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“Perfect if you like French all-in ressorts” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Club Med Da Balaia

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Club Med Da Balaia
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Praia Maria Luisa 8200-854 | Albufeira - province de Faro, Albufeira 8200-925, Portugal   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #34 of 162 Hotels in Albufeira
GreenLeadersSilver level
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Perfect if you like French all-in ressorts”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

Because we were with a big group with limited time (mid week) and energy (we all work full-time and have 37 children between us! but left them at home...) we opted for an all-in trip this year for our annual get together (this year to celebrate 25 years!). Normally not our thing but if it is yours, this place has it all. Very good beach, very good sports - golf paradise around the corner. Please note that if you wish to do golf every day: better to book a golf package as I have never paid this much for a round of 18 holes (EUR 170 plus clubs hire plus buggy) even though it was also the most stunning one and very much worth it. Near the hotel is a par-3 course, really tough! and the tournement fun (but who won?).

We were with 16 girls and there was something for everyone to do whether spa or sports or laziness. No complaints on the rooms either, on the contrary, except one because of noise and it was changed without ado or cost.

Not so good was that when we did things in small groups or ordered lobster as an extra in the dining restaurant, or even used the hotel shops; one of us would be billed and we had to pay this in advance (via a clubmed card [why?]) than sort it between us without receiving a detailed invoice. Annoying time-wise (we did not leave and thus check-out at the same times) and some of us live in GBP- or Kronen-land (so no Euro's to swap ...). WiFi for a week cost €20 (can be shared with 4), would expect this in the all-in in 2013 and the connection more stable/outside.

Again the entertainment not our thing, especially because of the dubbing in French (aqua sport - why in French?). Even the lovely cleaners would greet with 'Bonjour' rather than 'Bon Dia'. Personally I didn't like that (especially as there was a good mix of ages - few children and very well-behaved - and nationalities), I would go to France not Portugal for that!
I prefer to go to an authentic little local restaurant rather than buffet twice a day when holidaying, and to be fair this is possible.

Transfers (we came from different countries at different times), food (buffet), bars were all 10/10. In fact, we had to slow down on intake, there was just too much to choose from! Also very pleasant was the fact that when we asked the very friendly maitre tables were reserved for us as a group, so no stress and very good times to catch up.

I have given 3 stars for service because I found the service from ClubMed Holland not as expected. No response of pre-booking golf and quite a few problems with names (extra payment) and transfer arrangement. Our account manager was on holiday the week before and did not appear to have a stand-in.
The reception and staff in Faro was very polite and helpful.

Location/weather: The red coast line was very very beautiful with a great walk along it and the weather so good that we could swim (which I normally don't do in Europe!). The week before us (i.e. 1week of October) was the sole week this year with rain.

So I have tried to give some insight that I would find useful myself but I had a great time in De Balaia and can recommend it.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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1,137 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

I visited club med recently with my 2 sisters which I enjoyed immensely. We arrived at 10am and our rooms were ready which was great. It was my first time at a club med so I very much enjoyed all that it had to offer. While here I played tennis and golf, I enjoyed the lessons in both and met some very nice people as well.

The food was good and lots of it!!, the great weather was a help.

If i was to anything negative I wasnt impressed with the 20e charge for internet.

I definately would do a club med again and it offers lots to do

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

Club med rooms aren't luxurious, they are simple but purposeful, with great beds, cupboard space and a good shower. The rooms at De Balaia had extra touches, coordinated decor, and cleanliness was exceptional. The resort has a retro 70s feel which is very current. However they've tried to update it with a few interior alterations. The setting is exceptional, a public beach but the resort is removed from the beach as it sits on a cliff, great security. There is a good green space throughout the village, the gardens are beautiful and the walk to the tennis area, footy and basket ball area is very pretty. There is a crazy golf area which is a bit dated but heh still lots of fun and because its on the top of a cliff looking out to the Atlantic....it's a perfect setting.
The restaurant is very up to date and the food is varied and very good. The restaurant staff aren't bossy and allow you to choose where you sit. Quite often at club med the restaurant staff order you to sit in a certain seat. This didn't happen at this village. This is sort of service is essential.
The range of activities were excellent. The activities around the pool were particularly creative. Reminded me of our stays at club med Cherating, where the pool activities were central to our day.
The GOs were particularly excellent at this resort they created a great ambiance throughout the whole day and evening, we really felt special. Very nice when they remember your name. Just got back from Club med Martinique Les Boucaniers and after one week not one GO knew I was even English, bonjour is all I heard when ever greeted. In contrast the Balaia GOs and bar staff knew my name and said hello Karen whenever they saw me.
The morning walks and the pétanque tournaments were especially social with other GMs thanks to the skill of the GO in charge.
I'd definitely do Balaia again, the transfer from the airport was short. However next May we plan to go to Greece purely because the weather might be warmer.
Would give this resort 8 out of ten.....

