Savoy Palace: The hospitality jewel in Madeira’s crown

Jan Jacques

16 April 2021

Haute cuisine and high design meet in Madeira's largest hotel, where the architecture and interiors have been informed by the island's picturesque landscape

16 April 2021 | Jan Jacques

If you have a hankering to feel like royalty, just for a while, a visit to the Savoy Palace should do the trick. A jewel in the crown of Madeira’s capital Funchal, its grand old-school standards of service, crystalline pools and sea views make it one of the most exclusive hotels on the island.

Built on the site of the former Savoy Classic, a favourite amongst aristocrats when it first opened in 1912, Savoy Palace’s undulating structure has been a fixture of the Funchal skyline since it launched in 2019. Architecture firm RH+ is behind the design, which draws on the building’s proximity to the sea with a curvaceous, wave-like exterior.

Galáxia Skybar

Inside, guests are greeted by a 33ft central chandelier that hangs in the lobby, creating a dramatic focal point that draws the eye upon entry. Funchal-born designer Nini Andrade Silva took charge of the interiors, for which she looked to the local area for inspiration. The result is decidedly Belle Epoque, with intricate and considered detailing throughout. The metal banisters, for example, mirror the designs created by local embroiders, with curled motifs that wind along the edge of the majestic central staircase and reappear in the friezes either side of guest beds.

Much attention has been bestowed on greenery, with gardens on the surrounding terraces overflowing with more than 250 Madeiran botanical species. Local flowers, from hibiscus to orchids, are referenced throughout.

On the rooftop, two infinity pools seem suspended between sea and sky. Adjoined to them are two of five restaurants, and Dinner at Galáxia Skyfood, it’s decor influenced by astronomy, is not to be missed. Located on the 16th floor, it has 360 degree views sweeping from the ocean to the hills rising from Funchal. Specialities include the melting delights of Serra cottage cheese tortellini, limpets with seaweed, lemon purée and fennel, and Machico pumpkin pancake. On the other side of the hotel’s rooftop is Jacaranda, its pool and restaurant open exclusively for suite guests.

Hibiscus Restaurant

Breakfast is served in Orchidaceae Atelier, where tables are stacked with buffet food, hot dishes and a large selection of fresh juices. The Hibiscus restaurant, meanwhile, is open for evening meals and features a menu full of Madeiran specialities, including a vast range of fresh fish. Don’t miss the Alameda open-air eatery, which overlooks the pride of pools – a vast green-tiled affair surrounded by palm trees and straddled by a stunning sculpted gold-coloured metal bridge.

That same style of metalwork reappears in the suites, which are decorated in muted shades of champagne and off-white and all have sea views, with sliding doors onto terraces. Should clouds come rolling in over the Atlantic, there are two large televisions in each. Lavish showers and a large bath and a walk-in wardrobe, plus plentiful Chopard products, all add to the general opulence.

The hotel’s other great strength is its Laurea Spa, which is inspired by Madeira’s Laurissilva Forest, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The vivid greens and striking floral palette of the world’s largest surviving Laurel forest are reflected in its design. The spa has 11 treatment rooms, which use a variety of products including Sodashi, Aromatherapy Associates and Linda Meredith. There's also large wet area, home to a variety of baths, pools, saunas and experience showers. Standouts include the Halotherapy room (an alternative treatment which involves breathing salty air) and ice showers.

As with the hotel’s design and amenity offering, no detail has been spared when it comes to the enhanced safety measures introduced during the pandemic. The Stay Safe, Stay Savoy protocol includes new initiatives such as separate check-in and check-out areas, regular cleaning of high-touch surface areas and reduced capacity in restaurants and bars. Those concerned about social distancing, meanwhile, needn’t worry — the building’s vast size gives guests ample room to spread out and enjoy the spoils of the hotel in peace.

The last word must go to its designer, Andrade Silva, who says: “You don’t get bored inside the hotel because it has so many different spaces and stories, just like the island. Every day you see a different thing, there’s a different feeling.

“It’s like my baby. I know all the people who have worked on this have been putting their emotion into it. We all say it’s ‘our’ hotel, like it belongs to us. It’s not just work – the Savoy Palace is a special place, and everyone is passionate about it.”

Prices from 181 (approx. £157),

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