Golden Gate nears completion
The Journal da Madeira (which has been sold to new owners for a knock-down sum, by the way, and now simply “JM”) reported this week that the refurbishment of the Golden Gate Café is approaching its final stages. A “Golden Gate” sign has now appeared (the previous signage was much more discreet) on what likes to be referred to as the “corner of the world”. Work is still underway, but if everything goes according to plan, according to a statement from the new owners, the establishment is scheduled to reopen later this month. Venezuelan businessman João Dionísio Sousa, who paid a huge sum for the building is hoping to have more details soon. Previous posts describes how the café suddenly closed in August 2014, was eventually auctioned in November 2016 with an estimated price of €2 million, only to be sold for €4.7 million (photo courtesy of the Journal).
New Savoy continues to grow at pace
Recent photos on Skyscrapercity show that attention has now turned to landscaping the gardens of the new hotel, whilst the final floors are added to the huge structure. A reader was in touch to point out that the “old” Savoy wasn’t exactly a small structure – not as big a footprint but still a fairly bulky building. I was fortunate to be given a copy of a huge tome, “Memoria dos Savoy Hoteis” chronicling the history of the original Savoy, written by the last owner, a member of the Borges family who ran the iconic hotel for a number of generations. The book, which is probably still available from the bookshop alongside the Jesuit college in the centre of Funchal, reads like a social history of Funchal from 1912, and has some remarkable old photos.
A motocross event is being held in Fajã de Ovelha tomorrow afternoon (Sunday). 21 riders will compete around a 1km circuit in different catagories. Apparently there are a lot of enthusiasts on the island.
Meanwhile the President of the region has described the 77,000 visitors who registered at the flower display pavilions in Praça do Povo over the period of the Flower Festival as a great success. Miguel Albuquerque, who is known for his love of roses, hopes that with an increased budget and a lengthened 4-week period next year, registered attendances could head towards the 140,000 mark. The real figure will of course be much higher.
The Government has also confirmed receipt of €3.5 million from the EU-funded Madeira Solidarity Fund in connection with last August’s fires. They have also announced that a new agreement has also been reached on flights connecting Madeira and Porto Santo.
Today sees the introduction of new regulations in the UK covering the packaging and branding of cigarettes in an attempt to stop their uptake by youngsters. There hardly seem to be any of the younger end on this island who do not smoke, probably aided by the cheap pricing and the outdoor café society – a quick Google shows pricing in Portugal to be well under half that in the UK . Surely pricing is the biggest weapon – a packet of cigarettes currently costs approaching $20 in Australia, doubling over the last 6 years, with government policy set to increase this to a crippling $43 by 2020. Only 15% of the population smoke there.