Having read many of the reviews I was a bit nervous about my choice. There were so many people highlighting little grievances and, to top it all, I use a cane and walk with some difficulty. The town, beach, bars and restaurants are mostly downhill with the journey back necessitating a taxi in my case (6 euros). The climbing isn't restricted to the great outdoors: there are several flights of stairs within the apartments.
The breakfast is basic as others have commented but enough to set you up for the day. (If you insist on the Great British Breakfast it's only 10/15 minutes walk away. The only other negative I'd agree with is the lack of a kettle in my room to make a morning cup of coffee to accompany my obligatory cigarette on the balcony. Take a travel kettle.
All that said, after seriously considering two weeks in Bela Vila a bit of a risk before I booked, I stayed there for a very happy four weeks!
The staff? Probably the best group of people you could wish for in a tourist venue. Welcomed by Ray the barman from south London and a memorable character who was helpful throughout my stay with tips on local restaurants beaches etc, I was passed on to Susan who runs Vila Bela with Carlos. She thoughtfully placed me in the ideal room (at the front and with a balcony and only a short flight of steps below the wonderful rooftop pool). The twin-bedded room was freshly decorated, sparely furnished but very comfortable. The shower/bath and toilet was clean and there was no shortage of hot water at any time of the day. Rooms and bathroom were cleaned daily by the wonderful Manuela. She had no English and I don't speak any Portuguese but her good nature was infectious.
Dimas, a Ukranian who had lived in Portugal for 13 years, then took me through the operation of the blinds etc He, like Ray, was a laugh a minute and seemed to be the jack of all trades even spelling Ray and George in the bar below the apartments.
The other guests were mostly from the UK and were a good mix: Scousers, Geordies, Brummies, a few Jocks like myself and a wonderful Welsh couple who were on their ninth stay at Vila Bela. The majority were in their 40s, 50s and 60s though there were some young people too.
There were too many highlights to mention. The traditional Portuguese restaurant (left and up the hill at the roundabout) and the Sunday BBQ at Bar L'Arte (400m to the right past the large supermarket) stand out nearby. The three restaurants on the cliff near the elevator to the beach are all good value.
Despite my disability I had a great time at Bela Vila. The people both staff and guests were the stars. I booked another two weeks. And I'll be back.
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- Also Known As:
- Pension Vila Bela Hotel Albufeira
- Vila Bela Albufeira
- Hotel Vila Bela
- Pension Vila Bela Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve