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Inside The Reserve: Europe’s Exclusive (And First) Hotel Within A Hotel

On the island of Madeira, a volcanic archipelago rising from the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles west of Morocco, The Reserve is an elevated experience, preserved for few.

The Reserve, opened in January 2024, has been carved out of a space within Madeira’s Savoy Palace, and boasts the intimacy and hush of a boutique hotel sequestered amid all the grand trappings of a super resort.

The top-tier service is clear from the moment you step off the plane. Chaperoned from airport runway through security like a diplomat to the baggage carousel-side private lounge, cruise onwards to the hotel in the chauffeured Rolls Royce, passing jaw-dropping ocean vistas, impossible forest peaks and the verdant valleys of Madeira. Cull the crowds entering the Savoy Palace – the five-star flagship which opened in 2019 – and instead, head to the discreet private gated entrance of The Reserve.

The Vibe

Like being a member of a private club, The Reserve attracts low-key luxury lovers who are equal parts amiable and discreet. Undulating architecture emulates the 360 degree panorama of the autonomous Portuguese region’s mountaintop clouds, and white sailboats bobbing on lapping waves are evocatively showcased from the floor-to-ceiling glass windows lining winding corridors and living balconies.

The Rooms

Forty accommodations, all set above the 12th floor for sensational sea views, are spaced throughout the umbrella resort of the Savoy Palace. The Reserve’s contemporary rooms come bestowed with macadamia wood flooring and soft cream leather wall panels. Technology and services are intuitive: curtains operatically open to reveal magnanimous views at the flick of a switch and your home country’s adapter awaits in the dressing room. The eternal waft of Bulgari ethereally combines with the sea air from your balcony and each space is different; like a theatre set, contained yet open plan – showpiece Pool and Corner Suites feature sun loungers and wraparound terraces.

The Food + Drink

Jacarandá Club

Jacarandá Club at The Savoy Signature, Madeira

The Reserve’s hub is the sea-facing Jacarandá Club; a serene space, exclusive for the boutique hotel-within-a-hotel’s guests, it serves sunrise breakfasts through to molecular sunset cocktails across a sprawling, panoramic restaurant and sun terrace leading up to a 17th floor infinity pool and jacuzzi. Also on the hotel’s summit is Nikkei; this is Michelin-standard territory with views from the 16th floor presiding over the twinkling Funchal cityscape. The seafood for which the island is famed comes freshly caught and is curated into caviar-topped sashimis in an intimate, gastronomic overture suspended between the mountain views and theatre of the sushi chef.


Dinner at Pau de Lume, Savoy Palace, Madeira

Dinner at Pau de Lume, Savoy Palace, Madeira

Galáxia Skyfood is the Savoy Palace’s fine dining restaurant, replete with infinity pool and sea-facing, dee-jayed panoramic cocktail terrace. Here, sensational tasting menus in a low-lit and generously-spaced restaurant are modern-Madeiran; artistic presentations come complemented by the viniculture for which the island’s famed. Five restaurants beckon on the ground level, too. Alameda has accessible, chattering all-day dining overlooking a lake-sized pool, while Terreiro is a sophisticated, zero-waste, farm-to-table restaurant concept.

The Little Extras 

The Reserve is big on the little extras. Tastes and preferences are discreetly observed and served during each stay. A framed portrait greets you upon arrival; smokers are delivered a cigar at turndown, and gym-bunnies intuitively offered a detox juice at breakfast. There’s daily complementary clothes pressing, and each stay is graced by a trail of rose petals leading to a candlelit bath served with Champagne and macaroons. The Guest Experience Personal Assistant (pronounced jepa) is on hand via whatsapp around the clock for everything from those requisite sunrise infinity pool shots to where to find a house club at 3AM.

The To-Do List

If you can bear to leave the resort – and you should – stroll along the promenade to Funchal’s Old Town. Wander between the tapas bars lining the cobbled lanes then soar up on the cable car to explore the mountain district of Monte before bouncing down the steep streets on the capital’s world-famous toboggans. Beyond Funchal lie the prehistoric, UNESCO protected laurel forests of Fanal and the fishermen’s village of Câmara del Lobos – Winston Churchill’s favourite hangout and seat of sensational seafood. Whales and dolphins populate the islands, visible on the hinterland, and are a popular magnet for boat trips.

Laurea Spa

Back at the hotel there are cocktail masterclasses, wine tastings, al fresco yoga and tai chi. The sublime Laurea Spa, with hydrotherapy, chromotherapy and halotherapy, is pure bliss. A subterranean retreat where you could happily lose days, treatments span from the house Laurea massage – a divine hot and cold volcanic stone odyssey – to facials by Linda Meredith and nails by Margaret Dabbs. Cross the walkway to access the private beach of sister hotel the Royal Savoy. Then retreat to the intimacy of The Reserve – this is, after all, your playground and preserve.

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