Over the years, working as a travel journalist and editor has meant I’ve been lucky enough to experience some fine hotels. Just two, however, have stolen my heart: one is situated on the island of Jersey while the other is the sublime VidaMar Resort Hotel in Madeira.
I’ve stayed several times at the VidaMar and, whenever possible, it’s my go-to accommodation upon visiting Maderia, which lies 400 miles off the African coast; in fact, such is the affection I hold for the hotel that I never want to leave!
So, if you’re looking to make your holiday one to remember, book a stay at this contemporary, stylish hotel where its adroitly designed structure sporting expansive windows makes the most of natural light.
My most recent visit was October 2023. On this occasion, I travelled with my family who were excited about having this gorgeous place as their base during our five-night stay on Madeira, dubbed the “Floating Garden in the Atlantic”.
As expected, nothing had changed since my previous visit, including staff still firmly believing in service with a genuine smile, a location which remained as enticing as ever and, well, I could compile a long list of superlatives fitting to this popular hotel. Seamlessly integrated into the island’s sunny south coast, its position means a 20-25-minute walk to central Funchal, but there is lots to see along the way.
The glass-fronted VidaMar exudes a cool, refreshing and relaxing vibe. Book a stay here and you’re guaranteed understated, relaxed luxury. On offer are indoor and outdoor pools – including three enticing infinity pools, direct access to the ocean from, arguably, the largest sea platform in Madeira – and the Thalasso Sea Spa. If you want to truly unwind after a busy day sightseeing, treat yourself to one of the spa’s range of indulgent treatments.
When it comes to bedrooms with a view, there is no need to worry because all 300 are ocean-facing. Spread over ten floors, the rooms are spacious and contain everything needed for a comfy stay, including a range of toiletries. I always choose a room on the tenth floor, if available, because, wow, what a view! There is nothing better than relaxing on the balcony while enjoying the uninterrupted view of the Atlantic Ocean.
On the food front, all guests enjoy a half-board package which includes breakfast and dinner. The company’s “dine around” concept means one can swap the usual meal at the main a la carte restaurant in order to sample dining in the hotel’s other eateries, such as Mamma Mia, the Italian restaurant, or Casa das Espetadas, serving traditional cuisine.
Earlier, I mentioned helpful staff, but I’d like to highlight, in particular, the wonderful staff at Reception who are always happy to help with queries, directions, etc. Then there are the Guest Experience Ambassadors, Tatiana and Susan, who go out of their way to make sure guests have everything they need; both were extremely helpful to us.
The hotel’s website states: “With stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic, VidaMar Madeira features a variety of services and experiences unparalleled on the island.” I couldn’t agree more.
There is plenty to do at the hotel, too, such as wander around the gardens packed with exotic plants and palm trees. Little ones will enjoy being entertained at the kids’ club while pool, table tennis and volleyball, among others, are all available.
As noted in my review of the Atlantic Hotel on Jersey – my other special hotel – it’s extremely rare that I put pen to paper with nothing but positives to report. However much I enjoy visiting a hotel, there is usually something where I can offer constructive criticism in the hope that the proprietor can improve their customers’ experience. But my visits to VidaMar comprise of gloriously golden moments where it’s all pros and no cons!
So, if you ever get the chance to stay at the five-star VidaMar Resort Hotel, grab the opportunity with both hands because it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget.
VidaMar Resort Hotel
Estrada Monumental 175-177
Tel: 00351 291 717700