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All reviews close to the airport a la carte minute transfer indoor pool madeira airport pebble beach bars and restaurants hotel is spotlessly clean great holiday steam room buffet restaurant beautiful island hire car funchal sea promenade duarte
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Stayed at the Vila Gale for 10 days on a All Inclusive basis. The hotel is situated in a small quiet village. We knew it would be a quiet stay which was not a problem as my wife & I are in our mid 50’s & we were just so happy to finally get away after such a hard 15 months due to corona virus. The general look of the hotel is modern, very clean. Most of the guests wore masks were necessary to do so & all the hotel staff did wear face coverings. There was hand sanitiser dotted around. So we felt as safe as we possibly could.
The best points of the hotel, the room we had which was a sea / pool view, it was modern, clean & spacious, we had no issue whatsoever with the room. The bed was very comfortable. The air conditioning worked fine so we were never uncomfortably hot. The bathroom was big & the shower was perfect. The general appearance, the reception/lobby area was bright & well furnished with comfortable seating. The pool was large but quite cold when the weather was overcast or breezy which is quite frequent in Santa Cruz.
Negative points. Food is not great, we are not fussy eaters but some days were pretty poor, the food was not very hot & there was not a great selection of choice of food. The show cooking area has one chef & at breakfast there is long queues for eggs & again at lunch & evening meal. A lot of times the meat was under cooked again as only one chef was on duty to cater for all guests having food from the showcase area. The pool bar was always busy which could be a nuisance when wishing to use the toilet as you needed to cut through the queuing guests. Again this bar was under manned.
The pool area was the usual leave your towels in the morning, we on our second day started to do the same or otherwise it would be a struggle to find a bed in the sun. Some of the sun beds could do with being replaced. On a health & safety issue the parasols were unsafe as they are on concrete bases & when the winds were high some of the parasols would come crashing down, I was nearly struck by one from behind me & witnessed this happening on at least three other occasions, Santa Cruz does get hit by some high winds & the position of this hotel is on the flight path so it’s not unusual to see aircraft abort their landings & fly around to make another attempt at landing.
When you look at the photos of the walkway between the hotel & beach you may believe there is going to be miles to walk but it really is not that far in either direction.
There is very little entertainment at night, again this wasn’t an issue for us especially with Covid but it may not suit everybody.
The hotel staff are very nice, some went above & beyond to make our stay enjoyable. The hotel operate a courtesy bus into Funchal which is definitely worth visiting. Would I stay here again probably not.

Date of stay: July 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank terencec275
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vila Galé Hotéis, Proprietário at Vila Gale Santa Cruz, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for choosing the Vila Galé Santa Cruz Hotel for your stay in Madeira Island. We were very pleased to read your message about our hotel and team. Your comments are very valuable for us and for our future guests.
We look forward to having you back again!
Yours faithfully,
Luis Caldeira
(General Manager)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

One of the worst hotels EVER stayed in
I’ve stayed in places all over the world and NOTHING compares to this place !
BAD POINTS -
-Room dusty on arrival, wardrobe shelves haven’t seen a cloth , sliding doors very stiff and had difficulty sliding them to get items out , only 5 hangers each side !
- only water in mini bar 2 small bottles of still & sparkling
- food absolutely horrible, very little choice and always cold even when it first opens for food , everything is stone cold.
- drinks are basic beer, wine , few spirits , pop
- don’t expect a sunbed after 7.45 am
- have to literally beg for pool towels
- beds in room very hard and uncomfortable,sure they floor would be better
- reception staff rude
- people jumping in your lift even though it states no lift sharing with other guests ( this is usually non UK people) and are typically rude towards you when you ask them to get out of the lift and point to the notice in the lift !
-no staff making sure everyone sanitises and wears plastic gloves when getting food
- parents leaving kids to help themselves to food and in the process licking their fingers then touching something else that they wanted
- DIABETICS BEWARE, after having a glass of ‘Pepsi max ‘
My husband’s blood sugars went through the roof making him feel unwell ,obviously been given full sugar Pepsi
- paving near the pool was lifting up in places , this is a trip hazard , reported to staff but didn’t seem interested
- man at the bar was quite rude towards people
- snack bar is been single handed run by the lady in there ,run off her feet from start to finish,she deserves a pay rise ! She needs help in there ,serving drinks ,ordering food etc ,
- not enough sunbeds we counted 89 sunbeds for approximately 250 + guests ,though by the time we left a few more had appeared, I know it’s a difficult one as not a great deal of space to keep everyone at a safe distance etc.
- no point trying to keep your room on ,the woman in reception will look at her computer screen muttering for 10 minutes then has great pleasure with a smirk on her chops say nooo possible
- pool freezing cold , indoor pool had signs up stating you must wear a swim cap yet there where 6 kids and 4 adults all on the pool running amok and not wearing swim caps
- no steam room / sauna /jacuzzi in use due to covid restrictions
- no life guard on duty ,no one bothered to tell those with huge inflatables not to use in pool .
- kids riding round on electric scooters on a night time around the pool area , skimming past people. There’s not enough room but plenty out side on sea front !
- not enough table & chairs out during the day and evening people having to sit on sun loungers with their drinks on an evening , especially after going to all the trouble spraying them after there use from the daytime. What’s the point in spraying them with sanitizer for people to then having to sit on them on an evening because there’s not enough tables and chairs

