“ Rua Simplício dos Passos Gouveia 29 / 9004 - 576 Funchal / Madeira / Portugal „
Madeira is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, sometimes called the Pearl of the Atlantic or the floating garden, the flowers are magnificent here and it is a very green island, because of the careful usage of water and the mild climate.
This was our third visit to Madeira - we like it, as it's warm without being too hot, the people are so friendly and the food and wine is good too!
We choose the Tivoli Ocean Park through a getaway break with our Timeshare, but anyone can stay in the suites at this hotel, there are 23 Terrace suites and 24 Tower suites, ours was in the Tower, which is the central part of the hotel with sea views from the balcony. There are also 245 Deluxe/standard rooms and 21 Superior rooms, plus 4 deluxe for disabled guests. As the name suggests it is part of the Tivoli Hotel Group.
On the outskirts of Funchal, about 23Km, the hotel has a locked gate from the swimming pool area straight onto the promenade, which is a bonus. It depends whether you want to be close to the centre of town or a long walk or bus ride away. The hotel has a free bus service which runs several times a day, taking about 10 minutes. Having said this we found it ideal with supermarkets and plenty of restaurants close by and plenty of walks. It is close to the popular Lido area, and access to sea swimming. By taxi it takes 20-30 minutes from the Airport.
A huge reception area, with a bar at the opposite end of the lobby. The staff at reception were both welcoming and efficient, our apartment wasn't ready as we had arrived a few hours before takeover time, but our cases were stored in a room, and we were directed where we could get lunch. Check out was at 12.00 and check in at 4.00pm. When we returned later a porter took us up to our room and was extremely helpful. The lobby has loads of settees, easy chairs and tables and is light and airy. Displays of marble pieces were on sale, these added to the area, although too expensive and heavy for us, the furnishings were a little retro but they were in good condition and very clean and comfortable. The reception area is on level 6 of the hotel from the road entrance, with the restaurant and pool being lower down. There was an ATM and a desk where someone was able to help book trips, rent cars etc.
First impressions are important, and immediately we walked in to our suite I was overwhelmed with the size. The hall, dining area and lounge were as big as our lounge at home! The bedroom was the equivalent of two of our bedrooms and the bathroom larger too. The kitchen was the only room smaller and only by a little! There was a walk in cupboard/ wardrobe, which would have been useful if we had someone sleeping in the lounge, it also housed the iron and ironing board. The balcony was enormous and had two wooden sun beds with padded mattresses and a table and 4 chairs. All the furniture was good quality and in immaculate condition. I immediately felt as if this was going to be a good holiday!
The carpet was in blue and gold, and the heavy lined curtains mostly gold with a little blue pattern. The suite was covered in gold material and all the tables and cupboards had a greeny blue glass top. There was plenty of cupboard space in the lounge area, useful if someone was sleeping on the bed settee. There were several lamps and a mini bar - drinks were expensive as is normal. A tray with glasses was on top of one cupboard, and a pretty blue glass starfish dish was on the table, and a stylish glass vase on a cupboard. Pictures on the wall were typical of the area of attractive scenes. Television and telephone were set on a desk/table along with details of the hotel services.
The kitchen had a full sized cooker, fridge/freezer dishwasher, double sink, microwave, toaster, electric juicer, kettle and coffee maker. Plenty of cupboard space and good quality cutlery, dishes, glasses and pans.
The bathroom had a Jacuzzi bath, separate shower, toilet, bidet and twin wash basins. Cotton dressing gowns were a nice touch, and the toiletries were good quality and replenished often. The shaving kit was an unexpected but useful product and I was pleased to find the hair drier was efficient. A box of tissues was provided too.
The bedroom had plenty of hanging space and also shelf, and drawers, plus the inevitable safe. As per usual you had to pay extra for the safe - Euro2 per day. Spare pillows and blankets were found in the wardrobe and more could be requested if required. The two 3foot beds were pushed together and had a large wooden headboard, bedside tables and lamps. A smaller television was on the desk/dressing table along with extra lighting and there was a standard lamp by the armchair near the French windows opening onto the balcony.
On the first night the maid arrived to turn down the bed and left us with a lovely chocolate, after that the beds were turned down when the room was cleaned and the chocolate left then! The rooms were cleaned daily although often it was into the afternoon, which didn't really worry us as we had a separate bedroom, but if I was in a normal room I would probably have made the bed myself by then!
Eating and Drinking
This makes all the difference to a great holiday! There were different restaurants and cafes throughout the hotel and although I didn't use them all I will mention them.
This was on the 2nd floor with views over the pool and Atlantic Ocean. Open for breakfast from 7.30 - 10.30 am and Dinner from 7.00 - 9.30pm both Buffet, although á la carte was also available at night. The cost was 25 euros at night per person for the buffet. The restaurant was clean and pleasantly decorated, and had a large central buffet, with hot and cold dishes.
Although we had a suite equipped for self catering we were told that breakfast was included, so we sampled the food and decided to eat there every morning! A beautiful array of juices, fresh fruits, dried fruit and nuts, cereals, yogurts, cold meat and fish, cheeses, breads, cakes, petit fours, cinnamon biscuits, local honey cake and muffins tempted me away from the hot buffet which had what we call the traditional "Full English!" There was even Oysters and Champagne if you wanted, and we noticed this was quite popular! Teas of every sort imaginable were available and coffees. I was impressed by the selection and the friendly but efficient service, plus a linen napkin at breakfast just made me feel that this hotel lived up to its 5 stars.
