Buyer beware: you are not renting a private villa here. You are renting the 3rd villa on a small plot of land, with the owner (Noel - wannabe local Lord of the Manor, with his ‘team’ of 2 local helpers) living in one, and Noel’s girlfriend living in the other (don’t ask...I honestly don’t know...but weird).
The downstairs of the villa (see attached pics) faces the other 2 villas and has no blinds or curtains of any kind, downstairs. We felt the full pain of this on our very first morning when, during breakfast, Mr. Noel (as he insists on being called by his ‘team’, who grovel around behind him) and his girlfriend came waltzing, bold as brass, down the side of the villa - my wife grabbing whatever she could to cover herself up quickly - and started chatting to us about the merits of putting the pool cover on overnight.
It got worse from there. Throughout the week, you could feel Mr. Noel and his girlfriend constantly watching you. They loiter in the garden (see pics attached) and watch you by the pool. They have the gardener (poor old Nelson - lovely guy, but spends all day being ordered around the garden by Mr. Noel) there all day every day. You literally have no privacy.
The villa is lovely and modern, with four nice bedrooms and pretty much everything you need. The pool is cold as ice - Mr. Noel claims it is heated but it isn’t. The internet signal is very weak (cheapest package, me thinks) and only works downstairs. And you will need it, folks. You will need to download on your iPad anything you want to watch in the evening, as the TV setup is extremely poor. Ironically, the only time we WANTED to speak to Mr. Noel (to get the secret PIN code to watch a football match) we couldn’t find him. It turned out he’d gone out for dinner with his girlfriend. We eventually got his phone number from Nelia the cleaner (lovely woman - very kind and helpful, and very hardworking) and called him, but he said he couldn’t remember the PIN and sounded seriously upset that I’d interrupted his dinner.
The local ‘town’ of Calheta is, and I exaggerate not one tiny bit, garbage. After a 10-15 minute walk down the cliff face (30 mins back up - don’t believe the hype), I cant tell you what a disappointment it is. There are a couple of AWFUL ‘restaurants’ (see my reviews) with cheap plastic furniture and the terrible local lager, Coral - which is the only beer you’ll drink on the island, by the way.
We had a couple of good days out in Funchal, and to be honest I wish we’d just stayed in Funchal. There wouldn’t have been any weirdos peering into our villa all day, that way.