeling you are missing out
  • On your doorstep are several levada walks and a swimmable beach
  • It's great value, especially considering that transfers to airport and levadas are included


  • The hotel car park is small: parking is tricky but not impossible
  • The accommodation looks a bit blocky from the outside, but the interiors are sleek and bright
  • Lots of steps (though the cliffside lift takes most of the strain)
  • Sea-facing balconies and pool terrace can sometimes be windy, but there's no shortage of sheltered spaces to chill out

Best time to go

This part of Madeira is the sunniest part of the island. Enjoy it at any time of the year - you can have balmy 20+C days even in January. The hotel is busiest in February-April and October-November. July-August is actually quieter, perhaps because of the lack of sandy beaches, but owner Andre says it's his favourite period - great for diving and sailing. 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

  • Pack Crocs or similar if you’re planning to swim - it can be rocky underfoot. The beach at Calheta (15 mins west) is the only sandy one on the island.

  • There’s a great circular walk just above the hotel, starting at the church of Lombada and following the Levada Nova from Jangao, past spectacular overhangs and waterfalls, to its source in a deep ravine, then back again along the parallel but lower Levada Dos Moinhos. It’s 3-4 hours in all, flat and gentle, but not for vertigo sufferers.
  • Great for...

    Cheap & Chic
    Great Outdoors
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 54 rooms
    • Restaurant (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pools
    • Spa Treatments
    • Beach Nearby
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Car not necessary
    • Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • WiFi
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Tennis Court
    • Pool Table
    • Bicycles Available


    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. Garden View rooms look out on to the manicured lawns of the hotel or 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. It's worth paying the extra, in our opinion.

    All rooms have air-con, big cable TVs, mini-fridge, kettle, pool towels, robes and slippers. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood light through white curtains onto comfy (if a little firm) kingsize or closely paired twin beds. We've read that the acoustics between some rooms could be better, but we heard not a sound from our neighbours.

    The bathrooms are clean and compact, with smooth slate floors and rain showers, plus tubs in a few. We liked the waste-saving wall-mounted gel and shampoo dispenser, but less so the slow-draining shower tray which risked flooding our floor.

    Features include:

    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar
    • Safe box
    • WiFi


    Set in a prime position for watching the sunset, the glass-walled restaurant and serves up delicious, fresh Modern European food with a Madeiran twist: a welcome change from the rustic restaurants nearby. There are several delicious vegetarian options, as well as local meats and fish (try the hearty seafood and scabbard fish stew or the baked amberjack if you can). Portions are prettily presented, not too large, and washed down with fine mainland Portuguese wines by the glass or bottle. We ended up happily dining in every night of our 3-day stay; and found it fairly priced, too.

    Breakfast , served in the restaurant and attached terrace, is a fabulous buffet, with homemade cakes and pastries (think pasteis de Belem, pecan loaf, cheesecakes), heaped piles of fresh fruit and granolas, cold cuts and creamy island cheeses, and a compact cooked menu of eggs and the like. You won't go hungry.

    If you're around for lunch, there are lighter dishes such as goat's cheese vol-au-vents, or cold melon soup. Or it’s a short walk down to Ponta do Sol, the pick of whose eateries are the co-owned (and neighbouring) Old Pharmacy and Steak & Sun, on a pedestrian lane just in from the seafront.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Breakfast
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Vegetarian options


    • Float in the infinity pool over the cliffs - exquisite
    • Swim in the waters off Ponto da Sol's protected pebble beach
    • The hotel arranges free mountain- and levada walks , (Mon-Fri, weather permitting), with drop off and pick up too. Levadas are irrigation channels that usefully provide a wonderful network of walking trails throughout the island
    • 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 mini-spa: there’s a steam room, sauna, 2 treatment rooms, and a stunning chromotherapy bath overlooking the cliff
    • It's only 20 mins to the pretty cobbled lanes, artsy bistros and famous Botanic Gardens of historic Funchal, with a hotel shuttle running most days
    • 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

    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


    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 available by arrangement

    Families Should Know:

    There are no lifeguards around the pool


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


    Estalagem da Ponta do Sol is in the village of Ponta do Sol, on Madeira's south coast, about a 30-minute drive from the town of Funchal.

    By Air
    Funchal airport has plenty of scheduled, budget and charter flights from airports across the UK and Europe.

    From the Airport
    It's 40km (about 45 minutes' drive) from the airport to the hotel. The hotel can arrange airport transfers for you (sometimes these are complimentary for longer stays), and this is a hotel where you could survive without a car, using their free shuttles. But if you want to explore at will, or beyond the south coast and nearby mountains, then hiring a car is very reasonable: just keep alert on the steep and often twisty Madeiran lanes.

    Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.


    • Funchal 40.0 km FNC


    • Beach 0.2 km
    • Shops 0.2 km
    • Restaurant 0.2 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 9 independent reviews from i-escape guests


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