Stay Here: Saccharum, MadeiraBy Gemma Perlin
Looking for an amazing mini break from the hustle and bustle of London? It’s about time you stayed at Saccharum in Madeira. Here’s why:
Madeira, home to the sweet Madeiran wine, banana passionfruit, and the most consistently delightful European climate, was the choice for this About Time twosome over the May bank holiday. Our trip coincidentally fell over the world famous Funchal flower festival, where carpets of natural flowers fill the city’s streets, in a celebration of spring. This Portuguese archipelago is home to the Savoy Signature, and of whom its recently designed hotel the Saccharum. Nestled on the outside of the village of Calheta, about 40 minutes from Funchal airport and 25 minutes from Funchal town, this hotel with its multiple swimming pools and dreamy spa was our home during our stay on the island
There are 243 rooms and suites in the hotel, which was inspired by the island’s sugar cane industry. The rooms are very spacious and spotlessly clean not to mention the service during our stay was also impeccable. The atmosphere of the hotel is very relaxing with all of the staff being helpful and attentive with any requests, the views were also spectacular. Ultimately, a great stay for anyone who is looking to unwind for a few days.
There are three restaurants in the hotel. One, Engenho is a buffet style with a different theme every night, we pulled a blinder and were there for surf and turf night. I opted for the turf, and my bed fellow the surf, and demolished endless amounts of tender meat. I teamed them with a medley of salads, with a shout-out to the garlicky artichoke salad and citrusy chestnuts. The second restaurant, Alambique the a la carte restaurant is a more fancy affair with a smart casual dresscode overlooking the sea and crashing waves on the rocks with gourmet fare to be gobbled. The third restaurant was our lunch spot, Trapiche, where twice we had the fish special served with salty jacket potatoes and olive oil drenched fresh salad.
There are just so many. Three outdoor heated swimming pools, including an infinity pool which was the centerpiece of many guests’ holiday snaps and one indoor pool adult only in the spa. The spa is vast with multiple sensory showers, roomy sauna and steam and a very decent gym if you are so inclined to leave the cavernous beds. It’s suitable for the scorching months, but the indoor facilites are substantial enough you can mooch quite happily around in your dressing gown on the chillier weeks of the year.
While there we were guests of the tourist board, Discover Madeira who planned two trips for us. Madeira is a relatively small island and we were able to cover significant ground on our jeep safari day trip. Led at the wheel by our adventurous tour guide Rui from True Madeira Spirit, we traversed around the island taking in breathtaking view points scarily high in the clouds and most notably a visit to a fish farm nestled in the hills.
It is truly unspoilt, and we often found our car the lone one at viewpoints. This company takes their sustainability seriously and for every visitor they give a euro to a fund to contribute to biodiversity on the island.
Another essential of our trip was the food and wine tour of Funchal led by Madeiran wine tours. We were led through the charming cobbled streets of Funchal, on a treasure trail of local bites and drinks. Kicking off the day, we were sampling sweet Madeiran wine at 10.15am, followed by luxurious chocolate, to the tenderest pork stew, the freshest black scabbard and calling it quits with peanuts and poncha, the traditional Madeiran drink which is 50% strength of alcohol.
By 1.30pm we were having a booze induced siesta, so make sure to leave yourself some chill time after.