Madeira - not a holiday destination I’d ever really thought of really - but when I was invited to stay at the newly opened Savoy Palace hotel - the newest 5-star property on the island - I thought it was time to give this Portugal holiday haven a little try. It’s worth noting that the hotel was still in a soft launch phase and there was a lot of hype around the opening. Soft launches can be risky as this is the time when a hotel irons out any kinks and, perhaps, doesn’t open in its entirety. As a result, prices are lowered for holiday go-ers, which is great because you could get a 5-star holiday for less but you do run the risk of slow service and teething problems with staff. I didn’t particularly notice that during my time at the Savoy Palace. I found the reception a little slow (too many cooks and all that) but otherwise, it was spot on.
The pink reception at Savoy Palace
When my taxi pulled up to the hotel, which is just a 20-minute journey from Funchal airport, I was amazed by how grand it was. Think huge chandeliers, plush sofas and a grand elaborate staircase. My suite was on the 15th floor and upon opening the door, I was in heaven. The suite, with its stunning views, has a seating area, a bedroom, a huge bathroom and a walk-in closet. If I could have moved in, I would have. There was even a pillow menu to hand which we all know is #Fancy.
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The delightful sea-view room at Savoy Palace
I think the bathroom is the real unique selling point to these suites - it’s perfect if you like to share envy-inducing photos on Instagram, let me assure you. There’s a big standalone bath, a rain shower, marble everywhere and gold detailing. The Savoy Palace bosses certainly didn’t scrimp and save with the bathrooms - there are even Chopard products to use. Dreamy.
A gold and marble bathroom? Yes please
TV obsessives will be pleased to know there are two! One in the lounge/seating area, and the other in the bedroom.
Chocoholics, you’ll love that turndown service features a mini Toblerone on your pillow - certainly beats a mint!
Possibly my favourite feature was the blackout blinds at the switch of a button - I don’t think I’ve ever had such a lovely night’s sleep - and I even kept with the standard pillows.
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I often judge a hotel by the breakfast - surely that’s not just me?! And I was pleasantly surprised with what was on offer - every nationality is catered for and the mini pain au chocolates are dreamy.
And if we’re on the discussion of food - I’ll talk about the stone-baked pizza in the pool beach bar. Heaven! I like to think I’m an expert in pizza, and I rate this as a solid 9.5 out of 10. I can’t possibly give the chef full marks because you always have to strive for perfection.
Gorgeous pizzas in a stunning set-up - what more could you want?
Sun worshippers, rejoice! You’ve got plenty of choice of where to catch rays. The ground floor sees hundreds of sun loungers and a humongous pool. My personal favourite spot was on the 16th floor with a small infinity pool. It felt slightly more intimate and I just really appreciated the views. Try and bag yourself one of the navy loungers - definitely the comfiest.
The pool is an Instagram hotspot
This spot is also pretty amazing after dark. It’s the ideal spot to sip cocktails and swoon over the Madeira skylights. Because this hotel hasn’t been designed to keep people out, locals and tourists are very much encouraged to enjoy what’s on offer. I imagine the 16th floor will be a buzzy cosmopolitan destination in peak summer months.
Views on the roof
Also located on this floor - the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Galaxia. With staff dressed like cool Dan Humphrey-types in jeans and trainers, you might think it’s a low-key vibe but it’s actually very fancy. Be sure to try the scallops - delicious. If you’re the type to pack your nicest frock for the last night, make Galaxia the chosen reservation. With a midnight blue starry interior and crazy lighting, they’ve taken the galaxy theme to the next level.
Galaxia at Savoy Palace
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If you’re a spa supremo, prepare yourself. There’s a lot to love about the 300sq tranquil spot hidden within the hotel that's inspired by the Laurissilva Forest – Madeira’s impressive UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest surviving laurel forest in the world. If it weren’t for people coming in and out in robes, you’d be forgiven for missing it entirely. I personally loved the huge offering of spa treatments - the list is endless. I went for an Aromatherapy Associates body massage and it was heaven. The therapists do a hard sell at the end to buy the products but perhaps I just looked the type of gal who wanted to spend £100 on body oils.
The spa at Savoy Palace
The spa houses 11 treatment rooms, sauna, Turkish bath, jacuzzi, ice fountain, sensory showers, halo-therapy room, relaxation room, champagne and nails bar, beauty salon and heated indoor pool.
If you’re looking to venture out of the hotel I can highly recommend going on an excursion for the day with Discover Madeira on a tour of the entire island. You'll love the Cabo Girao cliffs and the skywalk platform. The Old Town of the capital Funchal has a charming atmosphere, with cobbled streets, festivities throughout the year, botanical gardens and a multitude of restaurants and bars, from Michelin-starred through to those serving abundant local specialities. There is also a burgeoning cultural, art and nightlife scene.
Doubles from €200 (£181) in low season; and from €280 (£253) in high season. Breakfast is included and there is free Wi-Fi. For more information, visit savoysignature.com.