BEFORE REACHING MADEIRA, many people insisted that we should visit Reid’s Hotel in Funchal and to take afternoon tea there.
Located in the western part of Funchal, Reid’s was founded by William Reid, a Scotsman who arrived in Madeira in 1836. The hotel was his idea but he died before it was completed (in 1891). The massive seafront establishment was designed by George Somers Clarke and John Thomas Micklethwaite. It is not great architecture.
Since its opening, the hotel has hosted many famous guests including Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, George Bernard Shaw, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Apart from its celebrated guests, the establishment is famed for its afternoon teas. We decided against partaking of this treat because it contains far too many sugary confections. We had morning coffee and a pot of tea by the swimming pools on a terrace overlooking the ocean. By Funchal standards, it was costly (10 euros) but not outrageously so.
Undoubtedly, Reid’s is luxurious with good service. Its position overlooking a rocky cove is superb even though it is located in a part of Funchal, which resembles unexciting slightly upmarket seaside resorts on Italy’s Adriatic coast. However, the well-appointed hotel seemed somewhat sterile. If sun and sea is your top priority, then Reid’s is the place to go if you can afford it. However, it lacks the charm of other places in Funchal.
Well, we did visit Reid’s as people had suggested before we left London but I must say that it is not my ‘cup of tea’.