Belmond Reid's Palace

Guide to Gay Friendly Hotels in Madeira (Funchal) Portugal (2024 Updated)

Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is an archipelago comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa. It is known for its namesake wine and warm, subtropical climate and gay friendly hotels Madeira. The main island of Madeira is volcanic, green and rugged, with high cliffs, pebbly beaches and settlements on deltas of the Fajã River. Capital Funchal has botanic gardens and is known for its harbor and a large New Year’s fireworks show

Gay PRIDE Madeira is a peaceful march of LGBT people and their relatives and friends, which combines social and political protest with entertainment such as live concerts. It takes place every year in the month of October in Funchal the main destination of Madeira. Like most countries in Western Europe the  city of Funchal have many gay bars, clubs and gay friendly hotels.

Consider this your open invitation to pack your bags and find Funchal city hotels that are members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


What are the top attractions to visit in Madeira?


Madeira is famous for the wine that bears its name and, today, is produced in a number of varieties. Vineyards on the island were once managed by Jesuit priests. Madeira can be a dry table wine, a sweet dessert wine, or rich after-dinner drink

Top 5 sights in Madeira (for a day trip)

Pico Ruivo. Pico do Arieiro. Funchal. Câmara de Lobos. Cristo Rei Viewpoint. Ponta de São Lourenço. Curral das Freiras. Porto Moniz


1. Belmond Reid’s Palace 5* – Gay Friendly Hotel Madeira


Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira
Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira

Set on a cliff in 10 acres of subtropical gardens overlooking the Atlantic, this 5-star resort features an oceanfront spa, 3 swimming pools and direct access to oceanic waters.

All rooms at Reid’s Palace are elegantly furnished and include a balcony and marble bathroom with amenities. A minibar with complimentary drinks and free in-room movies are available to each room.

Reid’s Palace Spa features indoor and outdoor therapy suites with a private whirlpool. It offers an indulgent menu of treatments using world-class spa brands. Dry and wet saunas are also on site.

Set on cliff tops overlooking the Bay of Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean, this legendary hotel has, for over a century, been a standard-bearer for excellence. The hotel is located on 10 acres of subtropical gardens, boasts enviable access to the sea and is within walking distance of Funchal’s shops, restaurants and night-life. With its reputation for excellence and discreet service, Belmond Reid’s Palace is the ideal place at which to relax and be pampered.

It is situated overlooking the bay of Funchal. At first the entrance is rather modest but it has elegance especially when walking into the entrance hall. Very nearby are some excellent restaurants and over the road a small pastry shop. Parking is available for free. They have a free shuttle bus to/from town which was very useful for us.

Location is great with the old town about a 20 minute walk away. A free shuttle is available and most welcome too.

The room was perfect. I loved the quality materials – the curtains, bedding, towels etc. The colour theme of blue and white was very classic and I just loved it.

The bed was spacious and comfortable and I had plenty a goods nights sleep. There is a pillow menu if you need a different pillow which even comes from aromatherapy (we got frankincense). The turn down service made us feel special and the complimentary soft drinks from the fridge each day kept us going.

Not much to see from the balcony but still great to sit outside and see some of their gardens.
The bathroom is big. The toiletries are of a high quality. I loved the bath – big and deep. Towels are changed twice a day if necessary. The wardrobes are plentiful and there’s a lot of storage.

The grounds are very well cared for and there are plenty of areas to sit in peace and quiet. The plants are varied and really interesting.

Breakfast is top quality. You can choose from the eggs of the day if you wish. I loved having different cheeses and salmon and ham. The fruits were all very fresh. It was a very relaxing affair.

The pools are wonderful. There’s a salt water one which is warm in the morning but does sting a lot if you have any small cuts or have shaved recently! The other pool is heated which is more enjoyable in the afternoon. The sun loungers are comfortable. What has to be my all time most favourite thing is that they have a falcon to scare away any birds. I’m glad they did because the pigeons were very cocky!

