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“Simply the best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vila Gale Praia

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Vila Gale Praia
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Praia da Gale | Apartado 2204, Albufeira 8200-917, Portugal   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 162 Hotels in Albufeira
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Simply the best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

This is our second visit to the hotel and we stayed 20 days.
Firstly, the reception staff of Ricardo, Sofia and Anna could not do enough to help and are genuinely nice people.
The restaurant staff Philipe, Katrina, Nadia and the two Pedros were fantastic and could not do more to help and make the holiday happy for the customer.
To be honest we couldn't find anything we didn't like. The local people are lovely and the maid service was unbelievable.
We got on with everyone and were made to feel more like one of the family.
This hotel is superb for a chill down with easy access to the beech and coastal towns and villages. Its a nice touch that air con and security safe and fridge are included and the excellent return euro to sterling is an added bonus.
We are now back in the rain and missing the people we met and the sunshine.

Room Tip: A pool view is a must
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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360 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (78)
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English first
UK
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

Although the hotel was a distance away from the main hive of activity in Aberfura it was an awesome hote. Beautiful and clean, quieter than normally used to but what a nice chilling place. The staff was wonderful, helpful and friendly and couldnt name just one as staff othe week they was all brilliant.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

This is another good(ish) review for a quiet, serene hotel, which we visited in September 2013. We chose it as we went to a heaving resort on our last holiday with plenty of families and children, and this time wanted something more toned down with less screaming and hollering. This was absolutely the opposite, and actually almost verged on being too quiet, we almost felt like we were only allowed to whisper around the pool. This was nice at times, especially when hung-over on the loungers. However, I managed to spend one joyous day gently floating around the pool in my rubber ring reading my book about the behaviour of dogs, before being told that the use of any floating accessory in the pool was forbidden at the hotel. The lady was very polite about it and had a good sense of humour, but it was at times like this which perhaps illustrated how maybe the rules here went a little too far. Maybe a simple ''no splashing'' rule would be better. P.S – The pool is freezing, even in boiling hot weather.

Despite the excellent reviews, which in some ways are warranted, we found a fair number of cons to the hotel also, which were disappointing as I had booked the holiday for us, so my life was under threat if I chose a bad place for us both. I stayed here with my girlfriend and requested a smoking, third-floor room with a sea-view if possible, and a double bed. I booked it a few months before arriving, and on the day we arrived at around 1pm, firstly, we were told it would be a 45-minute wait until our room was ready. The girl also said it wasn't a smoking room but smoking was allowed on the balcony, which was ok, and she then said she had managed to get us a third-floor room just as requested. I humbly thanked her, picturing the beautiful blue sea out into the distance from our balcony. What she didn't mention was that our third-floor room had no view, and that it was a twin-bed, resulting in us constantly having to keep pushing the beds back together as we began falling between them like a sinkhole. Snuggling became an irritation, and often we just huddled on one of the single mattresses. The DVD player was faulty, and no kettle in the room was also devastating for my partner.

On the upside, the beach nearby is a beautiful beach just a five minute walk away, with long stretches of pure golden sand and a nice atmosphere. There are a handful of places within walking distance, such as a supermarket and several restaurants, but a bus/cab is needed to get into any more denser areas. There is a decent shopping centre fairly nearby (Algarve Shopping) and it is 10 euros to get there via cab. We found the hotel very helpful with any arrangements for cabs or buses, so just ask staff at the reception for any help with this. Thank you to Ricardo and the girls on reception for their help and smiles. Ricardo was my girlfirend's favourite, with a very easy and friendly personality with good English.

Felipe was especially helpful when it came to any assistance. Despite being the restaurant manager, he went out of his way to help us with pretty much anything he could, aided by his extensive knowledge of the area. He was someone who seemed to take a lot of personal pride out of helping people, so he is a good person to find if you need anything.

We went half-board, and contrary to some previous opinions, we felt it was definitely the right decision. If we had to eat out every night then it would have been a considerably more expensive holiday than the extra we paid to go half-board, even if you don't plan on eating the meals every day. The evening menu was a bit limited but the food was of high quality and personally I was happy eating steaks most nights. We paid an extra £100 per person to go half-board for the ten days we were there, but if you didn't do this, then one small steak meal would have cost you 22 euros (around £18), and then you would have to add the starter and dessert if you wanted this also. In addition to this, a 33cl glass of coke (i.e, a can of coke) cost 3.30 euros (£2.77), which in my language, is a bad language. Go next door to the little newsagents to pay a normal fee for a soft drink.

The breakfasts could not be faulted, consisting of foods from the usual English fry-ups, along with cereals, breads and plenty of fruit. They even had an 11% volume bottle of sparkling wine on the breakfast table every morning. No doubt that will encourage any alcoholics weighing up this hotel. Most of the restaurant staff led by Felipe were lovely, with all of the women very warm and charismatic.

