15 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Had a brill holiday here, going back as soon as possible,
"All the staff could not do enough for us my husbands big birthday, champagne in room, cake with candle at evening meal, very clean and tidy, yes our room might have been a bit dated, but you don’t live in your rooms, we looked over the pools and the sea, been on a corner, the hotel is in the best place, flat road for wandering about, the bus stop over the road, lido down the hill, we used the hotel to book our trips and our bus tickets, no complaints, the food was good, can’t wait to go back"
- Travel date: Mon 1st of October 2018
Best Holiday Ever
"We have just returned from a week at the Hotel Girassol in Madeira. It was a surprise present for my 50th Birthday. It was the best holiday I have ever had. The weather was fantastic. About 80 degress but not unbearable. We did plenty of walking on the Levada walks and used the local bus service to get from place to place. This costs only 1.40 euros and is a very interesting experience. The Hotel was very good, very clean and the food was enjoyable. The only problem was I suppose that we had a low room at the front near the main road which I thought would drive me mad. It didnt however and we slept very well.
Would recommend the Hotel but not Madeira to everyone as it is very hilly and I would think if you dont like walking could be the wrong place.
We are hoping to go back in April as we found there was such a lot we hadnt seen.
Looking forward to it already"
- Travel date: Wed 19th of July 2006
"Had a really lovely weeks stay in the Girassol although Madeira is definately not somewhere for the young (55's plus). Hotel really nice, lovely rooms and cleaned everyday. Pool area lovely and pool kept at a very nice temperature. Breakfast's nice and snack sides meals lovely. The gym isn't up to much but basic enough to work off a few pounds. The hotel venue is really good and central for the Lido and some really great restaurants, we ate out every night and never had a bad meal. My favourite was Toto's which was left as you came out of the hotel on the other side of the road. Proper local food and really nice for a special night out and the staff are lovely. Staff in the hotel are thorough and professional but don't fuss over you as that is not the Portuguese way so don't expect to have in depth conversations with them but they are very helpful.
Really have no complaints about the hotel at all."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of July 2006
Excellent value for money for us
"The Girassol is one of the older hotels in Funchal but furnishings and accommodation is OK. Staff are professional, pleasant and helpful. Hotel has good recreational facilities with twin sets of swimming pools, (one set heated in winter), for adults and children situated in pleasant sub-tropical gardens. Ask for a west facing suite so you wake to a morning chorus of bird song and enjoy a drink in the setting sun on your balcony in the evening. The breakfast and evening buffet provides good quality, varied choices but can be hectic with 200+ guests at one time. Musical entertainment is provided over dinner on most evenings. Our late booked, special offer, half board stay was excellent value for money."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of March 2006
View from Dublin
"Just returned from a week at Hotel Girassol, Maderia. No problems with the hotel. Location very good and a short bus or taxi ride to the old part of town. Hotel itself was fine. Breakfast buffet was very good. Didn't eat dinner in hotel but met some who did, and they were quite satisfied with the food. Swimming Pool area was clean and tidy. Reception area was very professional and we found them very helpful. Mentioned on internet that they had a putting area. It must have been someone's idea of a joke! Would also question the 4 star rating of the hotel but perfectly adequate and represented great value for a package holiday. Word of warning regarding taxis:- the price of the fare varied each time so might be better to check the price beforehand. If you like Indian Restaurants - try the Bombay Palace beside the Lido. Food excellent. For a really special night out -The Ciparani - beside Reid's Palace Hotel. Ambience, views and attentiveness was top of the range! Although be warned it's not cheap! Half bottle of cheapest wine cost l4.00 euros. The low point of the trip was Caves at St. Vincente - it is included in some of the island tours. My feeling was - if you been in one wet and damp cave - it's one too many! Also took ferry to Porto Santo. The ferry cost almost 50.00 Euros and we also played golf. Golf fees were 65 euros. Discovered when we were on ferry that it was possible to do a package for about 89.00 euros that included ferry + golf!Tourist office/operators we certainly not promoting it as a package. Porto Santo beautiful island for a day at the beach or a day on the golf course. Otherwise very quiet."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of March 2006
Good value, middle-budget hotel
"We booked a 3-week package at the Girassol (2 weeks half-board, third week B&B).
The hotel is an uninspiring, typically 1960s block, but the rooms are very comfortable. Our room, like the majority, was in fact a suite with separate sitting room and bedroom, which made a very pleasant base for a long stay. The living room had a fridge and cable TV with 35 channels (most of them, alas, in Portuguese). The bathroom had a hairdryer and a shower (fixed head) over the bath, also a bidet. There was no central heating but there was an oil-filled electric heater we could use if it got chilly. There was no clock, so bring your own if you need one.
The south-facing rooms are close to the road and could be noisy. The best ones are the west-facing rooms overlooking the pool - high floors have the best views. A barking dog in a nearby property caused problems, waking many of us at nights, but the management didn't seem interested.
One of the pools is heated, although it was closed for maintenance during one of our weeks. There's a pleasant sunbathing area with loungers near the pools. Free pool towels are provided. There's also a very basic gym that seemed to be free. Everything seemed to be kept very clean and there were always plenty of staff around.
Meals were pretty good on the whole. Breakfasts had a good choice, marred only by the awful tea and coffee. Dinners (also buffet) sometimes had just a fish and a meat dish for the main course, sometimes more. We had no trouble finding good things to eat, but vegetarians would get a bit hungry. The drinks were overpriced, so we tended have drink in our room before or after the meal. A beer in the hotel costs the same as a pack of six beers from the supermarket, which we found an unacceptable mark-up. I wouldn't recommend paying a supplement for half-board. If it's part of a good-value package, that's fine, but otherwise you'd do better eating at any of the many nearby restaurants.
There's a computer room (1 euro for 15 mins) and a couple of small bars, but no real entertainment programme, except for live music in the dining room some evenings.
The guests were mostly couples, middle-aged or elderly. The majority were British, with quite a few German and French as well.
Although it's on a busy road, we liked the position of the hotel - it's about half an hour's walk into Funchal, and very close to bus stops, shops, restaurants and a supermarket. The Lido complex, which marks the start of a seafront promenade to the west, is only a few minutes' walk.
All in all, the Girassol is a sound but unexciting choice. It has little to offer families with children but is fine for adults. It's a pity the management don't try a little harder - better tea and coffee and reasonably priced drinks would have enhanced our dining experience considerably."
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of February 2006
Would definately recommend it.
"Just returned from stay at Girassol, with Thomson, we were pleasantly surprised after reading some of the reviews. We had a mini suite overlooking the pool, very quiet and you get full sun on your balcony in the evenings, the outside areas particularly around the lovely heated pool (there is also a second pool, not for the faint hearted in October, as it is not heated) were very well tended, and we found all the staff, without exception, very helpful and friendly, the food was excellent with a good variety, the situation was also good as it was within walking distance of both the centre and the Lido, I would agree that you have to be careful walking with regard to both traffic and uneven pavements. We combined our stay with a second week in Porto Santo this was a complete contrast to the hustle bustle of Funchal. Well worth a visit to this so far, unspoilt island with a fantastic 9 km of beach."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of October 2005
"Location not too bad - near the Lido with shops nearby and plenty of busses into Funchal Town. The rooms were clean but a little run down, no air conditioning and the rooms at the front a little noisy, but did have sea views. The soft furnishings could do with replacing - a bit smoke stained and smelly. Staff not very helpful - more indifferent than rude.
The breakfasts were pretty good with lots of choice and lots of good fresh fruit, although the fruit juices were just sweet sugary concoctions. Pools and gardens were very good. Many restaurants nearby 'O Dragoeiro' was particularly good. Try the beef kebabs."
