Cherry Oak Manor
Welcome to my blog – Sharing my journey of making our house into our dream home.
A bit about the company and what they offer: (information taken from the company website) Read my personal review below.
Love my Leisure (LML) specialise in Spa breaks and Spa and fitness weekends.
They offer breaks in the UK and Overseas. I have travelled overseas with them 6 times now and am booked to go again in May 2019.
At the time of writing this blog they offer 3 overseas packages which include 2 or 3 complimentary spa treatments, top quality hotel accommodation and transfers. Different hotels offer different packages so depending on which break you choose will depend on the board basis.
The 3 destinations currently available are: Algarve Portugal, Paphos Cyprus, Funchal Madeira (Review below)
I stayed at the 5 Star Pestana Grand in Funchal. The board basis was half board, champagne breakfast and evening meal. The stay included 3X 25 minute beauty treatments complimentary and free transfers from Funchal airport to hotel and back.
OMG I love this island!! If you have never been to Madeira it is a bucket list destination.
As a rule I prefer to travel to different countries, the world is a big place and in our lifetime we are very unlikely to be able to visit everywhere, however Madeira is my exception to this rule!
I have travelled to Madeira 7 times now, 3 times by cruise ship and 4 times with Love my Leisure. It is one of the prettiest islands I have ever visited.
Madeira is a Portuguese Island and is one of Europe’s most beautiful locations. It offers an all year round summer climate as well as the most stunning flowers and scenery.
Funchal is where I have stayed and where the cruise ships dock, it is the largest city on the island. The island offers stunning views, great shopping, magnificent fire work displays (depending on the time of year you travel) dolphin & whale watching, cable cars, gardens, basket rides, great food and so much more.
We have hired our own private safari guide on a few occasions. The lovely Fernando from Green Devil Safari personally collects us from our hotel / cruise ship to take us to different parts of the island and is so informative about the local culture.
Love my leisure let you spread the cost of your break, its easy to set up a monthly or weekly standing order. Pay as much or as little as you want so long as you have paid the holiday in full so many weeks prior to travelling.
The cost of the break is a great price for the fantastic quality of hotel, food, accommodation, spa treatments and facilities…. OK you may be able to get a cheap package holiday to a large hotel complex with thousands of other holiday makers all scrambling to get their free beer and fighting over the buffet and snacks, alongside getting up at 2am to grab your sun lounger, but that is not what LML breaks are about.
With LML you are travelling to a 5 star hotel on a small complex, the rooms are so spacious and of the highest standard. The hotel facilities are also first class. This holiday is about relaxation and feeling pampered. You do as little or as much as you want to. There is always plenty of space around the pool no matter what time of day you go out to sunbath. The weather has always been amazing and being a blond with freckles i actually get a lovely tan when im there.
LML offer 4 or 5 night stays with an option of additional nights, we always book to do 7 nights as the price isn’t much different. Flights are sold separately and I have found by travelling Wednesday to Wednesday has worked out cheaper than travelling back on the Monday so the money saved on the return flight has almost covered the cost of the additional nights.
Disembarking and baggage reclaim has always been straight forward and very quick as the airport only has a few flights arriving at a similar time. You disembark the plane and it is a very short walk across the tarmac to the terminal building. Passport control is also quick and painless.
On exiting the terminal building a LML representative is usually waiting to show you to your coach / mini bus for your free transfer to the Pestana Grand Hotel. During the 20 minute transfer you get to admire the pretty island and meet some of the other LML guests.
After collecting your luggage you walk straight into the hotel reception where you are greeted by the Lovely Trudy (LML Coordinator) or Caroline the LML Director. They will hand you the appointment times for your spa treatments. ( the treatments are the BEST! more on this later)
Checking in at reception is easy, the reception staff are all lovely people and remember you every time you return to the Pestana Grand for your stay. They will hand you your room card, FREE WIFI code and the porters will take your luggage to your room for you. They also provide you with a complimentary glass of Madeira wine.
Close to reception is the LML coordinators desk, she is available throughout the day to answer any questions you have and book in any last minute extra treatments you may require.
On entering your room you will be pleasantly surprised at how spacious they are. All rooms have either a sea or garden view, whichever one you get you will not be disappointed. The gardens are so pretty and looking out at the sunsets at sea is so relaxing.
The rooms have tea and coffee making facilities (it is advisable to take some additional tea and coffee with you or you can pop to the shop up the road and buy some)
Each room has bed / beds, seating area and a balcony / veranda.
Bathrooms have a bath and shower and all come with complimentary toiletries, bathing and sunbathing towels.
The hotel is on split levels, the main reception is on the ground floor with some guest rooms on this floor and some above. There are stairs or lifts available. The rest of the hotel facilities are below this level. Being an island the hotel is built on a cliff so it sits above sea level.
