New Savoy Palace. Tourism growth slows. Airport problems.

New Savoy Palace continues to grow

New Savoy Palace hotel in Funchal

A photo of the above appeared on Twitter recently with the comment that the new thirteen-storey Savoy Palace “is a point of reference in the National and International Tourism panorama. To have a successful development it is necessary to be bold, different and have courage”. Not sure if everybody agrees with that!

Old Savoy by comparison
this is the photo sent in by Peter mentioned in the Comments below

New Savoy Palace viewed from inland

Meanwhile the height grows – as pictured a few days ago on SkyscraperCity. The short one-way road immediately opposite the Carlton (where the taxi-stand was until recently, diagonally opposite the Music Conservatory, home to restaurants and bars such as Number 2) will be closed later this month and redesigned, presumably to incorporate it more into the western end of the new development, which features its own “boulevard”. Rua Imperatriz Dª Amélia, on the south side (home to other popular restaurants and watering holes including Moynihans and the Prince Albert), will also be partially incorporated into the development.

Overnight stays level out

Tourism bar chart

In a move that may concern the developers of the Savoy Palace, which is due for completion next year, the latest tourist numbers from the Department of Regional Statistics for Madeira shows that year on year growth in tourist numbers is slowing. Detailed analysis shows that both English and French visitors are down more than 2%, with Germany the only major country showing a small increase. “Others” shows the strongest growth – I am guessing this will be the smaller northern European countries, particularly Denmark, where Madeira is a very popular destination.

Festa de Nossa Senhora da Saúde

Lameiros in São VicenteThe Feast of Our Lady of Health takes place in the parish of Lameiros in São Vicente this weekend. This is a largely religious festival but there will be the usual food and drink stalls, together with live music. Full program on the tourism website.

Airport problems again.

There were more problems at the airport due to the strong winds. As at 11.00 there were four aircraft in a holding pattern, waiting for an improvement before they can land. These are TUI flight from Amsterdam, two Transavia flights from Oporto and one Iberia flight from Bilbao. An Edelweiss flight from Zurich has already diverted to Porto Santo. As at 14.00 everything now seems OK, with just a few planes diverted or cancelled late morning. A Lufthansa flight due around 14.05 seems to be stuck in Lisbon.

Sunday morning: Problems continue, with nothing landing so far (10.30) out of the six flights scheduled to have arrived. Two of these have cancelled – easyJet from Lisbon and Transavia from Paris Orly. The next shceduled arrivals are estimated for nearer midday, when the wind may have died down a little. None of the eight flights scheduled for departure has taken off so far. The Captaincy of the Port of Funchal has extended the strong wind warning for the seafront until 6 o’clock tomorrow, Monday.

Sunday afternoon: Still pretty much a complete wash-out at the airport – nothing able to come or go. So far their have been 13 cancellations and six flights diverted to Porto Santo, which will mean that it is at capacity for flights on the tarmac. I am aware of holidaymakers with their own accommodation being allowed to leave some planes in Porto Santo and book themselves on the Sunday afternoon ferry across to Madeira. There are reports from there that there has been a shortage of taxis to pick people up the airport. The weather forecast for the next week does not show the wind abating at the moment.

28 Responses to New Savoy Palace. Tourism growth slows. Airport problems.

  1. Scarlett Verkuijlen Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 08:44 #

    “different” can also be ugly.

  2. Mike Walsh Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 09:03 #

    Re: I am guessing this will be the smaller northern European countries, particularly Denmark, where Madeira is a very popular destination.

    It almost certainly doesn’t (yet?) apply to Finland. Finnair has only one direct (so called “holiday” – no normal) flight a week which is the only one used by the largest Finnish charter travel company and also by at least one smaller one. There are a couple of travel agencies that use their own planes (“Thomas Cook planes”) but my impression is these don’t fly more often.

    That single plane has in the last couple of years been full but clearly there’s no room for any increase in numbers – that will only come when Finns give up the Canary Islands for Madeira.

  3. Admin Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 09:09 #

    Received this from Jon and Debs at Casa Parsons, who have asked that it is posted manually – like others they have had problems posting Comments recently – hopefully rectified now:

    Jon relates that Debs received e-mail from Monarch as below, informing her that her Monarch Flight to MANCHESTER has been cancelled, re-booked on a flight to BIRMINGHAM…MMMnnn….nowhere near good enough let alone hire car!

    We are sorry – your forthcoming flight has been cancelled due to a change in our flying programme. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. We have re-accommodated you on an alternative flight as shown below.
    Please be aware that this involves an airport change.

    You can choose to accept these new flights or if you prefer you can apply for a refund or a Travel Credit

    Alternatively, you can change to another flight, date or destination. We will waive the relevant change fee, but a fare difference might apply.

    So, it appears that from (late) January (at least) that Monarch are no longer flying to/from Manchester from Madeira…….despite their great early booking prices we had noticed that most Monarch flights were not full…..over the last year.

    Has managed to book with Jet2 instead……

    • Kathryn prescott Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 11:28 #

      We’ve just gone thru the same process and booked jet 2 for our return to Manchester. A real shame monarch have done this as the flight times are really good for us. Their prices are good too.

  4. Keely Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 09:50 #

    Interesting to see the view of the new Savoy Palace from the sea. We’ve recently returned from Madeira and had a couple of meals on Moynihans. We wandered up and down the streets mentioned above and did wonder how the new build would affect these local bars as it already overshadows them, but we could see that the development was passing across the small roads and assumed that the local area were going to be incorporated. It is for sure a vast construction, which will no doubt have a huge impact on the local area……hope it won’t take away the personal touch which these individual bars currently have as they are tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the numerous eateries which exist on the main thoroughfare, all hassling for business!

