Porto Santa Maria Hotel
12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"this is the second time we have stopped at this hotel the first time we had a bedroom that looked over the gardens it was lovely and quiet this year we had a bedroom that overlooked the old town which was very noisy some nights we did not get to sleep until 3am if we come again we shall want a bedroom overlooking the gardens the food and service at the hotel was great"
- Travel date: Sun 25th of November 2012
We have just returned from the Hotel Porto Santa Maria
"having spent our 40th Wedding Anniversary there. The hotel is superbly situated in the old town with excellent restaurants within a couple of minutes walk of the gate. We chose it specifically because it had a flat level walk along the promanade into Funchal (five minutes at average pace and a little longer for those who find walking more of a problem) and had an indoor pool, but usually stay in 5 rather than 4 star hotels.
We booked a suite with ocean view and were given room 201. We were delighted with the room which was spacious, well equipped, well serviced and attractive. We were not so delighted with the "ocean view" which was in fact a restricted sea view with sight over the sun bathing area mentioned elsewhere for the first floor rooms, the easterly wing of the hotel, one end of the garden and an angle onto the sea with rocks at low tide. Because of the way the balcony was angled it was also overlooked directly by occupants of rooms in the adjoining 2nd and 3rd floors which was a little "off putting".
If you want a full ocean view or harbour view to watch the busy shipping in Funchal, check you don't get rooms 101, 107, 180, 201 or 207 and possibly others. Almost all rooms in the westerly wing have restricted sea views too - beware!
Buffet breakfasts were excellent and catered for every taste, lunch buffet (three courses for under 8 euros) and pool side service (drinks, sandwiches, salads) were good too. We did not eat in the hotel restaurant in the evenings but meals there seemed to be a themed buffet each evening and a la carte menu.
Staff everywhere were helpful and friendly and the inside pool was great for swimming this early in the season although some poeple were also using the outside pool.
Everyone visiting this hotel really should try to book an appointment with Barbara who offers beauty and other treatments, physiotherapy (qualified). Her hot stone massage was excellent. (However, if everyone did try to book appointments she would be so rushed that a lot of people would miss out!)
We ate at a number of the restaurants close by and can recommend thoroughly the Tapassol, the Portao and the O Regional. The second time we ate at the Tapassol we were greeted like long lost friends and it was good to be recognised with all the thousands of people passing each day. The O Regional was a little more expensive than the others but we ate some of the best fish we have ever tasted there, the service was truly silver service. We also ate at the O Jango - meal was good but we found it crowded and a little claustrophobic. We also had a good meal at the Grande Muralha, the Chinese restaurant. All of these are within a couple of minutes walk of the hotel and there are dozens more to choice from.
For our wedding anniversary we splashed out and ate at the Tokos in the hotel district, a ten minute taxi ride away. Everything about it was superb if comparatively pricy but well worth it for a special occasion.
We also had an excellent lunch of fresh grilled sardines and fresh tuna salad at a little restaurant overlooking the marina. Can;t remember the name of it but it was in a corner close to the huts advertising sea trips of various types.
There is a taxi rank directly outside the hotel and it is very easy to find a good driver who speaks a number of languages to take you on a half or full day tour of the island. The advantage of this is that he will take you where and when you want to go not where the coach/minibus tours take you, provide an individual commentary on the sceneny, the flora and fauna, life and introduce you to a more personal view. We took one half day and one full day tour in this way and enjoyed both enormously.
For sea trips, we can recommend the Santa Maria which we used on an earlier visit and this time took a yacht trip - exhilarating and the view of the island from the sea is dramatic.
Would we return to the Port Santa Maria? Yes definately but we would ensure we did not have one of the restricted view rooms."
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of April 2006
Service well beyond expectation at Porto Santa Maria
"I would wholeheartedly agree with the positive comments on this website on the Porto Santa Maria Hotel. My wife and I had a wonderful stay at the hotel last week. We found the hotel service to be near perfect. We had an excellent, well -appointed room with a fantastic sea view on the second floor, though most of the rooms appear to have a reasonable outlook anyway. Watching the liners come and go from the balcony is fascinating. The room was cleaned scrupulously each day and the hotel staff were friendly and polite. The breakfasts were more than adequate but sometimes if you were there at a busy time, you had to hang around a little for a table, especially if the weather was poor and the tables on the terrace outside not in demand. When the hotel management became aware that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary and a âbig!â birthday, we were delighted to find that they had arranged a lovely bunch of flowers in the room and a bottle of wine to celebrate. In addition, they had noted the birthday date and delivered a birthday cake to our room that day! This is the kind of surprisingly thoughtful service that guests really appreciate.
The hotel clearly is in the perfect spot in Funchal, in the old town, with good facilities all around, and no hilly climbs involved. Much better than in the âhotel zoneâ though we did visit the Cliff Bay there, a sister hotel of the Porto Santa Maria. (This too was impressive, with lovely gardens and sumptuous lounges, even if the lunch was a bit over-priced).
There is an amazing number of high quality restaurants all within a 2 minute walk of the Porto Santa Maria. I would strongly recommend our favourite the Portao for overall service, atmosphere, quality and value, just round the back of the hotel towards the Fort. The chef there is also the owner, and it shows in the quality. We also had a super meal at the Estrela do Mar, near the gate entrance to the hotel (our second favourite), not the cheapest, but a good selection and great quality. Other good ones are O Tapassol and O Regional . If you want a Chinese meal, Grande Muralha was really nice. We were a little disappointed at the fairly standard fare and table congestion of the A Maralha, right at the hotel gate.
If you go up in the cable car to Monte, donât miss having lunch or a coffee/ wine in the superb terrace cafÃ© of the Quinta do Monte hotel. A wonderfully relaxing setting if the weather is right for sitting outside.
Getting around anywhere in Madeira is simple and inexpensive using the public buses. Taxis are also fairly reasonable for standard journeys, though naturally if you are going to hire them for full or half days, it is going to cost you.
Finally a word of caution on levada walking â go prepared and donât do as we did just wearing normal footwear and clothing! The local levada walk between Blandyâs Gardens and Monte is heavily promoted in tourist books as an easy walk. Maybe so, but after recent rain, the track was awash with 6 inches of mud to the extent that shoes etc can get ruined. Also some sections of the route are quite high up from steep drops and narrow and unfenced. Combined with the mud this made it, at least to us, pretty uncomfortable at best, or even dangerous.
Madeira is certainly for the older crowd, not for youngsters or families. But itâs a wonderfully relaxing place if you fit the age group! And you certainly wonât go wrong staying at the Porto Santa Maria."
- Travel date: Thu 9th of March 2006
an update on Porto Sanata Maria
"We have revisited the Porto Santa Maria after a break of two years and I can safely say that the standards are as good as ever. There have been lots of reviews done and I can't really add any more to those.
As far as location is concerned it is ideally positioned in the Old Town and there are so many good restaurants nearby. Other restaurants may be better but I have listed the 4 we visited in case this helps.
1. O Tapassol. Right by the front entrance. Very friendly staff. Good food, reasonable prices.
2. O Jango. Directly behind O Tapassol. Gets busy about 8pm-9pm. Excellent for fish. Cramped inside
These were in my opinion the two best. The others were Arsenios (or similar name) directly opposite O Jango which was good for fish and had fado singing but wassn't in my opinion greatly atmospheric. And other place was a small restuarant a bit further down (west) the same road or the same side as Arsenios. Food was good and staff friendly. As it is small it does get busy at 8-9pm which seems the popular time to eat."
- Travel date: Wed 22nd of February 2006
Best hotel we've stayed in anywhere!
"We stayed in one of the specially adaped rooms in this hotel. The comfort and superb design of the hotel when added to the great location (in old town) and the friendliness of all the hotel staff made this one of the best holidays we have ever had.
We've already booked here again for a week in August this year... can't wait!"