Belmond Reid's Palace
Belmond Reid’s Palace

It has its own access to the sea with an area in a cave to shower and/or get changed. A small sea pool is also there if getting in the actual sea isn’t your thing.
They also have a snooker table and a games room. They have a spa and a gym but I did not use it.
The bar has an amazing view over the harbour/bay. The drinks are a little pricey but good. Entertainment is ok (piano, bands, singers).

Buffet breakfasts were very good, with beautiful views – eating outdoors near the two heated pools. Being on half board meant we could enjoy both Cipriani/ Italian restaurant plus William the Michelin star restaurant. The Cipriani was very good but we decided to eat 5 nights in a row at William. Wow. The food was absolutely superb and we tried most options, including lobster, beef fillet, fois gras, souffles etc etc. Afternoon tea, famous at Reid’s, was one of the best we’ve had anywhere round the world, with gorgeous food and lovely view on the terrace.


How much does a room costs at Belmond Reid’s Palace?


Prices start 380$/night for Classic Double Room . The Deluxe Double Room  is 560$/room per night with breakfast included – if coming on a honeymoon this is the perfect choice for gay couples.

Large room featuring a spacious covered balcony or patio with ocean or garden views and a marble bathroom stocked with luxurious bathroom amenities.

A welcome pack is provided, consisting of traditional Portuguese pastries and a welcome card.

Where to book onlineBelmond Reid’s Palace –  Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira – you can find the best hotels deals in Funchal  during the  Madeira Carnival Festivities: One of the biggest street parties in Europe, Madeira’s Carnival, evokes the riotous spirit of Rio  on or and see more reviews on TripAdvisor.


2. Hotel Orca Praia 3* – Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira


Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira
Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira

Situated on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and a sandy beach, this hotel is 6 km from the centre of Funchal. It features an outdoor pool with panoramic views and spacious guestrooms with private balconies.

Rooms at the Hotel Orca Praia have stylish furnishings and a seating area with satellite TV. They come equipped with a small refrigerator, on request, and a private bathroom with solar-heated hot water and a hairdryer.

In the morning, the hotel serves a buffet breakfast with fresh pastries and juice. There is a cocktail bar and a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows that serves international cuisine.

Orca Praia Hotel is an excellent choice for travelers visiting Funchal, offering a charming environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay.

Guest rooms offer amenities such as a flat screen TV, and guests can go online with wifi offered by the hotel.

Orca Praia features a 24 hour front desk, room service, and baggage storage, to help make your stay more enjoyable. The property also boasts a pool and free breakfast. If you are driving to Orca Praia Hotel, free parking is available.

Given the close proximity of popular landmarks, such as Miradouro Pico Dos Barcelos (2.4 mi) and Holy Trinity Church (2.7 mi), guests of Orca Praia can easily experience some of Funchal’s most well known attractions.

For me, this hotel is all about its good rates, excellent location at Praia Areiro and Formosa and just a 20 min walk from beautiful Camara de Lobos. Every spacious room has an evenly spacious bathroom, all just renovated in a light colour scheme. Huge balconies with all gorgeous ocean view ! The pool is another top mark ! Clean, fresh, crystal clear and just 20 meters from the beach and the 21 degrees ocean water in November.

Set into a steep cliff with the reception at the top street level and hotel rooms going down towards the bottom level followed by a steeply sloping path to the swimming pool area. The hotel and room was very clean and organised with an amazing sea view for all rooms.

Praia Formosa beach which is nearer Camara do Lobos than it is to Funchal. Direct access onto the coastal promenade which runs from Lido area to Camara do Lobos. Approx 90 mins walk to centre of Funchal and 30 mins to Camara do Lobos.

All rooms have superb sea views. We had a standard room (booked through Mercury Direct) number 816. The room was large as was the bathroom. The balcony was a real plus, it was extremely large and very private. No other rooms overlooked us, some of the higher rooms have tiered balconies and you can see the people on them from above so no privacy. Room 816 is at the end of the corridor so really quiet, but many people on this floor complained of very early morning noise and asked to be moved (the kitchens are close by).

