Island paradise? If you insist.

Posted on July 15, 2012


‘Let’s have a package holiday’ he said ‘somewhere with fun stuff for kids’.

It seemed like the right idea, the 10 year old (who was then eight) deserved a kids focused holiday – plenty of action and things to do.  So, we three were agreed and off we went to get some brochures.

We’d never booked a holiday all packaged up before. We’d always just taken ourselves off, or planned our own itineraries, or enjoyed a spot of VFR (visiting friends and relatives – in the UK and overseas). So this was a bit of an adventure to begin with.

The brochures came home and we poured over them. Family friendly this, kids club that, activity here, play there – fun, fun, fun. And possibly frightful too, who knew? It was all a bit much.

We then spotted a beautiful resort and hotel in Madeira.  The Hotel Porto Mare.  Not particularly kid clubbish or family friendly, but it looked lovely. Really lovely. We three were agreed and we booked it. Grownups worrying that it would not be lively enough for the then eight year old, whilst he happily focused on the five pools, tennis and mini golf.

We shouldn’t have worried at all. It was perfect.

Lots of kids, lots of fun and lots of relaxation. One of the nicest, cleanest and friendliest hotels I have ever been to, and pretty luxurious too.  Five pools – indoor and outdoor, spa, gym, Jacuzzi, mini-golf, tennis, all well-kept and well delivered.

Great food and drink, from a sumptuous buffet breakfast (and the obligatory bucks fizz), to well-timed happy hours and ‘themed’ dinners. Barbecues by the pool, steak nights, quizzes, Wii contests, craft markets – all laid on by the hotel but not overpowering.  If you wanted to take part, you were welcome, if you wanted to stay away, there was enough space to do your own thing.

There were kids clubs too, but really well thought out – not all day, but just for a couple of hours, enabling kids to meet others and make friends, but not taking them away from their families for the whole holiday!

The island itself is calm and beautiful with a great history and lots to see and explore – cable cars, botanic gardens, old town, land rover safaris – and happily, lots and lots of lizards.  The best customer service too. Across the whole island. A complete understanding of the importance of tourism and tourism spend.

Overall, a brilliant choice. A brilliant holiday. Summed up by the then eight year old ‘Can we just move here, please, I love it’

We were not surprised to find ourselves booking the same hotel the following year, but this time for two weeks rather than one.