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“Super Holiday” 4 of 5 stars
Review of ClubHotel Riu Guarana

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ClubHotel Riu Guarana
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Quinta do Milharo | Olhos D'Agua - Algarve, Olhos de Agua, Albufeira 08200, Portugal   |  
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Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Olhos de Agua
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Super Holiday”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

Just got back early on Monday morning from this hotel. My father, who is 85 years of age travelled with us as well as my 16 year old daughter, so we were concerned that this holiday may not meet all of our needs, however, we were pleasantly surprised. The hotel was spotless and the staff went out of their way to make sure our stay was as pleasant as possible. We were very impressed that on our first day, we had a tour around the whole of the hotel and later in the afternoon, Phil, our Thomson's Rep took us on a tour around the local area showing us places like where the local bus stops are and the chemist etc.

The food was buffet style which suited us for our one week stay, which included a selection of meats, fish, salad, fresh fruit and delicious cakes. We had the choice of eating outside or in the restaurant with no problem finding a table, however I would imagine it would perhaps be more difficult into the season now the children have broken up.

All the animation staff were really friendly , always with a smile on their face and not at all pushy when asking you to join in. They worked really hard and genuinely wanted everyone to enjoy their stay. My only issue with the whole of the holiday was the entertainment in the evening. Apparently, the RIU group choose what entertainment to put on. Although the staff worked incredibly hard, we felt the shows were quite amateurish and they would have been better bringing in outside acts. Unbelievably, we were told on the tour, that after the shows , the staff have to clean the costumes, which just seems so unfair when they have worked a long day.

Our rooms were numbers 353 and 355 and I have to say they were always maintained to a high standard and we had a lovely view of the pools as well as the sea. The maids were very friendly and we had no problem with our rooms being cleaned on a daily basis. I personally had no problem with the bed but my husband felt that the mattress topper did make a difference. Regarding the rooms, I would say the only addition I would make would be to offer tea and coffee making facilities as it would have been lovely sitting on the balcony enjoying the lovely view. We had no problem with the air conditioning, our rooms were nice and cool and the blackout curtains helped to keep the sun out.

Other reviewers have mentioned the sun loungers being uncomfortable, but again we must have been very lucky, because we had no issues with any. However, I will agree that we did have to get up early to make sure we had a lounger, but we did see staff finding sun loungers for people who could not manage to get one.

We did visit the local beaches, however I would say that the one with the many stairs only leads down to a tiny cove, but there are plenty of benches to stop and have a break.

So all in all, we had a lovely week's holiday, however my 16 year old daughter said she wishes that she would have had more opportunities to make friends. We would recommend this hotel for a week's holiday and we will definitely be booking a RIU hotel in the future. Thanks to Phil, we would have no hesitation in picking up a Thomson's brochure again. A big thank you to eveyone who made our stay so enjoyable.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

This hotel is a great place which caters for everyone, the staff are so friendly and the rooms are modern and clean.
No problem with sun beds and there is a busy pool and quiet pool, nice to have a walk to the sea front in the evening, great atmosphere.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

Have just literally got back from our Holiday in Portugal at the Clubhotel Riu Guarana, so I am writing this review whilst everything is still fresh in my memory. If you have children from toddlers to sixteen years of age, then you and they will more than likely love this Hotel and what is has to offer. If on the other hand you are a beach lover and getting on and a bit or infirm or not in the best of health, then I would suggest going elsewhere as the location is not good for the elderly or babies in pushchairs etc due to the steepness of the areas that approach the beach. We stayed here from 13th to the 20th July, and enjoyed (for the most part) our experiences at the Guarana, more of which later. At the welcome meeting the following day something unique happened that we have only ever seen on a cruise ship before. The Manager himself addressed us all, and then introduced in turn all the senior members of staff, and we were told if we ever need anything we only have to ask and the staff will do their best to make it happen (or words to that effect), he also stated that one of the things they do at this RIU is alternate the room cleaning schedule, for instance on day one rooms 1,2,3,4 5 etc would be cleaned first then the following day rooms would be scheduled as 5,4,3,2,1, so nobody would therefore get their rooms cleaned first or last all the time, he further stated that if this was inconvenient for any reason we could contact reception and get our rooms cleaned at a time that suited us, this all sounded very good, however what was supposed to happen and what actually happened were two different things, as I will outline later! Upon arrival our check in went smoothly, albeit our room wasn't yet ready (it was near mid day when we were checking in) and we were told to come back in twenty or so minutes. Twenty five minutes later we returned, collected our key and proceeded to our room, unpacked and were ready and raring to go. We went to the main pool and had no trouble getting sunbeds even though the pool area looked and indeed was very busy. In fact we usually found sunbeds when we needed them throughout our stay. At the welcome meeting the rep Phil (who I must say was excellent) gave us all the usual info on the area (where to go etc), and also informed us about a free bus service that ran from the Hotels in our area to a shopping centre about twenty five or so minutes away, and that there was even a C and A's there. We took advantage of this facility the next day, we only stopped until the next bus back which was about an hour and three quarters later which was ample time to do what we wanted to do. We also took his advice and caught the local bus to Vilamoura (very nice area and noticeably more upmarket in my opinion), if you do decide to take this bus ride then a few things you should know, 1. You can only buy one way tickets, which you pay for on the bus itself, these are 3 Euros 25 Cents per person, so thats 6 Euros fifty Cents per couple, and the same cost coming back. 2. The bus stop to Vilamoura is about 5 to 6 hundred yards from the Hotel, when you get on ask for tickets to Marina Vilamoura. 3. Where you get off of the bus it is the same bus stop you catch the bus back from, as there is a one way system that operates around this part of Vilamoura. 4. Getting off the bus, turn immediately right then after a few yards turn left and walk down past the Vila Gale Hotel, at the bottom of the road turn right again and you will be walking down past some very nice beaches, where you can hire sunbeds etc. If you just want to view the marina itself (like we did) then just continue walking for a few hundred yards and you arrive at it. The following day we decided to visit Albufeira, again we caught the local bus (slightly cheaper at 4 euros 50 cents for two one way), from the bus stop across the road from the bus stop to Vilamoura (there are local bus timetables on the left hand side of the desk at the Hotels reception). Albufeira wasn't anywhere near as nice (again in our opinion) as Vilamoura, and we didn't stop there very long, though we did catch the little blue train that takes you round Albufeira (stop 4 on its circuit is nearest to the bus stop you get off at, you get there by crossing the road and then turning left and walking a couple of hundred yards down to the big Hotels, the train stop is outside one of these Hotels but I can't remember its name. So that was three mornings in a row that we went out, getting back at lunchtime, and going to our room to get changed for the pool. The annoying thing was that on every occasion our room was still waiting to be cleaned (so much for the 1,2,3 4, 5 - 5,4,3,2,1 plan!) The day of arrival and our second to last day (I actually buttonholed one of the cleaning ladies and asked her to clean our room) were the only times our room was cleaned before 2pm! We had even resorted to putting the Green "clean my room" card that is supplied, on the door handle at 8am in the morning, but it had no effect. We could of course had contacted reception, but I reasoned that if everybody did this then it would not be fair on those who didn't arrange a certain time (maybe that was what was happening to us!). Unfortunately this wasn't the only lapse in their own rules that we found. Prior to leaving the UK I read on Thomson's own web site about the fact that Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers in the dining room for evening meals, so duly packed some smart ish trousers, well I need not have bothered as the number of people wearing long trousers was equally matched by those who walked in wearing sports shorts, swimming trunks of the shorts variety, jean shorts etc etc etc. Now I haven't got a problem with what ever people want to wear, but I do take exception that it clearly states that long trousers or bermuda shorts are to be worn and the Manager himself or one of the senior managers is always on duty at the dining room entrance every night and they turn a blind eye to this flouting of the rules, if they are not prepared to enforce their own rules then why bother to have the rule in the first place? The same can be said about the non reserving before a certain time of sunbeds! This morning (Sunday 20th July) we had an early call booked for 6:30am so we would be up in time for our departure, I went out onto the balcony a short time later and there were already people down by the pool reserving sunbeds right in front of the staff who were cleaning the pool areas. Well so much for the negatives, oh! apart from the fact that the beds are the worst I have ever slept on in terms of hardness, I woke every morning with back ache and this was despite asking reception for (and getting) mattress toppers, still thats just me I suppose, as other people will no doubt have found them okay. Riu class this Hotel (rightly) as 4 stars whereas Thomson's for some reason seem to think it is worth 5 stars. Well I have stayed at 4 star hotels for every single one of my land based holidays from Tenerife to Corfu to the Italian Lakes and many more, and the Riu Guarana measures up well in comparison, but it is definitely not a 5 star hotel. True it has very hard working and cheerful staff, it also has great facilities for the more energetic i.e. a 5 a side football pitch, Tennis court, Sand based Volleyball court, Air rifle range, an Adults only swimming Pool, A general swimming pool, a toddlers pool (about 16 inches deep), a Spa complete with free to use indoor pool, two table tennis tables, a pool table and a football table plus whatever else I have failed to list not to mention a very good animation team lead by the excellent Mike. Which in themselves are worth 5 stars. But when it boils down to class and elegance, nice though it is, the Guarana is not a 5 star Hotel. The food at this Hotel is very hit and miss, my wife had great difficulty when trying to eat some of the meat that was served up as it was overdone and very very chewy. I also found things (mainly meat) that either were overcooked or in the case of the beetroot I had one evening almost completely raw and difficult to cut. We booked (you do this 24 hours in advance, by writing your room number down on the booking sheet thats on the table as you go into the main restaurant, in addition to the Asian restaurant there is also the Grill restaurant that can be booked, though on your first evening you eat in the Grill restaurant anyway!) to go into the Asian restaurant for an evening meal, and being a curry fan was very happy to see Chicken and cashew nut curry on the menu. Well duly attended the Asian restaurant, went and got the curry but there were no cashew nuts in sight, and on tasting the curry thought you'd get more of a kick from a bowl of tomato soup! I don't know what they put in their food to call it a curry, but I can safely say curry powder was not on the list of ingredients! In the main restaurant the following day or so later, Chicken and Chilli was on the menu, well try as I might I found no trace of it anywhere, they must have only a limited amount, and put it out towards the end of service is all I can say! The all inclusive bit does this Hotel no favours IMO, why? Well when you cater for everybody, (it has 500 rooms) from early morning breakfast, to Lunch, to afternoon Tea and cakes plus burgers etc if you want them, to late at night evening meals (evening meals finish at ten O'Clock), something has to give. That something (again IMO) is quality, and it suffers for it. Add the free drinks from Coca Cola, Fanta Orange, Sprite, Water, slush type drinks, local spirits, half a dozen or so varieties of coffeee and Red, White and Rose wine (the wine I found to be harsh on the palette), then you simply have to do things on the cheap or you will go bust sooner rather than later. Far better to go half board with quality then all inclusive on the cheap, but then again what do I know about the Holiday industry? Well after reading this, some of you will be having second thoughts about going to the RIU Guarana I suppose. Well I just try to tell it like it is, the staff especially the bar staff are the best I have ever seen and that is no exaggeration, the animation team are very good as well even though they failed in their attempts to get me to play water polo...lol, and the kids club looked to be very well attended and run, in fact every evening there was a kiddies dance led by somebody dressed up as a Turtle (he must have sweated buckets every evening in that get up!), and was very much a pied piper type of character as the younger kids (2 to 4 year olds especially) followed him everywhere, they always ended up in the showroom and were lead in their dancing by the girls who ran the kiddies club during the day, a feature of the staff was the long long hours they all seemed to put in (I talked to them and discovered that some were doing 11 hour days), yet they always had a smile on their faces, amazing! So in summary, good for families not so good for the older more discerning holiday maker, location is not ideal and the food is hit and miss, oh! and one other thing, this is the first Hotel I have stayed in that when you turn on the lights in your bathroom the extractor fan does not automatically kick in, in fact it never kicked in and try as I might I could not find a switch anywhere that would turn it on, so I concluded that there was not a working extractor fan in the bathroom, what was there was just a hole in the ceiling that looked like an extractor fan! It was like a being in a sauna in the bathroom of our room after just a few minutes, and every time we took a shower the mirror fogged up completely. Well its one of those Hotels that you will either love or just be indifferent about, nobody will hate it.

