The hotel and grounds are very nice and all well maintained. The hotel and grounds are well laid out and guests can use the sister hotel next door, although we didn’t like the latter very much. The beach is excellent and it was nice to walk along it to get to the town which is small but nice to get out sometimes – a courtesy bus runs 3 times in the morning and once in the evening but not on Mondays, a taxi is around €6.
The weather was mixed, warm in the sun but with a cold breeze, especially at night. The island is small (runway crosses from one side of the island to the other). All very quiet and relaxing which we prefer to a busy tourist resort – however, I would recommend only one week rather than the two weeks we stayed.
It’s much cheaper to use local tour companies which charge much less than Thomson. For example, Lazermar – thanks again to Sofia! for an excellent time. We got details from the tourist office in town.
The best thing about Pestana Porto Santo was the staff who were almost invariably friendly, courteous and welcoming. The SPA was good – discounts can be negotiated on pricy items.
We had a suite and were upgraded to a pool view which had the unfortunate result that we had the sun on our balcony for a very limited time during the day. The rooms were of a good standard, very clean and well serviced although our duvet had some stains until it was changed. Our biggest disappointment was the restaurants which were too small to cope and not enough staff to clear tables so that unnecessary queues formed – even when the restaurant was half empty!
We had specifically checked about my wife’s food allergy with the hotel and Thomson and were assured that they recognised the allergy, were well able to cope and would provide food safe to eat. On arrival, the situation was the opposite and it was with difficulty, and some risk, that she found enough to eat – there was some help from a couple of staff but sometimes even they did not know what was safe. We talked to staff, managers, management and Thomson but only in the second week, after another guest complained far less politely than us, did allergy labels begin to appear on some dishes. My wife was very ill for one day and was even more choosy thereafter. Buy WHY was the risk necessary at all??
Food was generally OK although with some dishes going cold. The tea and coffee machines were terrible and the juice flavoured water was undrinkable for us. The facilities, food quality and service was far away from a 5* standard. The quality ambience was closer to a Butlins or Pontins camp, especially with uncontrolled screaming children all around. The speciality restaurant we tried was also disappointing – same issues on queues and quality. Staff throughout were friendly and helpful, especially Marcia Soares – they need more working staff and fewer non-working managers with walkie-talkies and secret service style ear pieces.
Bars had the same staff issues – again very nice staff but not enough to avoid having to queue. The drinks were of the usual cheap varieties. The wine was drinkable but a little rough. Not 5* but the standard we have come to expect from average AI hotels. I had hoped for better from the brochure but was not really surprised.
We did not like the evening entertainment in a crowded area and volumes way too high. We ended up finding a quiet spot elsewhere and braving the noise only to join the inevitable queue for drinks or coffee.
Worth a visit for one week – we would not go back.