The Vine

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
If you love wine, design and good living, you'll love this glamorous, uber-modern, urban-zen hotel
The Vine is divine. Not only that, its cutting-edge chic and delectable food is putting Madeira on the map for hip city breaks and luxury living.

There may not be a vineyard in sight, but it’s all about the wine here, from the first floor restaurant Terra, groovily themed to feel as though you’re dining amid roots and beneath vines, to the vinous photographs above the beds and the lush palettes of purple, green, pink and brown. The Vine is a design hotel par excellence: the underground spa is darkly seductive; the rooftop swimming pool, sundeck and lavada-inspired jacuzzi could be from a Vogue photo shoot. Lights come on and curtains glide at the merest touch, bathrooms have waterfall-effect showers, modish baths stand at the foot of the bed. Madeiran-Portuguese designer Nini Andrade Silva has won countless awards for her interiors; at last she's brought her talents home. Forget the old holiday cliches of golf and G&T: look for the high life and find it here.


  • The spa is the only one in Europe to be using TheraVine products from Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Lush sea views from the sundeck at the top, plus hidden jacuzzi, spa cabana and infinity pool
  • The hotel's sun-deck restaurant, UVA, overseen by a multi-Michelin-starred chef, is Funchal’s hottest ticket
  • The decor oozes glamour, luxury and style
  • Staff are warm and friendly, professional yet unobtrusive


  • Too cool for school? The lighting devices take some getting used to
  • Low-lit bedrooms - one person’s darkly seductive is another person’s gloomy
  • You enter via the Funchal shopping centre
  • Many bedrooms are overlooked by neighbouring buildings and there's a certain amount of city-centre noise
  • No garden - but the sundeck more than compensates

Best time to go

The hotel is open year round and has higher rates during Christmas and Easter. Summer has medium rates while the rest of the year is considered low season; go in spring, when the jacaranda is in full bloom, or autumn for some late sunshine. It’s a great place in summer though - and, because of its position, would be spectacular for the city's New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Design Hotel
  • 89
  • 9+ preferred
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • Wifi internet


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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • Relax in the Vinotherapy Spa with a long hot soak in a bath of wine leaf extracts and oils, a glass of Madeira’s finest by your side

  • Bask on the rooftop terrace, slip into the pool or recline in the jacuzzi – it's cleverly designed to resemble a levada

  • Find inspiration in Funchal's market, a gorgeous array of carrots, plums, grapes, oranges, bananas, pineapples, banana-pineapples (yes!), maracujas and tomatoes that taste like passion fruit... and fish from the Madeiran archipelago

  • Take a coffee at the Café do Teatro whose chic terrace runs down one side of Funchal's cute mini-La Scala, or a steak sandwich under the palms in the São Francisco Gardens

  • Wander through the steep cobbled Old Town, then up in a cable car to the village of Monte

  • Check out the Beatles' old yacht, The Vagrant, in the harbour - now permanently moored as a floating tourist restaurant

  • Head off for the pebble beach, a walk away

  • Tee off at the nearest golf course: a 15-minute drive

  • Visit Cabo Girao, the second highest sea cliff on the island, famous for its wine lodges - go home with a crate of Madeiran wine

  • Take a helicopter ride over the Funchal bay area for a fabulous bird's-eye view of banana plantations, old houses, mountains, seascapes and ravines

  • Go whale or dolphin spotting or diving from Funchal's harbour – the hotel can arrange all

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Whalewatching
  • Wine tasting


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.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

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