Just returned from a lovely two week stay at Albufeira. Having worked in the travel industry for over 20 years and staying in 5* hotels throughout I was rather apprehensive of this 3* hotel....don't be! Why did I chose the Rocamar ? I was having a relaxing break with my 21 year old daughter and based on Tripadvisor reviews etc decided the location was more appropriate - perfect choice.
The location is quite simply - fantastic! Sea view rooms worth the extra although we paid more to the travel agency than we would have to the hotel itself for an upgrade.....The sea beneath is only a few steps away as well as the old town itself. Although ladies beware! - no high heals other than wedges! The whole area is similar to Rome with uneven cobbled, hilly paths. Although beautifully quaint not high heel friendly!
The rooms and hotel overall surpassed my expectations & I have stayed in far worse 4* hotels with Thomas Cook let me assure you! I have recommended to the hotel coffeee/tea making facilities in the rooms as well as a small fridge would be advantageous to customers comfort and apparently this is being implemented soon. The rooms were, in my opinion, superior to their 3* and tipped the maid for her hard work.
The spa was less than anticipated I'm afraid so don't expect a spa as such ladies. It's rather grubby designed in red & black with mouldy showers and not particularly clean carpets, tables etc. I had a discounted seaweed body scrub which was ok but went elsewhere for mani & pedi ( used to work in operating room as nurse ) The gym is within the spa and the hours are very restricted 10am - 1pm & 2pm - 5pm - I don't particularly want to exercise after breakfast & usually out and about in afternoons - disappointing! Perhaps worth mentioning the gym wasn't well ventilated and smaller than my bedroom cupboard! Needless to say we didn't use the gym! Oh well the location of the hotel was wonderful for beach walks, through the old town & right at the promenade a beautiful walk ( 20 mins ) to the fishing harbour and marina. Also the walk left along the promenade takes you to a 2nd square with escalators up the mountain ( sightseeing train stop ) and continue the promenade walk to a few lovely little cafes etc.
Food & beverage........3* I'm afraid, so don't hold your breath. I'm glad we opted for b&b however the local food wasn't much better, although more varied. It's my only disappointment about the algarve - I found the food overall rather poor and not particularly cheap. In saying that there is a lovely cafe at the end of the road toward the marina ( iguana ) the coffee is fab, the tea comes in a teapot with proper tea bags and lunch was delicious and very reasonable - I went almost every day! The terrace is to die for ( suspended above the sea with breathtaking views ). Shame it closed at 6pm during the winter. The beach basket, left of the hotel was also good.
Back to the hotel.......breakfast was adequate...don't expect much more...although the coffee machine was probably the worst coffee I have ever tasted...I went to the above ( iguana ) every morning for my fix! The staff are dire I'm afraid.....even after 2 weeks we were still greeted with a grunt of " room number " and that was it! It became a joke with the residents it was sooo bad service - what a shame. The overal staff attitude was rather abrupt and offhand and this needs to be addressed in order to create a more friendly, comfortable atmosphere. In saying that I felt in no way threatened travelling/residing alone with a 6ft blond daughter - a far cry from Egypt and Dubai. I really did feel secure in the hotel & area and certain staff warmed towards the end of our stay. We only dined once in the evening at the hotel - sufficient info! But hey, for €10 buffet lets be reasonable....it was ok. I hasten to add I had absolutely no tummy problems whatsoever during our stay which is more than I can say for some 5* hotels!
As far as hotel entertainment is concerned - go elsewhere! The poor chap did have us is stitches - for all the wrong reasons!
Location again - there's plenty of spaces opposite the hotel to park your rented car, but wouldn't recommend hotels car rental company as heard other residents got a much cheaper deal and cleaner car elsewhere - book prior to leaving! The roads are easy and infrastructure way beyond my expectations - if two females can do it - go on! Sagres & Lagos are lovely to do in 1 day ( walking shoes ) and Monchique is quite breathtaking in the mountains - go higher though to the viewpoint. Tavira is towards the Spanish border and such a quaint little village - the local patisserie on the square has amazing cakes - try the black one - looks awful - tastes devine.
Hope this info helps - would I go back to the Rocamar - yes!
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- Also Known As:
- Rocamar Hotel Albufeira
- Rocamar Hotels & Resorts Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve