Madeira was a destination that never really stood out to us as a place to choose for a family holiday.  Like many other families we had the perception that this island in the North Atlantic was more suited to the older generation – but how wrong we were.

This was one of our very best holidays, not only is Madeira one of the safest, cleanest and most beautiful destinations that we have visited, we were also really happy with our choice of hotel  – the five star Enotel Lido.

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We saw this hotel at a great price for a family of four on a package holiday deal, but it looked too good to be true and we were a little reluctant at first at booking.

We were unsure if Madeira was right for us, plus it was our first time at an  all-inclusive hotel.  However our stay at the Enotel Lido completely changed our perception and we are so glad we booked it.

It also goes to show that you have to take online hotel reviews with a little scepticism – the hotel had some negative feedback, but none of this was evident during our week long stay, in fact I would go as far as saying that this was one of the most enjoyable hotel stays we have had and we have been fortunate enough to stay at many leading luxury hotels around the world.

Just steps away from the Atlantic Ocean, this is one of the best hotels in Madeira, with three restaurants, three bars, a café, spa and two pools.  Whether we were lounging by the pool, or looking out from our room, we were always aware that we were by the sea, and loved its location and views, especially of the iconic shark fin rock that juts out of the sea.

After a long day travelling as we got caught up in airport delays we were so glad that we pre-booked a private airport transfer which was waiting for us at Madeira airport and within 25 minutes we were at the hotel.

With a huge elegant lobby and lots of comfortable contemporary seating, the lobby certainly provided a good first impression.  The public spaces across the hotel are so well maintained and spotlessly clean.

Checking in was fast and efficient and we were quickly on our way to our family suite, our home for the next seven days.  A slight disappointment was that there was no porter on-hand to help us take our luggage to our room, its something I would have expected at a five star hotel but as we arrived late at night, the hotel might have been operating at a reduced capacity.

The exterior of the Enotel Lido resembles a cruise liner, that encircles the outdoor pool with one of the best oceanfront spots in the area.  We didn’t get to appreciate just how big and striking the hotel was until the morning after our arrival.  As it is an all-inclusive hotel, I really wasn’t looking forward to having to wear a wristband for a week but luckily at the Enotel they didn’t enforce you needing to wear one.

Rooms

The hotel has 317 rooms across the following different categories – standard, family and suites – all of which have recently been renovated. With 317 rooms this is a large hotel, yet it offered the personal levels of service we have received in a much smaller hotel.

We stayed in a suite on the 6th floor which at 60m2 was spacious, modern, and spotlessly clean – it was a perfect choice for us as a family for our stay in Madeira.

The first thing we did when we got to our suite was to check out the views from our huge wraparound terrace balcony – it was really impressive.

This was one of my favourite parts of the suite, where we would take in the views of the ocean and watching the sun set  whilst Chloe and Holly were happy chilling on their beds in their room taking advantage of the free high speed wifi using their ipads.

These suites are a definite step up from the standard rooms with much more space for a family of four. With a separate living room, dining table with small kitchen area, master bedroom and spacious bathroom it was a great space to call home.

The bathroom was modern and well equipped with double vanity, bathtub and separate walk-in shower.  Some little touches were missing, that we would expect from a five star hotel, such as evening turn down, pillow menus and complimentary slippers.

We were on a multi-generational holiday and my parents-in-law stayed in a family room which again was spacious and modern with a huge walk in shower and their room again offered amazing views of the pool area and the ocean.

Facilities

The pool is one of the first things the girls check out and the infinity pool at the Enotel didn’t disappoint, they had great fun here during our stay even though it wasn’t heated.  The weather was varied during our stay but when the temperature dropped the girls loved the warmer indoor pool.

Even though it was peak visitor season we never have had a problem with locating a sun lounger or umbrella at the pool as there were always plenty available (although for a luxury hotel they should really have been padded.)  Also there were no attendants to help with towels at the poolside which meant we had to take poolside towels back and forth to our room each day where they were refreshed each morning.

Located next to the pool was a bar area serving up cocktails, wine and beer, as well as mocktails, soft drinks and teas and coffees, to drink while relaxing in the sun.

Each evening, there was different entertainment provided in the hotels lounge bar, and whilst it wasn’t awful it wasn’t going to win any awards.  When we weren’t out shopping at the nearby Forum Mall in the evening, we preferred to relax in the comfortable seating areas in the many beautiful public areas of the hotel playing card games or listen to the live music in the piano bar.

The hotel has direct access to the promenade which offers some lovely walks next to the ocean and if you are feeling energetic (we did enough exercise exploring this beautiful island) there is also a good gym onsite.

The kids club looks great for families with younger children whilst the teens club was fully stocked with games consoles, pool and table tennis tables which the girls loved challenging us on.  We managed to escape to try out the small spa on-site and I liked the saltwater pool here and its cave style interior with ceiling lights that looked like the night sky.

Dining at the Enotel Lido

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all really good here– far better than what I thought we would get at an all-inclusive hotel.

The day begins with their breakfast buffet at the Atlantica restaurant, offering a wide variety of breakfast items from freshly cooked omelettes to cereals and fruit to cooked items and pastries with a lunch buffet offering a great range of pasta dishes, salads, meat and fish dishes and local specialties.

If we were feeling puckish during the day, their Vela Di Canale café offered freshly cooked pizza and burgers to cakes and ice creams, all as part of their all-inclusive package.

Atlantica is also the main dining option for guests each evening.  With several live cooking areas and multiple stations the selection each evening was very good and more importantly varied meaning we didn’t get bored of what was on offer.

There was a choice of Madeiran and international cuisines, ranging from fresh fish and meats to salads and an impressive choice of desserts.  I’m not a huge fan of buffets but every night was different and the food quality was excellent.

If you want a change from the buffet each evening there are 2 a la carte restaurants to book, these are Madeiran food at the O Bailinho, and Italian at the Vela Di Canale, we never had a chance to try these out as the kids were more than happy with the choice of food available at the Atlantico Restaurant each evening.

As part of the all-inclusive package the drinks list is excellent with a huge choice of non alcoholic drinks as well as premium spirits, prosecco, cocktails, wine and beer.  Make sure to try the Poncha, the traditional drink of Madeira island.

Location

It can be difficult to tear yourself away from the hotel and its impressive service and facilities but I’m so glad we did to explore this gorgeous island.  The Enotel Lido is a great base to explore Madeira and the many attractions close by.

The capital Funchal was a short taxi or bus ride away or a 20 minute walk, and there was so much to see and do here.  Some of the highlights were the cable car to Monte, shopping and exploring the gorgeous streets of the old town.

If shopping is your thing and it is for me and the girls, Funchal has some great shops from small independent stores to large chains such as Mango and Zara.  The forum shopping mall, a five minute walk from our hotel was our favourite with a great selection of shops including Rituals, Zara, Pull and Bear and Lefties.

Further afield I would recommend visiting the highest sea cliffs at Cabo Giro, the views here are breathtaking and also visit the gorgeous gardens of Monte Palace before coming back down the hill in a traditional Maderian wicker basket.

Overall

We thoroughly enjoyed our first all-inclusive hotel experience at the Enotel Lido on the island of Madeira – this was one of our best family holidays and this hotel and its staff played a major part in making it so memorable.  With the cost of living rising each day another benefit of staying here as all-inclusive was not having to worry about the final bill on check out.

If you are looking for one of the very best family friendly hotels in Madeira you won’t go far wrong in choosing the Enotel Lido, and if you can book a suite.

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