12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"This will be our 6th year in Madeira and 5th as owners.
We cant fault this place at all. We have a garden 1 bedroom apt which is just perfect, you can relax in peace or just a short walk to the pools for a dip.
Last year my husband and I renewed our vows in the English church and when we returned a bottle of bubbly and a lovely bouquet of flowers had been placed in our room from The Residence staff.
Nothing is too much trouble for anybody, especially Claire and Tom in the owners office.
We return for 2 weeks on 23/7/2012 and we feel like we are going to our 2nd home.
Thankyou to all at The Residence"
- Travel date: Sun 15th of July 2012
August 2007 was our first stay at our ti...
"August 2007 was our first stay at our timeshare apartment that we bought the previous year.
During August 2006 we were staying at Vila Camacho (a 2* rated hotel) and ventured to Porto Mare Hotel for a 45 minute talk about timeshares. We did this with the intention of getting 40 eoros off our trips. After an hour, we were impressed and wanted to know more. (We did feel slightly under dressed as were planning on going to the Lido afterwards!) My partner does not like parting with cash but was enticed. Me, as a school teacher, was limited as to the weeks we could have a timeshare. Whilst our guide was off checking the weeks available, we took the plunge and agreed to buying. It cost us Â£3,400 for a 10 year lease for week 33 (Mid August) until August 2016. It was perfect as we intended on visiting the island several times and as we take our main holiday at Easter (we're avid cruisers) we wanted a chill out week in the summer; somewhere that we knew and we didn't want the hassle of searching (and bickering) about where to spend our week break. It was the best decision we made, especially as we were allowed to use all facilities from signing the agreement that afternoon! Beats a dirty pool at Vila Camacho (I spent a week seriously ill in hospital the day after I rrived back because of it!)
Anyways the facilities are first class. We have a 1 bed apartment. There is a long corridor into the apartment with large fitted wardrobes on the right. On the left is the bathroom (large walk-in shower, two sinks, toilet, bidet, large bath with shower, bathrobes) and further down the kitchen (oven, fridge freezer, microwave, electric hob, dishwasher, coffee making machine, basically a full kitchen!) then the dining area (4 chairs & table) the sitting area (coffee table, settee, two chairs, side tables with BIG lamps, standing lamp, wide screen TV with CD/DVD player and surround sound, floor to ceiling window, french doors to balcony). From the sitting room is the bedroom (2 queen sized beds pushed together, TV, dressing table, wardrobe, drawers, bedside tables, lamps, door to the bathroom and french doors to the balcony which has tables and chairs). What apartment do you know has all that?
There are several pools, indoor and outdoor. One of which has a waterfall and whirlpool. There is a poolside bar serving drinks and snacks. The outdoor pool is freeformed and there are various quiet sunbathing areas and an aviary! Resident guests can use all facilities of the Porto Mare Hotel and Eden Mar, two hotels. In fact all are interlinked. There's a Spa, tennis courts, children's playground, mini golf, toddler indoor play area, which some say is better equipped that some British nurseries. There are about 4/5 restaurants on site; all of which serve fantastic food. There is a courtesy bus into Funchal but I prefer the 25 minute walk.
Funchal is well spread out and very hilly. If you don't like walking much the bus service is cheap and frequent; a rare thing for Brits to see! There are loads of restaurants. I recommend a trip to the fish market. But go early.
There are plenty of trips. Last year we did the bus tours which were great. We recently did two walks in the mountains' One of which was hot and sunny and involved a walk to some waterfalls and through a 1km tunnel! Take a torch. The other, was wet and cool and very scary. Some walks don't have rails. You have been warned! Both enjoyable. Just wear sensible shoes (trainers or walking shoes NOT sandals even the walking variety).
We're off again in four days (18th Aug) for our second year. On Thurs 21st August we're looking forward to Funchal's big parade of classic cars, military personnel, fireworks etc."
