Wednesday 13 April 2011

Reid's Hotel, Funchal.

Every day from our hotel we could look back a little way along the coast and see the famous Reid's Palace Hotel, created by a Scot, William Reid. He was born in Kilmarnock, one of twelve children. He was not a healthy boy and at fourteen years of age his father, a farmer, gave him five pounds and told him to seek a more congenial climate. William arrived in Madeira as a cabin boy in 1836.
The island was becoming a place for the wealthy to stay for periods from three months to several years. At first William and his wife earned their living in letting out local quintas to the rich visitors. Later in life he bought a rocky outcrop of land on which to build his hotel but died before the project was completed in 1891. His son, also called William, took over the business and the hotel became a venue for the rich and famous. Flying boats would bring the visitors to the island.  
In 1936 the hotel was bought by the Blandy family, famous for Madeira wine, and now it is owned by the Orient Express Group. The hotel lobby is decorated with wonderful period posters from the glamorous 20's and 30's.

THE thing to do in Madeira is have tea on the terrace at Reid's. The hotel is very British in period style, and as you can see, on the day that we visited, so was the weather!

We were disinclined to sit and watch the grey clouds swirl, far better to stroll about the hotel's interior, to look at the photograph's of previous visitors, Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and to gawp in admiration at the beautiful floor and the mural painted on a wall of silver leaf in the bar. 

Soft, pale carpets, bowls of flowers, comfortable sofas and chairs.
I shall only return to Madeira if I am allowed to stay at Reid's Hotel!


  1. hi rosemary,

    this will be my 3rd attempt at leaving a comment. whew.

    i think i will only go to madeira if i can stay here too.

    i'm a sucker for a classic black and white floor.

    do you take the english weather with you wherever you go?


  2. My parents had a black and white chequerboard dining room floor - it was a shocker to clean!
    And sadly, English weather does seem to trail at my heels. We are going to Turkey in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping that we'll manage to escape to glorious sunshine.

  3. If the view from your hotel room was up the coast toward the hovel that you obviously stayed in, then you wouldn't have gone down so much in my estimation, Cher. Remember - 'only the best', especially at your time of life.

    My (Turkish) friend is in Istanbul right now, and it is very cold and rainy, so good luck there too.

  4. I must put this on my list of places to go. I do want sunshine though, as I fear black clouds are following me these past few months.

  5. "your time of life." What do you mean, Tom? Shall post our 'hovel' tonight. (Martinis were 17 euros each at Reid's!)
    We've been sailing in Turkey in May in glorious weather and I'm hoping for more of the same.

    Dear Starting Over, Madeira was a nice break, but one week was enough for me, for reasons that I'll give in a posting. Sorry to hear about your black clouds and I'm hoping you'll manage to blow them away soon.