Casa Velha do Palheiro began life as the summer residence and hunting lodge of João José Xavier do Carvalhal; the 1st Civil Governor of Funchal in 1801.
When Joao passed away without a direct descendant, the estate was purchased by industrialist (and later wine merchant) John Blandy in 1885. John exported coal from Britain to India, and Madeira was the perfect en-route resupply point. From Palheiro’s commanding position high above Funchal’s natural harbour, John could track the comings-and-goings of his cargo fleet. The casa itself was converted into the island’s first, five-star country-house hotel in 1993 and is now managed by John’s great, great grandson Adam Blandy, and his wife Cristina. There are thirty-two rooms and five suites, with a warm floral-patterned décor and dark hardwood furnishings. The comfortable guest lounge, bar and restaurant are also beautifully decorated, with gilt-framed oil paintings and lithographs of the island. There’s also a spa, sauna, gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis court and croquet lawn, and the famous Palheiro gardens and golf course.