“If you love wine, design and good living, you'll love this glamorous, uber-modern, urban-zen hotel”
This is a sizeable hotel, its 79 rooms and suites spread over the top 4 floors. Decor follows the wine-making seasons. On the second floor - Spring - the hues are green; on the summer-themed third there's a grape-ripe purple, on the fourth floor all is a wintry grey, and on the fifth, an autumnal brown. Floors four and five have the views. It’s worth noting, in fact, that many of the rooms are overlooked by neighbouring buildings – you're in the centre of Funchal, after all – but there are blinds and gauzy curtains to keep any nosy neighbours at bay. The taxi rank outside means that you are best off joining Funchal’s young things for a night on the town at weekends – traffic noise is loud until fairly late at night, in spite of double glazing.
There are 7 classes of rooms, from the cheapest superior atrium views up to the design suites, which are sensational, with modern chaises longues, vast beds made in Portugal and great egg-shaped baths. (Note that all the baths are in the bedrooms themselves, while showers are ensuite.)
Each room shares the same slick design details: waterfall taps, Madeiran stone floors, vineyard photographs on great sailcloths suspended above. Drawers are hidden, fuss is kept to a minimum and blinds, lights and air conditioning are controlled by touch-sensitive panels (not always easy to find in the dark!). Some beds even have lighting underneath that comes on the moment you get up in the night. And all rooms get free wired and wireless internet, flatscreen TV with movies and music, minibar (free in the suites), Egyptian cotton sheets and a choice of pillows; suites also get a DVD player, PlayStation facilities and a fax machine.
The Vine has two restaurants, and a bar on the sun terrace. Terra is brown, sculptural and beautifully themed to appear as though you're dining beneath the vines (you are surrounded by twisting root-like sculptures and earthy tones). This is where breakfast is served: standard continental with cooked dishes optional (my velvety poached eggs were the best I'd ever tasted) plus table service and some rather dishy waiters. Terra also serves snacks and drinks during the day and has a couple of decked areas outside for relaxing with a coffee in the sun.
Up on the sun deck is the celebrated UVA - Funchal’s mist-visit dinery. It's a French-Alsatian restaurant that sources its ingredients locally and is open 5 days a week (Tuesday-Saturday). With views over the city and chefs trained by Michelin-starred Antoine Westermann, dishes range from marinated scallops with black truffles and celery mousse to grouper and chorizo caldeirada (a rich Portuguese stew) and guinea fowl with pig's head stuffing; and heavenly desserts. Be sure to book.
Also on the roof terrace is the 360 Bar. The plan is for DJs to host parties in the summer.
Dining in Funchal's Old Town: clinging to the cliff face is the wonderful Riso (Rua de Santa Maria 274), where the seafood and rice dishes are so good they could almost distract you from the views. We also recommend the tiny and ever-popular O Jango (Rua de Santa Maria 166), for its fabulous grilled squid and other Madeiran dishes.
The hotel does take children, but prefers them to be aged 9 or over, and well-behaved. There are no children’s facilities other than cots and babysitting; both can be arranged at no cost. They can also arrange connecting rooms and extra beds in the larger rooms. There is a kids' menu, too.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking