A Small Luxury Hotel of the World, this indulgent offering combines centuries-old heritage with stunning modernism
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Beach | Food & wine
Found at the base of a sloping hill in a quiet, near-coastal district of Funchal, Quinta da Casa Branca enjoys a privileged position in Madeira’s city gateway. It’s all wrapped up in a delightful botanical garden. From the towering camphor trees that stand guard at the hotel entrance to the spectacular colours of the pink snowballs, yellow trumpets and African tulips, it’s a truly impressive site. With a bit of international flair thrown in, it’s designed as a nod to the island’s wider natural beauty. Often termed the ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’, navigators, botanists and tourists have all been captivated by its subtropical forests. Today, great mountain trails and water canal walks take you among this pristine green world of carpeted peaks and beautifully terraced hills.
Dating back to the mid-19th century, Quinta da Casa Branca was first a British vine and banana plantation. Today, however, it’s the site for a cutting-edge thrust of modern design, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. However, that’s not to say it’s out of place, with lines designed around the gardens and its black stone recalling the island’s volcanic origins. Inside, the rooms are equally considered, featuring muted colour schemes, complemented by Portuguese floral patterns and views over those exquisite gardens, best taken on private-terrace sun loungers. Upgrades add in contrasting light and dark wood furnishings along with marble bathrooms; the suites even come with a Jacuzzi tub. If you’d prefer, there’s a 19th-century manor villa where you can stay among the property’s opulent heritage.
In contrast to the modern wing’s forward-thinking design, its Dining Room restaurant is noticeably historic. A large chandelier hangs from a moulded ceiling, illuminating a giant, patterned carpet. It’s a classic ambience for meals that return to Casa Branca’s contemporary sensibilities; inventive menus showcase the best in innovative, forward-thinking dining. Perhaps start with sautéed scallops served over a green asparagus purée before moving onto baked scabbard fish, dressed in champagne mousse. For more relaxed dining, head to the garden where lighter meals are served in a pavilion made from a delightful concoction of glass, wood and green marble.
Guests at Casa Branca enjoy complimentary access to its Health Club and Spa. As you’d expect by now, the facilities are state-of-the-art, with Jacuzzis, steam baths and saunas among the highlights – towels and dressing gowns are supplied. A range of treatments, provided by luxury brand Phytocéane, is also available along with a fully equipped gym. Back outside, make the most of the Madeiran sunshine with the pool and its sun loungers before ending your night with a drink in the bar. Found in the hotel’s oldest building, it sprawls into the gardens to offer grand views over the city and its hills.
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