History Reid’s Palace Present Reid’s Palace

Reid's Palace is a dream came true in the Atlatic ocean, off the shore of Northern Africa.

Reid’s Palace

Query: warm, paintable, batheable, comfortable, flowery STOP Winston and Clementine Churchill - that was the short but memorable telegramme WC sent to his friend in Madeira in 1949. The answer came like a shot. REID'S HOTEL!
Here head concierge José Manuel Aguiar Nunes is busy checking sightseeing opportunities, booking helicopters, a round of golf, big game fishing, deep water dolphine and whales watching or simply a relaxing hour at the famous Reid's Spa.

tea book by andreas augustinThis is the place where Hollywood stars spend time in privacy, where writers are inspired, where Winston Churchill enjoyed one week of undisturbed painting tremendously, while the Irish Nobel Prize winner Georg Bernhard Shaw wrote: This is one of those unnaturally lovely hells of places where you bathe amid innumerable blossoms in midwinter." It is also the place where families come together and spend a memorable holiday, where children are well taken care of and parents enjoy undisturbed moments of privacy. 

 pc reids hotel 1928

Bathing Terrace of Reid's Hotel in 1935, by Max Roemer


1891, November: Reid's Hotel opened, called Reid's New Hotel. Later it became known as Reid's Palace.
1893: Empress Elisabeth of Austria "Sisi" arrives. Madeira as a destination and Reid's as a hotel rival the finest establishments of the French Riviera.
1914–1918; 1939–1945: during both wars Reid's operated on a smaller scale, serving as temporary home for refugees and the occasional guest.
1949: Winston Churchill arrives
1996: Reid’s was taken over by Orient-Express Hotels and reverted to its former name Reid’s Palace.
2012: Oreint Express Hotels' properties include various tourism enterprises, among them Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Italy, Reid's Palace in Madeira, Portugal, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 21 Club in New York City, in the United States.

happy sunny days no rain no dustHappy sunny days no rain no dust

15th century, Infante Dom Henrique, Prince Henry the Navigator, gathered the finest cartographers and navigators of Portugal. Their mission was to build knowledge of the coast of West Africa.
1419: Two young sea captains, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, were blown off course on their journey around the African coast, discovering an island that they named Porto Santo.
1420: From Porto Santo, dark clouds were visible on the southern horizon. As Zarco and Teixeira approached, a giant island rose in front of them, overgrown with wood.
They named it Madeira (wood in Portuguese). Travelling with Zarco and Teixeira was a man by the name of Bartolomeu Perestrello. He went on to become the governor of Porto Santo and was in fact the father-in-law of Christopher Colombus. Prince Henry immediately organised the colonisation of the island, with the first families coming from the Algarve region of Portugal.
1836: William Reid arrived on Madeira. He was a 14-year-old cabin boy from Scotland with just £5 to his name. He soon saw an opportunity in the growing number of arriving travellers and started letting farms to sun-seeking Northern European families. In the 1850s he opened his first hotels.
1860: Empress Elisabeth of Austria visited Madeira and spent five months on the island.
1888: William Reid was ready to realise his dream – to build a luxurious hotel in an unique location. Uncertain about the hotel’s name he gave it the working title Reid’s New Hotel. In the first building phase, only the west wing and the centre part of the hotel were built. Room No. 28, today at the bottom of the main staircase, was the last room of the house.
1890: William Reid, the father, died, leaving the project to his sons.
1891: William, the son, and his brother Alfred Reid, opened the hotel. The opening brochure said: ‘The house is constructed in sets of singles and suites of rooms, with separate marble balconies, at different levels, with large public entertainment and sitting rooms. ... there is splendid drinking water, and the grounds contain tennis courts and a pool into which the tides flow – an especially prominent feature in our new business.’
1893: Reid’s young fame reached distant shores (see Empress Elisabeth I of Austria, page 50), and ‘the grounds contain tennis courts and a pool into which the tides flow – an especially prominent feature in our new business.’ (Hotel brochure)
1914–1918: World War I; hotel partially closed.
1919: Slowly, tourism rediscovered Madeira. In the following years the hotel was totally refurbished. 1925: Reid family sold the hotel. During this decade Madeira and the Riviera were the chosen destinations for aristocracy and renowned artists.
1937: The hotel changed owner again and was bought by the Blandy family who had arrived in Madeira at the beginning of the 19th century. 1937–1939: The Blandy family, successful traders in wine, shipping, coal, communications, newspapers etc., continued the expansion of the hotel.
1940–1949: World War II. Refugees, in particular women and children from Gibraltar, arrived at Reid’s. The hotel was practically closed. After the war a flying boat service between Southampton in England and Funchal was introduced. The first airport opened on the neighbouring island of Porto Santo. Winston Churchill arrived. 1966: Reid’s opened the east wing.
1968: Two pools were opened.
1970: Reid’s joins marketing organisation The Leading Hotels of the World.
1974: The army seized power in Portugal ending nearly 50 years of dictatorial rule.
1986: Reid’s became A Select Member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World.
1990s: At Reid’s, new wings, bars and restaurants were added. The former staff quarters were converted into a casual, fine restaurant, Villa Cliff, today Villa Cipriani. The strict dress code disappeared. Nowadays, black ties are only required at Christmas and Easter, in the hotel’s Dining Room.
1996: Reid’s was taken over by Orient-Express Hotels and reverted to its original name Reid’s Palace.
2000: The new airport of Madeira opened. Today: Madeira is a short flight away from all major European cities. The unique atmosphere of Reid’s is enjoyed by its guests more than ever before.

