Until Madeira Airport opened in 1964, you could only reach the island by sea. Reid’s Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Madeira, which is perched on the precipice of craggy rocks, was not easily accessible. But, we had an answer: staff would carry guests up to the hotel in hammocks, making sure that they could reach this clifftop haven in style. Things have moved on since then, but our commitment to indulgence remains unparalleled.
To step through the doors of Reid’s Palace is to enter a world of timeless elegance. We’ve been welcoming guests for more than 125 years. Our hotel has a storied history that begins with one man: William Reid. This canny Scotsman left his family farm for our island’s warmer climes. Here, he set up a successful business in the Madeira wine trade. This was the era of the great ocean liners. Spotting an opportunity in hospitality, Reid bought a swathe of land on the rocky promontory where Reid’s Palace now stands.
Although William did not live to see his hotel completed, his sons welcomed their first guests in 1891. The Reid’s remained at the helm for many years before it passed on to the Blandy family of Madeira winemakers. In 1996, Belmond took the reins.
Over the years, many illustrious guests have passed through our doors. George Bernard Shaw learnt to tango here; Winston Churchill came to write his memoirs and to paint. The suite named in Churchill’s honour, with its magnificent garden views, continues to inspire and enchant today.
At Reid’s Palace, luxury is tinged with nostalgia. Rock in a wicker chair as waves crash against the cliffs below or make your way downstairs for a game of bridge. Snooker and billiards are always popular. Don’t leave without taking afternoon tea. Set on our famed checkered terrace, it’s a time honoured tradition. Madeira cakes are a mouthwatering treat while looking out over the bay.
The great outdoors attracts many to the island. Our subtropical gardens soothe and enchant. Stroll through acres of orchids and palms or soak up the sun at one of three pools. Head to the sea-level platform for a refreshing Atlantic dip before treating yourself to an alfresco massage. With the warm breeze blowing, you’ll feel you’re in paradise.
Of course, there’s plenty for thrillseekers too. Test your mettle against our resident tennis pro, or pick up a paddleboard and drift out to sea.
From tropical breakfasts to cool aperitifs at our Cocktail Bar, food and drink always come with sweeping Atlantic views. Michelin-starred William Restaurant pairs elegant plates with floor to ceiling panoramas, while Ristorante Villa Cipriani boasts some of the island’s best Italian cuisine. Sit on the romantic terrace and try risotto with pigeon or sweet potato gnocchi.
Each Monday afternoon we host traditional dance classes. Dress to impress and put your new moves to the test in our Cocktail Bar. Don’t worry if you think you’ve got two left feet. After all, we managed to teach Mr. Shaw.
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