Luxury on a large scale

Madeira, Portugal

Known as the “Garden Island of the Atlantic,” Madeira is a European favourite. Traditionally famed for fortified wine and lush landscapes, the archipelago has more recently become known for adventure travel activities like canyoning, paragliding and street tobogganing. Relaxing time at the spa is on the agenda for a lot of visitors as well.

Just a hop, skip and a jump from the mainland, Madeira’s recently opened Savoy Palace is our 5 star destination for the next few nights on this magical island. Part of the Savoy chain’s signature collection, the Palace on sits the spacious property that was once home to its namesake, the old Savoy Hotel.

Strikingly prominent on the Funchal’s skyline, the hotel and its 352 impeccably chic rooms and suites have picture perfect, one-of-a kind panoramic ocean views. They can only add to the “I’m on vacation vibe” that we’ve picked up on our way to the island.

Everything is clean and new. What a treat! Modern architectural work by Saraiva+Associados in collaboration with local interior designers, Nini Andrade Silva and RH+ Architects gives the public and private spaces a refreshing, spacious feel. Morning and evening, we wander through terraced gardens, taking in the ocean air and discovering the hotel’s talked about collection of stylish restaurants and magnificent pools. (Note to reader: one is so large that swimming morning lengths took more than the usual effort—well worth a visit all on its own.)

The Savoy Palace also plays host to a trendy boutique hotel-within-a-hotel concept that is quite unique. For a price, it delivers coveted penthouse suite privacy for guests like us who prefer a more exclusive residential experience amidst the Savoy’s acres of the beautifully landscaped grounds.  

The hotel highlight has got to be the state-of-the-art, 33,000 square-foot grand spa where the carefully curated treatment menu of signature facials, massages and healing rituals was inspired by the local Laurissilva Forest. We learn that Madeira is home to the world’s largest surviving laurel forest that has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so the tribute is certainly fitting.

With eleven treatment rooms and relaxation features that include its own beauty bar, sensory showers, an ice fountain, a halo therapy room and an out-of-this-world Turkish hammam, the Laurea Spa is much more than a nurturing place to spend a rainy afternoon.

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