A round of Bridge, a game of chess or snooker? Well, that's not necessary history at the fashionable Reid's Palace on the Atlantic ilsand of Madeira, but modern times have clearly taken over. Now it is Playstation, Nintendo Wii and iMacs that guarantee after-dinner fun for teenagers and all those who are young at heart. At Reid's Hotel general manager Sandro Fabris presents "Fun@Reids Teenagers", a mega cool entertainment room (in addition to "Fun@Reids Kids" near the pool).
Two Playstations, two ultra slim Apple iMac with high-speed internet access and a Wii sports Nintendo station are waiting to entertain (not only) the teenage guest.

Reid's has always been linked with many international figures in politics, science, exploration, sports and finance, besides being mentioned in a great number of fashionable novels.
Here are just some of the names of the guests who have signed the Guest Book since 1920:
Princess Helena Victoria, poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Prince Edward, Prince Axel of Denmark, Princess Alexandra, Prince Mohammed Ali, Sir Ernst Shakleton, Gago Goutinho, Marconi, George Bernard Shaw, Lloyd George, the Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Westminster, Amy Mollinson (née Johnson) and Sir Winston Churchill. Bernard Moisevitch, Lord Halifax, Dona Carmen Polo de Franco, the Count of Barcelona and Family, King Umberto of Italy, Lord and Lady Butler of Saffron Waldon, the Empress Zita and the Archdukes of Austria, Gregory Peck, Robert Newton, Sir Ralph and Lady Richardson, John de Passos, the Earl and the Countess of Avon, A.J. Cronin, the Earl of Harewood, Prof. Carstens, The Right Hon. Peter Walker MP, the Earl and Countess of Wemyss, the Lord Chief of Justice and Lady Widgery, Roger Moore, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Prince George of Denmark, King Carlos Gustav XVI and Queen Sylvia of Sweden, Gordon Cooper, Dr Mario Soares, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Dr Cavaco Silva, the Prince of Saudi Arabia and family, Maria de Belem, Antonio Guterres, Frederick Forsyth and Robert Powell.

sig shaw
George Bernard Shaw had been persuaded by his wife Charlotte to leave Britain for an extended holiday in Madeira to enjoy "the flowers, sunshine, bathing and no theatres". He was 68 years old and feeling "too old - I ought to be retiring". Shaw arrived at Reid's Palace on 30th December 1924 to hear the news of the death of his dearest and closest friend, William Archer. Shaw was devastated by the news of Archer's sudden death. He counteracted his grief by working and writing frantically, then making his way down the steps to the rock pool and plunging into the Atlantic Ocean. In the afternoons while others played tennis he sat in the sunshine, consoled in part perhaps by the beauty of the tropical flowers. "This is one of those unnaturally lovely hells of places where you bathe amid innumerable blossoms in midwinter," he wrote.

One evening he decided to overcome his sense of bereavement with a whimsical piece of therapy - on the dance floor and agreed to take a tango lesson from the resident dancing instructor, Max Rinder. When Shaw left Reid's on 12 February, he gave Rinder a signed photograph, "To the only man who ever taught me anything".

