Luxury Quintas of Madeira

Travel through time with a stay at an historic Madeiran Quinta

by Edel Cassidy

When holidaying in Madeira, most visitors will like to base themselves in the capital, Funchal, a picturesque and welcoming city that overlooks the main harbour and is close to all the historic and natural attractions of the island. However, to get a real feel for the cultural heritage, by far the best option is to stay at a Quinta, one of the spectacular manor houses surrounded by luscious gardens and built in a style of architecture unique to Madeira. Each one is part of the history of the island and tells its own unique story. These Quintas are former stately homes of wealthy families, often English merchants, who settled in Madeira to capitalise on the flourishing wine trade.

Quinta Jardins do Lago

This beautiful Quinta is located on one of the hills surrounding the city of Funchal. Although the existing property was built in the 18th century, the history behind the estate goes back to the early 15th century when the lands were used as vineyards and the growing of wheat and sugar cane.

It is thought that the first house was built around 1620 but the estate, then known as Quinta da Achada, was severely damaged by the earthquake in 1748. The property changed hands several times and was the home of wine merchants, a summer residence for the bishops of Funchal and during the Napoleonic wars General Beresford, Commander of the British forces on the island, chose it as his residence. His magnificent sideboard, a reminder of his stay, still adorns the dining room. More recently it has been the home of well-known French and British families before opening as a five-star hotel in 2000 when the name was changed to Quinta Jardins do Lago.

All of the luxury rooms and suites face south to the gardens and the sea and are designed to offer the best in modern functionality and traditional comfort and style.

A first-class breakfast with a wide choice is served at the elegant Pink Room or outside on the veranda. The Colombo Bistro, named after the giant tortoise who has lived in the gardens for over sixty years, is adjacent to the swimming pool and offers refreshing drinks and snacks – ideal for lunch or a sunset cocktail.

The Beresford Restaurant is a must-visit for those who have a taste for fine art and exquisite food. A unique feast for the senses, a fine dining experience can be enjoyed indoors or al fresco, with impeccable service and formality – a nod to the Quinta’s past grandeur.  Both traditional Madeiran and classic international cuisine, along with an excellent wine list, are offered. There is no better way to finish the evening than to enjoy a little Madeira wine in the O Visconde Piano Bar. 

The hotel has a variety of pleasant and relaxing areas including a freshwater heated swimming pool, a well-equipped gym, sauna, Turkish bath, and Jacuzzi, along with croquet and table tennis facilities.

The Villa at Quinta Jardin do Lago

Situated on the grounds of the Quinta, overlooking the mountains and the sea, this well-appointed four-bedroom villa is the perfect venue for a special get-together where guests can relax in total privacy while enjoying the amenities of a luxury resort. 

The villa is fully serviced with a daily housekeeping service and breakfast at the hotel (just 100 metres walking distance) is included. Dedicated personal cooks and servers and a personal bar can be arranged on request.

Quinta Jardin do Lago is a truly unique and romantic wedding venue and the villa makes an ideal home away from home for the family for the duration of the event.