Beds were two singles pushed together, very firm but comfortable. Towels changed every day. Take your own hairdryer ladies, the one attached to the wall in the bathroom is useless. There is no kettle or fridge in the room, these have to be hired. There is a safe, but you have to pay for it. The real downer for me in the rooms was no air conditioning. The sun shines into the room all day as it is south facing so do get hot. You can open the balcony doors, which are soundproofed, but the waves are so loud you couldn’t sleep. You can hire a fan, but of course, you have to pay.

Pool Area:
Good sized pool cleaned every day. Plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas. Pool bar open from 10am not open in the evening. Again, the downside of this area is actually getting there and back. Access is by part ramp, part steps and is steep and not easy for older people (or me) especially in hot weather.

Hotel Orca Praia
Hotel Orca Praia

There is a small bar on the top floor which has music some nights. They have happy hour between 6 and 7 and again 11 to 11.30 25% reduction on drinks. Didn’t drink in the bar it never looked appealing

How much does a room costs at Hotel Orca Praia?


Prices start 110$/night for Standard Double with Sea View. The Junior Suite with Sea View is 180$/room per night with breakfast included – if coming on a honeymoon this is the perfect choice for gay couples.

Where to book online – Hotel Orca Praia –  Gay Hotels Madeira – you can find the best hotels deals in Funchal  during the  Madeira Carnival Festivities: One of the biggest street parties in Europe, Madeira’s Carnival, evokes the riotous spirit of Rio on or and see more reviews on TripAdvisor.


3.  Hotel Catedral Funchal 3* – Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira



Gay Hotels Funchal
Gay Hotels Funchal

Hotel Catedral offers elegantly decorated rooms in city centre. It features panoramic views of the area and a restaurant. It also offers free WiFi, as well as free parking.

Each air-conditioned room at Hotel Catedral features a balcony or a terrace and is luxuriously decorated with red tones and wooden floors. Some of them have views over the city and a mini fridge, whilst all units have a flat-screen cable TV.

A complimentary buffet breakfast is served every day in the panoramic breakfast room. Guests can start their evenings ordering regional delicacies in the restaurant. The bar offers a selection of drinks, including the typical poncha.

The hotel was designed in the 1970 by a Portuguese architect responsible for a number of buildings, both commercial and private, throughout the island. The 1970’s stamp is still very evident in the design of the hotel’s interior. It is well maintained in the 70’s style which has come back into fashion.

One of the advantages of staying in a hotel of this vintage is the large rooms with architectural tricks to make them appear even larger. The room consisted of an entrance hall and wardrobes, bathroom, bedroom area, sitting area and Juliette balcony.

The bathroom had a shower over bath, bidet and WC and wide hand basin with plenty of room for toiletries.

The bedroom area was large with twin/double bed and desk and led past an almost full height glass screen to the sitting area with makeup desk and Juliette balcony overlooking the cathedral across the road. This road is only one way and used by cars and taxis so not noisy. There was a hair dryer and fridge though the in room safe requires an additional charge.

On the top floor is a lounge and sun terrace with views out to sea and to the mountains.

Breakfast was served on the first floor and was good with a wide range of foods and drinks.

Being in the heart of town good restaurants,  gay bars and nightlife are close by.

Good points: Excellent location right in the centre of things in the old town. Decent sized room. Excellent breakfast with a decent choice. Nice rooftop open room area with views over the town.

The rooms with a balcony overlooking the cathedral and main street and a few hundred yards from the port. The tourist office is just along the street. We loved the location as we could watch the world go by. The top floor residents’ lounge with larger balcony is also nice and you can see the sea from there. The room was nice and big with a sitting area. It was clean, the bed was comfortable and there was a hairdryer in the bathroom.

The hotel is simple but comfortable and kept very clean by the hard-working maid/cook. A decent, ample and well-cooked breakfast was part of the low cost stay. All the staff were very friendly, helpful and willing to get involved in any way to make our stay in Funchal really pleasant and memorable. The location, across the street from the cathedral, couldn’t be improved.