The gym is handy, but basic and small, with lat pulldown and chest press machines, along with a x-trainer, bike and treadmill. The maximum speed on the treadmill is 11kph. I don't get out of bed for 11kph. It also has a bench and dumbells which go up to 9kg.The spa facilities are much better, with a nice sauna, steam room and turkish bath / jacuzzi. It is all kept nice and clean and there was rarely anyone else in there, so good to relax in.

There are two tennis courts here also, which despite being very rarely used (we saw them used twice), unfortunately bring additional costs if you wish to use them. 10 euros to hire the courts for an hour, 5 euros (each) if you want to borrow a racquet, and even a further 2.5 euros to borrow some balls. Not impressed. But we did it. And I battered my girlfriend.

Continuing on the additional costs theme, Wifi at the hotel is free in public areas, such as the lounge. However, if you want to use Wifi in your room then it is an extra 5 euros per day, or 15 euros for the week. The internet was especially slow and very often liked to drop out as well, so if you planned on streaming anything such as a football match, be prepared for a fantastic evening of buffering.

The main reason we've dropped our review down to a 3-star rather than 4, is down to an incident with a member in the restaurant staff, and the subsequent failure to control him. Watch out for the baby-faced assassin going by the name of Pedro... upset him at your own peril. On our second night at the hotel, we wanted to eat as quickly as possible in order to get away to watch the Ukraine vs England World Cup qualifier. I had a bet on the match as well so especially wanted to get to the nearby pub (Planet Fusion) in time for the start of the action. The earliest they do dinner at the hotel is 7pm, so we booked for then, with kick-off being 7.45pm. The hotel is very small, with only 40 rooms, and we were the only ones booked into dinner for this time, with the dining room all to ourselves until 7.30pm that night when the next diners arrived.

We had tipped the perfectly pleasant and cheeky Pedro on the first night, but tonight we told him about the football match at 7.45pm and asked to order our starters, mains and desserts all together to save time, and for them to either be brought out all at once or just one by one as soon as they were ready. Pedro said that this wasn't possible and we had to order them one by one once we had finished each dish, but that he would try to be as quick as possible in bringing them out. We told him we would therefore skip the starters and just order the mains and desserts, to which he said that we should even wait until we have finished our main courses before ordering desserts. We took it on the chin, but ended up missing the first 20 minutes of the thrilling 0-0 draw that night.

The following day at dinner we were still a little irked about it, and so asked another waiter why we were not allowed to order in the way we had requested the previous night. Considering we had paid for it, we felt we had the right to ask for our food whenever we wanted it, especially as we were the only ones there. The other waiter said she had heard the discussion the previous night and didn't know why Pedro had said we couldn't, so we spoke to Felipe (restaurant manager), who again, said there was no reason why we couldn't have done this. Felipe apologised and said he would speak to Pedro about it and make up for it for the rest of our trip, to which we said ok but that Pedro had been very nice in general to us and we didn't want to make any sort of complaint or problem with him. We had even tipped Pedro also for the night of the football, just to be nice, before later realising that we shouldn’t really tip people when they don’t deserve it.

We don't know what Felipe then said to him but for the rest of our holiday, ‘’throw-a-paddy'’ Pedro sulked and moped whenever bringing food over to us, never mentioning what happened, and making a horribly hostile atmosphere. When smiling at him and saying hello, he would give a straight-faced hello back and ask bluntly what we wanted, and if I saw him smiling and he caught my eye, he would immediately stop smiling and look away. Every time he came over to serve us it was moody, short sharp one-word responses. I thought at one point he was going to spit his dummy in my face. On a serious note, it made every meal time very awkward as he was there for both mornings and evenings. We understand that he must have got a lecture from Felipe, but if he had spoken with us it would have been easy to clear the air, and if he couldn't get over what happened then he should have just stopped serving us altogether rather than carry on doing it like a brat and spoiling the atmosphere for our meals. For the first couple of days after it happened, we tried to ignore it and be normal with him, but after that there was no point. His sulking was relentless and we actually ended up skipping a few meals just to avoid us snapping and pelting him with bread rolls. Felipe was great and helpful, but we did feel a bit alone in this situation as we didn't want to make things even more awkward by putting in an official complaint, but no-one was keeping any sort of an eye on it. To be fair, there was probably not much Felipe could do, short of pulling down Pedro's nappy and slapping him across the chops with it.

Planet Fusion, as mentioned above, is an excellent pub a 5-10 minute walk away run by the local hero Constantine. 2 euros for a pint, good, reasonably priced food, plenty of live sports, a hand-grabber machine and a pool table. Constantine is a laid-back, friendly guy with a witty, dry sense of humour, so this was a nice place to go.