- Travel date: Wed 13th of August 2008
Lovely place but badly managed
"We booked directly with the hotel for a two bedroom apartment for a weeks stay from 7 to 13 April. As we booked directly, we had to pay in advance. You can imagine our disappointment therefore to arrive and find that our room was not available as they had overbooked. The alternative they offered us was studio, with another room down the corridoor for our 9 and 12 year old children. For some reason, they expected that this would be acceptable to us and that it would be ok for two young children to be alone in a room away from us. Our complaints were met with much shrugging of shoulders and comments of 'these things happen all the time'. It was suggested that this was our fault for having chosen to come on a Saturday, when the handover day was a Monday.
Eventually after much discussion and a long wait sat in reception, we were offered a one bedroom apartment for 2 days with a two bedroom then being available, together with a discount for the week. We accepted this as there seemed no alternative. When we got to our room, however, we found that this had not yet been vacated by the previous guests!!
We were met in the corridoor on our return to reception by a member of reception staff. He said our room would be ready in 45 minutes and invited us to go to the bar where he said a voucher would be left for us to have a 'drink on them'. He told us to leave our cases and that he would arrange for these to be collected. The promised voucher never arrived but we decided to have something to eat at the bar and so returned to our room an hour and a half later. Our cases were still abandoned in the corridoor and suprise, suprise our room was still not ready. We were asked to come back in another 45 minutes. We did this and again found our room not ready!!! A further hour, and having checked twice further we eventually made it in to our room - to find that they had not set it up for our children as no-one had told the maid that extra beds were needed.
All of the staff we spoke to had no positive comments to make about the reservations team - 'they always overbook', 'you should come in the Summer it is chaos then', and it just seemed to be generally accepted that these things happen. We were told that occassionally people arrived to find that there were no rooms available at all.
We were told that staff would arrange for our move on the Monday (into the room we originally booked) and that we would be contacted to confirm this. No-one did contact us and when I went to reception on Monday morning I faced more shoulder shrugging and I was simply given the key and told to get on with it.
On the first day in our new room, an envelope was stuffed under our door for other guests welcoming us to our room. We were convinced we were going to come back to find someone else had taken over our room. These notes continued during the week but fortunately we did not find other guests in our beds!
On check out day, I was phoned and asked to go to the main reception (not the reception for the residence) as this was the only place that would be able to repay the credit given to us for accepting the smaller room for the first two days. When I arrived there, no-one had a clue who I was and why I was there. Eventually, some 20 minutes and many calls later, I was told to go to the Residence reception. They had no idea ahy I had been asked to go elsewhere! Eventually things were sorted and a credit applied to my card.
This is a lovely place to stay and the rooms (when you can actually get what you booked) are fantastic. The restuarants on the complex are very good and there are several bars etc spread around the place. Also the pools, spa and outside areas are very good.
The complex is massive and if like us you are at the far end of the residence, you will get used to very long walks from place to place in the hotel, along not very well signposted corridoors.
The surrounding area is ok - some nice walks and the odd restaurant and bar but it is very quiet.
Overall, I would certainly consider staying there again but I would be concerned over their poor organisation. It was a case of 'alls well that ends well with us' but we lost the bulk of our first day and a few hours of another, simply because of their [---] over our room and the lack of support shown to us when moving from one to another. It really does seem that they overbook all of the time and in all honesty they really weren't bothered that our room was not available. The words of the first receptionist that we met still ring in my ears 'you are lucky, some people arrive to find that we have no rooms at all'. You have been warned!!"
- Travel date: Fri 27th of April 2007
Exceeded my expectations
"Stayed in Porto Mare Residence for 4 nights. Got a good deal when I booked direct on the hotel website 6 months in advance.
The Residence is part of a bigger hotel, but being in a more exclusive position. Most of the units are apartments, many of them are actually owned privately. There is a sales office in the hotel for those who are interested in buying.
Went with a friend and we shared a 2-bedroom apartment in the Residence Hotel. I was pretty impressed by the upmarket decor with a Mediterranean tone throughout. The apartment has everything one can imagine. 2 good-sized bathrooms with separate walk-in shower unit. The kitchen is fully equipped with electric hob, fridge, dishwasher, oven, microwave, kettle, toaster and crockery. Dining table with 4 chairs, living area has TV with DVD and loudspeakers, 2 balconies with breakfast tables and deck chairs. The bed was huge.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. One receptionist called me by my name on the second day. Arrangment with a driver-guide for island touring was made efficiently. There was also a computer for free internet use at the reception area.
