My husband found this unusual hotel, read the reviews on trip advisor and decided to book us a Christmas and New Year Holiday. After a short flight we arrived at Funchal airport and collected our hire car. Once we found the road that led out of the airport, which was poorly signposted, the drive to Funchal was remarkably easy. Finding our way to our resort was a little more difficult, as we left the freeway too early and ended up in the centre of Funchal. A couple of wrong turns and a bit of driving around, we continued passed the famous Reid's Hotel and found Hotel Escola.
The hotel is a training school for people who want to work in hospitality and the school is adjacent to the hotel. The hotel is typical of a small European hotel, it is clean and comfortable with friendly staff. The hotel has free parking, free wifi in public areas, a small pool and sun terrace.
The rooms are a reasonable size, with en suite facilities and a small balcony. The hotel being set on quite a steep hill, has good views over the bay and the rooms enjoy sunshine most of the day. In December we had really lovely weather of about 21 degrees every day. We didn't have much contact with the students, but they are involved in many aspects of the hotel including food preparation. We enjoyed a really good buffet breakfast every day and chose to eat out at some very good local restaurants in the evening. One or two were in close walking distance, and others were a little further afield, but only for the fit and able unless you wanted to drive there.
We enjoyed walking along the promenade, visiting the wonderful botanical gardens and a few times walked the 3km into Funchal. Hotel Escola is very reasonably priced and we enjoyed a relaxing stay at the hotel. The only downside for us was the noise in the evenings from a local fun fair which visits over the Christmas period.
I would recommend this hotel as very friendly and welcoming, but would caution anyone who isn't able to walk very far, as it is a good walk to the beach down quite a steep hill.