- Travel date: Sun 27th of March 2005
OK for B&B
"Just back from Madeira. The Girassol hotel is on the main road into Funchal, and a slow 40-min. walk into town. One good thing is that it is on the flat and not like a lot of the hotels in the area which are up the side hills, giving a lot of huff and puff to the not so agile.
Another good point is that most rooms are a bedroom bathroom and a lounge. Ask for a room at the back and on the poolside as the road noise would be bad at the front, also the East Side is in shade most of the day.
We went on a half board basis, which we regret. The breakfasts were acceptable, about 3 star buffet. The evening meals were bad for us and except for a gala night they were of poor selection and way over cooked. The tables were nearly touching each other and it was difficult to get through them and annoying to others to get to the self-service buffet tables.
At this time of year most hotels are at low capacity. The Girassol only about 20% occupied. Hate to think of the jostling there would be in the dinning room if it were at full capacity.
All in all it is a reasonable hotel if you only want B&B. this is the best way as there are plenty of cafes and restaurants local
Note; watch out for the taxi drivers! Donât let them persuade you that they can take you somewhere then later pick you up and take you back to your hotel. With us, an agreed 16 euro return fare became 60 euro, with a tale of waiting time; needless to say he didnât get the 60. It was another matter with two fellow holidaymakers who being elderly ladies fell into another taxi driver trap.
Another annoyance in Funchal is the ignorant persistence of the time share touts. Hope the mayor reads this and takes steps to kill them off."
- Travel date: Fri 24th of December 2004
"Just returned after a 7 night stay at the Girassol. The location was ideal for our requirements, near the Lido and less than 3 minute walk from the famous Reid's Hotel. The Hotel and the room was exceptionally clean, and although it was a twin room, it was a suite with a colour TV. The only disadvantage was that there was no Air Conditioning...but Madeira was unusally hot when we visited in July 04 with tempretaures 10 degrees C above average, so maybe this wouldn't be a problem in the future. Having said that the Hotel did provide fans for most rooms. Our room had a pool view so the sound of traffic wasn't a problem for us, but I could imagine that having a room located in the front of the Hotel, facing the busy road, could be a problem. Staff were very efficient and friendly - breakfast was buffet style, with a cooked or continental option. Tea and coffee weren't very good though!
What I liked about this Hotel is that it is still a family run business.
There are 4 pools, 2 for kids and they are set in beautiful gardens, with a fantastic poolside bar, again where the staff are friendly and helpful. A towel is given to each guest too!
Madeira isn't like many resorts, and I don't know how well suited this place is for children. At the Girassol, children have to be supervised whilst in the gamesroom and pool at all times.
I heard other guests comment at the lack of choice of meats and fish at evening meals. We stayed bed and breakfast so couldn't comment. Had a very good time in a cracking little place
I'll definetely be going back"
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of August 2004
Loved the Wine
"We went to Maderia in October Not for the young at heart Not much to do in the evenings.
Pavements very bad if you were not good on your feet. Hotel Girassol Ok been in Better 4* Retraurant Waiters not very pleasant very rude reaching across you when clearing tables. Food good most of the time , Good music inthe dining room in the evening. would have been better if it had been played in the Bar Later. Rooms very clean we liked having a suite. Will not be going back to Maderia prefer Cyprus or Turkey."
- Travel date: Wed 19th of November 2003
Excellent hotel with good food
"Stayed here in a family party of 13. Lovely pool and gardens and good bar service near the pool. The pool was great and there were always sun loungers available during the morning and clean towels supplied every day.
There was a disused pool at the back of the hotel which was going to be renovated when funds allowed, but the other pool was never crowded and I think that area would make a brilliant crazy golf course and maybe boules area.
Only downside was that dinner was 7.30-10pm which was a bit too late for the 14month old in the party. Would definitely return"
- Travel date: Wed 14th of August 2013