The hotel has large indoor and outdoor pools. My spa experience was reasonable, though choice of massage treatments rather limited.
One drawback is the location of the hotel. It has good seaview, but faces a public park. So during daytime, particularly weekends, there were screaming kids playing football, and at night, teens hanged around till after midnight making a lot of noise.
Having said that, there are many shops and restaurants locally, plus the advantage of a supermarket (3 minutes' walk from hotel) which stocks everything one needs. In fact instead of eating out all the time, I cooked 2 meals in the apartment.
Overall this hotel represented good value for money. The apartment was most comfortable and the service excellent."
- Travel date: Thu 26th of April 2007
Top quality location and accommodation
"Just spent a week in a 2 bedroomed villa in the residence.
These suites are within the complex, meaning that you can use all of the facilities of the hotel. We were in room 3113, which has 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a superb lounge, a full kitchen and 2 balconies that look out over the lido and the sea.
There are only a few 2 bedroomed suites and the ones in this central block are the best. There is some construction around, but we did not hear it. Watch out if you are offered a room above or near the reception, unless you are into watching hotels being built. The site is huge and, as long as you are not near the construction area, you will not hear or see a thing.
The hotel has evening entertainment in three of the bars every night and a wonderful happy hour that, if you work out your strategy and move bars, lasts up to 4 hours! We ate in the restaurant in the Eden Mar (joined) hotel - try the steak on a stone. You have to cook it yourself but the kids thought it was fantastic. Also ate (twice) in the Italian on the lido promenade (also part of the hotel) which was superb.
Do the cable car (up) and the toboggan (down) for a great day out. We hired a car for a couple of days but you could probably see enough in one busy day if you wanted. Do the caves across the central route.
The pools at this hotel are excellent and the extra bonus of a 2 large indoor heated ones, was great on the one day it rained. We played tennis and squash (all facilities can be hired).
If you are on a package, ignore the tour rep and the mandatory attempt to sell you any tours at 3 times the price of the shop next to the hotel.
Overall, a superb facility, one of the best we have stayed in."
- Travel date: Sat 14th of April 2007
Lovely accommodation - we were not disappointed
"Just returned from a week at The Residence. Stayed in the Hotel last year and decided to give The Residence a try this year and booked a one-bedroomed apartment for the extra flexibility. The apartment was extremely spacious, well equipped and furnished and immaculately clean. Our only regret is that we did not book a 'garden room' with access to a lawned area, We would definitely try and book one of these rooms in future - for the use of personal sun loungers alone. I do enjoy spending time reading in my 'own space' and found sitting on an ordinary chair on our balcony somewhat uncomfortable after a while.
Previous reviewers have given excellent descriptions of the apartments, but just one suggestion I have for anyone staying in The Residence is to bring either some detergent for the dishwasher or a small bottle of washing up liquid and a dishcloth, along with any supplies of your favourite tea bags/coffee etc. Although there is a very convenient supermarket nearby, you don't necessarily want to buy more than you need to use in a week. I did manage to remember the tea bags!
Just a comment regarding the timeshare aspect of The Residence, we were never once approached regarding purchasing - which is to the company's credit. I have to say though it was quite tempting to find out more - but we have had a timeshare in the past and managed to curb our curiosity.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our stay (as we were sure we would) and would not hesitate to recommend The Residence to anyone - and one advantage of returning to somewhere you have stayed before is that you do not waste valuable time finding your way around, you can just dive straight into your holiday."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of March 2007
"Very nice place. We had a 2-room apartment, very large, please look at the video, I have uploaded. Nice view from the balcony and the room had anything you could need. Try buying the espada in the market and make your own dinner. Just once.
Breakfast was excellent, but could be a bit busy around nine oÂ´clock.
Pools are clean, everything is clean. Madeira hotels have high standards."
- Travel date: Mon 5th of March 2007
Fantastic 4 families-villas superb. Breakie great. 3.5hr flight. Cant fault it!
