What is a Quinta? Many former Manor Estates and Countryside properties have been lovingly restored, improved and adapted to become luxury tourism getaways. There are several on the island of Madeira and the majority boast quite unique surroundings and buildings. However, there is now a new passion for luxury Quintas on Madeira and those that deliver exceedingly high standards have become especially renowned and are much sought after by both celebrities and the wealthier members of society alike.

Today we will cover two of the most graceful Quintas on the island. Both are luxurious, 5 star properties. But they are worlds apart in terms of location and what they offer to the discerning traveler. Join us for an in-depth look at Quinta Casa Velha do Palheiro and Quinta Jardins do Lago.

Quinta Casa Velha do Palheiro

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Located in the hills above the Madeiran capital Funchal, next to the stunning Palheiro Golf course, lies the luxury country house hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro.

This wonderful property is situated next to the famous Palheiro Gardens, originally created over 200 years ago by the 1st Count of Carvalhal. There is also direct access to the Golf Course, with privileged tee offs from the halfway house, a short stroll from the gate. If peace, tranquility and relaxation are requisites of your vacation – then seek no further.

Within the extensive grounds there is a heated swimming pool with sauna and steam bath: Tennis or croquet, billiards or walking. For gentler relaxation they offer a morning room with library, and a very smart, comfortable lounge bar.

The Palheiro Gardens – famous not only for the variety of plants that grow there, but for the beauty of their hillside setting, form a rich collection of plants from so many different parts of the world, gathered together over a period of 180 years or so. These private gardens are open to the public weekdays and attract over 40.000 visitors per year.

Located within the Palheiro Gardens, on the perimeter of both Palheiro Golf and Casa Velha, a Tea House provides delicious homemade cakes, pastries and ice creams for the Garden visitors as well light snacks and refreshments for the energy burning golfers. Casa Velha guests have direct access from the hotel gardens.

The Palheiro Spa is an exciting new addition to the Casa Velha Hotel. Set amongst one of Europe’s most beautiful gardens it is difficult not to experience an immediate sense of well-being and beauty.

Palheiro Spa offer a comprehensive massage menu from around the globe, specifically designed golfers massages, botanical face and body treatments and “immediate results” non-invasive facial treatments.
Their dedicated team of Physiotherapists, Masseuses, Beauty Therapists and Esthetical Therapists quietly strive to successfully create and carry out each guests individual spa journey.

The hotel also owns a private motor yacht. The  ‘Balancal‘ awaits your pleasure at the Funchal marina. It is available for coastal cruises, swimming, dolphin and whale watching, as well as deep sea big game fishing and special charters.

All rooms at Casa Velha do Palheiro have en-suite bathrooms, equipped with hairdryers and heated towel rails. All suites and superior rooms have additional separate shower cabins. Senior Suites are equipped with Whirlpool-baths.

Where better to experience the intimate pleasure of a candlelit dinner than in the privacy of the elegant Casa Velha dining room. Surrounded by the renowned gardens of the unique estate, you can savour the delights of fine cuisine, expertly prepared and presented.

Be it fresh Scottish salmon, or wild mushrooms from France, every effort is made to ensure a guests pleasure. The select menu, influenced by a Mediterranean palate and spiced with hints of the Orient, are both surprising and delightful.

Guests at the Casa Velha may enjoy a wide variety of menus. As well as the superb Á La Carte menu, they have a Daily menu, a Light Meal menu and a special Gourmet menu. A Light Meal menu is also available as part of the room service / lunch menu. The Gourmet menu is a seven-course taste experience which is prepared per table, and includes four accompanying Portuguese wines. Simply a Gourmet Extravaganza!

