This hotel has it all – two pools, themed restaurants, a sea-view bar and as much sand as you need.
A curtain of mountains is the backdrop to this hotel, while out the front a carpet of sand unrolls all the way to Vila Baleira. It’s a lovely, albeit 45-minute, walk there or you can take the courtesy bus, which takes 5.
Two super-sized pools snake their way past Balinese beds and an al fresco whirlpool. The restaurant scene includes an Italian place, and the bar is all geared up for sunset. Plus, there's access to the Pestana Colombos Premium Club next door.
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating
Based On 1573 reviews
- Official Rating
- Lifts: 10, with lifts only available in buildings with 3 floors, not 2.
Holidays in premium hotels
- 90% customer scores
- Platinum Villas available
- Platinum Cruises available
- 20kg luggage allowance
- 4T and 5T hotels
Food & Drink
|Dining options||Breakfast||Lunch||Evening meal||Drinks||Snacks, Icecream|
Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Three visits included per stay to the theme restaurants. Unlimited local alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Including ice-cream.
Facilities ► View all
Hours of fun for your little ones including a mini-disco. It's hotel-run for kids aged 4 to 12 years.
An à la carte restaurant serving Japanese specialities. It's open five nights a week.
Mares buffet restaurant
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available here. Gluten and wheat free dishes are provided on request and vegetarian options are available.
Rooms► View all
Double rooms sleep up to three. They have contemporary furnishings are light and airy and come with tiled flooring. You'll have a flatscreen satellite TV, DVD player and mini-fridge, along with internet and room service available 24 hours - between midnight and 7.30am it's at a charge. For some outside space, there's a furnished balcony or terrace.
2-bedroom apartment villa
Stylish two-bedroom apartment villas let in plenty of natural light with wall-to-wall. There's plenty of space with a comfortable sofa and dining area. They sleep up to six and come with flatscreen satellite TV, DVD player and mini-fridge. For some outside space, you'll have a furnished balcony or terrace.
TripAdvisor Reviews Show more reviews »
This hotel is advertised as being 5 star and Platinum by Thomson, and reviewers below have tried to argue that for the money paid it is good enough. I tend to think that the star rating is a universal standard and it should be comparable to the same star rating of hotels in other countries. This is definitely not the case at Pestana Porto Santo. Overcrowding The main problem is the overcrowding of the place.The hotel website fails to mention that the hotel is linked in one complex with the adjacent Pestana Colombos hotel and that the guests at the latter are encouraged to use facilities at this hotel, due to an ever greater paucity of resources there. We were told that the total occupancy at both hotels at the time of our visit (first half of July 2015) was 1200 people. As a result queueing takes places everywhere: for food at the buffet restaurant, at the pool bar, at reception... The situation is not better at the Colombos buffet restaurant: our record wait was 22 min to be seated for dinner at 8pm. You can never get your towel onto a sun lounger anywhere on the hotel grounds unless you are prepared to get up at 7am and breach the advertised (and never implemented) hotel policy not to reserve a sun lounger unoccupied, or if you are brave enough to throw away someone else's towel and possessions and lie on (we heard that a fight had taken place once in consequence). I gave up trying to walk around the perimeter of the pool in vain hope to ever find a vacant sun lounger and either sat on a chair by the pool bar or on the balcony of the teen club, or lied on my towel on the beach. The Sunset bar is the main evening entertainment area which contains room for about 100-150 people. In the evening it is impossible to get to sit inside the bar, it is even a struggle to reach the bar and order drinks. This is the first 5-star hotel I know where there is no at table service but you have to queue at the bar for a drink (and we noticed that some Portuguese have different queueing rules to us). With 2-3 bar staff for the entire drinking occupancy, and them being also involved in the 'spontaneous' fun that erupts when certain entertainment tunes are performed, it becomes quite a struggle to get your G&Ts and ponchas. Food display and quality On the good side, I did not get indigestion from the food and on rare occasions there was an interesting item to try. Most of the time, the food was bland and repetitive and reminded me of my school canteen many moons ago. I found quite irritating the queueing around the food station, due mostly to lack of space. The selection compared with what is offered in 5-star hotels in Turkey or Morocco (rated equally as Platinum by Thomson) was very limited. Hygiene At a couple of occasions food was dropped on the floor in the buffet area. Rather than swiftly cleaning it, several walkie-talkies were put in use, people were stepping on the mess and I was wondering how