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Reviews summary

4
Good
3524 reviews
Brilliant
2148
Good
901
Average
338
Poor
81
Awful
56

10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Enjoy it while you can

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 13th November 2012

"I travelled to the Pestana on a BB basis with Hotelsbooked, and I must say that I did get value for money. Checking into the hotel could have been organised better, but the allocated room was better than expected with views of the pools. Like most guests I was surprised that there was only the buffet restuarant open, but as explained by the guest relations manager, this was because I had arrived in low season, and nothing really started until the 1st june. Still the breakfast fare was plentiful and hot. I couldn't really fault the hotel, and loved the spa, even though neither of the steam rooms were in operation. The reception staff I found to be offhand, but the bar staff more than made up for their rudeness. Although a dog owner I found the pack of dogs that roamed the beach and the hotel intimidating, especially when one decided to follow me to my room!! But the hotel are aware of the problem and are trying to rectify it. A good hotel if you want to just chill out, eat and sunbathe."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 9th June 2008

Laid back in Porto Santo

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 15th December 2012

"Ignore any bad reviews about this resort because they are simply not true. The only things that let the resort down for us was that the check in was painful and took over an hour (reception was disorganised) and the food is expensive and not that great. Beyond that it is a fantastic 5 star resort right on a fabulous beach. The rooms are clean and a good size. The resort has good facilities including a great spa, tennis, beautiful pools with the whole area being well maintained with lovely plants. It is like being on a tropical island without the need or cost of going to the Caribbean. However if you want dancing, night life and a large selection of restaurants then don't come to Porto Santo as there is really nothing to do. The area has a few lovely seafood restaurants but thats about it - so don't pack your dancing shoes!. For me however it was just what the doctor ordered and had a fantastic relaxing break - take a book to read!. Weather is strange and can change from being chilly to hot in a matter of minutes but I got a good tan!. The area is being developed and it will be sad to see it change from a peaceful and tranquil island to a commercial resort - I would recommend going before this happens"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 8th June 2008

Relaxing Holiday

4
Good
by
Reviewed 13th November 2012

"On reading the reviews made prior to my vacation I was very close to cancelling my holiday too! Sooo glad we didnt! Hotel standard was good, rooms very comfortable and stylish, every where was clean and facilities were good. I had a treatment at the Spa and would recommend the massage! Treatments not cheap, but worth the indulgence. Yes would agree with previous reviews that the hotel food was not to the standard you would expect of a 5* resort, which was a shame, breakfast was excellent, but we also took to visiting local restaurants for evening meals (recommend Vila Alencastre, 5 min walk from hotel towards town centre, dont be put off by the narrow entrance, restaurant clean and food very good and reasonably priced). Also tried the larger restaurants recommended by the hotel, and they were good too. Staff were very friendly and helpful particularly waiting staff. No evening entertainment whilst we were there, but would imagine and hope this will change with the start of the season June 1. Chose to hire a car for the day 48 euros, not alot to see on the island but enjoyed seeing the views from the high mountain peaks, in particular Pico do Castelo which has a hiking path leading a short walk from the viewing platform, lots of steps up to the top but the views are worth it. As there is only one plane arriving each week, it is probable that most people you meet on the plane will be staying at your hotel, so remember to be pleasant to everyone cos you may be spending the rest of your holiday with them. Worked out well for us, met some great people and intend to keep in touch. Happy holidays!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 5th June 2008

nice hotel, some teething problems

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 21st October 2012

"My girlfriend and myself stayed at the pestana for a week at the end of may. As this is a brand new hotel we did expect a few problems to arise. Thankfully, very few did. the facilities are excellent, the beach by the hotel is clean, and at the moment not too busy, although expect that to change with new hotels planning on openening in the next few years. Back to the hotel, the room and bathroom were clean, spacious, and very well finished. Breakfast (buffet) was ample, and of good mostly good quality. dinner, at the A la carte restaurant, the italian style and med style were very nice, and fairly competitively priced in relation to nearby restaurants. we didnt eat at the buffet dinner. My only problem with the entire stay was some of the slow/unnatentive service by staff, and i'm sure this will change as the staff get used to the hotel, and customer base. Also stray dogs are a bit of a nuissance on the beach (and occasionaly in the hotel) but they are friendly! All in all a lovely hotel, a true five star (unlike many ive stayed in before), location is perfect on the island. Ideal for a quiet holiday with lots of sun and sea."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 4th June 2008

Relaxing!