Room Tip: Sea and pool view rooms are regarded as the best, though the sea view is insignificant especially on...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Stayed for a week in July 2014 and have mixed feelings about this holiday. Have stayed in better hotels labelled as 5 star though it could easily make itself a 5 star hotel with just a few tweaks.

The rooms:
I liked the rooms. I did email about 4 weeks before to request a pool/seaview and was delighted with our room on the 5th floor. It was high enough up to see the sea behind the hotel pools. The rooms were clean and sachets of shampoo and bath gel with a small lump of soap were provided and topped up daily if used -so you don't need to bring any yourself. We tried hard with the beds but people are right - ask for the mattress toppers immediately! I used the extra pillows in the big wardrobes - where there were a dozen hangers - so you don't need to pack those.There was blackout lining so rooms nice and dark all night. I battled the air con all week. I had a spare old RAC card which I left in the slot to keep the air con going all day and the room was cool when we returned after a hot day but strangely it seemed to get hotter, all by itself, during the night and I often woke up sweating with a room temp of 27 degrees. Annoyingly you were only given one key and with 3 people sharing it got quite tricky organising who was to have the key. You could have another one with a 20 euro deposit but I didn't want to have the extra euros at the end. Again in other hotels they just gave you another key if you needed it - I think they probably had a more modern computer system. I really missed tea and coffee making facilities. I read on here about it so took a kettle and all the bits needed however returned one day to find the travel cups ( that come with the kettle) and my plastic spoon missing. We asked reception, the Thompson adviser and the management but no one seemed very interested that our personal items had been removed. In fact I was told that the cleaner probably took them away to the kitchen thinking they were the hotels and so they would be sitting down there but nobody was prepared to look for me. It is all very well peoples comments about how approachable people were ( which was true) but if no-one wants to help you when your property has been taken then it feels a bit like all show. One of the young smiling managers said he would look Into it but he never came back to me. In fact it was pointed out that the British are a bit odd to want tea/coffee in the rooms. However they are catering to the UK market so if they know people want it then it is strange that they don't want to provide it.

