ROBIN McKelvie spends a weekend in Funchal, Madeira
Check into the Quintinha Sao Joao (doubles from £103, www.quintinhasaojoao.com), a relaxed, luxurious retreat with both indoor and outdoor pools.
Seafood is the star in Madeira, and Villa Peixe (www.viladopeixe.com) is arguably the finest seafood restaurant. Enjoy sweeping views of the fishing village of Camara de Lobos and choose your own meal from the catch of the day, which is grilled in front of you.
Take a stroll in the Zona Velha, the old quarter that has recently been brought back to life. A creative painted door initiative kicked things off – wander along Rua de Santa Maria to see the most dramatic art.
Poncha is the local tipple of choice. Enjoy this fruity sugar cane rum concoction at hip Venda Velha (www.vendavelha.com).
Relax back at the hotel’s excellent restaurant, where the standout is the delicious local scabbard fish, served here with a banana sauce.
The dramatic edifice overlooking Funchal’s port you cannot fail to notice is home to the hip Nini Design Centre (www.ninidesigncentre.com). Savour clams and octopus at the centre’s Doca do Cabacas (www.restaurantedocadocavacasfunchal.pt). This relaxed old-timer also boasts epic ocean and cliff views.
Take the cable car to the hillside suburb of Monte. Enjoy the cool breezes and grab a coffee with sweeping views of Funchal.
Brave the traditional toboggan ride down to the centre from Monte. Your heart will be in your mouth, but when you relax it’s a thrilling ride.
Indulge at Il Gallo d’Oro (www.ilgallodoro.portobay.com), Madeira’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Benoit Sinthon’s tasting menus bring a touch of Gallic flair to a wealth of local ingredients.
Enjoy a spa treatment at the hotel, a swim in one of their pools or just recline in their gardens amongst the sort of lush vegetation that makes visiting Madeira such a treat.
EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) fly to Funchal from Edinburgh with returns starting from £155.98.