William Reid:

When William Reid first stepped ashore in 1836, he was a 14-year-old cabin boy with just £5 to his name. He started letting farms to sun-seeking Northern European families and acquired hotels. Finally he was ready to realize his dream - to build the unique hotel that would bear his name. Finding a rocky site west of Funchal, he ordered it to be strewn with tons of rich soil, creating a foundation for the lush sub-tropical gardens that surround Reid's today.
Work began in 1887 but William Reid sadly died before the work was completed. The hotel was opened in November 1891 by his two sons, William and Alfred Reid. The Reid family sold their interest in the hotel in 1925 to an English company, Reid's Palace Hotel Ltd

A success from the moment it opened its doors in 1891, Reid's roll-call of celebrities began with the arrival of Empress Elizabeth I of Austria, mourning the suicide of her son Crown Prince Rudolf.
Finding that story: In the first weeks of our research, the famoushotels - history team was trying to establish the fact that the Austrian Empress Elisabeth was at Reid's at all. Various contradictions hinted at the fact, that Empress Elisabeth had stayed at a bungalow near today's Reid's Palace Hotel. Research at the Court Archives in Vienna finally confirmed, that her Majesty was a guest at Reid's for various weeks, occupying a suite at the ground floor of today's historical wing. Her suite of room is still there, and now a "Sisi" Suite will be established as an effort to create as much historical authenticity at Reid's as possible.

The involvement of the Blandy family:
After the Reid family had sold their interest in the hotel in 1925 to an English company, Reid's Palace Hotel Ltd which, in turn, was dissolved in 1937 when Island Hotels (Madeira) Ltd was formed by the Blandy Family, founding members of the Madeira Wine Company, who now acquired the hotel with this company.
Shortly after acquiring the hotel, Island Hotels increased its capacity by constructing the East wing. Later, in 1966-67, the Garden Wing was built. The hotel was refurbished and modernised in 1972-73 and again in 1990, when several luxury suites were added. At the time, just prior to Reid's centenary, the dining room was redecorated in its original classic style, while the Cocktail Bar and terrace along with the Grill Room restaurant were completely rebuilt and refurbished.
Taking into account the views of the guests, who tended to look upon Reid's as a home away from home, they added new wings and heated sea- and fresh-water pools and ordered the re-design of The Dining Room - known as the House of Lords because of the number of British peers who dined there.

The hotel was used as a base by John Huston and Gregory Peck during the filming of Moby Dick, as Madeira was at the time one of the few remaining places where whalers still used open boats.

After his defeat by Fidel Castro in 1959, the Cuban dictator General Fulgencio Batista and his entourage took up residence on the second floor of the hotel for two years.

While working on his war memoirs and painting in the nearby village of Câmara de Lobos, Winston Churchill occupied rooms on the ground floor. In honour of the great British leader, they are now known as the Churchill suite.

At the time Reid's opened, arriving at Funchal was an exciting experience. An armada of colourful small boats packed with vendors and their wares would set out and greet the liners, making the visitor feel he had sailed into Venice during the carnival. A flying boat service between Southampton, England and Funchal was introduced after the Second World War and eventually an airport opened on the neighbouring island of Porto Santo - although visitors were still faced with an uncomfortable journey in flat-bottomed boats.
Today Madeira has its own airport for standard jets and is just a short flight away from most major European cities, yet the feel of Reid's has barely changed. "You could almost expect to spot Winston Churchill taking afternoon tea on the terrace ... to find the Empress of Austria staring out onto the sea from her verandah ... or to stumble across George Bernard Shaw mastering the intricacies of the tango on the lawn."

"Reid's is one of those hotels like Raffles in Singapore, that people actually visit for itself as opposed to the country around it and, of course, for the sheer snob appeal of the people who have stayed there before."
Julie Burchill

"Reid's revisited after so many years. Then almost a honeymoon. This time with our daughter. It still is the perfect place for couples, singles and families. Set in the lush gardens at the top of the rock, nothing can match that view, the location and its tradition. But it also represents the best food, the most comfortable rooms, the most attentive service."
Andreas Augustin 

Luigi Gandolfo         1920s
John Paquot             1949-1952
António Foerster         1952 -1958
JeanG. Burca           1958-1969
R.N. Newton (Resid. manager) 1969-1970
René Jean               1970-1972
Henry Soldati           1972-1978
George Harngartner     1978-1989
Peter Spaeth           1989-1993
Kurt E. Schmid         1993-1997
Anton P. Kueng         1997-2003
Bruno Brunner           2004-2008
Sandro Fabris           2008-2010
Ulisses Marreiros       2010-2013
Ciriaco Campus         2013-

Managed by: Belmond
128 Rooms
35 Suites

Both the Winston Churchill Suite and George B. Shaw Suite have splendid balconies overlooking the Westerngardens and the bay.

Off the Western coast of Northern Africa, perfectly situated along the main shipping line to South Africa and America. From here Christopher Columbus set sail to discover the new world.