inefficient that organisation was. At the pool bar, I never witnessed the chairs being wet wiped and often ketchup and juice spillages were left on the wooden tables or on the yellow trays to dry out. Staff did not rush to tidy up, perhaps because they had many other tasks to do. In all fairness, if you go to reception to ask for an action, they immediately call someone on the omnipresent walkie-talkie and your remark is actioned upon quickly, but do you want to be a permanent fixture at reception correcting the wrongs of the place throughout your holiday? An irritating issue was that every couple of days or so the key to the room would stop working and one of us had to make our way to reception to have it recharged.To spare the use of your legs, you can ask reception to send an electromobile to drive you around the several yards or so. We found those vehicles silent and accelerating unexpectedly and as they use the pedestrian ways, you have to look behind your back or be prepared to jump into the plants to give way. Not to sound completely negative, I ought to add that the weather was sunny and warm throughout our 14-day stay, the room was cleaned to a good level, there was Sky News and two music channels on telly, and the plants on the hotel grounds looked nice. Overall however, we will not be returning and I would not recommend the place.More
Hurby2, Sheffield, United Kingdom
We have been back a week from Porto Santo and what a brilliant holiday we had! Check in was busy however we were checked in within 15 minutes and was given all of the information that was required immediately. We had a large room at the top of the resort that overlooked the pool and sea and the bed was HUGE! There is a slight problem with the reservation of sunbeds however we prefer to lie on the beach and chose to pay the additional 60 Euros to use the sunbeds for the week. In terms of waiting for drinks we never waited more than 5 minutes in the day and also the evening and when we were served the staff provided excellent customer service. We ate at the buffet restaurant 5 nights out of 7 and every night there was a good selection of food and there was also a chef grilling fresh meat on the chargrill. The booking of dinner reservations at the onsite restaurants does need to be done quickly if you want to eat at a reasonable time. However when we are on holiday we have no rush so the later bookings for us were fine. The Med restaurant was brilliant, we chose some special items from the menu and were so glad we did. We also went over to the Columbus hotel for drinks a couple of times and to eat one evening and this hotel has a very upmarket feeling. We equally loved this hotel and the chilled out feel in the evenings it had. The Thomson Reps were all outstanding and couldn't do enough to help with any queries we had. To end our trip we booked the yacht cruise from 1500 - 1800 and I would thoroughly recommend this trip. Not only was the yacht beautiful but the staff were great and the fact we managed to see dolphins and whales made the end of our trip so very special. I would completely recommend this hotel to anyone and hope that Porto Santo remains unchanged as it is beautiful just the way it is.More
Charlotte B, Birmingham, United Kingdom
An excellent stay
We had our first family holiday here from the 13th July 2015 - 20th July 2015. It was our first time abroad with our 6 month old daughter. We were given a lovely welcome at check-in with fresh juice and the animation team keeping everyone going. Our bags were taken to our room for us and we went for dinner at Mares (buffet restaurant). Our suite was fantastic. We were in the 8th villa. The rooms were spotless as was the balcony. They were nicely decorated and the bathroom was very spacious. The only downside was there were no tea/coffee making facilities in the room which meant we had to hire a kettle from room service for the week so we could make our daughter's bottles. I'd have expected this to be included in a 5* resort. The pool area were again spotless and beautifully laid out. There are plenty of sun loungers - anymore put out would spoil the areas. However, people were reserving sun loungers with towels (even though you're told this is against hotel policy) and more often than not these lay unused all day! Luckily there are plenty of grassy areas you can put a towel down abs use instead which we did. The beach is also stunning and well worth a visit. We were on an All Inclusive package and found the food to be excellent. We ate at the buffet restaurant (Mares) at breakfast and dinner. We didn't bother with the other 4 restaurants as they needed to be booked and I'd read on here that the queue for that is horrendous so we didn't bother. We could also have eaten at the neighbouring Columbo buffet but we loved Mares so much we didn't do that either. The food was varied with theme nights at dinner and there was plenty to choose from for everyone. The staff were fantastic and very obliging. We also ate at the snack bar a few times which was also super. All in all we had a fantastic experience on this beautiful island in this fantastic resort. I do think overall it is more like an excellent 4* rather than the billed 5* - it's just missing a few final touches of luxury to make it truly worth that. Having said that we would return to this resort in a heartbeat. More
