Club Med Da Balaia is a well-established hotel/resort, on the fringe of the Albufeira area. Being older it has a good, attractive, and spacious location.
The buildings are not new, but from my experience seemed to be in good condition or recently renovated (exterior, public areas, bedroom). The steam room, however, was a bit smelly, and the ceiling was blistering.
My double room (in the Pyramide building) was of a generous size, with new fixtures within.
The gardens are very attractive, with well established trees and shrubs, with a lawn which sweeps downwards towards the cliffs. ‘Zen’ sunbathing spaces are set out in the gardens for those wanting to distance themselves from the bustle of the pool area.
Getting to the beach, reaching some sports facilities, and generally going up and down from the main reception area, involves taking some steps. It perhaps isn’t ideal for those who aren’t good on their feet.
There is an beautiful pitch and put area (greens a bit worn). Club use is free, but you have to buy/bring your own balls. It is largely on a cliff edge, so it isn’t too hard to knock them over the fence and lose them.
Evening entertainment is largely the shows in the theatre (and it really is a theatre). It is principally dance routines to backing tracks, with abridged versions of ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ being 2 of the 4 shows. Costumes, sets and choreography are of a surprisingly high level. Specialists produce the shows. The performers are the daytime workers, and they have to be commended for their versatility and energy. One evening per week is a casino, for pretend money.
The food was superb – the quality was what you’d expect a mainly French clientele to demand. If you love pastries and cakes and fresh French bread, then go to Club Med Da Balaia. There was no skimping on quality. Coffee and orange juice in the pool bar was made individually from an espresso machine, and from squeezed fruit, respectively.
I spoke to lots of French tourists who have been doing Club Med for years. Not one had a negative word to say about the food in the resort.
You get 3 main meals, morning and afternoon snacks, plus a pre-dinner aperitif.
I speak French well, which helped me to mix as a single traveller.
Normally I could spend the week barely speaking a word to another soul – which was getting a bit sad. At Club Med, with the range of activities (short free sports lessons, ‘tournaments’, exercise class, walks, etc.) and the atmosphere of camaraderie within the resort, I had loads of company, met some really nice and interesting people, was very active, and had a great time.
The one problem was not having enough time in the day to do everything.
Staff speak English to a greater and lesser extent, and try to do things in a bilingual way, but if you think you’ll not like French being the dominant language/culture, then it isn’t for you.
The staff were friendly and helpful. They live on site and eat with the guests. They often join guests at meal times or approach them in the bar and chat about their holidays. It wasn’t overpowering – you can keep yourself to yourself very easily at the resort. However, if you travel alone and want to mix, it is much easier here than elsewhere.
Though the workers are largely young, in this resort at least they aren’t too crazy. It is a family hotel.
Just one member of staff was unpleasant, and other guests picked up on it. Certain staff members were aware of her, and she should have been rooted out as it undermined their and the management’s excellent work. She was in a peripheral role, so happily most people wouldn’t actually have encountered her.
This was the best holiday I’ve had in years, and the only money I spent in a week was to tip the cleaner. There was no need for money. I wanted for nothing. By taking a Club Med package holiday I also had a later check-out time, baggage allowance and a meal on the plane.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.