Woke up super excited as we were going swimming with dolphins!
The Savoy Palace is a lovely 5 star hotel … but it is HUGE and in my humble opinion way too over the top for a small island like Madeira – in fact it was simply built without full authorisation! It has that cold, clinical HUGE every where in the world 5 star type feel – despite the fact that I had mentioned that it was Paul’s birthday when asked in correspondence whether we were celebrating anything special, no effort whatsoever was made … this establishment could learn A LOT from their competitor, Reid’s Palace which nails what being a 5 star establishment is all about – read more about that later. Never the less, attractive surroundings made for a comfortable stay. They have a falconer by the swimming pool to control all the pigeons!
We cannot recommend the swimming with dolphins with Rota dos Cetaceos highly enough. A super professional company who behave in an ethical and informative manner. The boats were comfortable (although tightly squeezed!) and we saw and swam with the dolphins. Be prepared that when the boat pulls off and you are holding on that it is quite a jerk! We have been fortunate enough to swim with dolphins before in the wild on numerous occasions – free swimming – which is far more pleasant, but I understand the rules are to protect the species. It was magical and we had ten minutes at a time in the water with them.
We headed back to the Savoy for a well earned lunch followed by relaxation. The Savoy Spa costs an extra EUR80 per person! But it is a haven of relaxation.
After all this R&R we felt we needed some cocktails so we headed to the Quasbah …. lovely location BUT after ordering 4 straightforward cocktails – no food order even taken yet – we waited 49minutes before the said cocktails arrived!! When I made a comment to the waiter he said, well, this is Madeira – you take it or leave it. Needless to say we drank up and decided to ‘leave it ‘ never to return again. Shame as it was Paul’s birthday the next day. Had they been really busy one could understand but we were one of two tables?! Clearly the owner was absent as I am sure he would be horrified to see how his business was being let down.