Enjoying the landscape, a drink or a nice meal atop a terrace is becoming more and more fashionable.
As one might expect, Madeira is not lacking in high spots from which to contemplate the landscape. But in cities and coastal towns, terraces that were usually off-limits are starting to be used more frequently as leisure spots. The view they provide is urban and the atmosphere, cosmopolitan.
The island’s mild weather is more than suitable and invites socializing. However, simply sitting outside on a terrace is no longer enough. It is ever more fashionable to go up really high and enjoy the view from the different terraces spread between buildings and inattentive gazes.
Going for a drink, snacking, listening to music, reading a book or simply bathing under the sun, anything goes when it comes to searching for the ideal place to spend an afternoon or the early evening.
Few places in Madeira carry the magic of more than a century’s worth of history. The Belmond Reid’s Palace is a definite must-see. This is a fad-free space, after all, tradition is never outdated. The tea served in the hotel’s terrace has a reputation of its own. It is a ritual you cannot possibly miss out on, as are the sandwiches and the traditional freshly baked scones. As if this were not enough already, you also get the sun and a view of the bay that shows you how the town has changed over the years.
The terrace of the Belmond Reid’s Palace just comes to show how tradition and pioneering can go hand in hand. In Funchal, however, only quite recently have terraces become a thing.
The Vine Hotel’s 360º Sky Bar gives you a very different take on the city centre in a very casual and relaxed environment.
As we conquer some more space from the heavens, buildings look smaller. Sitting with a cocktail or a nice glass of wine, one faces the impossible choice of sushi, a burger or a simple ice cream from the snacks menu. Adding to this mix of food and beverage are the sea, the mountains and the infinity pool’s scenery that looks almost as if it was taken out of a painting.
The Pestana Casino Park stretches out for several meters. It has such an astonishing view of the bay of Funchal that it looks like you can almost touch the sea. The scenery and the garden around the Bar Dock Side blend creating a unique spot for relaxation and contemplating nature in a quiet atmosphere. Relaxing is the tagline here.
For that very same idea – relaxation – another space, another concept: the Castanheiro Boutique Hotel, another Madeiran treasure. It is its location at the heart of Funchal that makes it special. The infinity pool has a majestic view of the Cathedral. The mountain range and the Pico fortress are at an arm‘s distance.
But there is more than meets the eye. The Pretas – Terrace & Pool serves salads and is now on the verge of adding pastas and pizzas to its menu. And all this in a casual lounge atmosphere.
Back to the cerulean Atlantic, Nini Andrade Silva’s Design Centre (DC) is a true island. Located in Funchal’s harbour, this spot aims at being a place for ‘culture and experiences’, says director Cristina Lagoa, also mentioning the architectural and historical specificities that make this a unique place.
It is a 17th century fortress built on a small islet and offers one of the best views of the Madeiran capital from the sea. There are no boundaries to stop you from contemplating the landscape. In one of its floors, the DC-Cafeteria Lounge has a wide and varied offer comprising snacks, tea and coffee in a calm and relaxed environment, where the only thing to distract you is the sea’s sounds.
You can also feel, breath and take in the sea at the Barreinha Bar Café (BBC). Right at the end of Rua de Santa Maria, it sits atop the pool complex after which it is named: Barreirinha. Here, people come together in a terrace plentiful of good vibes and with a view of the slope of Garajau. Fresh juices, toasts and mojitos are among its trademarks. As is its connection to music. On Friday nights there’s always a guest band or DJ providing musical entertainment.
Fábio Remesso, the person running the establishment, speaks of an almost magical space in Funchal from which the bar profits, even after nightfall.
When the sun starts to run west, it is best to run after it and enjoy that show’s every second. The view from Estalagem da Ponta do Sol is a privileged one. Even the New York Times considers it one of the best spots from which to watch the sunset on the island.
From a terrace high up a nearly half a mile deep ravine it is also possible to ‘glimpse at the immenseness of the ocean’ and recognize some sites ‘between Cabo Girão and Calheta’, tells us Nuno Barcelos, the establishment’s PR.
As we sit in king sized pillows in the garden, the choice of beverage for the day falls on fresh juices. Were it evening, we would have gone with cocktails.
In the neighbouring municipality, the Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa’s terrace also provides a unique view of the sea and sunset. Escaping routines and enjoying a relaxing environment is always a good thing and the trip to Calheta does not let you down. The Fly Lounge also offers a snacks and beverage menu. Some highlights include gin, cocktails, salads and tapas. Roberto Gouveia, marketing director for the Savoy group, to whom the hotel in Calheta belongs, mentions how ‘music is also another appealing thing about the space’ which sports musical entertainment every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, always in the evening.
Different spots catering to different tastes, sharing in common the fact that they offer privileged views of an island whose history was written with a golden quill.