- Travel date: Thu 9th of February 2006
Looking forward to our next visit!
"Like many other reviewers we have stayed in this hotel several times, and our next visit is February 2006. That speaks for itself - it is an excellent hotel and all the staff are wonderful, but the position is it's main advantage. Close to many good restaurants - our favourite is Arsenio's (fantastic seafood kebabs) where they sing traditional Portuguese fado. Also very close to the cable car up to Monte - incidentally the place for afternoon tea is not Reid's but the hotel Quinta de Monte, a few minutes walk up from the cable car terminus at Monte - excellent homemade Madeira cake and any sort of tea you want. Back to the Porto Santa Maria - ask for a sea view room on the second or third floor for the best views. Don't be put off by one reviewer's comments about the stream - this is outside the hotel and only a very few rooms look over it. We have never noticed any smell when walking past it.
We can highly recommend this hotel - do not even consider staying at the other end of Funchal in the "hotel zone", the old town is much more attractive and FLAT. Nearly forgot to mention the market, also just a few minutes walk - a must see for the fish stalls and flowers. Enjoy!"
- Travel date: Sat 14th of January 2006
"Stayed here for our summer holiday, good location in old town with only promenade between hotel and sea, quiet, very clean, staff helpful, food in hotel good but so many restaurants nearby would suggest going B & B. More English lang. channels on TV than usually found abroad. Opted for superior sea view, accordingly were suprised to find out view was partially obscured by a large sun deck, then discovered deck was for the use of our and only four other rooms, bliss, hop over balcony onto deck and no fights for loungers. Nearby cable car well worth a go, lovely gardens at top. Whilst we enjoyed several restaurants our favorite was 'Restaurante Chines Grande Muralha' two minutes walk at most, food good, staff friendly and efficient, excellent value, best restaurant price we found for Lancers wine (a blast from the past have not seen in the UK for years)."
- Travel date: Tue 27th of December 2005
Perfect location in Funchal
"We chose this hotel on the basis of the great reviews on the tripadvisor site, and would agree with most of the positive comments previously made. I can't think of anything negative to say about this hotel.
The location is perfect, in the heart of the old town and adjacent to many restaurants and the cable car to Monte. The hotel is spotless, the staff friendly, and you get the impression that the hotel runs like clockwork.
There is a complimentary bus service to the Porto Mare Hotel at the other side of Funchal in the "Tourist Hotel Area".
We only ate breakfast in the hotel. This is plentiful and entirely buffet service. There are several outdoor tables and we had no trouble getting a table outside each morning. As for dinner, there is a wide choice of restaurants on your doorstep. We ate in some of the restaurants previously recommended by Tripadvisor clients, and the best, BY MILES was O Regional.
One tip - we hired a car and would do so again. Hire prices are very reasonable and apart from certain parts of the island the roads are easier to drive than you might think.
We would definately go back to this hotel"
- Travel date: Fri 25th of November 2005
"My wife and I booked this hotel for two weeks on the strength of Tripadvisor reviews and we were not disappointed.We payed extra for a sea view balcony and it was worth it as it raises you just that bit higher for a good view of the cruise liners entering and leaving the harbour.
Excellent clean hotel, friendly staff,nice bar with reasonable laid back entertainment (but lively if everyone's in the mood!)and a prime position in the old town for restaurants, cafes and the town. Much better than the hotel zone."
- Travel date: Thu 17th of November 2005
the Porto Santa Maria, Funchal --my second home!
"We have stayed Porto Santa Maria in Funchal four times, always look forward to our return visits and can only agree with other reviews. The hotel is excellent both in facilities and location.The breakfast sets you up for the day.The service has always been efficient and to a high standard.The rooms are comfortable and the majority overlook the sea.There are wonderful resturants just outside the hotel for those who don't want to use the hotel for an evening meal.The hotel is well situated for people who do not want to climb a hill every time they step out of the door---rare on Madeira!!"
