We thought that this rental looked too good to be true - and yet our stay at Casa Do Retiro surpassed our expectations. We are already looking forward to our return visit, having just got home.
It is a challenge to find a relaxing holiday with two young children (one nearly 4, the other almost 18 months) and although opting for a villa was going to provide the flexibility we wanted, we were a little concerned that we would sacrifice on relaxation. We should not have worried - the family did everything possible to prepare the house for our arrival (even getting a couple of new steps for our eldest daughter to access the sinks and toliets), providing a huge array of drinks and fresh, exotic local fruits and setting up cots in a number of bedrooms so we could choose the best space (our daughters loved sharing the pink room). Beatriz even organised a birthday party for my husband, much to the delight of him and our girls, and the amazing themed cake lasted the whole 10 days!
Furthermore, the housekeeper, Mrs Graca, discreetly took care of washing up and washing (our daughters created lots!) as well as cleaning, giving us a proper rest. She even set up a matress and blankets on the floor next to the bed in case our eldest rolled out during the night (but she slept better than she's ever slept before!)
We can honestly say that we have not enjoyed such a relaxing, refreshing holiday since before our children were born. There is plenty to see and do on the island (highlights included cable car in Funchal, long lazy lunch near Santana, agapanthus and eucalyptus forests on the way to the Paul de Serra, pools at Santa Moniz, summit of the second highest mountain), the food is delicious (Apollo in Funchal, pizzas from around the corner, sea food at the beach bars in Ponta Do Sol and Calheta) and the people are welcoming and friendly (making a lovely fuss of the little ones).
The house itself is a privilege to stay in; a very warm place because of the inspiring family history.
It is a testimony to the owners of the house, to Mrs Graca, and to the unspolit natural beauty of Madeira itself that our days were filled with fun and our nights were longer than we could possibly have hoped for. The action-packed days and blackout curtains even gave us a number of long lie-ins. What more could a family with young children ask for!
We would not hesitate in recommending this property - provided that we can still get a booking when we next need to recharge!