GOOD POINTS …..
There’s really isn’t any ,other than the free shuttle to Funchal …. But that’s only if you book well in advance ha !
So all on all ,I really wouldn’t bother doing A/I at this hotel ,we stayed here for 2 week ,paid well over 3.5k and had to eat out every lunch & evening almost daily because the food and drinks are that bad !
Never in my life have we stayed in such a terrible place,
Vila Gale you really need to up your game
Get a decent chef in who know his stuff , get more drinks on offer not just the basic usual stuff , you have everything there but paying a premium price for 2 weeks that we would of paid for 2 weeks in the Caribbean ,where drinks are plentiful,the foods are amazing, the rooms /hotels are upto if not more than their star rating .
Maybe if would be worth while visiting some of these places and look at what they do ,you never know you might actually learn something

Date of stay: August 2021
Trip type: Travelled with friends
1  Thank 897katrinah
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vila Galé Hotéis, Proprietário at Vila Gale Santa Cruz, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Guest,
Thank you for your comments.
We apologize if we couldn't be up to some of your expectations but let us express our gratitude by thanking you for sharing your comments with us. Your comments are an important tool and only help us to continue our constant pursuit of service improvement by solving those and continue trying to exceed expectations.
On our own behalf and on that of the Vila Galé Santa Cruz Hotel team, we hope we have the honour of hosting you again in a near future.
Kind regards
Luis Caldeira
(General Manager)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

First time to this hotel needed a break.

Lovely hotel, very clean throughout .Great rooms proper double bed was big too.

Beautifully clean pool.

Food was good plenty to choose from. The staff are so polite and helpful.

The location is a quiet village not much night entertainment .
Waterpark at end of rd
However amazing views and right on sea front .

We couldn't fault it . We en joyed our stay.

Date of stay: August 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank Sez01xxs
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vila Galé Hotéis, Proprietário at Vila Gale Santa Cruz, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for choosing the Vila Galé Santa Cruz Hotel for your stay in Madeira Island. We were very pleased to read your message about our hotel and team. Your comments are very valuable for us and for our future guests.
We look forward to having you back again!
Yours faithfully,
Luis Caldeira
(General Manager)

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Location
The hotel is very close to the airport which meant we were dropped off first on the transfer coach but it may be quicker to get a taxi to avoid waiting for coach to fill up.

Santa Cruz is a peaceful resort with some nice bars and a small playground for young children, a few public swimming pools within a few minutes from the hotel.

The beach is pleasant, quiet and made from large grey pebbles. There are wooden boards to sunbathe on which are free. There are a few small piers to climb or jump into the sea. No life guards though.

It can get quite windy and often cloudy, although we also had days with clear blue sky’s.

The planes fly by quite close but not to noisy once you get used to it.

There is a free shuttle bus to Funchal which you need to book in advance, it fills quickly. Taxis cost us 35 Euros and Bolt cost 23 Euros but we’re limited to 3 passengers so had to use taxi for four of us.

Excursions
There’s lots to do in Madeira, reception offer good deals that are cheaper than through tour operators.

Hotel Cleanliness
The hotel was Covid 19 compliant with hand sanitizers, face masks, and disposable gloves available in the restaurant.
The rooms were tidied daily with towel change when needed.
Communal areas were very clean.

The Pool
There’s one big outdoor pool, a small paddling pool, and an indoor heated pool.
They were clean but you get a few bits of garden debris get blown into the main pool.
The hotel give you towels to use on sun beds. We found that the hotel couldn’t keep up with demand for clean towels. Glad we had our own towels with us as back up.
the Hotel policy states no reserving sun beds but if you can’t beat them, join them! There just wasn’t enough sun beds after 9am.

The staff
Most could speak English which is helpful because we couldn’t speak Portuguese. Most were very friendly despite being very busy. In particular, the manager Luis is approachable and has a sympathetic style. Edgar in the restaurant was a gent. Louisa who practically single handedly ran the snack bar did amazingly well to cope with the thirsty and hungry guests. The queues were long but she coped well.
I didn’t catch the names of other staff but they were all friendly and polite whilst working very hard.