- Travel date: Mon 7th of November 2005
"I cannot praise this hotel highly enough. It is hard to find things to say without simply repeating what the other reviewers here have said, but I will try.
My husband and I stayed here for 12 days in October on honeymoon. We informed the hotel it was a honeymoon and when we arrived there were flowers, a special pillow and a bottle of champagne waiting in our room. We asked and the hotel arranged the taxi from the airport and back to the airport and found us an excellent driver. When my husband left his mobile phone at the hotel after our departure, the hotel phoned the taxi driver who turned around and sped back to the hotel for us and then back to the airport again so that we didnât miss our flight. I would have absolutely no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending this hotel to anyone.
The room itself was clean and comfortable with a lovely sea view. It also overlooked the pool area where banana plants grow and there are carefully tended and lush gardens. In the morning we ate breakfast among the palms and other plants on the restaurant terrace.
One thing I found really useful was the internet hotspot in the lobby, this is free and you can bring your own laptop if you have a wireless network connection and simply log on. For those who prefer it there is a computer with an internet connection in the lobby, although this is in great demand and at times you have to wait.
Breakfast is served buffet style as others have mentioned and most mornings I ate the fruit salad and some cold ham and cheese. The selection was large with many different choices including cooked breakfasts.
The staff are really helpful and go out of their way to make your stay pleasant. Most of them seem to have been there since the hotel opened in 2000 and are mainly young. I spoke to a few and found out that Orlando, who is responsible for the pools, and I think the gym etc, is also the surfing champion of Madeira. The reception staff are all very friendly and professional. Everyone from the chambermaid, who was bubbly and cheerful, to the front of house manager made sure our stay was wonderful
The facilities are comprehensive and there are three pools, one indoor and an adultâs and a childrenâs pool outside. We found that after a swim it was really good to go and sit in the Jacuzzi to relax. There is also a sauna and a gym, although I didnât try these.
One thing we did while there was to see the hotel therapist Barbara. I had Reiki and my husband had a traditional Swedish massage. I would definitely recommend that, although be sure to book early as Barbara seems to get quite booked up.
There is a bar next to the pool and another bar/restaurant serving snacks. There is also the main restaurant although we didnât eat there in the evenings. The snacks are very reasonably priced and the service is excellent. We ate out in the local restaurants, there are many of these in the Old Town, just outside the hotel. The hotel is also well located for the cable car, shopping and the centre of Funchal is within walking distance.
Funchal is a lovely town, full of Mimosas and with lovely white and black pavements. There are many cafes where you can sit and watch life passing by. Another thing I would definitely recommend is hiring a car and seeing the stunningly beautiful mountains of Madeira."
- Travel date: Sun 6th of November 2005
This lovely hotel has a great location i...
"This lovely hotel has a great location in the Zona Vehla (the old town), near the cable car and lots of great restaurants. Most of the rooms have a lovely sea view.
It was very clean and has lovely, friendly staff. It has a peaceful feel.
There's a small outdoor pool, but we loved the much larger indoor pool. We frequently had this pool completely to ourselves. There is also a small gym, but we never saw anyone using this!
The room was very comfortable and the kitchenette was a great bonus.
I highly recommend the Saturday night entertainment in the hotel - Banda d'Alem - a hugely entertaining local folk band.
Restaurants we particularly enjoyed were Le Jardin (superb - and entertaining - fruit flambÃ©) and O Tapassol near the hotel, and the Cerveja Beerhouse on the seafront. The cafe in the Jardins de Sao Francisco next to the Blandy's wine lodge was good for a really cheap meal or drink.
Definitely get out of Funchal and experience some of the staggering scenery of Madeira. We took minibus tours with Strawberry World - it would take a braver person than me to negotiate the incredibly steep, twisty and narrow roads in a hire car! It is well worth doing a few levada walks too.
Madeira is an amazing place. It was sometimes cloudy and did rain once, but that's why the scenery is so verdant and the fruit so tasty, so we can't complain!"
- Travel date: Fri 30th of April 2004