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by Orient-Express
Reids Palace, Madeira

Etiquette

Greetings
In Madeira the official language is Portuguese. English, however, is widely spoken by the business community. It is courteous to greet people by shaking hands and introducing yourself. On a first meeting you may wish to present a business card.

Discretion should be used when addressing a business acquaintance by Christian name. It is polite only to address someone in this way once you yourself have been addressed informally.

In some less formal situations, greeting a female host by kissing her on both cheeks may be appropriate. However, if you are at all unsure, revert to shaking hands as this will not offend. When leaving it is also courteous to shake hands.

Madeirans are generally friendly but may be reserved in the company of strangers.

Tipping
In most hotels' dining rooms and restaurants, service charges are included in the bill. However, if you do wish to tip, 5-10% of the total bill is acceptable. Hotel doormen and porters are normally tipped 2-3 Euros; and chambermaid service may be tipped 2-3 Euros a day. Taxi drivers expect approximately 10% of the fare.

Dress
Managers and executives are expected to dress conventionally.  Generally, men will be expected to wear a business suit and tie, and women a suit, trouser suit (pantsuit) or conservative dress. Outside of business, smart casual clothes are acceptable in most situations. Some restaurants and hotel lounges may require gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie.

Smoking
In some restaurants and cafés smokers may be seated next to you.  At present, restaurants are not required to provide specific non-smoking tables, and most cafés and bars remain smokey. If you do wish to smoke, exercise discretion and sensitivity when selecting a location. It is advisable only to smoke when others around you do so.

Region-specific details
Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal and has its own government. The continuing integration of the European nation states has recently led to the introduction of the single European currency unit, or Euro.

The majority of Madeirans are Roman Catholic.  It is advisable to cover up arms and legs on religious feast days or when entering a church.

 

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