4
Good
by
Reviewed 25th October 2012

"Nothing like the below review of “All the expense, none of the value”. The rooms are large with everything you could want or need. Food: The breakfast was good, lots of choices. The dinner really was awful and expensive for a buffet and we were advised the restaurants in the hotel were equally as bad. But why would you want to eat in the hotel when there are plenty of local restaurants serving fish, steak etc etc 5 minutes down the road by taxi. Drinks were also expensive but of good quality. I always found the staff helpfull and friendly if a little rushed off their feet. The swimming pool is huge and a maximum of 5 people in it at any one time. The gym is small but has everything you need, again always empty, the sauna, heated seats etc were great and all included in the price andy they are always empty! The beach is 2 seconds away and you guessed it.. pretty much always empty. Take a hotel beach umbrella and beach towel provided and off you go. Soft sand, crystal clear sea. Mixture of fast moving clouds, sunshine and occasional light rain - I still got a good suntan! I had a totally relaxing, good time. I was so worried after reading previous reviews i was close to cancelling last minute. Im glad i didnt!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 3rd June 2008

Lovely location, pity about the food

2
Poor
by
Reviewed 12th October 2012

"This 5 star Hotel opened in April 2008 and is located next to a stunning beach about 30 minutes walk from the nearest small town. It took an hour to check in - just not enough staff at reception. The rooms are in a series of one and two storey villas and are definitely 5 star standard with safe, mini bar, flat screen TV etc. All the villas are dotted around several large, irregular shaped luxury pools with beautiful detail (little bridges and lovely stonework) . The more expensive rooms face the pools, the others face inland. The hotel has 3/4 restaurants but on our visit only the buffet restaurant was open every day for our one week stay. It was a dull place totally lacking in atmosphere. The "hot" food was poorly presented in large catering style tin trays and was of poor quality and very expensive, 31 euros per person. Wine was more than twice the cost of local restaurants. Our bill for two was 80 euros. A beer was 2.76 euros for a small glass of draught, no wonder the huge bar (with giant TV screens) was empty every night! We made the most of our stay and ate out at local restaurants but be warned these are not nearby, however, some arrange free collection from the hotel."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 2nd June 2008

Good, but room for improvement

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 15th December 2012

"Having read one of the reviews on the Pestana Porto Santo, I was somewhat concerned about what we were going to find on arrival. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised. The rooms are excellent and, if like us, you are fortunate enough to be allocated a pool view, you should have no complaints. We would not, however, have liked an inland view as you could either be facing the building site next door, straight onto the main road or onto the hotel's main thoroughfare. Housekeeping is, however, slow, and rooms are often not made up until late in the afternoon. The breakfast buffet is excellent and, unlike, one report, we found the dining room and bar staff very friendly and helpful. The Reception staff, however, can be cool. Nor did we find that the hotel's main objective appeared to be to get money out of you as reported previously. We ate only one main meal in the hotel and that was in luigi's, its Italian restaurant. It was awful - soggy, expensive spaghetti. Given the proximity of restaurants nearby, I would not recommend eating in the hotel in the evening. One of the nearby fish restaurants - O Calheta, 2 miles to the South - sends a mini van to pick you up and then return you to the hotel at no charge. Pe na Agua, about 2 miles towards Vila Baleira, is very good, and Salinas on the seafront in the town is excellent, elegant and not expensive. The lunchtime open-air dining area in the hotel grounds is pleasant, but there is a limited choice of food. As to prices in general, you are going to pay above the norm in a 5-star hotel, and they will be even more expensive with the pound going down against the euro. Taking these factors into account, however, they are not too bad - 4 euros for a large beer, about 5 euros for a gin & tonic, 7 euros for a good hamburger and chips, etc. Facilities are good with 2 outdoor pools, an indoor pool, good gymnasium and spa, although my wife did not try the latter. The beach on the hotel's doorstep is fantastic - 6 km of golden sand and a clear sea. As to weather, Porto Santo seems to have a variable climate. It can, and often did, get very overcast and then clear quickly. The wind, however, was a problem. Whether that is seasonal or is a feature of the island, I am not sure, but it got very irritating. Overal, therefore, a good hotel which was excellent value for the price. Porto Santo, however, has been discovered, and it is bound to get busier in the next few years once the new hotels and apartment complexes are finished. At present, it is like Cyprus 40 years ago - albeit with not much to do or see, but a place to go and relax. Go now if you want to enjoy it, as it will not last, and prices are bound to go up."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 29th May 2008