Overall, I think all the amazing reviews this hotel has received are simply down to the fact that it is so blissfully quiet and serene with no kids, in addition to some of the more helpful members of staff. If peace is all you want, it is highly recommendable, as long as you avoid killer Pedro. It feels like they are trying to make this hotel a very specifically classy one aimed at a certain market, and it succeeds to an extent. But in my opinion, with such high prices and strict rules, I would not therefore expect to have to pay for a number of extras, and would definitely expect simple things like a double-bed or not to be kept waiting for 45 minutes when arriving after a day of travelling, especially when a member of staff told us the hotel was in a quiet period. So this hotel is a little in no-man’s land with regards to whether it's a true higher class establishment or just trying to be one, and gives me the impression that it is more simply another hotel trying to squeeze as much money out of guests as possible, with not enough emphasis on ensuring great personal service. I even wrote to them a month ago regarding our stay and issues, and never received a reply.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oldham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013 via mobile

Had another fabulous 9 day R&R at the beautiful Gale Praia. Staff excellent especially Filipe and Catarina whom we have come to know over the years. Spotless and great breakfast choice. Get a car and visit the many great local bars, beach bars and restaurants, São Domingo's, Jompra, Solar Das Oliveras O,Girasol, and Arcadia Bar and the famous Cabanitas which never disappoint

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chichester, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

Over the years we have stayed many times and always enjoyed the ambience.
The staff selection process at this small 40 bedroom hotel is bang on as all the staff are excellent.
Hotel guests now have free access to the Spa and many treatments were reduced so they were good value for money.
The swimming pool needs to heated and the black sunbeds need replacing.
Free wifi needs to be provided in bedrooms only and not in the public areas.
We never expect the days of the turndown service with chocolates, the slippers, entertainment twice a week, and the Manager's welcome drinks party to return but the hotel thoroughly deserves the high ratings that it consistently receives.
You pay a premium to stay in the Gale' area - the three beach restaurants are all similarly priced and a little more expensive than the norm - in fact the Hotel's restaurant is now very competitively priced and the food very good.

Room Tip: It's worth booking a pool view room although all the rooms are furnished similarly.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

I spent a week at the hotel and had the most wonderful time, could not fault it at all. The staff were all fantastic, helpful, polite and very kind. I had recently had an accident and was using crutches to get around, and nothing was too much trouble. The bedroom and bathroom were beautiful, really comfortable and spacious, and spotlessly clean. The pool was lovely, with plenty of sunbeds, and spacious gardens surrounding it. I made use of the spa facilities, having a healing facial treatment and reflexology, which were just fabulous....the reflexology in particular, and the ladies there were excellent, I felt totally pampered. The Jacuzzi was good too, spacious and in a lovely setting. The food was all beautifully presented, the breakfast buffet was amazing! and the quality was excellent. All in all I cant wait to go back asap!

Room Tip: My room was on floor 1, which was brilliant for my reduced mobility as the restaurant, bar, spa and...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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Barking, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

Excellent hotel and facilities. Calm serene clean. Staff very helpful and friendly especially Katarina in the restaurant and gentlemen covering the reception desk. Spa facilities were excellent inc. The jacuzzi (big and spacious). Pool clean but not heated. Was nice to swim in however. Restaurant and room service excellent. I am a fussy customer but i found everyrhing to be on point other then the Wifi connection which kept signing out. Overall would go again. Ideal getaway. 7 minutes from old town in a taxi costs €12 would recomment Meet Bar (say hello to Frankie Ricardo and Ricardo really lovely bar men) go to Bank Bar has great dancers... overall had an amazing holiday would highly recommend.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Vila Gale Praia

Address: Praia da Gale | Apartado 2204, Albufeira 8200-917, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Albufeira
#3 Luxury Hotel in Albufeira
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Albufeira
#4 Romantic Hotel in Albufeira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Vila Gale Praia 4*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This adult's only hotel is located in a peaceful Gale district of the city, close to the like-named sandy beach. It is about 8 km to the city centre of Albufeira that offers countless shopping and entertainment venues and that can easily be reached by making use of the public bus service that departs from a stop located just 150 m from the hotel. Faro international airport is located some 50 km away. Completely renovated in 2004, this 3 storey hotel has a total of 40 double rooms. Guests have access to a vast pool and garden complex, a spacious foyer with lifts and a 24-hour reception desk, a games room, a TV room, a newspaper stand, several shops, a cosy bar and an air-conditioned a la carte restaurant with a separate non-smoking area. Room and laundry services as well as medical assistance are on offer and guests may make use of the parking facilities. The tastefully decorated rooms come equipped with a bathroom with hairdryer, a telephone, LCD TV with cable, a hi-fi stereo system, a kitchenette, a minibar/fridge, a double bed, carpeting, air conditioning, central heating, a hire safe, a sitting area and a balcony or terrace. In the outdoor area there is a swimming pool, a snack bar and a sun terrace with parasols and sun loungers laid out ready for use. It is also possible to make use Satsanga Spa with mega Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room/Turkish bath, fitness room, a massage service and beauty treatments. The nearest golf course is approximately 1 km away. Guests may select their breakfast from a wide buffet; lunch and dinner may be chosen from a menu although the evening meal may alternatively be taken a la carte. Guests have the opportunity to book a half board stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vila Gale Praia Hotel
Vila Gale Praia Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve

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