Peace and Tranquility in Portugal

by Philip Gibson
   
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QUINTA DA BELA VISTA

As our taxi pulled into the sweeping driveway of Quinta da Bela Vista, high above the bay of Funchal, it felt as though we were trespassing on private property, such was the air of tranquillity and exclusivity. This 160-year-old Madeiran quinta (a traditional manor house) has retained its aristocratic atmosphere since being transformed into a luxury hotel a few years ago.

Inside, the decor is reassuringly classic and luxurious, with antique furniture and fine paintings adorning the walls. The staff’s genuine warmth and hospitality was apparent the moment we stepped through the grand doorway.

Our suite was spacious and charming, boasting an elegant country style (complete with open fireplace). A highlight was the stunning view over the bay from our balcony – it was a real treat to wake up to such a wonderful sight every day.

Quinta da Bela Vista is located away from the town centre but still within easy reach. However, there is plenty to see away from the centre – most days we booked a taxi and explored the island. At the end of the day, however, it was always lovely to return to this hotel – a real home from home. It doesn’t get much more romantic than Madeira – the island is breathtaking in its beauty, with masses of flowers, greenery and exotic plants flourishing around every corner. The scenery surrounding Quinta da Bela Vista is just as impressive – we walked every day around the two-and-a-half acres of hotel grounds and beyond to look out over the mountains, hillsides and the bay. The marine reserves on the island are a must-see for a day trip, and we were told that there are festivals on throughout the year that are worth returning for.

You can charter the hotel’s yacht for unforgettable day trips. There are also golf courses nearby which made an enjoyable change from our daily walks. If you’re not after a lot of activity and would rather a restful break, the hotel has plenty to keep you occupied.

A large swimming pool in the grounds is surrounded by comfortable sun loungers and lush landscaped gardens – perfect for a day soaking up the rays and reading a good book. We also made use of the little fitness centre – both the jacuzzi and sauna were very relaxing.

Our best days were spent dozing by the pool, feasting on local dishes and strolling around the exquisite gardens admiring the astonishing array of flowers and plants. From bird of paradise blooms to arum lilies, Madeira was a fragrant delight.

Facilities
  • Two restaurants – Avista Navios and Casa Mae – serve first-class local and international cuisine
  • A cocktail bar and lounge provide a pleasant setting for drinks
  • Gorgeous outdoor swimming pool overlooking the mountains, sea and Bay of Funchal
  • Discounted fees and transfers at the nearby golf course, tours on the hotel’s private yacht. Function areas are available for social events

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