24-Hour Room Service: Reid's Palace Madeira

For a hotel that is almost always full you rarely see your fellow guests at Reid's. Perhaps everyone is seduced by the comfy old-world sofas in their rooms, the Atlantic view from every balcony, or the many hidden benches in the dense tropical garden outside. Around the three swimming pools (two salt, one freshwater), a few well-preserved bodies lie recumbent under enormous hats. In the cocktail bar you may find the dance instructor refreshing a couple's foxtrot for tonight's dinner dance, but that's about it.

People come to Reid's to relax. When Rita Hayworth married the Aly Khan in 1949 they sought privacy at Reid's. Sandy Shaw hid here at the height of "Puppet On A String" fame. Winston Churchill retreated to the hotel to lick his wounds after losing office.

Opened in 1891 on what was then a rather bleak promontory to the south of Madeira's capital Funchal, Reid's very quickly established itself as the place to stay en route to the African colonies. Its proud boast was " Unequalled sea-bathing. No Rain. No Dust". Reid's was then taken up by the 1960s jetset.

LOCATION

Reid's Palace, Estrada Monumental 139, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal (00 351 291 71 70 30; www.reidspalace.com). Reid's is 1.5km west of the city centre and 24km from Funchal airport.

From international airport: 25/30 minutes in rush hour, 20 minutes the rest of the time. A taxi will set you back around ¿€30 (£21) each way.

COMFORTABLE?

Whether you're in the original 1891 building or the new wing (circa 1960) the sofas are just as deep, the beds just as massive and the television/DVD player still rises up from the bottom of the bed at the flick of a switch like a James Bond gizmo. Antiques and bureaux are scattered around like set dressing.

Freebies: Reid's own toiletries are provided in Bristol Blue bottles. It would be a hard heart that did not pocket the lot. Soft drinks from the minibar are also complimentary.

Keeping in touch: internet access is fast and free in reception, where two booths have terminals. If you have a laptop you can access the €5 (£3.60) per hour WiFi connection.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Double rooms start at €365 (£261), inclusive of breakfast.

I'm not paying that: the nearby five-star Pestana Carlton (00 351 291 23 9500; www.pestana.com) has double rooms from €116 (£83) including breakfast.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?