Some very impressive reviews of the hotel on this website encouraged me to book a 7 night stay at a studio apartment here for a relaxing pre-Christmas week away from home.
The hotel is around 30 minutes away from Faro airport. I book with Travel Republic and arranged transfer from the airport to the hotel in advance. This facility worked very well and I had no problem finding the airport transfer service in the arrivals hall.
On checking in the initial apartment had a damp smell about it. On informing reception about this, the friendly receptionist offered another studio apartment which had as a sleeping facility only a sofa bed. We ended up sticking with the first apartment offered as it had a separate bed as well as a sofa bed, albeit at the expense of a balcony (the only apartment in the complex without a balcony). As for the damp smell, I purchased air freshener and hoped for the best!
The apartment was very well laid out and decorated. The kitchen was pretty basically equipped but at least had a kettle, toaster and even a filter coffee maker. The lack of an oven restricted what could be cooked, though we coped with the microwave and hob. The bathroom comprised a toilet, bidet, sink and bath/shower. 2 small shampoo bottles and 2 soap bars were provided, as were both body and hand towels.
The double bed was in effect 2 single beds pushed together. The mattress was a little firm but I had no problems sleeping. The only gripe I had was something that the hotel has little control of - a dog chained outside a house across the road that would have fits of barking every now and again. The barking affects those staying in apartments facing the front of the hotel (the reception side).
The hotel offered indoor spa facilities including a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. When I booked the hotel through Travel Republic, I was informed of a charge to use these facilities during the summer period but no mention of charges during the rest of the year. We ended up paying €25 each to use the facilities for a week and have been in touch with Travel Republic about this misinformation. The manager on duty at the time, Eusebio Pedro, was a little rude to deal with and he informed us that he was not having a good day, but I wanted to get across to him the fact that what Travel Republic had told us contrasted with what he had said in relation to charging for use of the indoor wet facilities.
One other small issue we had was that a tea towel that we had brought ourselves had gone missing one day. I can only assume that the cleaners thought that it was one of the hotel's and had taken it away to wash. I informed reception of this and the next day the tea towel had returned without any further issue. Note to future guests - the hotel provides a tea towel so there's no need to bring your own!
On site also are a sports bar and restaurant. The prices at both are very reasonable, with the restaurant having a set 3 course dinner (garlic bread, soup or salad, and a choice of 2-3 main dishes) for between €8 and €9. This compares very favourably with prices at most restaurants in the area, which start from around €6 for the cheapest dish.
There was free wifi available in the lobby and by the bar and restaurant but I could never get it to work. I'm not sure if the connection was just extremely slow but we ended up going to restaurants with free wifi facilities to connect to the internet.
There are plenty of restaurants, cafe and even a bakery within a few minutes' walk from the hotel. There is also a handy supermarket, Pingo Dolce, at the top of the road by the roundabout, not more than 5 minutes' walk away.
The beaches are but only 5 minutes' walk away, the Strip no more than 10 minutes' walk, and the Old Town between 10 and 15 minutes' walk, depending on which route you take.
We took the bus to Faro for the day, which cost us €9.20 return each. The bus station in Albufeira was a bit of a walk (15 minutes) away.
All in all, we had a fantastic time and would definitely stay again.
- Also Known As:
- Forte Do Vale Hotel
- Forte Do Vale Hotel Albufeira
- Forte Do Vale Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve
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