"Looking for a bit of winter sun for the first time and with a flight time as short as possible due to having a two year old in tow we quickly settled on Madeira. Having read previous reviews on this website for all the PortoMare resort we found that the Residence with it's one bedroom apartments fit the bill nicely - and only 800ish euros inc breakfast (and what a breakfast it was - superb - almost upto Dubai 5star standard).
Plenty of swimming pools (a little on the codl side but it is Jan) one indoor heated pool (hardly ever used and a little deep for kiddies and short arses).
Happy hour cocktails in the evening 5 euros for two! and if you're a real drinker you can move from one of the bars to the other for a full headache inducing 3 hours getting on it at half price! Sadly the two year old didn't allow us more than a couple of drinks!
The apartment we had was upgraded from one bedroom to two - we didn't need the extra space (other than suitcase/clothing storage) but I think we were given it because I asked for a room on the ground floor if possible and near a lift. We got both requests and the bonus of that is you have your own garden shared with a few neighbouring villas - great for the 2yr old.
The only downside is that there is currently building work going on right next door to the residence end of the complex - walk 50-100 yards into the complex and you cant see or hear it but for us it was a slight distraction but only a tiny one and you can't blame the hotel for that.
Overall I would highly recommended this place. You can relax here or you can go ballistic on trips or levada walks, the choice is yours.
One tip - if you book cheap looking trips with the local reps you have to face a 45 minute sell for a time share. We didn't bother but booked our trips with Strawberry World which are located a five minute walk from the Residence.
Overall for three of us for a week it costs me under a grand inc flights (inc paying for a seat for the littlun). Food is cheap and with drinks I reckon we only spent about Â£400 on top. For a two bed apartment - well appointed and kept spotless by the staff it really is great value."
- Travel date: Thu 18th of January 2007
Make sure you get a garden room
"Just spent a week there in a luxurious 1 bedroom apartment with it's own garden (never seen that anywhere before!)
Staff fantastic, there's 4 restaurants all good value and excellent quality.
Did the timeshare tour just for the voucher with no intention of buying but without any pressure we walked out happy owners of a week for 10 years as the prices are much cheaper than we imagined and it was much more professional than anywhere else we've seen"
- Travel date: Fri 3rd of November 2006
FANTASTIC - As good and better as everyone says
"Well what can I say that hasn't already been said. We had our honeymoon at the Porto Mare Residence. We stayed in a Studio that was well equipped with everything we needed.
The cleanliness was fantastic and all of the staff were excellent, from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.
The Atlantida bar staff were also fantastic and spent time to have a chat with you, but also left you alone if you did not want conversation. Entertainment was the hotel average standard, but pleasant and enjoyable and had various acts at different bars around the complex.
The complex is very large, but never felt overcrowded made up of 3 areas, Eden Mar hotel, Porto Mare Hotel and The Residence. Pools were fresh water, comfortable temp and spotlessly clean.
Plenty of sunbeds available at any time of day and umbrellas charged at 1 Euro per day.
Ate at a different restaurant every night and would highly recommend Solar Da Ajuda near monumental lido shopping centre (you must try the steak on a stone), and Moby Dick had fantastic fresh fish and fresh veg and excellent service.
We went in the cable car which was excellent value, but get a taxi to the start otherwise you don't feel like looking round when you get upthere, takes a good hour stroll from hotel. Fantastic views!!
In short as everyone else has said, fantastic! Could not fault a single thing and will 100% be going back for an anniversary or two!"
- Travel date: Thu 21st of September 2006
Good quality accommodation and excellent facilities
"We have just returned from a 2 week holiday at the Porto Mare.
We had a studio apartment, which was comfortable and well equipped. The daily maid service was to a good standard. This complex covers a large area, and our studio was No. 3001 on level 0. I reckon it was about 200 paces from the nearest lift to our apartment, so certainly not the room to be in if you are in any way forgetful of anything you might need for your time up on the sunbathing area.
There are more than ample sun beds available for use at whatever time of day you choose.
The main swimming pool is a very good size and never seemed particularly busy, and consequently it was very pleasant to use and the water temperature was comfortable.
