Please note: this article is sponsored by our partners at Madeira Selection, Madeira Islands and Visit Portugal. The links on this page will take you directly to the Madeira Selection website.
More getting back to nature than going to the beach, Madeira is the ideal destination for those seeking something other than sand and sun-loungers. You'll never be too far away from your next adventure on this tiny Portuguese island, wherever you choose to stay.
To help you narrow it down, we've tapped the experts at Madeira Selection to bring you eight of the best hotels on this idyllic Atlantic Ocean gem.
The first thing you’ll notice about Sentido Galomar? Its spectacular ocean views. This adults-only pad tumbles down from its clifftop perch to a lounger-lined natural pool, meaning you’ll never have to go long without dipping a toe into the bracing Atlantic.
Located in the cool coastal town of Caniço – just 15 minutes from both the airport and island capital, Funchal – Sentido Galomar has a real private feel that’s ideal for couples craving a quiet escape. At the core of it all is the hotel’s eco-friendly ethos, which runs through everything from décor, such as its unique rice husk interiors, to its fully self-sufficient energy use.
Whether you’re looking to feel reinvigorated by luxurious spa treatments and fresh sea breezes or by active watersports and ocean swimming, the Sentido Galomar offers something to suit all interests.
If you’re visiting Madeira on a budget, three-star Dorisol Estrelícia strikes the perfect balance between comfort, location and price. This is an island that’s made for exploring, after all, and getting out to see it all is the main draw for adventurous travellers.
That’s not to say this Funchal bolthole makes any compromises. You’ll still enjoy all the classic touches you’ve come to expect from a top tier stay – think two pools, tennis courts and a spa offering therapeutic massages, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and more.
Plus, as part of the Dorisol complex, you’ll have access to a poolside terrace bar and Restaurant Europe, an on-site eatery that dishes up international cuisine buffet style.
It’s hard to miss the stylish Sé Boutique hotel, with its rich blue walls and palm frond-fringed café that steals the spotlight from its neighbours. In the heart of Funchal, this cheery hotel oozes character from its art-filled lobby all the way up to its lush rooftop bar. In contrast, Se Boutique’s 54 rooms are a tranquil retreat: modest but well-equipped and decked out in calming cool tones.
The hotel’s other facilities include an indoor pool and spa and bespoke activities that can be arranged at the desk. Its on-site photoshoot package (€350) gives you the opportunity to get primped and preened in what is sure to be your most unique souvenir yet.
Stay here to be close to Funchal’s top cultural sights, including the city’s gothic cathedral, its historic farmers’ market and marina, as well as a clutch of museums that cover everything from military history to art, embroidery and old-school toys.
Quinta da Serra has some serious eco-credentials. A carbon neutral hotel – its emissions are offset by its notable reforestation efforts on the island – Quinta da Serra boasts solar panels, recycled water for irrigation and a sprawling organic farm, the produce of which you can taste at the on-site restaurant.
Among its lush gardens is a vineyard that produces fortified Madeira wine and a tea plantation, replanted in 2013 in honour of the property’s British founder, English consul Henry Veitch.
Around 35 minutes from the airport, in the village of Jardim da Serra, this five-star hotel enjoys a peaceful position surrounded by leafy gardens. Expect cosy rooms, an indoor pool and spa and stunning views into the valley and out to the Atlantic.
Quintinha São João embraces the charm of old Portugal and pairs it with modern flair. Taking inspiration from classic countryside properties – known in Portuguese as a ‘quinta’ – the five-star hotel is surrounded by verdant gardens that carry through to its lush and leafy interiors.
As well as its traditional Portuguese style, Quintinha São João gives nod to Goa, the Indian state that was once a colony of Portugal. Both its on-site restaurant and bar feature Goan cuisine. Try the prawn curry or sample the ‘Route of India’ cocktail, a mix of rum, coconut milk, lime and curry and cardamom syrup.
Other hotel highlights include its second-floor pool with treetop views and the impressive wellness spa, which offers facials, deep exfoliation treatments and massages. Its tropical shower is also extremely Instagrammable if that’s your cup of tea. Quintinha São João is around 2km from Funchal old town.
Adults-only Four Views Baía promises its guests rest and relaxation, with an invigorating range of spa and beauty treatments at the Four Feelings Spa. Facials, manicures and massages are all on the menu here, though we love the swish hammam and indoor whirlpool.
Two sparkling pools round out the hotel’s R&R offering, with soft sun-loungers that are made for afternoon dozes and panoramic views of Funchal and the ocean. Vistas continue throughout the hotel and rooms boast private balconies with sea or mountain views.
With the city’s warren-like old town less than 2km away, Four Views Baía makes a fantastic base for exploring the city without staying in the thick of it.
Four-star Aqua Natura Bay has scored prime position in Porto Moniz on Madeira’s northwest coast. There are just 42 rooms at this tranquil hideaway – all are ocean-facing thanks to the hotel’s curved design – but the real drawcards are its heated outdoor pool and proximity to the island’s iconic natural pools, Piscinas Naturais Velhas.
Aqua Natura Bay’s dive centre will help you get out onto the waves – and under them – though its highlight activity is a dive session in Madeira Aquarium, where you can get up close to sharks, rays and schools of colourful fish. Canyoning is also popular around Porto Moniz, with some 20 circuits starting from the village.
Prefer to stay dry? Walkers and hikers will also enjoy saying at Aqua Natura Bay thanks to its direct access to some of Madeira’s famous levada trails. With six to choose from, plus tons more walking routes in the island’s UNESCO-protected laurel forests, you can easily spend a holiday here getting back to nature.
Located in the Lido area of Funchal, five-star Meliá Madeira Mare is the best of both worlds. Combining the seaside – as well as the Lido, there are a handful of pebble beaches nearby – and city vibes (Funchal old town just ten minutes’ away), it’s the ideal base for getting a flavour of the island.
Most rooms here have views of the stunning Atlantic Ocean, which can also be enjoyed from the hotel’s lagoon-style pool.
Meliá Madeira Mare also has a spa, gym and hairdresser on-site, as well as three restaurants: the Mare Nostrum buffet, casual Ilheu, and Il Massimo, where traditional Madeiran cuisine is served alongside international favourites.
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