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Doug Wallace

Contributing writer

Editor and publisher of TravelRight.Today, Doug Wallace is a habitué of hip hotels worldwide. Current clients include the London Telegraph, Fairmont Magazine, Trivago.ca and Today’s Bride.

The Savoy Palace is the flagship urban resort of the family-owned Savoy Signature – a group of six hotel properties on the Portuguese island of Madeira. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, it was redone in 2019 in a lovely, lavish manner, and recently launched a sort of “hotel within a hotel” offering, designated The Reserve.

Street cred: It’s all about location

Just a 10-minute walk from Funchal’s old town and 20 minutes from the airport, the Palace is a short walk from the Atlantic shoreline and the cruise-ship terminal. It is also a stone’s throw from the Savoy Signature’s other lifestyle hotels, including the elegant Royal Savoy and the more meant-for-millennials NEXT Hotel.

Who hangs here: Is this hotel for you?

This lobby is busy with casually dressed Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers with a few dollars to spend, for sure – couples, businesspeople, retirees, those who appreciate the finer things in life. I detected a number of different languages, but primarily English accents.

The straight goods: What’s in the room?

From 40 to 260 square metres, the 309 refined rooms and suites are a deluxe affair, a mix of old-style Art Deco design and Hollywood Regency-esque modern glam. Neutral colours are punched up with gold finishings and back-lit, flower-patterned wall panels. Comfortable, low-profile seating and lacquered-wood furniture add a dash of sit-anywhere sexiness.

Bragging rights: What else has it got?

Forty rooms in the hotel have been designated The Reserve. These guests enjoy a greeting service at Madeira airport, a dedicated hotel entrance and elevator, a 24-hour personal concierge, private pools on private balconies, unlimited access to the hotel spa and free rides in the hotel’s Rolls Royce. This range of amenities also includes the Reserve-only Jacarandá Lounge & Club.


Good eats: Cocktails and cuisine

You will never go hungry here, thanks to the five restaurants onsite. Find a mix of Latin and tropical tastes at Alameda, the main dining room, plus buffet-style dining that covers all the bases at Hibiscus Restaurant and Orchidaceae Atelier. I oohed and aahed my way through the tasting menu at the Galáxia Skyfood restaurant. It was out of this world delicious – a parade of Portuguese culinary heritage.

A few of our favorite things: What stood out?

Two things: the extravagant design and the gorgeous spa. A thread of Belle Époque flair runs through the hotel. Interiors were designed by island icon Nina Andrade Silva in a modern style yet with historic elements and patterns – legacy touches like embroidery, wickerwork and flora motifs that pay homage to the island.

More than 23,000 square metres of garden throughout the property are filled with 250 botanical species, including a Universe Garden with plants from all over the world. The spa is indulgent in both looks and comfort, sporting 11 treatment rooms, a champagne and nail bar, beauty salon and more.

Parting shot: If we could change one thing

This being a sub-tropical climate, much of the event space is outdoors, which can become rather boisterous post-dinner.

Standard rooms from €350 ($378 USD). Breakfast not included.

Doug was a guest of the hotel during his stay. The hotel had no editorial input for this review.

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