We have just returned from a week at the Cerro Mar Garden (late Sep / early Oct 2012). Check in was very efficient, staff very friendly and we were given an apartment on the second floor. Like other reviewers tips, the best apartments are on floor 3 or above, we had no view at all (only of the privacy shrubs), this was quite disappointing as I had requested a sea view - however, I had not paid any extra for the privilage so had no reason to complain. It wasn't until the morning after that I realised that initially we were given an apartment on the third floor but a guest that arrived earlier than us had complained so we were bumped down - charming!!! Despite not having as nice a view as others, it was a decent sized balcony with 2 x sets of balcony doors to the bedroom and lounge and we got the sun in the late morning and early afternoon.
Hotel - We loved the hotel and the self catering facilities are excellent. We always stay 4 star self catering in Europe and found these to be the best equipped that we have ever come across. Air-conditioning was a bonus in the lounge and bedroom. I agree with other reviews with the sunbed situation, many are broken and should be replaced. It was also quite difficult to find a bed after 10am, so we spent most of our days at the beach or walking around Albufeira. When we did go to the pool on a couple of occasions, we did find beds after 3pm. We only went into the hotel bar for a quick drink on a couple of occasions, but it was very quiet. We heard other people complaining of ants, but we did not experience this. There were ants on the balcony, but not loads and not in the apartment thankfully.
Location - We thought Cerro Mar was in the perfect location near the Old Town, as you were not in the heart of the town but close enough to appreciate the peace and quiet. Yes, 'the steps' can be hard work on your return especially after a good meal and a few drinks, but to be honest they weren't that bad and I was thankful of the exercise.
Resort - We really loved Albufeira and walked everywhere. We did use the 'Noddy Train' once to check out 'the strip' but we tended to stick to the Old Town in the evening as there is an excellent mix of bars and restaurants and a good mix of people too. We walked along the coastline to Praia de Olhas and all the way over to the Marina too, lots to explore and some lovely secluded beaches.
THE LAST DAY - This is what really stopped me from giving a 5 / 5 review!! Check out is at 11am, on the last day the cleaner came in twice, once at 9am and then again at 9.30am. We felt like we were being ushered out and then with all the banging and clattering they were doing outside loading their trolley up ready for cleaning the apartment. So at 10.15am we gave up trying to enjoy the last of our room and left. Upon check out, reception informed me that I owed them 1.25 euro for a glass I had broken - I thought they were joking! This is a 4 star hotel for goodness sake where I have just spent £1k and they are charging me for a broken glass!! I was disgusted!! so BEWARE!! There is an inventorary in each apartment but it is not accurate, it certainly wasnt in our apartment. There were items missing, but we never informed reception as we did not need them, and it is obvious that broken items are not replaced anyway as we only had 5 glasses in our apartment to begin with when the inventorary said six. The hipocracy just annoyed me, they havent a clue what is in their apartments anyway but had the cheek to charge me for a breakage. My advice - if you break something - don't leave a polite note for the cleaner apologising and wrap it up neatly - just discard it in a public bin as they dont have a clue!! Reception proudly display their Tripadvisor rating on the desk, I informed them that I would be writing a review about this experience and that they had just lost a point from me for this issue. He just smiled at me, took my money (for which I had to break into a 20 euro note - ON THE LAST DAY) and gave me an A4 printed out receipt!!!!!! I tore up the receipt and threw it back at him!!
Like I said - if it werent for this last day aggrevation, this would have been an EXCELLENT rating. Everything was great about this hotel, staff (excpt reception), location and facilities. I must also say, Thomson rep Eileen was also brilliant. My partner accidentally left his bag with a camera in it in the bar on the first night and Eileen chased all the staff down to find it - reception initailly said that he would have to wait till 7pm when it opened, we would have been on pins, but Eileen chased round and it was eventually found!! Thank you.
I am not sure if I would go again - to Albufeira - Yes but to Cerro Mar - I am unsure, I may have to wait until the bitterness passes!!!!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.