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danbury, UK
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2013 via mobile

Having visited club med in Turkey last year for a tennis holiday we we're expecting the same standard this year. Unfortunately the only part of the holiday that came close was the food.

The rooms were tired, the bathroom taps were loose and tiles were cracked, the air con was useless and we had problems with our safe not working properly. We had to pay for wifi but couldn't then get it in the room and even in the hotel it was hit and miss, we eventually got our money back but only after half an hours discussion with their tec adviser who spoke very little English.

Unfortunately it rained on our first two days so we were unable to play tennis, but even when the rain stopped, the clay courts were still unusable and it was impossible to clear the puddles off the slippery hard courts. When we did play the courts were not in very good condition but we had fun with the tennis coach who was lovely an extremely patient especially as he was on his own for all the group lessons.

We also found that as the resort was predominantly French, that even though some of the French tourists were extremely rude to both ourselves and the staff, that they received much more attentive treatment.

We will definitely not be returning to this resort!

Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marlow, UK
Level Contributor
34 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

We spent 5 nights at this facility because it was the conference hotel. One tends to feel sad to return home but after staying here we couldn't wait to get back home. The poor experience started with unhelpful reception staff. The room was abysmal and over looked a concrete block. The hotel itself may have been very modern In the 60's but was well past its prime with no attempts to modernise it. The airconditioning which is turned of in October regardless of the temperature was at least 25 yrs old( made in Western Germany ). The food was meant to be the saving grace but after a couple of days do being subject to buffets, queues and canteen style atmosphere we were quite fed up. Anything that tastes half decent runs out quickly and is not replenished and the restaurants close at 21.30. The bar was tacky and under staffed and the quality of the alcohol was poor.
Would we go back ----- never again! We have been all over the carribean in all inclusive resorts and that's where we shall continue to head in the future

  • Stayed October 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2013

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.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

This was our second trip to La Balaia, having visited 4 years ago. We had originally booked to go to Opio in France but despite booking in early January our booking was cancelled by Club Med in May due to a corporate booking they accepted. As usual, the travel arrangements were well organised and worked like clockwork. The staff were welcoming and friendly and ensured that everyone had a good time. Whilst the food was good, we have noticed during our latest trips that the choice and "luxury" seem to be a little less, but still better than a nearby competitive chain (which shall remain nameless). It's only mentioned because during our last visit, the food was amazing. The hotel offers something for everyone no matter how energetic or chilled you wish to be. Lots of activities on offer but plenty of little quiet spots too to grab a quiet half hour. The small library of books left by departing guests is a nice touch, especially when the weather lets you down. If there was one small criticism to find, it would be that perhaps guests with young children (say, under 5) be encouraged to dine in the designated children's areas rather than the main dining areas. Alternatively a child free dining zone might be welcomed by some guests. All in all a nice relaxing week and we would have no hesitation in returning to this friendly resort.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Med Da Balaia

Address: Praia Maria Luisa 8200-854 | Albufeira - province de Faro, Albufeira 8200-925, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Albufeira
#11 Family Hotel in Albufeira
#26 Luxury Hotel in Albufeira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Med Da Balaia 4*
Number of rooms: 372
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Da Balaia stands on an ochre cliff in southern Portugal, overlooking a magnificent white sand beach. The Resort allies sports and well-being in an outstanding setting. It's a world to unwind in, perfumed by the woody scents of parasol pines, olive trees and eucalyptus. Comfort and cosiness are to be found everywhere, even in the reception area where marble floors and deep red walls set the tone. This is a Club Med Resort where families, golfers and Spa enthusiasts live together in harmony. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Med Da Balaia Hotel Albufeira
Da Balaia Club Med
Club Med Albufeira
Albufeira Club Med
Club Med Da Balaia Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve

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