Reid's Palace Hotel - Madeira, Portugal:A magnificent Edwardian Baroque structure sitting on ten hectares of subtropical gardens on top of a cliff, the Reid’s Palace is one of Portugal’s most famous hotel and certainly Madeira’s most gorgeous and glamorous. For over a century, Reid’s has become a standard bearer of five-star hotel luxury and elegance, frequented by international moguls, politicians, tycoons, and A-list celebrities. Among its famed patrons include Sir Winston Churchill and Sir George Bernard Shaw. Significant in terms of history and culture, Reid’s Palace is the ONLY hotel of choice in the island for the discerning traveler.
First Impression/Lobby: From afar, the hotel already looked historic and legendary with its pale-pink exterior surrounded with dense trees and lush vegetation. At the entrance of the property was a glorious fountain that I’m sure in its day (it wasn’t running when I was there) burst forth and added vitality to the surroundings. Dazzling panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean can be seen from almost anywhere in the area, and I felt, this may well be paradise.
Royal, history and elegance were written all over the place. Inside, the lobby and lounge were ornately decorated with antique furniture and artworks. Throughout the hotel, large windows overlooked the bay.
Reception: Upon our arrival, the hotel staff gave us a warm welcome while the bellhops assisted us with our luggage. The check-in process was fairly smooth, although I do have one qualm about the lady from the reception. She did not follow up with a small request I had as she said she would, but all in all the reception went just fine.
The Suite: Our suite, number 940, a junior suite, was much smaller than what we had anticipated. It had just enough room for a king-sized bed, a small desk and a pair of upholstered side chairs. In spite of the size, it was elegantly decorated like a royal retreat from years ago, making up for the limited space.
Traditional Anglo-Portuguese furnishings, wool carpeting, pastel-colored fabrics, original and reproduction art and antiques, and a large armoire were tastefully combined together, creating a luxurious dwelling. Fresh fruits and flowers were beautifully arranged, and the mini-bar was stocked with complimentary bottled water and soft drinks.
Thankfully, the marble-tiled bathroom was spacious (and gorgeous) and had ample closet space to fit our luggage. It had dual sinks, a standalone shower, separate tub, private toilet, and aromatic bath products.
The room also had a small balcony with a sweeping view of the ocean, well-appointed with a wicker table and two wicker chairs. It was the perfect place for a romantic and unforgettable dinner, which we had.
Room Service: Their room service was perfection at every turn. Their menu was extensive and packed with mouth-watering selections. Calling and ordering from them was fast and trouble-free, and their delivery was right on-time.
When our orders came, the room service staff did not just drop the tray and took off but carefully set up our table outside the balcony, complete with beautiful china and silverware. The presentation was impeccable, allowing us to fully enjoy an unforgettable five-star luxury experience.
Housekeeping:Reid’s Palace evidently had a trained and caring staff in the housekeeping department. Their service was on par with that of the top five-star luxury hotels in the world. Their dedication shone through each and every time they serviced the room.
Concierge: I found their concierge service a tad unorganized and a bit ill-informed. When we inquired about a great casual, non-touristy restaurant in town, they offered up a solid tourist trap of a restaurant—way too casual and way too touristy for us. The concierge did not do a good job of listening to what we wanted and were quick to recommend their regular tourist joints without giving it a thought.
Restaurant: We dined at their Italian restaurant Cipriani twice, it was that good! The ingredients were fresh and organic, and the food simply divine. Dining out in the terrace that overlooked the sea from the cliff top is a must. Other dining options in the hotel included the hotel’s main restaurant, The Dining Room, which served Portuguese and European fare in an Edwardian setting; Les Faunes, which served French cuisine and had Picasso lithographs on display; Brisa do Mar, a casual alfresco venue beside the pool; and the Garden Room, the perfect place for afternoon tea or coffee.
Pool/Spa/Activities: If you want a place to escape from the world, this is the hotel to stay in. Leisure activities abound within and near the property. Guests have the privilege of free Pilates, Yoga and Portuguese-language classes. The hotel has two pools—one saltwater and one freshwater. On the main level is the freshwater pool with stunning cliff-top views of the sea and the island.
Located a few floors down (via steps or elevator) are additional sunning areas and access to the sea. There is also a gym, sauna, steam room, and a great expanse of manicured gardens and wilderness. The extensive spa faces the ocean for a truly relaxing experience.
Guests also have access to golf courses and tennis courts at nearby clubs that the Reid’s Palace is affiliated with. Water sports are also a favorite leisure activity here should the weather permit.
Overall ImpressionReid’s Palace Hotel is an impressive service-oriented, true five-star luxury hotel and resort. Its glorious interiors, its historic and legendary past, and its non-stop five-star service make it the beautiful paradise that it is and a real gem of Madeira. No doubt, the Reid’s Palace Hotel in Madeira, Portugal gets a rating of Bombastic.