Seaside Luxury in Madeira at the Savoy Saccharum

Seaside Luxury in Madeira at the Savoy Saccharum
From our balcony we looked out at an expanse of Atlantic Ocean that stretched to the horizon. Below a row of sunbeds lined the wall overlooking a small protected pebble beach, only a few steps from the hotel Savoy Saccharum’s soaring lobby (like the whole hotel, a Nini design).

The rest of the hotel -- an entire self-contained resort – winds up the hill behind the sinuous curving façade of balconies with sea views like ours. Set in a series of terraces were the infinity pool and above it a terrace restaurant and several more stair-stepped layers of terraces with sunbeds, umbrellas, café tables and pools – some reserved for adults, others filled with splashing children.

On our way to the restaurant high above, we stopped to look in the small museum with a film about sugar cane and relics of the sugar mill that once stood on this shore. Later as we explored the little fishing harbor of Calheta, we found huge machine pieces and a couple of stone buildings from an old sugar mill complex made into a pretty little picnic park just up the street from the hotel.

Our room had a king-sized bed, a chaise lounge, an upholstered bench for luggage. There was a coffee maker and a safe, and a mini-frig. The bathroom had a lighted make-up mirror and a long shallow sink on an even longer vanity space, plenty of room for toiletries (but the shallow sink tended to splatter water on them). There were terry robes and slippers, and big towels to take to the pool.

A wall of windows overlooked the wide expanse of the Atlantic, which we could see even more of from our balcony, furnished with a table and two armchairs. The outer wall of the balcony was glass so not to obscure the full sea view when we re relaxing in the chairs – a nice design detail.

The restaurant is in a beautiful setting overlooking the infinity pool, several layers of terraces and the ocean. We ate lunch on the terrace overlooking infinity pool, which in turn overlooks an almost vertical hillside of rock and tropical greenery, in turn overlooking an infinity of Atlantic ocean.

Despite the view, we gave our attention to our lunch, which began with limpets roasted in their delicate shells, their edges scalloped like tiny fine porcelain saucers. We finished last delicious drop of the limpet-and-garlic infused oil with bolos, the traditional local bread rounds a little bigger than English muffins, split and lightly toasted. Delicate grilled fish followed, then a dazzling array of tropical fruits.

The breakfast buffet was exceptional: more fresh-cut tropical fruits, various cheeses, smoked salmon, breads and pastries, omelets and pancakes cooked to order and all the makings of a full English breakfast – eggs, bacon, ham, sausages, potatoes, beans and grilled tomatoes. My generous pot of tea arrived piping hot and fully brewed (no teabag beside a pot of tepid water here!)

One morning we had to leave before breakfast began, so the desk sent us off with a prodigious boxed breakfast that would have been enough for lunch as well. In the lobby was always lemon-infused ice water and a bowl of crisp apples – exotic fruit in this tropical land where bananas, pineapples and passion fruit rule the markets.

Our Premier Room included access to the spa, one of the most beautiful I have seen, a serene space with a sauna, Jacuzzi, ice fountain, Turkish bath, sensorial showers, Halotherapy room and heated indoor pool.

The Savoy Saccharum is about 45 minutes from Funchal, the capital of Madeira, a Portuguese island that is closer to Casablanca than to Portugal’s own capital of Lisbon.

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