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Quinta da Casa Branca, Funchal, Madeira
Originally a farm on the edge of Funchal and still owned by the Leacock family, pioneers of the Madeira wine trade, Quinta da Casa Branca opened to guests in 1998. It is a masterful pairing of historic pedigree and modern design, with both a traditional manor house from the 1940s offering luxury suites and fine dining and a run of sleek, mid-century-inspired rooms. A wing with premium rooms, a spa and a fitness centre was added in 2002, complementing two pools set in fabulous gardens with more than 260 plant species including trees over 200 years old. Many guests are British or German who stay a week or more, including regulars wise enough to know this is one of the most charming and tranquil places to stay on the island.
With its enclosed, gently sloping gardens, manicured lawns and flitting butterflies, it's hard to believe you're in a city of 100,000 people.
The hotel is on a hill to the west of Funchal, a short drive from the beach and the city centre.
By plane: there are direct flights to Madeira from London and Manchester (4 hours). The hotel is a 25-minute drive from the airport. Free parking on-site. skyscanner.net
Style & Character
Ideal for fans of gardens, modernist architecture and hotels that fearlessly go their own way. Children will enjoy playing in the grounds and pool but there are no special facilities. This is a hotel with a design vision that has paid off handsomely, a rare find on an island that likes to be conventional.
Services and Facilities
We love the free map detailing 44 notable plants and trees in the gardens. Gosh, that popcorn bush really does look like...
- Botanical gardens
- Swimming pool
- Fitness centre
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The garden rooms open onto a patio with smart white loungers with green piping, a lovely spot to relax in the morning sun. We love the composed interiors - walls lined with tussah silk, French oak panelling, a mid-century desk with a vase of fresh garden flowers.
Garden Room, Premium Room, Deluxe Suite, Manor House Suites
Facilities include: ensuite shower or bath, bathrobe and slippers, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, terrace, TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
We love the civilised à-la-carte breakfast on the sunlit terrace of the Casa de Quinta, including sparkling wine, freshly-squeezed juices and omelette 'Portuguese Way' (with chorizo). At dinner, sea bream with asparagus purée, followed by a decadent Grand Marnier soufflé paired with a schooner of 10 year-old Leacock's madeira, is wonderful.
The Dining Room: à la carte, set menu.
Garden pavilion: buffet breakfast, light meals and snacks. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.
Casa da Quinta: evening drinks.