We have recently returned from the Casino Park Hotel. We were originally booked into Pestana Bay on an All Inclusive basis, but as this was closed due to refurbishment we were 'upgraded' to the 5* Casino Park. My family and I have never stayed AI before and were really looking forward to this Christmas treat.
The Hotel itself was lovely; we were welcomed through the main entrance, although reception staff were quite slow. Our rooms were lovely, clean, tidy and maintained daily. All the common areas were well kept, bars, restaurants lobby areas etc.
Our first night was awful; our room was opposite the Casino and as this was the start of the party season we were kept awake all night. The next morning I politely asked if we could be moved as lack of sleep was not an option. I was told, quite rudely, that I had booked a garden view room (Casino view), I was given a garden view room (Casino view) and to be moved to a sea view room would incur quite a substantial charge. I politely informed the lady on reception that not only had I NOT booked a garden view room but I hadn’t even booked THIS Hotel! After talking to her colleague very loudly and quite aggressively in Portuguese, which I don’t speak, so didn’t understand, she offered us an alternative. This room was far better and much more comfortable.
The problems began shortly after we started exploring the Hotel, it became quite clear very quickly that those of us who were AI, wearing the white identifiable wrist bands were made to feel like second class citizens, not only by other non-AI guests (mostly German) but more annoyingly by Hotel staff.
All bar areas were separated – it was like them and us – we were only offered a very limited selection of non-alcoholic & alcoholic drinks and were made to stand around waiting for service while paying guests were made to feel like royalty. We had to clear our own tables, were shouted out by the staff on the poolside bar for not showing our bands properly. I was ordered to use the coffee machine inside the hotel as the one at the pool bar was broken (it had been for 3 days!) and the staff member refused to make me a coffee even though he was happily making hot drinks for paying guests.
The bar staff had a massive problem with all AI guests, they clearly felt we weren’t paying guests so weren’t entitled to service. What they fail to understand or care about was the fact that we had in fact already paid for our drinks (almost £3000 worth). On my first visit to the pool side bar my friend asked what wine was available, the bar man replied “it’s free so what does it matter” – this was a disgraceful response but he didn’t seem to care. Bar staff need to be made aware that all guests are to be treated the same way and just because I wasn’t paying per drink the drinks weren’t in fact free and had been paid for in advance.
We did complain about the appalling service we received to Management, I don’t think we were taken seriously though, even though one of the occasions I was complaining about was Christmas day and there was only one member of staff working at the pool bar on this day I was sent around the hotel to try and find out what his name was – surely there must be a schedule for staff where management would be able to check which staff members were working on which day?? I couldn’t find him so was unable to give his name. Management could do no more!
This was clearly not an AI hotel and I’m sure for those guests not expecting and AI service was perfectly acceptable, but at the end of the day I didn’t book this Hotel and I was offered it as a comparable alternative to my original booking, on inspecting my original booking information it seems that what I would have received at Pestana Bay and what I actually received at Casino Park were two completely different things!
This experience hasn’t ruined my view of Madeira which was beautiful, it hasn’t necessarily ruined my view of All Inclusive hotels, but it has unfortunately ruined my view of the Pestana Hotel Group – I have given them my hard earned money for the first and last time.
The only thing I did have an issue with was that after day two they started serving dinner as a buffet. I cannot walk very well and I don't like having to go into a scrum to get food onto my plate while juggling with a walking stick at the same time. I manage at breakfast because it is the norm and I like the choice of a buffet. But at dinner I like to be waited on. The first two nights we had table d'hote and the food was fantastic. When I spoke with the manager he explained that the buffet was the hotel's normal dinner service once they have a certain number of guests staying. On our third night the required number were registered and so out came the buffet. But, he immediately offered to arrange either a waiter to come with me while I chose from the buffet or to get the chef to prepare our own table d'hote if we preferred. There was nothing he wasn't prepared to do to make my dining experience as I wished it to be. I was amazed at his courtesy and willingness to accommodate my needs.
The doorman even parked my car for me to when the disabled spaces were taken so I didn't have to walk from the car park.
There was always some form of enertainment, usually a duo or trio, and very nice to listen to when having a drink.
If I ever go back to Madeira I wil most deinitely return to this hotel.