Vela Restaurant/Coffee Shop
On level one overlooking the gardens and pool this restaurant served drinks and snacks plus light meals like pizza and pasta, fish, salads etc at night. There were some tables outside, but these were in the shade most of the time and not very popular in May.
Baco do Cais
This small restaurant serves Gourmet food and seats 80. It was not open every night, and had functions some afternoons, so I can't comment except the menu was a lot more expensive that other restaurants.
This bar was in the lobby, you could enjoy a coffee or a cocktail, with a happy hour in the early evening. Open all day, there was live Piano music in the evenings but a coffee costs Euro2.60! Expensive but included a wee chocolate!
Moonlight -Musical bar
On the level below the reception lobby, beautiful sweeping marble stairs lead you down to an oasis of calm. Running water, fish etc and comfortable chairs and settees in the Lounge area, with the Moonlight Bar just through swing doors. Although advertised as being open every night with live music to dance to, we didn't find this in May, perhaps in the busier season it may be open, but we went to a free show one night, the comfy chairs were moved around the stage and the large semi-circular bar was at the back, although the waiters served people in their seats. Drinks were not cheap! They paid for the free Music/dance show! A non alcoholic cocktail cost Euro7 and a Gin and Tonic was Euro6. The peanuts came free! The show incidentally was excellent.
Yes, there really was a cigar club! It was through the lounge on level 5 and had its own Library and Television. I don't smoke so didn't venture in! There was also a smoker's area outside in the pool area.
On level 6 there was a hairdresser, if you felt the need to have a blue rinse or your hair arranged, I didn't use this service.
Under the hotel was a car park for 100 cars, operated by using your key card. Very useful to keep your car safe and cool, there was very little parking on the road nearby the hotel.
There was a large business centre and 5 other rooms. One night there was a Cocktail reception in the Lounge near the Moonlight Bar, the noise filtered into the lobby. Weddings and family "get togethers" were popular and smaller parties used another restaurant next to the Vela Café. One evening there was a meal outside by the pool for about a hundred people, the sun beds were moved onto the grass in the early morning to allow this to be set up. As the pool closes at 7.00pm it didn't really interfere with people's enjoyment, just limited their position of sunbathing!
Massage, waxing, hydrotherapy, make up etc were all available including packages but these came at a price! Several packages were Euro135, for example Oriental Bliss or Ocean experience both lasting 3 hours, so this time I didn't sample them. There was also a gym in the spa, separate to the other gym.
There were classes in aerobic exercise and water aerobics in the indoor pool plus table tennis, and a gym with all the usual machines. The indoor pool was very clean and comfortable loungers were available, the outdoor pool was warm although not heated and a smaller pool for children. Towels were available free of charge from the pool attendant in exchange of a card - one towel per guest per day. The pool attendants were very helpful, putting up umbrellas when needed, and kept the area very neat and tidy.
There was no animation team coming round each day pushing you to go to the things available, but there was a list near the Spa stating what was on and when and where to go. I went to Flower arranging and Madeiran Recipes. I was the only one at both of these! I ended up with a lovely arrangement. There was Speaking Portuguese, a DVD on local Sugar beet, how to make a Poncha (Rum drink not a cape!), making cocktails etc.
On level one, close to the pool and a seating area, you can purchase those odd things you've forgotten, a newspaper or book or a T shirt or swimsuit, or a souvenir to take home.
Children were welcome, there were plenty of high chairs in the restaurant, a pool as mentioned and baby sitting service could be booked. Near the gym was a Dolphin Room- a play area for children, but I never saw it being supervised, although children used it under parental supervision.
The Madeirans are very conscious that they live on an island and recycle as much as they can. By the pool attendant's room there were separate bins for paper, glass, plastic and other waste, and in the rooms the bins were colour segmented for separating waste. A notice by the bed gives the guest the choice how often they want they bed linen changing and the same in the bathroom with towels and flannels. Other hotels we've been in have the cards with the message about saving water etc but still changed the towels even if we didn't drop them in the bath!
A twin room with side sea view currently costs £589.77 for Bed and breakfast for 2 adults. We got a bargain price through the company we have our Resort holiday arranged with. Offers are posted on their website.
Who goes there?
There was a mix of age groups, not a lot of children but we did see a few. There was mostly people over 50 like myself those with time on their hands, whereas those with children at school are more likely to travel during school holidays. But there were a lot of young couples too. Listening to the languages and speaking to people in the lifts, we discovered that there were more people from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden than from Britain, plus one of too from America.
Would we go back?
Yes, we would. Although we didn't eat in the hotel for dinner the breakfasts were first class. We did though eat in two restaurants which are built under the hotel and we at first thought they belonged to the hotel, but they appeared to be rented out, both were excellent and it was just seconds away from the promenade door.
The staff were all helpful and very friendly. There was a notice on the hotel site saying "Please note that there is building work in the vicinity of the Tivoli Ocean Park Hotel. Noise is normally minimal and only occurs during normal working hours." We could hear and see cranes working, but it wasn't too annoying, although for people in rooms overlooking the building sites which are on both sides of the hotel it might have been dusty and more noisy. Both hotels being built will soon be completed.
Also on Ciao as jo145
A new promenade, lined with palm trees, that runs from the Lido (public swimming pools with sea access) along the coast to Praia Formosa beach featuring fountains, breathtaking views and splendid botanical gardens, passes directly in front of the hotel.