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first impressions of hotel were that it was a little dark with all the carpeting in a dark brown colour but other than that it was just fine. The room was bigger than expected incorporating a lounge area with balcony and separate bedroom. Based on 8th floor overlooking pool was quiet and good view. Weather was very pleasant especially considering what we left behind in the UK, did have rain and cloud for a couple of day but otherwise warm and sunny with an almost constant breeze. Rooms and all of hotel that we saw were clean and well maintained, the staff were helpful and the food was plentiful and just fine, no cause for concern or complaint. Drinks etc. could be put on a room tab, pool towels were provided and a room safe was only 10e. Location was not too bad, 40 minute walk to cable car in Funchal. If you wanted to eat out there were a number of restaurants nearby, average cost 15e for meal of the day. Went on three trips with Thompson, east, west and nuns valley. Reasonably priced, east and west had 3 course lunch and wine included, same tour rep on each trip but she managed not to repeat too much stuff. Scenery was great, only one place with a man made beach, no strolls on the sea shore, the signposting for the promenade was lacking and we never completed the walk to the neighbouring resort. Met a couple of great people who helped make the holiday, overall a very good choice of resort and hotel, would we go back, probably.
Last in this hotel at the millennium so were looking forward to returning and we weren't disappointed. Lots of things remained the same - even some of the staff who were very helpful and friendly. We like the convenient location and the 'mini suite' approach. Plastic mattress covers weren't appealing though.
We really enjoyed our 2 weeks in Madeira at the Hotel Girassol. We had expected a small hotel and were surprised that the Girassol was of medium size and well appointed. We had a 3 room suite with a balcony overlooking the hotel garden and pool. The staff were all helpful and pleasant and the food of generally good standard without being too rich. Having half-board meant we could relax and enjoy our time more without having to worry about food shopping or eating out.The climate in Madeira during February was very pleasant (18-20 deg C), ideal for sightseeing and walking. It was warm enough to swim in the outdoor pool. The island is very moutainous, so walking is relatively energetic, especially on the levadas. The lido in Funchal provides a long walk right out to Camara de Lobos, the adjoining fishing village. We visited the Botanical Gardens, Orchid Garden and the Palace Gardens at Monte. Local buses were good and cheap, especially if you buy a re-loadable card. As pre-warned, we were often approached buy time-share reps while walking near the town centre and harbour area. We would certainly go back to Madeira, and probably the Girassol again, since we felt very comfortable there.
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