  5. Evan Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 10:22 #

    Madeira is popular with Norwegians, particularly over the first months of the year – for obvious reasons. I have met more Danes than Swedes on the island, yet the population of Sweden is much higher – guess its all down to the flights.

  6. peter franks Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 12:10 #

    A monster in the making another time share white elephant . Pity they have stolen the Club from us by a lack of honesty and slight of hand

  7. mauricereed Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 12:20 #

    It’s only natural that tourism figures will bottom out now and then. To be honest the island has become saturated with over the last 15 years. Whilst tourism IS good for an island’s economy there comes a point when the pendulum swings too far. The island’s infrastructure(power generation, rubbish disposal etc) must be under great strain by now.

    Strong winds are affecting to airport again.

  8. Ken Roxburgh Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 12:38 #

    When you say English visitors do you mean British visitors ?

  9. Peter Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 12:53 #

    Thank you for your coverage of Madeira news, particularly the new Savoy Palace building. I have a photograph, taken in 2006 (before the classic Savoy was demolished), that is similar to that published under “New Savoy Palace continues to grow”. It is a bit difficult to judge accurately, given different camera positions, but the difference is that the Savoy Palace is only slightly taller, but much longer, both to the east and to the west, than the classic Savoy it replaces. Because it is the same height throughout, the eastern end now towers over the Regency Hotel.

  10. Debs Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 14:34 #


    Yes, I liked the flight times – landing at 15.30 instead of 23.30 (EasyJet) at Manchester. It is a shame but I guess it just wasn’t financially viable. Mind you, I always fly back here with EasyJet for the same reason, ie good flight times (leaving Manchester at 15.00 ish!).

  11. Mike Walsh Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 15:42 #

    With Finland two hours ahead of Madeira/UK we are always arriving back after midnight local time so that has never been a problem. What has been a problem with all direct Canary Island flights out of Helsinki is that they all leave at 6 or 6:30 meaning getting virtually no sleep the previous night. The single Madeira direct flight leaves Helsinki at 11:30 – pure luxury!

  12. Admin Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 18:17 #

    Correct Ken – quite right – I should have said British. Apologies to the citizens of the other nations that make up the UK!

  13. Dennis S Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 08:06 #

    The old Savoy was never the greatest example of outstanding architecture, but it did have a certain character. The new one is just far too big! No idea how this has been allowed.

  14. Mary Schofield Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 08:11 #

    Wasn’t there another small hotel to the left of the old Savoy as you view it from the sea – this would have been within the footprint of the new building?

  15. Carlos Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 08:33 #

    It certainly is a point of reference – you can see it from virtually everywhere in Funchal now. Monstrosity!

  16. BettyC Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 09:02 #

    Yes Mary
    I believe the small hotel was the Santa Isabel and I think it was owned by the old Savoy. It had a swimming pool on the roof and was quite run down.

  17. Admin Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 09:25 #

    Indeed it was the Santa Isabel Betty. There is photo on this website: – you have to scroll down a little – well worth a visit for some great old photos of Madeira.

  18. AnnB Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 09:48 #

    Those pix of old and new Savoy are quite striking! I feel for all those living and/or holidaying in places behind it. We will no doubt have a blighted view from the Miramar at Christmas.

  19. Jon Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 10:30 #

    VERY windy at the Airport – saw at least one aborted attempt and the airport is empty ……… closed, wind? Aqua park valley wind (very short “finals” before runway threshold) is exceptionally strong …. south coast strong wind warning until midnight….. and high temp warning until tomorrow evening ….. Airport/Airline arrival/Departures need checking – again …. and into Monday? Hope not.

  20. Admin Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 10:37 #

    Just updated the airport situation in the post above – nothing appears to be arriving or departing Sunday morning as strong winds persist.

  21. Casa P Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 14:11 #

    More Airport woes to come I fear.
    The Savoy is horrendous….landlocked static modern cruise liner apartment lookalikes…pity can’t sink….a titanic building/planning/bribing effort!

  22. Admin Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 16:04 #

    Those planning to depart or arrive tomorrow – Monday – should be aware that the problems encountered at the airport today (see above) are more than likely to continue for a few days as Jon notes. I will update here as soon as the information becomes available.

  23. mauricereed Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 16:17 #

    I hope the winds have eased by the 18th so we can reach the island. Being retired not so bothered about the return leg!

  24. Jon Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 19:51 #

    SAS from Bergen departed SE to Canary Isles some 25 mins ago after 2nd brave attempt – first one almost an hour earlier – overshoot some way out and went up nearly vertical = amazing climb out with the wind…..strong wind forecast extended….until Tuesday?!?
    Only aircraft to have landed all day has been the Porto Santo “shuttle cock” – small, fast (at first) then nice and slow for a gentle landing………

  25. Eiryl Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 19:57 #

    My son and family were due to fly in on the BA flight this morning but returned to Gatwick via Lisbon and are spending their first holiday night in the Hilton Gatwick! Let’s hope the weather improves- they were so excited when being dropped off at the airport. Over 20 years of many visits we have only had 2 flight disruptions.

  26. mauricereed Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 23:06 #

    Similar story with us. Only once in over 20 years have we been affected by the weather. Easy jet refused to fly to the island but when we got back home we found everyone else had flown in! I was peeved in the least with Easy jet but I got our fare money and compo back.

  27. Eiryl Monday, August 7, 2017 at 12:00 #

    Maurice,I think the wind can be variable so it might not have been EasyJet’s fault- better safe than sorry. First time 2010 we flew to Faro and were put up in a wonderful hotel overnight, flew in the next day. This year we attempted landing then flew to Tenerife. Had quite a wait on the airport before trying again. Captain chatted to us all and entertained us. Both times Easyjet.

    You obviously love the island as we do.

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