Churchill’s favourite grande-dame hotel relaunches in Madeira

The Reid’s Palace’s 21st-century makeover makes it shine again in all its glorious grandeur

The cliffside pool terrace at Belmond Reid’s Palace in Madeira
The cliffside pool terrace at Belmond Reid’s Palace in Madeira

Once upon an early- to mid-20th-century time, Madeira was a Place To Be, frequented famously by Winston Churchill and a preferred redoubt of a coterie of continental aristocracy drawn by the Atlantic island’s eternal-spring climate and spectacular landscapes.

The hotel foyer
The hotel foyer

This month Churchill’s favoured haunt – the vaunted Belmond Reid’s Palace (belmond.com; from €430), once a grande dame of European hotels that had faded into semi-obscurity – is emerging from a rolling renovation that’s brought it into the 21st century with its grandeur entirely intact, with striking monochrome chevron marble floors and potted lemon trees in the lobby, and a cliffside pool terrace restaurant, open from 7am to 8pm, that’s a postcard waiting to happen). Like the Palace, Madeira itself seems to be on something of a rebound; call it the Portugal effect.

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