A heritage property with a pristine setting
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Having started life as a truly luxurious family home, the Quinta Jardins do Lago is idyllically poised atop a green hill, just outside of Funchal – Madeira’s largest city. As its name suggests, it’s cloaked in 2.5 hectares of tropical gardens that host no less than 500 different species of plants, many of which date back to the building’s construction. It’s even home to a stunning collection of water features and summer houses along with Colombo, a 52-year-old giant tortoise.
As one of the most sought-after small luxury hotels on Madeira, Quinta Jardins do Lago is nothing short of impressive. First built in the 18th century, it started life as home to a series of well-known French and British families – the hotel’s magnificent dining-room sideboard came from one General Beresford – the commander of the British forces during the Napoleonic wars. It’s all been carefully preserved in a recent renovation with marbled bathrooms, cable TV and complimentary WiFi added to dark wood furnishings. Most also take full advantage of their pristine setting, featuring generously sized balconies. The four-poster bed of the Presidential Suite is particularly impressive.
The hotel’s Beresford Restaurant – a nod to the building’s illustrious commander – serves up a range of Madeiran and international cuisine. And, although the dishes are often traditional and always feature local ingredients, the presentation is gourmet contemporary. Expect crème brûlées ringed by fresh fruits and tuna steaks served on a bed of salad. The Colombo Bistro – named for the hotel’s other famous resident – is equally appealing, with indulgent meals served poolside. Lastly, breakfasts are in the Pink Room where excellent spreads are often taken on the garden seating while a spectacular 16th-century ceramic wall panel watches on.
Despite its bijou sensibilities, the Quinta Jardins do Lago features an excellent range of facilities. A bridge spans its large, freshwater pool as sun terraces line its freeform banks, equipped with day beds, umbrellas and towels. If that’s not enough, make use of the sauna, Turkish bath or Jacuzzi after building up a sweat in the gym. And, when night starts to fall, the cosy Visconde Bar serves sunset cocktails and a full range of nightcaps, with champagne often accompanied by twinkling ivories. Children are also welcomed by croquet sets, a nursery, a small wooden play area and a games room that features table football, table tennis and pool. There’s also always Columbus to pet.
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