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We visited Madeira less than a week after the catastrophic floods. Thomson were totally unhelpful when contacting them before travelling, gave us no reassurance at all, just said the airport and hotel are open, you will be travelling as contracted. We contacte the hotel direct who were much more forthcoming reassuring us that the hotel area was not affected (true). The hotel is very pleasant, clean, well appointed and comfortable. Staff are lovely. Location would be a big problem for some as it is up a narrow, steep street. Food is OK, plenty of it but becomes a little repetitive, with last night's leftovers often in evidence in the next days salads. Lots of people were affected by tummy bugs while we were there but we were fine. The hotel provided free bottled water. There was a kettle and proper fridge in our room so recommend taking your own teabags and buying milk out there. The average age in the hotel must have been over 60, but it is nice not having children in evidence!
The Thomson team were OK, the main rep is a bit of a drip and his welcoming presentation feeble. The evening entertainment act is probably enjoyable after a few drinks but as we don't drink I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. The young entertainment team try hard and have lots of energy. The excursions are ridiculously expensive and can be bought far cheaper just down the hill, although we did enjoy the Land Rover expedition. The Spa is lovely with a full body aromatherapy massage costing just 35 euros and the rooftop jacuzzi is also very relaxing although it was blowing a gale when we were there!
We hired a car (against the advice of the rep) and explored mostly the eastern side of the island as there was some limit to accessibility on the west side following the floods. Funchal city centre has been badly affected but the people are working very hard to clear it up and great progress was made in the week we were there. If you looked for it you could see evidence of the storms almost anywhere but we travelled around without hindrance. Our best day out was a walk over the eastern most tip of the island - Ponta do Sao Lourenco - wonderful views and a fairly hard but amazing walk.
Overall we enjoyed our stay but we're not very sociable people and tended to keep ourselves to ourselves and be independent so didn't really partake of the whole Thomson experience. Plenty of other people seemed to enjoy this though. I would highly recommend this hotel and Madeira.
Just arrived back from Funchal and we were very impressed with the Hotel. The room and food were of a high standard, and the choice of menu at each meal catered for everyone's taste.
We were impressed with the excellent and varied evening programme presented by the Thomson Entertainment team. We also found the Thomson advisors were on hand and gave friendly and helpful assistance on various topics. We were given the opportunity to take a couple of walks with Anita, the Thomson local specialist, which we found very informative and enjoyable. With regards to Madeira, It is a beautiful Island and the best way of exploring it is to take an organised excursion. The Hotel is on a hill which could be a problem to people with walking difficulties. Overall a good time and we will be returning to this Hotel next time we visit Madeira.
At last thomson get it right. A new gold hotel that actually achieves the accolade. From the time the taxi arrived and a rep came straight out to help with the cases (nice one John) to a fault free registration. A room that had been planned and furnished with quality furniture and matching decor including the bathroom. A restaurant that serves fresh meat and veg as opposed to the usual fare of frozen everything. And staffed with friendly, caring people who made us feel at home. We had a really wonderful week over new year (fireworks to die for) and for seasoned gold hotel holday makers we had no moans or groans only totally complimentary things to say. Reps who were happy to talk to you, even when you were not booking excursions, an entertainment crew who were huge on enthusiasm and worked very hard and once again the hotel staff who pitched in to entertain as well as do what they were paid for (thanks to Jose, Helena and all the bar staff) we plan another holiday here later in 2010. In the meantime could we suggest that thomson look at their other gold hotels and bring them up to this level.
The island itself has so much potential we could not make the best of it due to the rain and wind but rest assured we will rectify that later in the year.
Christine and Phil Burnley Lancashire 25th Dec to 1st Jan 2010 Just returned from a fantastic stay at the Savoy Gardens. Everything about the hotel was superb. The food was excellent especially the Gala Night on New Years Eve, 5 course waiter service with wine flowing freely. The entertainment was first class each night, cannot say enough about the entertainment team, reps and also the hotel staff, they did everything to make sure we enjoyed our stay. The Christmas lights and Fireworks on New Years Eve in Funchal were out of this world, one of the best New Years we have had. The hotel is situated at the top of a hill and may not be suitable for people with walking difficulties, we returned home feeling very fit after various walks and trips around the island. Would recommend the toboggan run very exciting. We hope to return again soon.
We usually stay at the Classic Savoy but as it is closed for renovation we stayed at the Savoy Gardens for the first time. The hotel was excellent and it was lovely to see some of the staff from the Classic Savoy but it did lack the old fashioned charm and character of the Classic. The view from the room was good but the hotel was further from the town centre than the Classic Savoy and up hill all the way back!! The Christmas lights were stunning as usual.
However I had not realised that Thomson Gold meant organised Thomson entertainment and I would have prefrrred not to have this included. Of course the evening entertainment did not affect us as we did not need to go but presumably it increased the price of the holiday. I did find the daily poolside quiz intrusive if I wanted a quiet time by the pool or even in the room. I'm sure the Thomson Reps did a very good job but I did think they could have kept a lower profile - say a half hour visit once a day and a telephone contact number. There always seemed to be 2 or 3 of them in the reception area.
Perhaps for a few extra euros on the holiday price replenishment of tea and coffee supplies could be included.
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