FUNCHAL, Madeira -- For many travelers, the best of all hotel
worlds is a historic property, rich in character and old-world
charm, but boasts all the latest creature comforts.
To ensure it meets the above criteria, Reid's Palace, a
110-year-old property on the European island of Madeira, has
undergone $22 million in renovations since its acquisition by
Orient-Express Hotels in 1996.
The latest $4 million refurbishment included the addition of two
executive suites and an elegant new look for the grand entrance to
the Edwardian dining room. In addition, 15 guest rooms received a
Further renovations centered on outdoor improvements; updated
conference facilities; an enhanced fitness center with two
additional massage rooms; new pampering and rejuvenating spa
treatments, and guest room refurbishment.
Shortly after the Orient-Express takeover, a redesign of the
facade in the swimming pool area got under way, along with new sea
level decking, a new elevator and a new rooftop, Atlantic-view
restaurant. A year later, 36 rooms and seven suites in the main
building were restructured and redecorated.
Traditional Portuguese azulejo tiles enhance guest bathrooms,
while mirrors, lighting and marble vanities continue the style of
grand pre-war resort hotels.
Reid's Palace opened in 1891 as a stopover point for passengers
traveling on ocean liners to the far reaches of the British Empire.
Royalty and luminaries in the fields of the arts, sciences,
exploration, politics, sports and finance have chosen Reid's
Palace, finding it the perfect "island on an island," as general
manager Anton Kung phrased it.
Among the many famous guests, Winston Churchill, who visited in
1950, is remembered by the Churchill Suite, which features
Churchill memorabilia, specially commissioned Venetian damask, silk
curtains and Chinese wallcovering.
Another suite commemorates literary giant George Bernard Shaw,
who referred to the resident tango instructor of the time as "the
only man who ever taught me anything."
The tango tradition continues at Reid's Palace. While guests can
enjoy a typical British afternoon tea every day, on Sundays, this
popular pastime is enhanced by tango lessons.
Sports facilities include two heated seawater pools, one tidal
seawater pool, two all-weather tennis courts and a fitness center.
Two nearby golf courses guarantee Reid's guests tee times plus
discounted greens fees.
Waterskiing, skydiving, volcano climbs, horseback riding and
sports fishing for the likes of blue marlin and bluefin tuna are
With the increased interest in active vacations, Kung reported
that the hotel's guided walks along the island's levadas have
become quite popular. These water channels, once used for
irrigation, run along the contours of the island, providing many
Ensuring that young guests enjoy their stay to the fullest, the
property has created the Fun at Reid's Club, which provides a full
range of games, sports, excursions and other activities for
children ages 3 to 13, under the supervision of a multilingual
staff. The only charge is for meals and excursions.
With six restaurants from which to choose, clients can dine in
settings to suit their mood.
The Main Dining Room is an elegant venue for lunch or dinner;
Les Faunes, featuring French cuisine and a collection of Picasso
lithographs, also presents a formal ambience; Trattoria Villa Cliff
serves Italian fare in an informal setting; the Garden restaurant
is another informal choice for lunch or dinner; the Poolside
restaurant, open for lunch only, serves snacks, and in summer, the
outdoor Breeze do Mar offers continental cuisine and sunset
All of Reid's 130 guest rooms and 32 suites have balconies or
terraces with views of the Atlantic and Funchal harbor. Amenities
include a minibar, satellite television and Internet access.
The property appears on Conde Nast Traveler's 2001 Gold List,
ranked as the second-best hotel in Europe for activities and as
having the second-best restaurant at a European hotel.
Wide range of packages
FUNCHAL, Madeira -- Reid's Palace offers honeymoon, anniversary,
golf, fitness, gourmet, fishing and botanical packages. Regular
rates run from $515.79 to $778.95 per person for four nights and
from $878.95 to $1,342.11 per person for seven nights, depending on
Higher prices apply during Christmas, Carnival (Feb. 23 through
28), the Flower Festival (April 26 through May 1) and the Wine
Festival (Sept. 6 through 11).
For further information, call Leading Hotels of the World at
(800) 223-6800, or visit the Web site at www.reidspalace.orient-express.com.