Located right on the seaside at Canico de Baixa, just 10 minutes drive from Funchal Airport and about 15 minutes drive to Funchal city, Riu Palace is the perfect place to stay for a very relaxing holiday. From here you can arrange excursions, hire a car, take the courtesy bus to Funchal or stay here and lounge by the pool.
This brand new peach-and-white-washed palace is an exciting new island resort, launched in July 2001, and it still feels pristine, fresh and sparkling. Riu Hotels and Resorts is a Spanish company, established in 1953 with one small hotel in Majorca, and in the past fifty years, Riu has developed across the world.
There are now 112 Riu properties in 15 countries – across Europe, Florida, Caribbean, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, and North Africa with Riu Palace the first hotel in Madeira. There are 3, 4 and 5 star grades of Riu hotels with the Palace Resorts offering top quality 4 star plus service with a touch of luxury.
RIU Hotels and Resorts has just won one of Europe’s major tourism awards in Great Britain: the Travel Weekly Globe Award for the Best Leisure Hotel group. The award was decided by the votes of British travel agents.
Reaching The hotel
After a three and a half hour flight from London, it was so convenient and comfortable to be able to arrive at the hotel in just 10 minutes by car. If you don’t wish to rent a car, there are plenty of taxis waiting at the airport. The spacious marble-floored lobby is cool and welcoming. Guests are offered a chilled glass of Madeira wine the moment I arrived. Delicious! The reception staff speak excellent English and are so helpful.
The Riu Palace is beautifully designed as a modern hotel, featuring distinctive classic architecture – more like a Moorish castle with its archways, terracotta tiled roof, and corner towers. Although it is a fairly large Spa resort, it is easy to find your way around with restaurant, bar, games room and the outdoor terrace all accessed within a minute’s walk directly from the lobby on the same floor. Also with lifts to every level, the hotel is ideal for elderly guests or those with mobility problems.
This is a luxury resort with two large outdoor pools, an indoor pool, table tennis, sauna and gym as well as an excellent Wellness Spa offering a range of health and beauty treatments. A Hertz car rental desk is in the lobby and reception will assist you in planning any excursions around the island.
The courtesy bus takes guests to Funchal every day except Sunday. Guests can also take a stroll along the promenade above the rocky seashore, and up to the local village with a row of restaurants, bars, and shops.
There are 327 guest rooms all with either a balcony or patio, the majority with lovely sea views. The elegant standard rooms are large and comfortable, with two queen-sized beds making a super king size. All rooms have spacious bathrooms, (bath, shower, and bidet), mini bar, Satellite TV and air conditioning. The style is contemporary/classic with attractive rich fabrics in soft gold and blue or burgundy and white – relax in an armchair or out on your private balcony or garden terrace.
You can also opt for a little more space and comfort by taking one of the suites which have a double bedroom and separate lounge with a sofa bed (handy for families). Note that three of the suites have a garden view.
The real beauty of all guest rooms and suites is their overall classic style and the privacy of your own outdoor balcony. Room 1531 high up one of the towers has a particularly large balcony. The best way to decide which room would be best, is to request a balcony which has your choice of either morning or evening sunshine.
Riu Hotels and Resorts have over fifty years experience in catering for large numbers of guests a their hotels worldwide and they manage their dining rooms with efficiency and style. At Riu Palace, Canico, there are two sittings for dinner, at 6.30pm and 8.30pm (earlier in winter months).
As German and Scandinavian visitors tend to eat earlier, and the British and Spanish later in the evening, there never seems to be a problem in selecting your preferred dining time.
There is the option of a lavish buffet banquet or a short menu of dishes served at your table. The buffet is so extensive there’s something for all tastes. For starters there’s an impressive choice of fresh salads – including delicious artichokes and grilled aubergines –tuna, calamari, cold meats, pate and soup. Tour the hot buffet and chef’s grill for your main course – perhaps veal steak, leg of lamb, grilled hake and fillet of espada all served with rice or potatoes and selection of vegetables.
If you wish to be served at the table, the choice may be Sole Meuniere or Magret of duck with cherry sauce. And to finish the dessert buffet offers delicious pastries, ice cream and fresh seasonal fruit or cheese and biscuits. All diets are catered for if requested in advance.
If a guest has a birthday, the waiters will be sure to celebrate the occasion at dinner with a cake, candles and a song. Opening in October 2006 is a new Theme Restaurant to offer an alternative dinner menu. The Pool Restaurant will create a romantic setting for Spanish tapas.
Breakfast is also a wonderful self-service buffet with guests sitting in the dining room or on the terrace overlooking the pool and out to sea. Waiters will bring a large thermos pot of tea or coffee.
The fresh fruit selection is superb – melon, kiwi fruit, banana, and oranges, alongside fruit juices and sparkling wine for a buck’s fizz; cereals, croissants, pastries and bread of every description.
The hot buffet is very appetising every morning with omelets made to order, tortilla, fried, scrambled and boiled eggs, as well as pancakes. Lunch is served from 1 – 3 pm in the Pool Restaurant with tables under the palm trees in the shade. The menu offers salads, sandwiches, pasta and seafood dishes.
This is what most guests come here for – to relax, to swim, to sunbathe, to read – with comfortable loungers around the pool while a waiter will bring you a cool drink from the bar. If you want to get fit, there’s a complimentary gym and table tennis. For a small charge, you can enjoy a game of tennis and billiards while golf and scuba diving can be arranged nearby.
The Wellness “Body Love” Spa is well worth a visit. The therapists are true professionals and almost medical in the diagnostic approach to ensure proper health treatments. For facials, the skin is analyzed under a bright light before thorough steam cleanse, exfoliation and toning.
The Well Being menu includes a soothing after-sun aromatherapy massage, sea mud wrap, pedicure, Chinese relaxation for migraine, reflexology, and sea salt body peeling – and many more treats for face, skin, muscles, and body.
Entertainment for guests is organized like a cruise ship with a superb theatre, good seating with bar service. After dinner each night there is a cabaret dance show and live music, or join in a salsa dance lesson. It’s all done very well with a high professional standard.