Main Dining Room


Les Faunes (french) or Brisa do Mar (in summer)

Villa Cipriani (Italian)- overlooking the cliff of Reid's Hotel, you enjoy an undisturbed view of the hotel at sunset – and great Italian food with the best Portuguese wines.

Pool Buffet/Pool Restaurant

Tea at the Terrace is a MUST at Reid's - and it is still done in great style and oustanding atmosphere.

Tea at Reid's, that's a global synonym for elegant setting, a splendid view (the ocean in the background is the Atlantic, you are looking South East) and an unforgettable afternoon tea.
The Afternoon Tea at Reid's, a most pleasant moment in style... At Reid's, we feel that teatime should be something very special. Delicate finger sandwiches, buttered scones and delicious cakes contribute to making this time of the day just perfect for catching up with friends and family, finalising a deal or simply relaxing and enjoying the panoramic views from our terrace. See the Afternoon Tea Menu and our wide selection of speciality teas. The custom of civilised tea drinking belongs to the great traditions of mankind. Tea and porcelain teacups were being produced in China as early as 3,500 BC... In Europe, afternoon tea became a fashionable social event in the 1840s, 200 years after the first tea was brought from China. And it became a truly British institution and tradition which Reid's Palace Hotel has pleasure in continuing in the Lounge and on the Terrace... ~ Afternoon Tea at Reid's Served from 15.00 to 17.30 in the Lounge and on the Terrace


Fun for everybody at the new Reid's Teenager's Club.
A round of Bridge, a game of chess or snooker? Well, that's not necessary history at the fashionable Reid's Palace on the Atlantic ilsand of Madeira, but modern times have clearly taken over. Now it is Playstation, Nintendo Wii and iMacs that guarantee after-dinner fun for teenagers and all those who are young at heart.

Reid's Hotel presents "Fun@Reids Teenagers", a mega cool entertainment room (in addition to "Fun@Reids Kids" near the pool).
Two Playstations, two ultra slim Apple iMac with high-speed internet access and a Wii sports Nintendo station are waiting to entertain (not only) the teenage guest.

There are 3 swimming pools: 2 are seawater swimming pools - including 1 heated at 76/84ºF (25/30ºC), and 1 is freshwater and heated. One of the pools is located at the sea level platform (with direct access to the ocean) and two others are by the Pool Terrace. Tennis (2 courts), Golf (27), Sailing, Table tennis W-skiing, Game fishing, Windsurfing and the famous country walks. A new Spa has opened in October 2006, offering therapy rooms, plus a double therapy suite with its own outdoor terrace and private plunge pool, the spa offers a varied spa menu with many healing and relaxing treatments created by some of the world’s top spa brands: The Spa at Reid's offers the following treatments: Ytsara Inspired by an Asian blend of healing and therapeutic remedies. Aromatherapy Associates Essential oils are renowned for their skin enhancing properties... LaStone Therapy We are proud to offer to our guests, the original stone massage treatment, using heated and cool stones in special combinations. La Prairie A state-of-the-art range of treatments based on the exclusive La Prairie Cellular Complex. Additional treatments - Reflexology, Indian Head Massage as well as waxing, manicures and pedicures.We also offer a special treatment for children and a state-of-the art fitness centre, which is free of charge.

Etiquette at Reid's has – over the years – changed from very formal to smart casual, with the exception of the occasional formal event.
During the day smart casual dress is fine. You may wear your bathrobe on the way to the pools and to the Spa.
Afternoon tea: Tea at Reid's is such a famous affair that nobody would dare to spoil the fine setting and unique atmosphere with inappropriate dress. No shorts, no slippers, but that goes without saying, doesn't it?
At Dinner at the Main Dining Room, gentlemen always wear jacket and tie or black tie (which becomes obligatory during Easter and Christmas period).
At the Italian/international restaurant Villa Cipriani it is more relaxed, smart casual so to say. Here gentlemen may wear a jacket (no tie) at night, ladies are of course always dressed right; during warm summer evenings sitting outside overlooking the cliff of Reid's Hotel is a must.
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Our Select Member Hotel

Reid’s Palace
Country: Portugal
City: Funchal
Opening date: 1891, November

Note from the Host

General Manager

Ciriaco Campus
ciriaco campus

"I would like to welcome you at Reid's Palace. There has never been a better time to visit our traditional hotel, which offers all amenities of modern days in a most comfortable setting."

Concierge: Josef Manuel Aguiar Nunis


Estrada Monumental, 139
9000 Madeira Portugal, Funchal

Tel: +351 291 71 71 71
Fax: +351 291 71 71 77

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