My partner and I have just returned from two wonderful weeks at the hotel Quintinha Sao Joao, perched a little uphill from Funchal, the capital of the beautiful Atlantic island of Madeira.  This was our fifth visit and before we went, we were a little nervous about the wisdom of taking a holiday abroad in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, although we knew that the island was one of the handful of places from which a fortnight’s quarantine was not required on return home.  The hotel was proactive in briefing us before our holiday about the measures that we needed to take to be able to have a healthy and Covid-free holiday:  Madeira insists on anyone entering the country either bringing proof of a negative Covid test carried out within the previous 72 hours, or taking a Covid test at Funchal Airport with a brief period of remaining in the hotel room before the results are received, and this system is working very well as part of Madeira’s overall determination to keep the virus at bay as much as possible.  

Mirroring this approach, the QSJ staff team have done a brilliant job in making adjustments within the hotel, all designed to make life as safe as possible for its guests and staff alike, without its measures being in any way intrusive.  A lot of thought and preparation has gone into the sanitisation, masking, social distancing etc arrangements that QSJ has put in place in all its public areas, including the two swimming pools, games room, bar and restaurant, and the staff team has thoroughly embraced all the Covid rules and striven together, to ensure the delivery of an excellent experience for the hotel’s guests, in their usual efficient, highly professional and empathetic manner.

We were sad to see that people have stayed away from the island, not understanding what a great holiday destination it is, whether in the midst of a pandemic or in more normal times.  We felt far safer from the virus in Madeira than in London:  despite all the difficulties that Covid has brought its people remain cheerful, welcoming and ready to help.   There was nothing we did in our previous visits that could not be carried out now, and we can’t think of a better or safer destination than Madeira, and the incomparable QSJ:  we had a super holiday and urge others to do the same!

– Wendy Shell and Alison Lightman –