Quinta Jardins do Lago
Review, history, gardens and
photos of the luxury hotel in Funchal, Madeira
Added on March 22, 2012
Staying again at the fabulous
Quinta Jardins do Lago, co-owner Duarte Silva told me that all rooms and
suites will feature from April 1, 2012 onwards a complimentary tea and
coffee facility. All public areas, including the pool, as well as all rooms
and suites will be covered by a complimentary Wifi. Mister Duarte was
especially proud of the fact that, in March 2012, his hotel was number 1 on
the travel portal Tripadviser when it came to customer satisfaction. New at
the hotel are also guided garden tours as well as gardening lessons, if booked in advance.
Article added on January 25, 2011
The island of Madeira is a
natural treasure, situated at the top of a shield volcano. It enjoys a
Subtropical-Mediterranean climate. Parts of its subtropical rainforest,
which once covered the entire island, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Portuguese discovered the island of Madeira in 1419. The long history
enabled the inhabitants to preserve the wild side as well as to develop the
The five-star luxury hotel Quinta Jardins do Lago in Funchal features a
fabulous 2.5 hectares garden, which is home to over 500 rare species of
plants and trees. Walking around the lush garden is both a pleasure and an
illuminative experience since most important plants carry a green label with
its botanic name.
Among the many plants in the garden one can list the clock vine (Thunbergia
mysorensis), the jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) and the subtropical
dragon tree (Dracaena draco), to mention just three.
In addition, I spotted three different mango trees (from Brazil, Madeira and
Venezuela). Over 90% of all fruit, herbs and flowers used in the hotel
come from the own gardens of Quinta Jardins do Lago.
In a small pond you can spot fishes, frogs, ducks and even two swans. When I
walked by, a gray heron just try to catch one of the smaller fish.
A short history
The original house of the Quinta Jardins do Lago was built by a Madeiran
family in 1750. From 1751 to 1770, it was rented to the English wine company
Lamar / Hill & Bisset.
In 1808, the historic Quinta da Achada (today's hotel) was the residence of General
William Beresford (who became Viscount Beresford in 1823),
the commander of the British Army in Portugal during the
Napoleonic Wars in Portugal. Beresford's imposing
18th century sideboard adorns the dining room. In addition to the restaurant, the
historic Manor House features today four junior suites in a more traditional
style with old four-poster beds. The Junior Suite 201 has even a secret
passage to its private terrace on top of the building.
In 1881, Dr. Monier-Vinard bought the Quinta. Incidentally, the name Quinta
is a result of the fact the tenants had to pay their estate owners one fifth
of their earnings.
Established in 1811, the Blandy family became the leading wine exporters in
Madeira. John Blandy married one of the daughters of the Monier-Vinard
family and, therefore, acquired the estate.
In 2000, the Quinta Jardins do Lago became a small luxury hotel. Among today's three owners is
still a member of the Blandy family, Georgina Blandy. The two others are
Duarte Silva, who created the Madeira Wine Museum and who showed me around
his beautiful hotel, and the Tavares da Silva family.
The Beresford features Madeiran and International cuisine. It is a
regular restaurant with always a few vegetarian dishes on the menu. During
my stay, they offered a risotto, ravioli and gnocchi. As for highlights, I especially remember an excellent passion fruit
cheesecake, accompanied by a sweet passion fruit sorbet.
concentrates on Portuguese wines. I tried two white wines from the Estremadura
region: a light and fruity 2009 Sottal with only 10% alcohol, composed of
Moscatel and Arinto grapes, as well as a very light 2008 Lello from the
Douro region with 12.5% alcohol, composed of Malvasia Fina, Gouveio,
Viosinho and Rabigato grapes.
The ambiance in the evenings in the restaurant
with its 18th century wooden floors and the old and new oil paintings is
While on the island of Madeira, you have to taste some Madeira wine. Among
the three hotel owners is a lady from the famous Blandy family, who once
owned Reid's Palace and is, among others, big in the wine business. Blandy's
sweet Madeira wines are excellent as aperitifs and dessert wines.
Incidentally, it is said that Madeira
wine was used to toast the Declaration of Independence of the United States
The Quinta Jardins do Lago features several pieces of antique furniture and
paintings as well as many newer oil paintings.
I stayed in the new wing of the hotel. Suite 303 is one of five Premier
Suites, the best of the 40 rooms. On its balcony where a table with two
chairs as well as two deck chairs. The Superior Rooms on the second floor are
also very recommendable because the offer a good garden and sea view. But all 40 rooms, even the Standard Rooms on the ground floor, are elegant, spacious and come with a garden terrace
or a balcony. There are no bad rooms at
Quinta Jardins do Lago.