I used the gym regularly, and it had a good selection of equipment to provide an overall workout in an air-conditioned environment. The indoor pools and other facilities looked excellent.
Restaurants on site:
We ate twice at the Italian. The first time was OK. On the second occasion there were obviously problems in the kitchen, and what was produced was unacceptable. In fairness, the manageress offered an alternative, but we decided to try elsewhere, and to her credit she stated that she did not wish to charge for the drinks and starter.
We used the Atlantida restaurant several times mainly because of the convenience and the buffet menu. It was OK and there was sufficient choice that you could find something to satisfy your appetite. The staff were pleasant and provided a good service.
We tried the Alfama Portuguese restaurant. We found the staff attitudes and behaviour ranged from indifference to rude. The standards in the kitchen could not have been very high either because the food produced was unimpressive. You can do so much better for your money than wasting it here.
The Mediterranean restaurant on the other hand was an enjoyable and pleasant experience. The service, and the food were very good, and although the wine prices are loaded a bit, and it is therefore a relatively more expensive evening, overall you feel satisfied.
Leaving the main hotel entrance turn right and walk up to the taxi rank (2 mins). Directly across the road is the Monumental Shopping Centre, and slightly to the left you will see an establishment called 'La Paella'. Having experienced a 50-minute wait for an overpriced, not very fresh tasting piece of bony fish my advice would be to avoid this place. Complaints to the management at this place about the service and the quality are like 'water off a ducks back'. Do yourself a favour and walk away in the opposite direction from 'La Paella' past the main door of the Shopping Centre to the next corner, which is Rue Casa Branca.
About 30 yards up this street on the left hand side you will find a very nice restaurant called Solar Da Ajuda, which has been recommende by previous contributors. We used it on 5 or 6 occasions and found the staff always delivered a quality meal and a nice bottle of wine, with attentive service regardless of how busy the restaurant was, and on weekend evenings it was full. The overall cost of a 3-course meal with wine was excellent value and well worth the effort of making the short walk up the hill from the hotel.
Taking previous contributors advice we avoided the Tour operator's excursions and went to Strawberry World. They are also located at the Monumental Shopping Centre. We took the half day trip to Nun's Valley and the full day trip round the West of the island. Both trips were worth going on and reasonably priced.
We also went out on a Catamaran. We got a taxi from the hotel to the marina and the the way down the taxi driver was trying to sell us his services for a half day sightseeing trip, using the argument that it would be better value than a sailing trip as there was nothing to be seen at this time of year.
Well, we ignored his sales pitch and glad that we did. At the marina there are plenty of people all pushing for your business. We chose SeaBorn and bought tickets directly from their stance at the marina. We left the marina at 3.00pm as did many other type of crafts and catamarans. The SeaBorn left them all behind and while others kept close to the coast our skipper powered on outwards quite a bit offshore. It was a very stable ride and after about one hour and a quarter he was successful in locating a brief encounter with whales, he then found dolphins which raced along in front and beside us for quite a time, and one of the crew skillfully managed to bring a turtle on board for a brief photo-shoot, before carefully returning it to the sea. We then headed back to the coast and anchored below some spectacular sea cliffs, and those who were keen had time for a swim. We arrived back at the marina at 6.00pm. It was a very interesting, pleasant and worthwhile trip in the hands of a professional crew.
We also took the cable car from Funchal to Monte. The courtesy bus from the hotel drops you just across from its terminus. The re was no queuing and we just walked on both going up and coming down. The ride is approx 15 mins and views are spectacular and the cost is very reasonable.
In summary, Madeira is an interesting place to visit, and the Porto Mare complex provides good quality accommodation with excellent facilities, and customer focused management and staff."
- Travel date: Sun 17th of September 2006
what a luxurious place
"we have just returned from a weeks stay at the residence and was put in a 1 bedroom timeshare apartment and what a beautiful apartment it was. the breakfast was outstanding, the whole place so clean, plenty of nice sofas etc to sit on in nice surroundings, regular courtesy bus into funchal and 4 excellent pools to choose from all very clean, will definately be going back"
- Travel date: Wed 13th of September 2006