Hotel Catedral Funchal
Hotel Catedral Funchal

A particular feature is a panoramic lounge with a terrace on floor 5 giving a view over the cathedral to the sea beyond.

There was plenty of good quality food available for the included breakfast. A particular feature was the coffee machine that did excellent expressos among a number of choices, including Nescafe!.

How much does a room costs at Hotel Catedral Madeira?


Prices start 70$/night for a Standard Double Room.

This air-conditioned room is elegantly decorated with red tones and wooden furniture and floors.

Some units have views over the city. They all include a fully equipped private bathroom, flat-screen TV with cable channels, and a safe.

Where to book onlineHotel Catedral Madeira –  Gay Hotels Madeira – you can find the best hotels deals in Funchal  during the  Madeira Carnival Festivities: One of the biggest street parties in Europe, Madeira’s Carnival, evokes the riotous spirit of Rio on or and see more reviews on TripAdvisor.


4. Castanheiro Boutique Hotel 4* – Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira

Offering an outdoor pool and spa centre, Castanheiro Boutique Hotel is set in Funchal, 500 m from Marina do Funchal. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar.

Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. The rooms include a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries.

Castanheiro Boutique Hotel features a SPA with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, turkish bath,massage rooms and a relaxing area. You will also find a hairdresser’s at the property.

In the heart of an historic zone, just a few steps away from the City Hall, this four star hotel arose from an innovative concept blending design, detailed architectural restoration and a welcoming atmosphere. With 81 rooms it boasts a lap pool where guests will enjoy panoramic views overlooking the Bay of Funchal and panoramic jacuzzi, two steps away from the main shops, museums, restaurants and bars in the city. The hotel has 4 room types (Standard, Deluxe, Junior Suite and Suite)

The location is very central, in a quiet street yet a short walk to the main squares, cathedral, restaurants, old town etc. It is a converted old building which has been tastefully restored with an arty feel and great quality fittings and decor. All the staff we met were very friendly, polite, and so helpful, including reception, breakfast, bar staff and cleaners. The ambiance is laid back but super efficient. We enjoyed some great low key live music in the bar and happy hour 6-7.00 each evening is great value.

The view over Funchal town from the roof terrace is amazing and although the outdoor pool is quite small, it is a lovely addition to the terrace, with its many sun beds, friendly bar and eating area. It was all just perfect for us and so relaxing.

Absolutely love this hotel. It has a wonderful location right in the centre of the old town. There is a fantastic roof terrace with a pool, jacuzzi and great view over Funchal. Everything runs smoothly there.

The hotel is pretty central with a five minute walk down to the harbour and maybe 10 – 15 to the cable car. Rooms are stylishly furnished and very well cleaned and maintained. Staff were exceptionally polite and helpful. Breakfast was a very good with a well presented varied buffet.

The location was ideal with only a few minutes walk to the promenade, centre and old town. The breakfast was excellent as was the restaurant. Nothing was too much for the staff. The rooftop pool was quiet and relaxing with great views over the city towards the sea and the mountains behind.

We stayed in a Junior Suite. The room was huge and including a free standing bath and a couple of lounge chairs and table area. The use of the huge amount of space in the room wasn’t great – a massive empty area of floor between the end of the bed and the dressing table seemed wasted (perhaps a sofa would help to fill this?).

There was a also a small balcony but we didn’t use this much as all balconies faced inwards and it was a bit of a fishbowl. The pool area on the roof was great and the real highlight was the spa – a must do!

Castanheiro Boutique Hotel
Castanheiro Boutique Hotel

How much does a room costs at Castanheiro Boutique Hotel?

Prices start 150$/night for a Standard Double Room. The Junior Suite (2 Adults) with Balcony is 180$/night with breakfast included.

This suite features a sofa, bathrobe and air conditioning.

Where to book online – Castanheiro Boutique Hotel –  Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira – you can find the best hotels deals in Funchal  during the  Madeira Carnival Festivities: One of the biggest street parties in Europe, Madeira’s Carnival, evokes the riotous spirit of Rio on or and see more reviews on TripAdvisor.


5. ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal 4* – Gay Friendly Hotels


ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal
ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal

This restored Madeiran mansion is located 900 m from Funchal’s Old Town and has scenic views of the sea, the city and the mountains from its own botanical gardens and terraces. Free WiFi and free covered private parking are available.

The air-conditioned rooms of ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal have flat-screen TVs, bright and modern furnishings and wooden floors. Bathrobes are provided in all rooms. Some have an equipped kitchenette and a balcony. The suites are located in the original mansion, while the studios are situated in the modern annex.

For guests’ convenience, a breakfast is served daily, containing homegrown, organic herbal teas and fruits, daily pastries, eggs and fresh juice.

This is a beautiful space although more of a B&B than a Hotel by UK star-rating standards. The residence is reached up a steep and winding road. When you first approach in a vehicle signs above your head indicate you have reached your destination although the building itself is hidden from view. You need to leave your car and press a ringer on the other side of the road to gain access to the garage straight off the road. Once inside the secure and private covered parking area the excellent standard of customer care begins.

This enchanting, carefully restored Madeiran mansion is a 15 minute stroll from Funchal Old Town, with sweeping ocean and mountain panoramas from its own botanical gardens and terraces. Designed by esteemed Portuguese architect Paulo David, this is a true art hotel with an annual curatorship, showcasing the very best local artists. Wandering the property, you will delight in stumbling upon hidden vistas, or encountering the latest urban photographic print from 2016 curators Urbanistas Digitais.

Tended to by their own in-house gardener, the grounds boast exceptionally rare plants and ageing trees, such as Madeira’s bewitching “Dragoeiro”. Breakfast holds claim to strong, Portuguese coffee and homegrown, organic herbal teas and fruits. The charming service team will welcome you “home” as cherished friends and family, assuredly sharing with you the island’s best kept secrets.

A small hotel a 10 min walk away from the old town. 20 mins or so to the centre of Funchal. Walk back is indeed uphill a bit, but it’s not a killer unless you would normally have difficulties with a hill as it doesn’t go on for that long. And if you don’t like hills, you’ve chosen the wrong country. It’s all hills.

The space we had was enormous with a large bedroom that opened on to the balcony. It has a separate fully equipped kitchen with hob, microwave, coffee machine, fridge, toaster, etc, a large bathroom with 2 sinks and a dining room that never got used.

Breakfast is served either downstairs or outside under a cover overlooking Funchal and the harbour. Breakfast is huge and consists of cereals, bread, pasties, meats, cheese and various cooked options.

The rooms are very spacious, comfortable, modern, well maintained, have private kitchen facilities and marble bathroom (shower only – no bath). Even the garden view room we booked had a sea view.

Breakfast is €12pp and served on the shaded terrace, including pastries, breads, fruit juices, cereals, yoghurt, sliced meats & cheese, hot cooked food (eggs, bacon, sausage, omelette), tea and coffee. Much more than we could eat.

There are other services available at additional cost including: alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, coffee machine, laundry service, massage service and food welcome basket. This is all out right in front of you for the duration of your stay to tempt you on a daily basis. However there is a large Pingo Doce supermarket within 15 minutes slow walk of the hotel where all the food and drinks can be purchased at a fraction of this cost.

Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira
Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira

How much does a room costs at ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal?


Prices start 80$/night for a Studio with Rear View. Studio with Sea View is 105$/night with breakfast included.

The studio with sea view has 2 single beds with a separate shower room. The room also benefits from a flat screen television with cable channels available, air conditioning and a kitchenette. Free Wi-fi internet is available in some rooms.

Where to book online – ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal –  Gay Friendly Hotels Madeira – you can find the best hotels deals in Funchal  during the  Madeira Carnival Festivities: One of the biggest street parties in Europe, Madeira’s Carnival, evokes the riotous spirit of Rio on or and see more reviews on TripAdvisor.


by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.