In 2019, I won a 3 night hotel stay at Melià Madeira Mare hotel, Funchal, Madeira. This is a Luxe Collection property with Jet2Holidays.
We had a Premium Suite with a sea view. The room had a bedroom, huge bathroom, living and dining area and a full kitchen as well as a large balcony. These rooms are able to offer a private chef who you can book (48 hours notice) to come to your room and cook your dinner. Nice touch if on a honeymoon. No other room can offer this as they don't have a full kitchen.
The hotel also has a Master Suite with sea view. Main difference with this is the much much larger balcony, the living and bedroom are not separated and there is a kitchenette rather than a full kitchen.
All rooms including the standard room have a sea view or a side sea view. None of the rooms face the road.
Breakfast was lovely, nice spot over looking the pool out towards the sea. Served until 10.30am which was handy. They have a buffet and a la carte for dinner, and a pool bar/snack bar for lunch.
Spa facilities were amazing. They do all cost extra, but if you pay for a treatment you get to use the spa area for free.
There is an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. Outdoor pool is heated. Although not busy there were people in it every day!
Hotel is located near the Lido so lots of shops and restaurants close by. Bit of a walk into the city centre - about 5 minutes in a taxi.
Madeira itself is beautiful. No beaches other than one black sand beach so no good for beach lovers. Weather was in the low 20's all weekend. They have a micro climate so weather is changeable - had a little rain on the Sunday but not a great deal.
Everything seemed really cheap - cost of food and drink constantly surprised us. The tours we took were really cheap too - £13 each for a half day and £25 each for a whole day.
We took 2 tours with Lido Tours plus a hop on hop off bus tour of the city.
Saturday afternoon we did the Madeira Valley of the Nuns Tour. What a fantastic afternoon. Super small group, very knowledgeable and friendly guide and some absolutely stunning views and vantage points.
We headed first to Eira do Serrado. Here you will find one of the most exclusive and beautiful views.
We then headed to Nuns Valley (Curral da Freiras). First to view this isolated village from above and then down into the village to sample their fantastic chestnuts!
We then headed to the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos. This is were Winston Churchill spent his time painting his landscapes and where we were able to learn about the famous local drink, Poncha, watch it made and have a glass (or two).
Sunday we went on the Madeira Best of the West Tour. It was a jam packed day with lots of absolute beauty to see.
First stop was to admire the spectacular views from Cabo Girão, the highest cape in Europe at an altitude of 1,900 feet and then onwards to the village of Ribeira Brava to admire the beautiful church of São Bento.
We then stopped to take photos from the mountaintop Encumeada viewpoint before driving across the Paul da Serra plateau and meeting lots of friendly cows!
We stopped for lunch in the town of Porto Moniz. We found a lovely spot overlooking the natural swimming pools before heading to Seixal to see the Véu da Noiva viewpoint which offers impressive views over the surrounding cliffs and waterfalls.
Finally we took a stop to see the beautiful views towards São Vicente.
Had an amazing time and have been left somewhat gobsmacked by just how much this tiny island has in terms of beauty, amenities and hidden treasures.
The whole trip made so much more worthwhile with such a passionate, knowledgeable and friendly guide. Definitely would recommend Lido Tours for your trips and excursions while visiting Madeira. Everything you could ask for from prompt pick up, comfortable minibus, nice group size, excellent guides and absolute value for money!
Monday we had the whole day to kill until our flight so we headed into Funchal on their Yellow Bus Tours - it's a hop on hop off service and we got a chance to see the city before our flight home that evening.
Overall we loved the island and the hotel and 3 nights was no where near enough! Hopefully we will be able to return one day soon!