The Hotel Quinta da Serra is a restful countryside retreat, high in the hills above Madeira’s sunny southern coast.
The quinta was originally constructed as a home by Henry Veitch. Scottish by birth, Henry was the British Consul to Madeira during the Portuguese Liberal Civil War. The island provided safe asylum to many of the liberals fleeing political persecution on the mainland – Henry offered the quinta as a safe house to a number of families en-route to Brazil (a Portuguese/Liberalist colony at the time). Henry was already a local legend – back in 1815, the ship transporting the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte weighed anchor off Madeira. Officially, Henry boarded the ship for an audience with General – unofficially, it’s said that Napoleon and his wife Josephine accompanied Henry to Quinta da Serra for a brief stay before continuing their journey to St Helena.
Legends aside, Henry loved the highland-feel of this area of the island, known as Jardim de Serra, and in building his home and its extensive gardens he was able to preserve some of Madeira’s oldest native trees. Nowadays Quinta da Serra’s spacious en-suite rooms and balconies overlook the gardens – the grounds have evolved over time to also include organic fruit trees, vegetables and herbs which are all used by the quinta’s excellent organic restaurant.
The ideal time to stay at the quinta is in the spring – when the hillsides of Jardim de Serra turn white as the cherry trees blossom. Early June sees the Festa da Cherja take over: it’s the colourful week-long festival which celebrates the cherry harvest. Due to its fairly-remote location, we usually recommend staying on a half-board basis and including a hire car will allow you to explore further afield. If you’d just like to spend a pleasant day relaxing, the quinta has a lovely indoor pool encased in a huge conservatory-like glass building with a jacuzzi, sauna and spa, and there’s also a well-equipped gym, a tennis court, a billiards room and a library.
The quinta’s located high up in the Jardim da Serra valley. Due to the limited choice of restaurants nearby, we recommend staying on a half-board basis, and a hire car will give you to freedom to explore further afield.
Quinta da Serra’s a good base if you’re looking to explore the levada trails of southern Madeira.