We spent the weekend in the wonderful island of Madeira and stayed in one of the hotels that we have already posted on Fly4free. Check out our experience at 5 * Albatroz Beach & Yatch Club!
Disclaimer: The reservation was paid for in full by us and in order to keep the experience as genuine as possible and the hotel was not informed about our intention of preparing this article at any time..
Open since 2002, Albatroz Beach & Yacht Club is a 5-star hotel with only 20 rooms and an extraordinary location on the seafront. As the name implies, the unit has a style closely linked to the maritime / sailing, from the colors used, to the decoration of the rooms and the hand-painted tiles. Being located at short distance from Madeira Airport, guests can request a free transfer, or rent a car (as we did) to reach it. Travel time between the airport and the hotel is less than 5 minutes. And I know what you’re thinking: “So close to the airport, it will be extremely loud!” Nope. In the pool area it is sometimes possible to hear take-offs and landings, but inside the hotel it is as if the airport does not exist. In fact, for those who like aviation, it is a privileged place to observe the famous approach to FNC.
Upon arrival we were greeted by two members of the staff, very polite and welcoming. As it was still quite early, our plan was to leave the bags and go to Funchal until it was time to check in. Before we could explain our plans however, the receptionist told us “I will check if your room is ready, so that we can accommodate you right now”. After 2 minutes, we were in the room, ready to enjoy the hotel. We then started to understand why Albatroz has a 5 out of 5 rating on Tripadvisor and was recently considered the sixth best “Small Hotel” in Portugal (and the best in Madeira) at Tripadvisor’s Travelers Choice Awards of 2020.
We booked a unit with a sea view that, like the rest of the hotel, has a decor closely linked to the ocean and sailing theme.
As you can see in the photos, the room is generously sized, with a seating area, a comfortable bed, a Nespresso coffee machine and a private terrace, perfect for enjoying the sea breeze in the late afternoon.
The bathroom is generously sized and perfectly adequate and the amenities were of excellent quality.
Upon arrival at the hotel, guests are guided through a garden, which leads to the central area, where they can find the restaurant, the reception area and access to the rooms and gym.
Still at the main building level, guests can find a tennis court, a swimming pool, with a children’s area and a lounge area with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Desertas Islands.
We were only in this pool area to take some photos for this article and you will understand why in just a second. In addition to this outdoor pool area, the hotel offers two fantastic natural pools at sea level directly fed by sea water. French Vogue considered the largest of them, as the “most beautiful pool in Portugal”:
After going down the staircase, we can say that Vogue did not really had a difficult choice. The pool is truly extraordinary, and, suprisingly, a lot bigger than it looks in promotional photos, which in these covid-19 times is always important. In fact, on the weekend of our stay, almost 85% of the time, we had the pool just for ourselves. Even with the hotel completely full, social distance is practically guaranteed. And the sea is right there, in case you want a bit more distancing.
In addition to the aesthetic element, there is the dynamic one. As it is fed exclusively by sea water, the pool directly reflects directly the existing conditions, both at tide level and in terms of swell. The greater the swell and tide, the more “agitated” it will be. Getting into the pool was almost like experiencing the sea conditions, in a “light” version, which made us enjoy even more than we expected.
The only less positive aspect that we can mention is that there are no sun lounges in this area. At times of low tide / little swell it’s possible to spread the towel on the edges of the pool, but when the tide rises, the waves often hit those areas. It would be nice to have your sundbed, in the less exposed area, where guests could enjoy some sun without having to lay the towel on the floor.
Breakfast at Albatroz is served between 7 am and 10 am. Due to current restrictions, it has been transformed into a semi-buffet, where guests are served by the staff. When we arrived, two mini custard tarts, a sort of jam and butter and a selection of breads, coffee and fresh orange juice were immediately placed on the table. In the buffet area, guests could order freshly made eggs, bacon, beans, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, pancakes, among others. Cold cuts of smoked meat, marinated salmon, various varieties of cheese, fruit and cake are also available. We didn’t experience the lunch and dining services.
The breakfast was very good and the view was even better.
Maybe because it is a relatively small hotel, we always felt a family-like atmosphere, but at the same time ultra professional. The entire staff was absolutely flawless, not only for us but in all the interactions we witnessed with other guests. Attention to detail also deserves to be mentioned: when they realized that our return flight was only in the afternoon, we were told that they would try their best to be able to enjoy a late check-out, free of charge, something that came to to happen.
Albatroz could be a case study of how a hotel stands out from the competition. First of all, the opinion of the guests: The rating of 5/5 on Tripadvisor is extremely difficult to achieve and that was what made us notice this hotel in the first place. Then, a completely differentiating element: the location and the incredible natural pools, which do not disappoint. And finally, the quality and professionalism of the entire staff, which makes the 5/5 scores continue to be the rule, rather than the exception.
Our grade? Well, we will not disagree with Tripadvisor 🙂