Facilities at the Casa Velha do Palheiro:

• Morning room / Library
• Lounge / Bar
• Sitting room
• Games Room
• Meeting Room / TV Room
• Free WiFi in public areas and garden
• No charge for incoming faxes
• 7 day In-house laundry service
• Dry cleaning (next day service)
• Wake up service
• Multi-lingual hotel personnel
• Medical Doctor on call
• Private Parking
• Golf Adjacent to Palheiro Golf Course
• Palheiro Gardens Free entrance on weekdays
• Big Game Fishing
• Sauna – no charge
• Steam room – no charge
• Fitness room – no charge
• Heated outdoor and indoor Swimming-pools
• Spa
• Badminton, Croquet, Table tennis
• Billiards
• Card table and Board games
• All weather tennis court – floodlit

You can find detailed information and online reservations at the Casa Velha do Palheiro website:  www.casa-velha.com

Quinta Jardins do Lago

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Further west along the green hills surrounding the city of Funchal, close to the historical area, you will find a charming and welcoming Madeira island Quinta that was built in the 18th century.

Quinta Jardins do Lago is a small luxury botanical garden hotel.
Until recent times it was the home of well-known French and British families. During the Napoleonic wars General Beresford, Commander of the British forces on the island chose it as his residence. His magnificent sideboard, a reminder of his stay, still adorns the magnificent dining room.

Today the Quinta Jardins do Lago, with its 31 double rooms, 4 historical Junior Suites and 5 Premier Suites, all facing south to the luscious gardens and the blue Atlantic ocean, has been passionately designed to offer the best accommodation with modern functionality in traditional comfort and style. This is undoubtedly the reason why it has become Madeira islands most sought after small luxury botanical garden hotel.

The lush Botanical gardens are absolutely amazing with more than 500 different species of plants which are unique in their variety and natural beauty.
With an area of 2.5 hectares full of wonderful examples of rare species and old trees as well as many colourful and delicate flowers, the flora of ‘Quinta Jardins do Lago‘ is such a rich and diverse collection that it can rival any good botanical gardens.

The garden has a fantastic collection of centenary examples, such as Dracaena Draco from Madeira, Syncarpia Glomelifera from Australia, Cinnamomum Campitora from China / Japan, as well as many fantastic varieties from all over the world as Jacaranda Minosifolia from Argentina, Pandanus Utilis from Madagascar or the Erythrina Abyssimica from Tropical Africa.

Many of the trees in this Madeiran Quinta were planted in the early eighteen-century. The different owners of this Quinta always kept contact with various Botanical Gardens worldwide and invested lots of love and time improving these relaxing and colourful gardens which for 47 years have been the home of “Colombo”, the Quinta`s giant tortoise.

The Quinta has 11 Standard Garden view rooms, 20 Superior Panoramic view rooms, 4 Historical Juinior suites, a beautiful Premiere suite with a large balcony and a magnificent Presidential Suite.

All rooms feature:
•    Large balconies facing the beautiful gardens
•    Sitting area
•    Air – conditioning and heating
•    Cable TV
•    Direct dial telephone
•    Free Safe deposit box
•    Mini Bar
•    Private marble bathroom with double basin, Makeup mirror, hairdryer, bath/shower, bathrobes and separate w.c
•    Hairdryer
•    Free internet connection (on request)
•    Blackout drapes curtains
•    Iron/ironing board (on request)

The Quintas facilities include an acclaimed, elegant evening Restaurant with al fresco seating for the perfect evening, offering Madeiran and International first class cuisine served with high professional standards and welcoming Madeira traditions. A cosy bar for the sunset cocktails and nightcaps where one can enjoy good music in a relaxing atmosphere.

Nestled around the special tropical swimming pool a bar offers refreshing drinks, snacks and quality food cooked simply with the freshest local ingredients in what is a truly relaxing area.
An elegant breakfast room with verandah, featuring an exceptional sixteenth century ceramic wall panel with garden seating surrounded by beautiful and pleasant flowers is the ideal way to start your day.

Other facilities available are the 24 Hours Reception; Library; Billiard Room; Meeting Room; Private Parking; Room Service. Heated large freshwater swimming pool; Sun terraces with sun beds, umbrellas and towels; Well equipped Gym; Sauna; Turkish Bath; Jacuzzi; Tennis Court; Croquet and Table Tennis.

You can find detailed information and online reservations at the Quinta Jardins do Lago website:  www.jardinsdolago.com

Author: Chris Szabo, MD – Navega Bem – Madeira island – Portugal.