All the expense, none of the value

2
Poor
by
Reviewed 12th November 2012

"OK - well my experience of the '5 star' Pestana wasn't quite as good as the gushing review from April 2008 - presumably written by the hotel's PR agency because it certainly wasn't written by someonewho stayed at the same place we stayed in. To avoid being too harsh - first the good stuff: The rooms are clean, well equipped and of a good standard. The location is good - right next to a beach which is perhaps 2 miles log and had perhaps 200 people on it at any one time - only 50 or so near the hotel itself - the sand and water were warm and there is a bar nearby called Henriques which is the best place to go for a drink. The drinks at the hotel are good quality but very expensive - maybe 25% higher than London prices. Now the bad points. When the guests arrive the first night the first experience is to be told 'oh, don't worry you can have somethig to eat in the restaurant - you must be so tired'. Well - the food was some of the blandest rubber-buffet food I've ever eaten with warmed-up pork chops and rice so undercooked it was inedible. The seafood was OK but anything not involving Octopus or Tuna just isn't cooked properly. But then the heart-stopper. 80 Euros!!! No wonder they want you to stay. This is all the more galling as there is a restaurant not 5 minutes (and a 4.50 Euro Taxi fare) away which serves very good food indeed for about 50 Euros including wine called 'Pe Na Agua'. Of course you arrive as the naive guest. Further little 'surprises' were when we asked if we could play pool on the indoor pool table and were handed the balls quite happily with no mention of any fees. Then when we give the balls back at the end of one game lasting 45 minutes we are informed it is '10 Euros an hour'. The most expensive pool game I've ever played and all the more annoying because they never told us. On the last day before leaving they gave all the guests a leaflet saying could we have our bags in the lobby by 5.15pm ready to be taken to the plane. Wel we did this only to be told when about to get on the bus that we would be charged 35 Euros for a 'late checkout' because we hadn't left by 12 midday. We were in a party of around 60 people and apparently most of the guests were stung by this little technique. Either the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing or this is one of the most unscrupulously underhand hotels I have ever stayed in. It ruined the holiday - all the positive atmosphere was ruined by the knowledge that atr any moment there could be something else we would only be told about when they handed us the bill. The staff were generally on another planet - they veered between apathy, incomprehension and a hauty 'holier than thou' attitude which came across as arrogant and dismissive. The impression I got was that I should be pleased I was being allowed to stay in their facilities. There is a welcome bar upstairs but the impression I got was that it is the only thing to do on the island if you are under 25 and the facilities are taken over largely by the hotel staf themselves who spent most of the evenings playing early 1990s Portuguese pop music whilst the 40-something DJ pointed a laser-wand at various 20-something girls he obviously liked. The Spa is a welcome relaxation - a good sized and usually almost empty pool, saunas and steam rooms and a small but well equipped gym, but the treatments are more expensive than those you would get in the UK. One one-hour treatment was 170 Euros. Though admittedly there are a few other ssuch as a full upper-body massage which my wife recommends which cost 65 Euros. But you need a spa relexation to take your mind of the useless staff and cost of everything! For the island itself - further afield there is a restaurant called 48/3 on top of a hill overlooking the beach which serves very nice (nice - not great) steaks and grills. Stay away from prawns/shrimps though - we had them in each of three restaurants and they were never cleaned or had the intestinal tract removed - not unlike I imagine eating seafood-flavoured dirt. Stick to meats and fish and you should be fine. Henriques is nice for a beer on the beach and does a very nice octops salad and a 'Scabbard fish'. He does a mean Caiparinha too! Pe Na Agua is nice, though they tend to want to push their favourite dishes onto you and you feel guilty if you decide not to go with their recommendation. Taxis are cheap and the island is so small that you can get anywhere in 10 minutes. But this is part of the problem - there is literally nothing whatsoever to do. The island is obviously trying by putting on Jeep trips - but these include visits to such landmarks as the local cemetery, power station, primary school and a 'museum' that is just someone's house conveted into a place with a coupleof nik-naks. These trips again are horrendously expensive for what they are - 35 and 40 Euros each. As for the review of the fishing trip above -this is unlikely as when we were there in May 2008 they informed us (contrary to what Lastminute.com told us) that actually the aquatic sports only start in June because of a government licensing decree and go on only to August. So for much of thre year there is literally NOTHING to do. We were there for a week and had literally done everything on the island within two days. A word of warning on the weather too. Our guide kept saying how lucky we were to have good weather which was a bit odd. We had three days of sunshine out of seven and only two of those were 'sunbathable' because of the wind which comes in off the hills. Several famlies were using tents formed of multiple each umbrellas to stay warm and the last day there was dull, grey and very wet - so check up on your holiday weather! All told - not the greatest of experiences and not one worth paying £850 for as we did. The only reason you would go there is the beach and there are far better in Greece, Turkey, and Spain. It isn't worth putting up with such a callous / apathetic attitude, such minimal activities and such unrelenting and underhand greed from the hotel. Incidentally - for a view of the local 'scenery' have a look at the photos from our bedroom."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 15th May 2008