Heading downstairs you come to the bar and lounge this is a quiet place during the day but in the evenings it comes a little more alive. They offer entertainment a few nights a week and the all important happy hour and cocktails. (this hotel is by no means a party venue but you make your own entertainment with a great groups of LML and other hotel guests)
If you walk through the bar / lounge you will come to the gym, sauna, whirlpool, Turkish bath and indoor swimming pool. The hotel also runs some fitness classes and aqua aerobics which are free to attend.
Heading in the opposite direction to the bar you will come to the main buffet dining room and the speciality dining room. The buffet breakfast and dinner is included in the price. You can pay a bit extra to eat in the speciality dining room if you want to. We havent actually tried this as we are happy with the food in the buffeet restaurant.
Heading outside you come to the outside bar and terrace where you can dine alfresco breakfast and lunch time or sit and relax in the sunshine with a drink or 3.
There are 2 large swimming pools and ample sun loungers for everyone. The whole area is surrounding by pretty gardens. No matter where you sit the view is stunning.
Love my leisure will only provide the best therapists for their treatments. They fly in therapists from Portugal and the UK. I can hand on heart say the therapists are the BEST!! I always book additional treatments as they are the only massages I have had that can deal with my arthritic neck and knots in my back. Oh how I would love to have enough money to pay these ladies to come to my home once a month and be my personal therapists.
I usually book an extra couple of full body massages on top on my complimentary treatments. Quite a few of the ladies I have met have booked the Crystal Reiki and have said this is amazing. I might give this a try next year as it’s something I have never done. The prices of the additional treatments are really reasonable compared to what you would pay at home or in hotel spas.
Included in the price of your break is breakfast and dinner. There is a huge selection for both meals. The cater for most dietry requirements.
Breakfast – Champagne, bread selection, hot foods, salads, fruit salads, omelettes, cakes, tea, coffee, and more.
Dinner – Themed nights, hot food, salads and the most incredible desserts.
Lunchtime – They have a lunchtime menu which has a large selection of hot and cold dishes. We tend to have lunch at the hotel a couple of times and the other days we walk up to the local shops or nearby restaurants.
Love my Leisure have set tables for dinner time so you get to know where you are sitting and get to meet other ladies & gentleman that are also travelling with the company. I love to meet new people and enjoy this part of the holiday. Of course if you prefer to sit on your own you can do that to. Breakfast time you can either sit at the same tables or can dine outside. I have met some lovely ladies on these breaks and stayed in touch with them via social media. Meeting them the next year is all part of the holiday excitement.
Pestana Grand is located just outside of the main Funchal town centre. There is a beautiful promenade that is accessed through at gate in the Hotels gardens.
Turning right as you come out of the gates you can walk to Praia Formosa Beach Madeira approx 15-20 minute walk. There are a few local shops and restaurants approx. a 5-10 minute walk away. I have been informed some of the restaurants stay open late into the morning and come alive but I haven’t actually been to them at night as I am usually tucked up in bed most evenings.
The beach has black sand and pebbles and is generally used by the locals. To get to the beach you walk through some tunnels which are really interesting to look at. When we last visited they were doing a lot of work in this area so I am interested to see what improvements they have made.
Turning left as you come out of the hotel gates you can walk a few miles along the promenade into Funchal town. It can be a bit hilly in places but there are some easy steps and a nice even walking surface. The promenade is lined with pretty flowering shrubs to one side and the sea the other.
There are a few excursions shops if you are looking to go on any trips they can advise and sell you tickets. There are also restaurants and bars and if you walk to the main centre you will find plenty of shops.
Coming out of the hotel reception there is a shopping centre 5 minutes up the hill called Forum Madeira. When you get to the top of the hill, cross over the main road to enter the Forum. There are plenty of shops to browse and or dare i say shop, including H&M, Kiko, McDonalds, Zara, Zara Home and a large local supermarket which sells most things.
Turning right at the top of the hill you can take leisurely walk into the town, there are bars, restaurants, souvenir shops on route. We usually pop to the Hole in One pub at least one evening during our stay, they have live bands some nights and also show live sports. There is a large terrace and some inside seating space.
The main town has a mix of modern and traditional shops. Madeira is known for its wine, flowers and embroidery.
The hotel also provide a complimentary shuttle bus into the main town centre or you can get a taxi at a reasonable price.
Love My Lesiure
I absolutley love travelling with Love my Leisure, the whole experience is enjoyable from booking through to the end of the holiday. The worst bit is having to come home and back to reality. If you are looking for a relaxing spa break in the sun then this is the company for you.
*this is my own opinion of Love my Leisure holidays based on my previous travel experience with them. I am not affiliated with the company and have not been asked to write this review.
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