Among the hotel amenities are a heated pool, a sauna, a Turkish bath, a
Whirlpool, a gym, a table-tennis table and a bistro in the hotel gardens.
Their use is complimentary. [Added on April 22, 2012: Because the tree roots
were destroying the tennis court and guests overwhelmingly preferred the
trees to the court, there is no more tennis available. More things to do: In
2011, I forgot to mention the pool table in an area dedicated to games].
The Visconde bar features a Steinway built from 1871 to 1875. Occasional
concerts not only take place in the bar, but also in the garden, with dances
accompanied by violin and violoncello.
The head barman, Alberto Silva, is the president of the barmen's association
in Madeira and the Azores. I tried his signature cocktail, the Jardins do
Lago, created in the year of the hotel opening in 2000. It is a pleasant mix
vodka, strawberry and banana liqueur as well as passion fruit jazz. The bar
lady who prepared my drink carved an elegant swan out of an apple for me.
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The wall of a balcony overlooking the garden features a large panel of
Catalan azulejos. The 17th century tiles were discovered by one of the
Quinta's previous owners, Dr. Monier-Vinard, on the floor of a country house
in Orange, France. He managed to purchase it a few years later. It is a
brightly colored, naive and picturesque representation of the city of
My room was the Premier and Presidential Suite 303, where
O'Toole had stayed before me. Helmut Schmidt stayed at Quinta
Jardins do Lago from January 29 to February 26, 2004 to write one of his
many books, Die Mächte der Zukunft: Gewinner und Verlierer der Welt von
morgen (published in September 2004). The assistant manager Adalberto Dinis remembers him well
because, the heavy chain smoker, started the fire alarm with his cigar.
Peter O'Toole stayed in 303 for 24 nights in 2007. He told Adalberto Dinis
the story how, as a boy, he went to the cinema with a girlfriend, in one
hand the money for the tickets, in the other the money for the sweets. But
the girl arrived with the money for her own ticket. O'Toole said that he
should have married that girl; movies with Peter O'Toole from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
Portuguese politicians also stayed at the hotel. There is a photo of the
PSD politician from Madeira, Alberto João Jardim, together with José Manuel
Durão Barroso, since November 2004 President of the European Commission,
posing together with the tortoise Colombo. Incidentally,
Helmut Schmidt also posed together with Colombo.
giant tortoise from the Galapagos island, who had spent ten years on
the Bahamas before coming to Madeira by the hands of the English wine
merchant Mr. Crown, has been living in the
hotel gardens for already 45 years.
About 40% of the guests of Quinta Jardins do Lago come from the United
Kingdom, another 40% from Germany. The rest is mainly divided into Swiss,
Belgians, French and a variety of other nations. On average, the guests stay
In short, the Quinta Jardins do Lago offers a relaxed and unpretentious
atmosphere in a lush park.
Quinta Jardins do Lago, Rua Dr. João Lemos Gomes no. 29, 9000-208 Funchal,
The gardens and the pool. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The Beresford restaurant. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The Presidential Suite balcony, where I stayed. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The pond with the ducks and the two swans. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The Premier and Presidential Suite bedroom, where I stayed. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The swimming pool. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The historic Manor House. u
View of the lush hotel gardens. General Manager Duarte Vieira da Silva lets the
Parque Ecológico do Funchal grow plants on an unused part of his land to help
replant the areas near Funchal devastated by a fire in August 2011. Photos ©
Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The al fresco garden breakfast. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal,
Peter O'Toole in 2007. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
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The Premier and Presidential Suite's sitting room, where I stayed. Photos ©
Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
A Superior Room bathroom. All bathrooms feature a bathtub and are built with two
rose Lioz marble and Encarnado de Pedra Furada, from Portugal's Sintra area. The difference to my suite is that
the smaller room categories don't offer an extra shower and a hydro-massage in
Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
The garden view from a junior suite. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal.
On the left, the PSD politician from Madeira, Alberto João Jardim. On the right,
José Manuel Durão Barroso, since November 2004 President of the European
Commission. On April 2, 2004 they posed with the true celebrity of the day, the hotel's tortoise
Colombo. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
Helmut Schmidt in the garden posing together with Colombo, the tortoise. Photos
© Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
Colombo is also popular with children. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.
A Junior Suite. Photos © Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal, Madeira.