Wow! What an amazing hotel

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 12th November 2012

"This hotel is the best hotel I have stayed in and I am very well travelled. The rooms were amazing, large and very luxurious. The spa treatments were great and very reasonably priced. The food was beautifully presented and the selection was unbelievable. The staff were very attentive and helpful and nothing was a problem to them. The location was amazing, the beach is gorgeous and very quiet. It was the equivalent of being on a Caribbean Island with the advantage of a short flight. This place is really a hidden gem, the village which is a 5 min walk has a good variety of restaurants again the food is excellent and very reasonbly priced and the portions are huge, you get quality and quantity. There are also a few bars, shops and a night club! My husband played golf while I opted for horseriding, and we both went on a fishing trip and scuba diving. All in all this is PARADISE. If you get the opportunity to go don't let it pass you by."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 13th April 2008

Early days yet

3
Average
by
Reviewed 17th October 2012

"Currently in the middle of its ‘soft opening ‘period, so one must make allowances. Quite a lot of allowances. The phone/voicemail system doesn’t work properly; the staff are (mostly)eager to please but occasionally clueless – one advised me to access my voicemail by computer, for example. The Pestana, like other resorts, also seems to take liberties in terms of its star rating. If this were a five-star hotel, not resort, you would expect bathrobes and CD players in the rooms, and named brand toiletries in the bathroom – none of which you get here. F&B too, is overpriced - £10 for a soggy pizza. But that’s quite common in resorts too. There seems to be a shortage of waiters and waitresses – a fact confirmed by one of the ones I spoke to. I’d like to think the hotel is still recruiting, because the other option is that it’s trying to do things on the cheap. Anyway, that’s the downside: the up is that there are several positives about the Pestana. It’s a pleasantly designed complex, with pastel three storey villas and nicely landscaped pools and gardens (the gardens clearly will take a while to look their best). Rooms are large with a modern feel and design touches, as are the public rooms. Kids’ facilities are also good; likewise the spa. It has a great location, with a wooden boardwalk leading through to the wonderful six-mile beach of Port Santo’s south coast. However, be aware that massive building development is taking place alongside this beach. The Pestana is currently flanked by construction sites, and though they won’t disturb Pestana guests, they do tend to detract from the view inland, which must once have been breathtaking. If you're planning to eat outside the hotel, there are several good options along the coast road and in the capital Vila Baleira, but they’re a good half-hour walk, so you’ll probably need a car."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 31st March 2008

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