The best beach hotels in Madeira, from saltwater sea pools to ocean-view infinity pools

Advice

These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Our writer visited these hotels pre-pandemic.

Whilst golden sandy beaches are not Madeira’s strong point (its sister island Porto Santo is better for that) there are some wonderful hotels with direct access to the sea, across pebbles or just a lick of beach. The majority are on the sunny south coast which is better for a sun-seeking holiday than the north, which is cooler and wetter. For a base with ocean views, infinity pools, luxury services and spas, in locations including Funchal, Arco de Calheta, Porto Moniz and Ponta do Sol, here’s our pick of the beach hotels in Madeira.

Belmond Reid’s Palace

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

9
Telegraph expert rating

Though Reid’s Palace lies in the heart of Funchal, it also enjoys a glamorous location on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. And the property makes the most of its setting: traditional interiors celebrate the hotel’s British heritage through period features and various artifacts, and look onto lush subtropical gardens, seawater and freshwater pools, and the sea beyond (which guests can access directly via stairs built into the rocks). Elsewhere, the hotel organises wine tastings for its guests, as well as dancing classes for everything from the tango to the waltz. Don’t miss afternoon Tea at Reid’s – long famed for its scones and finger sandwiches on the terrace.


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£
238

per night

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Saccharum Resort & Spa

Arco da Calheta, Madeira, Portugal

8
Telegraph expert rating

The sleek, cutting edge design of this Madeira hotel, sandwiched between sea and mountain near the artificially-created sandy beaches of Calheta, was inspired by the island’s sugar cane industry. Interior designer Nini Andrade Silva has woven references to it throughout the rooms and suites rooting the resort in the local heritage. There are three outdoor, heated, swimming pools – one is a daringly designed infinity pool which gives the illusion of jutting into the sea – plus a well-equipped spa. The Garapa Bar on the second floor serves cocktails with a sea view whilst Calhau Bar is actually on the beach in front of the hotel. There are three restaurants and five bars in total.


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£
75

per night

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The Cliff Bay

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

9
Telegraph expert rating

The five-star Cliff Bay stands on a promontory with direct access to the sea and beautiful views over the Bay of Funchal. Superior rooms and suites are situated on the top four floors with large balconies overlooking Funchal harbour and the ocean. The highlight is the Il Gallo d’Oro, the only (two) Michelin-starred restaurant on the island, where Chef Benoît Sinthon delivers locally sourced dishes. Facilities are excellent and include a games room with snooker, a tennis court, three swimming pools, a solarium, an outdoor whirlpool tub, a spa with ESPA products, Turkish bath, sauna, gym and a hairdresser. A free shuttle bus runs into the town centre.


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£
118

per night

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Aqua Natura

Porto Moniz, Madeira, Portugal

8
Telegraph expert rating

Situated on the north of the island, the aptly named Aqua Natura Hotel neighbours a remarkable series of natural swimming pools formed by volcanic rocks, into which the sea flows in and out. The 25 spacious, modern rooms have views over the Atlantic Ocean, as does the inviting restaurant (which spills out onto a terrace by the sea in fine weather). There is a cable car which takes you up over the green mantle of the island to otherwise inaccessible beauty spots and there are also a variety of Levada walks close by. For those who wish to catch some rays, there’s a sunbathing deck with a large whirlpool tub. Overall, this is a brilliant location for a family holiday.


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£
82

per night

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Hotel da Vila

Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal

9
Telegraph expert rating

A chic option close to the beach in what is considered to be the sunniest part of Madeira. Above, craggy cliffs surround the town and above that, banana and sugarcane plantations roll down the hills. The look inside, created by well-known architect and designer Duarte Caldeira, is ‘chic & rural’ (think wood and stone from the surrounding mountains mixed with Portuguese tiles) in what used to be the town’s prison. Just in front of the hotel is a diving centre and a pebbly beach across the road, plus there are numerous surfing beaches nearby. All guests can use the facilities of sister hotel Estalagem Ponta do Sol, which has an infinity pool, whirlpool tub and spa.


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£
78

per night

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Meliá Madeira Mare

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

8
Telegraph expert rating

Facing the ocean along the main promenade in Funchal, this contemporary, design-centric hotel offers 220 rooms, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a health spa and a Malo medical and dental clinic. All with balconies and most with partial or whole sea view, rooms in the Meliá are elegantly minimalistic and come in muted tones of creams and white, amethyst and pale jade. Open-plan public areas benefit from huge floor to ceiling windows, and there are three restaurants and two bars, where local specialities come with – you guessed it – an ocean view. The hotel has direct access to the acclaimed Gorgulho Beach.


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£
70

per night

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The Royal Savoy Hotel

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

8
Telegraph expert rating

Elegant interiors reflect Portugal’s ‘golden age of discovery’, with art and furniture from Asia and Africa (alongside fresh flowers, rugs and heavy chintz fabrics). Standing at the ocean’s edge, with private access to the sea, its 174 rooms and suites overlook the harbour and beyond. There is an excellent spa and seductive indoor and outdoor swimming pools, including a seawater pool with a swim up bar. Rooms are all spacious with furnished balconies and magnificent ocean views, and the restaurants deliver varied cuisines including typical island dishes such as Black Scabbard fish cordon bleu with flambéed banana served with sweet potato mille-feuille and a passion fruit vinaigrette.


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£
136

per night

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Albatroz Beach & Yacht Club

Santa Cruz, Madeira, Portugal

8
Telegraph expert rating

This traditional Quinta (farmhouse) on the cliffs of Santa Cruz Bay has private access to the sea. It has three swimming pools (two down by the sea), a tennis court and 20 comfortable rooms with balconies looking out to the Atlantic. Handsome interiors draw on the island’s characteristic handicrafts; tiled floors, wicker chairs and typical hand-painted, decorative, tiles. A naval theme runs throughout the hotel on fabrics and tiles. Though the airport is just behind the property, views give onto the Atlantic and the Desertas Islands. The town of Santa Cruz with its church dating from 1533, is a 10-minute walk away. A little further inland is Camacha, famous for its wicker handicrafts.


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From


£
135

per night

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