Travel operator: none
Travel operator: airtours
outside & bedroom balcony areas need painting,once thats done a top 5 hotel in funchal.outside pool area great, inside pool best ive ever seen.didnt eat in the evenings in the hotel, but ate lunchtimes, food good but very expensive, 6 euros for cheese & ham toatie a bit excessive, large beers 4 euros, 1/2pts 3.5 euros.staff very good & friendly.
Travel operator: Thomson
Buffet food excellant with plenty of choices. Initially I took a little of everthing but settled into one meat/ fish per day.
Champagne with breakfast every second day. We declined but nice idea.
Old town down steepish hill and about 15 mins away. Great views paticularly of harbour.
All staff very pleasant.
Entertainment was a bit laid back: folk dancers/ singers one night (interesting) but most nights small combo or piano-lounge type music in background. Suited us but not good for dancing.
Travel operator: david urqhart
The hotel itself is lovely and has recently been refurbished. The communal areas (reception, pool, spa etc) are all excellent - particularly the spa which opened April 2007. The indoor pool is super and the spa was a wide range of facilities (turkish bath, sauna, even massages if you pay extra). The rooms themselves, for me, weren't quite up to 5* standard and this is the only area i feel the hotel could've improved (there probably a good UK 4* standard).
The location of the hotel is excellent - turn right out of the hotel and you walk down a (steep ish) hill towards the city centre and old town. Turn left and you walk accross the fornt towards the Lido area. If you keep walking (for a bout 45 mins) you will reach The Forum which is an indoor shopping centre.
Had a couple of good meals at the Red Lion restaurant (near Pastana Carlton Park) and the Monumental Grill over by the Forum.
I read reviews before I went saying that it was an emerging destination for "younger travellers" and, to be honest, i don't think that's true. I am 29 and my partner is 27 and I think we saw only 2 other couples anywhere near our age all week. Don't get me wrong, I went for a rest and didn't go under any with any expectations of stumbling out of nightclubs every night.
I'd certainly return to the hotel and Funchal and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of going. However, personally, I might wait 20 years or so!
Overall though, an excellent holiday, nice hotel/resort.
Travel operator: Thomson
The upgrading of the rooms was a welcome change. Gone are the carpets, they have been replaced by hardwood flooring thoughout. A high standard of ensuite facilities have replaced the previous 'tired' looking bathroom facilities. The Rendez-vous Bar (just beyond the front reception) has been completely revamped and is quite stunning.
The bar staff were very friendly, actually we found all the Hotel staff to be friendly.
The outside pool area was equally stunning and together with the Pool Bistro Barbeque we couldn't fault the changes.
The lower Baement Floor has been turned into a Spa area and although we didn't use it I can only say it was stunning in design, finish and the use of lighting.
If you've been disappointed with this Hotel before I suggest you give it another try.
We intend to go back.
Travel operator: First Choice
Breakfast was excellent with a huge choice, all of which was fresh and hot where appropriate. There was still a good choice if you chose to arrive at the end of breakfast.
Don't be put off by the 'Casino' tag. It has no impact on the hotel. It's probably not necessary to pay extra for the 'garden view' as all rooms seemed to have a good outlook and it was quiet.
The pool was quiet and clean with plenty of room for sunbathing. Poolside snacks were on the expensive side.
The lobby bar area is somewhat stark and bland, hence under-used.
One small criticism would be on the signage. We had to explore quite a bit to find our way round and it seemed that the florist was 'private', which was puzzling as we might otherwise have wanted to buy some flowers!
Travel operator: Atlantic
The hotel room was kept clean and the hotel seemed to be very clean with the pool being checked every day.
The staff did seem a bit sullen but then we found that it was the case in most bars and restaurants. It is almost as if they are doing you a favour by turning up.
The breakfast was good with plenty of choice, however the "Gourmet" meal in Chez Oscars was appalling. The hotel responded to our complaint with a more than satisfactory refund of the "3 meal offer".
Travel operator: Brightwater Holidays/Atlantic
We left after 3 hours, downgrading to a much superior (and less expensive) 4 star hotel - the Porto Mare - which is faultless, probably because it is still quite new (as of July 2004). It offers very good/clean facilities.
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
Ask a Question
Got a question? Ask our community of over 1.5 million users.