The food:
Have to agree that this was a bit disappointing- probably because I don't eat pork or fish and there was a lot of those dishes- not very much chicken, lamb or beef. When I mentioned this I was told just to eat the salad - I thought they wanted feedback but it didn't seem so. Anyway I had plenty to eat just a bit more pizza than I would normally have. I did miss having a bit more choice with the wines with the meal as the ones on tap were not that great. It was fine - it's just that I have been to better places that were 5 star.

The pools:
The highlight for my older children who thoroughly enjoyed themselves. However the water was freezing which was odd as the weather was so hot. It took a lot of getting used to if like me you not someone who can just jump in. The entertainment team worked very hard to encourage people to join in games ( without making you feel bad if you decline) and were smiling all day- don't know how they did it especially Ricci and Matt. As many people have said the pool seating was poor. Most of the loungers had been broken and taped together underneath. It all looked OK but occasionally the lounger collapsed underneath you- again not what you expect in a 5 star establishment. Actually most of the seats around the hotel were very uncomfortable - outside the salon bar and some of the outside restaurant seats.

Evening entertainment was very samey when we were there and was mainly people miming to bits of songs with dancing. Nevertheless the team worked really hard and lots of people enjoyed it. The town was easy to walk to and had some eating/drinking places as well as a few gift shops. A small Intermarche was a 15 min walk away where we bought ourselves some juice for the rooms to keep in the room fridge. My older children enjoyed the hotel nightclub ( 11pm to 1:30am) as the good old entertainment team were there as well making it fun,

I can confirm the free WiFi was limited to 90mins - in one session- in the reception area- though did occasionally pick it up at the pool. The last 5 star place I stayed in had free WiFi across the whole hotel - even in your rooms. Of course some may see this lack of access as an advantage!

So to make it 5 star : take notice of the many comments people have consistently made about
the lack of variety in food and drink
tea/coffee making in room
improve WiFi access
get better loungers for pool and seats for the bar

It was a nice place and I know that many people don't like people to moan but I think it helps to get a few tips.

Room Tip: Email 4 weeks before and ask for a pool/seaview. Odd nos are over the pool if you are high up you wi...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

On arrival we had barely reached reception when we was met with a refreshing drink. Checked in, in no time and luggage was bought straight to our room. I mentioned to someone that i found the bed hard and within minutes someone was putting a mattress topper on it which made a big difference. Had a pool/sea view was lovely. Minutes from the beach but must go a little further and go to the marina! Its amazing. The staff were soooo friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Entertainment staff were also very nice although evening entertainment is more for kids than adults. As a whole a lovely holiday and would definitely go
back. Thank u to all the staff for making our stay so pleasurable :-)

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
43 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

we stayed at this hotel for a week with our seven year old daughter and 10 month old baby. The property felt a little dated and just very average in general. wifi only available in the hotel lobby and painfully slow, almost unusable. food was kind of bland. swimming pools were ok but nothing exceptional. i have stayed at other Four Star Riu properties (in Gran canaria for example) and they were a lot better. Value for money was poor. the best part of the stay was the staff which is very friendly. We loved the Algarve but next time will choose a different hotel.

Stayed July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2014

We really couldn't fault this hotel, the staff were friendly and attentive the food was very good and the hotel was probably the cleanest we've ever stayed in. I would agree with the reviewer who sat ignore the negative reviews if you can't have a great holiday here there's something wrong with you!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Guarana

Address: Quinta do Milharo | Olhos D'Agua - Algarve, Olhos de Agua, Albufeira 08200, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira > Olhos de Agua
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Olhos de Agua
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — ClubHotel Riu Guarana 4*
Number of rooms: 500
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened summer 2008. Located in Olhos d'Agua in the Algarve. 6-Storey main building and 2-storey annex building. 15 Minutes' walk from Praia da Falesia beach. Access to a small cove from the hotel Riu Palace Algarve is via cliff side steps (an approximate 10 minute walk). 8 Km from Albufeira. 500 M from various shops. 35 Km from the airport. 500 M from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa, Diners. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clubhotel Riu Guarana Albufeira
Clubhotel Riu Guarana Hotel Albufeira
ClubHotel Riu Guarana Olhos De Agua, Portugal - Albufeira

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