Shegalah, Falkirk, United Kingdom
Good holiday, but not 5 stars
We stayed here for two weeks in July 2015. Overall it was a good holiday, with good service and reasonable food selections, although certainly not 5 star. The room is a good standard, although there is no Wi-Fi in the rooms and if you are not pool facing, you will be lucky to get a signal in your room. The bed was also particularly hard. As others have mentioned, if you donât grab your sun loungers early (before 07:30!), you may struggle to find one that hasnât been reserved. The hotel says that they check the loungers to ensure that they have not been reserved and unused for more than an hour, but we saw no evidence of this. The pool area was always clean and tidy. The food in the main buffet is reasonably varied, with a different theme every night â there were only a couple of nights that we struggled to find something we liked in there. Of the other restaurants that you have to book, we ate in Luigiâs (Italian) â basic pizza and some pasta, nothing fancy, Madeira Lovers (Madeiran) â mainly meat, not bad (beef kebab is steak on a stick!), but not a lot of choice & Med (Ã la carte) â very good, although only open 4 days a week. You have to book in advance for these and the booking process at guest services creates a long queue after the reps welcome meeting on a Tuesday (best bet is to skip the welcome meeting and start queuing early, at least half an hour before guest services opens). The beach is great for walking, sunbathing or swimming. There can be a reasonable current when the tide is going out, but no more than I would expect in this part of the world. We booked a Renault Twizy via the Moinho car hire booth outside reception to explore the island further and also booked a guided tour of the island with Lazermar (much cheaper booking direct instead of through the rep!) â we should have done these the other way round as there is a surprising amount to see for such a small island. Overall, we would probably visit again.More
Tim S, Market Harborough, United Kingdom
Awesome family hotel and resort..!
Transfer Time: 15mins - lovely welcome by the reps and easy process of boarding coaches. Check in: Considering the entire flight from Birmingham descended at Pestano Porto, the check in process was, fast, efficient and well planned. Tired children were entertained by the awesome animation team (more about these wonderful people later) and tired adults were kept happy with a steady flow of drinks! There was a team of 8 and they were very fast checking everyone in. Room: Perfect... Large, spacious with a small lounge and a balcony. All the usual amenities available as well as a small kitchenette. There is a lack of storage space for clothes, but it wasn't an issue for us at all. We were in Villa 10 which was 2 minutes from the bars and restaurants. Restaurants: We only ate at the main buffet and the pool bar. The buffet is comprehensive and we were very well catered for with a huge variety of food. some people found it to be a bit 'samey' but we were able to find nice items to eat on every occasion. The service at the buffet restaurant is absolutely brilliant. Carlos in particular stood out for us, keeping both us and our 2 year old entertained and happy as well as keeping us supplied with drinks. The Pool Bar probably serves the best food of any pool bars we have used. Throughout the day, they make burgers, hotdogs, toasties and fries on request and there is always fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries and ice cream available. Queues do form at the bar and the restaurant, but they flow very quickly and the staff always managed to secure us a table within 5 minutes. Pool Areas: Extensive, well maintained and plenty of loungers. Beach: We love the beach and this one is difficult to beat. Miles of golden sand, shallow and great waves further out to body surf in. It's very safe, but exciting as the waves do crash in and our little boys loved splashing in them. Beach bar is basic but provides most drinks people would need or require. Wind Sheilds and Parosols are free, but sunbeds cost 10 euros for 2 beds. Evening Entertainment: Really good variety and standard - performed mainly by the animation team. Animation Team: These guys are just awesome! They make every guest feel welcome and valued. They work incredibly long hours and how they remain so cheerful, warm and smiling I just do not know! They are especially good with the children and really keep them laughing and entertained. The entire team are amazing, but I have to attribute a special mention to Luciano and Cici as they really made it their mission to keep our son laughing and entertained. Staff: Just amazing! Last word: Brilliant place for families with younger children. However, I'm not sure couples without children would enjoy this resort unless they love children.More
Things To Do View all »
Chic little boutiques can be found on the cobbled Rua Joao Goncalves Zarco, just off the main square, while just out of town…View details »
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