Barceló Hotel Group has announced the opening of Barceló Funchal Oldtown – a brand-new hotel on the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. Now open, this stylish city hotel is rooted in its sense of place, taking inspiration from the natural wonders of UNESCO World Heritage site, Laurisilva Forest, and from Madeiran architecture and craftsmanship. Comprising a cluster of 17th century buildings that have been sensitively transformed, Barceló Funchal Oldtown has absorbed its rich cultural history into its DNA. The result: a playful balance of modern design and authenticity, a sleek and comfortable base from which to explore the island’s greatest treasures.
Barceló Funchal Oldtown is made up of a cluster of 17th century buildings that have been sensitively transformed into a 5-star hotel. Each building has its own story, one being the former family abode of the Blandys, founders of the Madeiran wine trade, and another an embroidery factory that supplied the nearby shops. Now under one roof, the hotel remains faithful to the original architecture and the façade has been meticulously restored, in homage to the rich cultural heritage of Funchal.
Excavation uncovered vestiges from the past ranging from pottery and coins to remnants of a roadway which have all been incorporated into the hotel’s decor. The original floors have been brought back to life, and natural stone and wood has been restored by artisans, celebrating local craftsmanship from centuries past and present. Interiors follow suit and the building’s 111 rooms feature embroidery and wicker basketry furnishings.
To champion the island’s abundant nature and UNESCO World Heritage site, Laurisilva Forest, a flora-filled courtyard sits pride of place in the hotel, providing a peaceful spot to relax. Floor to ceiling windows and hanging gardens bring the outside in and natural colours and textures have been woven into the design to nod to the luscious landscape.
The rooftop of Barceló Funchal Oldtown is the pièce de résistance, boasting panoramic sea views over the marina. The terrace, complete with a plunge pool and bar, is a glamorous spot for sundowners or to marvel at the comings and goings of Funchal’s farmers’ market.
Barceló Funchal Oldtown offers two distinct restaurant concepts giving guests a flavour of Funchal. A Bordadeira restaurant – whose name and interiors are inspired by the Madeiran tradition of embroidery (translated as ‘bordadeira’) – serves an a la carte menu with international influence. Dine alfresco at Noz Café, which transports guests to Laurisilva Forest, to indulge in local-inspired dishes whilst shaded by canopies of trees and Funchal flora and fauna. The all-day dining concept will feel bright and airy by day and transform into a sophisticated gastronomic destination by night. Championing the region’s history of winemaking, Barceló Funchal Oldtown will serve an impressive selection of local Madeiran wines.
If guests manage to tear themselves away from the roof terrace, they can explore the charming farmers’ market, selling fresh regional produce and radiating the warm spirit of locals. Those seeking a dose of culture can discover the ancient architecture and intricately carved ceiling of Funchal Cathedral.
Not to be missed is the Funchal cable car which offers unparalleled views of the city journeying from the Emperor’s estate and palace gardens of Monte, over the quaint gothic-style buildings to the sea. Adventurers can see the city riding a toboggan.