Food and Drink
The restaurant was spacious and clean and had good choices of starters, mains, dessert, fruit. We enjoyed it for 14 days but we also tried local restaurants and one or two in Funchal so that we experienced other options but not because there was any issues with the food in the hotel.
It could get busy at specific times for breakfast and dinner but it’s easy to go a bit earlier or a bit later to avoid the rush.
The queue for the grill sometimes took a little long and I saw a couple of guests get a bit impatient for waiting ten minutes but just remember you’re on holiday. No need to get cross with staff for waiting ten minutes. The sun will still be shining outside during the day and the bar won’t run out of drinks in the evening.
The drinks in the restaurant are mostly local produce. You can pay extra for high end wine but the house wine, and in particular the sparkling wine, was tasty enough.
The bar
We didn’t enjoy any of the spirits in the bar and didn’t fancy paying extra for the brands that were available. I purchased nicer drinks from the supermarket and drank those. The beer and soft drinks were fine though.
The Snack bar
The drinks were fine and you queued 5-10 minutes sometimes, especially if you got stuck behind people asking for several drinks. The food was fine and fresh and the wait times were 10-15 mins.

Entertainment
Friday is Madeira night with local folk dancing around the outdoor seating area.
There was a duo who sang in the bar a couple of nights a week, we enjoyed them.

Recommendations to hotel management:
Improve swimming pool towel cleaning service.
Provide swimming pool towel pick up and drop off at Spa instead of needing to wait at reception behind guests that are checking in and out.
Provide more sun beds or actually enforce the no reserving policy.
Better quality spirits; rum, whisky, brandy
Provide self serve soft drinks and water dispenser for all inclusive guests this can be activated with card reader, or provide more staff to serve drinks.
At the grill you can reduce queue length by putting chips on serving trays.

Date of stay: August 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank envere2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vila Galé Hotéis, Proprietário at Vila Gale Santa Cruz, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for choosing the Vila Galé Santa Cruz Hotel for your stay in Madeira Island. We were very pleased to read your message about our hotel and team. Your comments are very valuable for us and for our future guests.
We look forward to having you back again!
Yours faithfully,
Luis Caldeira
(General Manager)

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Overall, before booking this hotel I would say STOP and check the weather. We had thought that a small island would have identical weather everywhere - this 100% isn’t the case. This hotel is in SANTA CRUZ. If you compare the weather here to FUNCHAL or CALHETA, you will see that it varies insurmountably. It’s INCREDIBLY WINDY in Santa Cruz which meant cloudy days for at least 50% of the week when we were there, albeit most days were half cloud, half sun changing throughout the day. It was picking to rain on one day here, but stunning sunshine in our friends’ hotel in Calheta beach. This may not bother you, but it’s a really important point to consider.

To put my above comments into context, this hotel is about 5min drive from the airport (not worth pre booking transfers as a taxi was €7 and loads waiting at airport): the airport regularly closes temporarily due to high winds. Our flight had to divert to a nearby island, waited 4hrs, then attempted a landing again at Madeira airport due to the 30kts winds.

Location - we went for all inclusive as we were concerned that with Covid, fewer places would be open. That’s not the case. There were loads of bars and restaurants open, and plenty in the local area. They were really lovely. We would definitely only come B&B next time.

COVID - the hotel staff and generally all guests wore masks indoors. There’s plenty of hand sanitiser and disposal gloves for the buffet (although we appeared to be the only ones using these!).

The Madeira Safe app works really well. However, the return-home test offered us a test in Funchal (approx. 30mins away). So we went to local pharmacy and paid €15 each for a rapid test - this had all the information required on the certificate. If you do this BOOK STRAIGHT AWAY when you arrive as they only have limited availability.

Food - we arrived very late on the first evening due to a delayed flight, so caught the tail end of the buffet. We were concerned that the food would be bad, as this was over-cooked and had been out a while. However, we were pleasantly surprised throughout the week at the variety and quality. Plenty of fresh fish, meats, and always a ‘live cooking station’ with fresh eggs in the morning, and different meats/fish at lunch/dinner.

Drinks - plenty of drinks, good quality. Beer was nice and wine was okay too. There is a coffee machine for all inclusive guests at the pool bar.
One key thing the hotel could do is provide a soft drinks’ machine in a similar way to the coffee machine - AI guests could then use this themselves, preventing significant queues at the bar. The queues were only 5’ish minutes, but this did get annoying if you had several drinks a day (inc. water).

Staff - they were really friendly and welcoming - I couldn’t fault them!

Finally; there’s a regular free shuttle bus into Funchal and back. Really great service and we used it a couple of times.

Room tip: Weather very windy; look elsewhere
Date of stay: August 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank Carl W
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vila Galé Hotéis, Proprietário at Vila Gale Santa Cruz, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Carl,
Thank you very much for choosing the Vila Galé Santa Cruz Hotel for your stay in Madeira Island. We were very pleased to read your message about our hotel and team. Your comments are very valuable for us and for our future guests.
We look forward to having you back again!
Yours faithfully,
Luis Caldeira
(General Manager)

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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