We spent a week on an all inclusive basis, staying in one of the apartments. Our trip got off to not such a good start as our transfer (advertised as 50 mins) took 3 hours - nothing to do with the hotel but just a warning if you book via lowcost holidays, you may end up taking a tour round the whole resort!
We read a few reviews before booking this place and thought we'll just see what we get. We got a good deal price wise so we weren't expecting the Ritz! However, we were both pleasantly surprised and would happily return.
Upon arrival, reception staff were courteous and informative and a porter took our baggage and showed us to our apartment. We were in Block A on the lower ground floor. It was down quite a few steps in a corridor so anyone with walking difficulties would need to state this when booking to ensure a room in the hotel or a higher level. The rooms do need updating a bit but they are cleaned every day by the housekeepers along with providing fresh towels. The room was spacious and equipped with a fridge and a hot ring for boiling the kettle (how primitive I hear some say) The veranda was a good size with table, chairs and umbrella provided, set among some pretty flowered bushes and palm trees.
The bathroom was of adequate size with a shower over bath (yes it's a hand held shower, shock horror to some who have been there recently!!!) Admittedly the bath was slightly yellowed/stained from years of use but who has a bath when it's 30 degrees outside?? Plus, I saw the cleaner go at it and there's no doubt that it was clean despite being stained!
The all inc bar is situated downstairs away from the main bar (all inc guests can get 50% off at the main bar) I did find this a little odd at first as you're given wrist bands to wear but then we just shrugged it off, it's only a few more feet to get a drink! Yes the drinks are served in plastic glasses/cups - instead of asking why this was, the majority of other guests complained non stop about it - if you'd bothered to ask a simple question (and it's the same answer when you ask the local bars as well) a pint glass costs more than the pint itself. A typical beer is 2.50 and the glass to put it in is 3 euros. So the moaners of you out there, do the math..... Plus, when you've technically already paid for the drinks, why complain about them when they're on tap 12 hours a day? We certainly got our monies worth and had a great time with the bar staff. I've read many reviews since returning home to read that a lot of people found the bar staff rude and obnoxious especially towards the British.......is it any wonder they treat you "badly" when you speak to them in such a condescending way and like they were all idiots? We're classed a nation of moaners and by golly did that ring true throughout the week!!! Anyone that said please and thank you and bothered to smile at the bar staff got the same treatment back - we ended up having a good old laugh with them! They were excellent and very hard working as well as being multi lingual - a far cry from a lot of hospitality staff in England!!!!!!
The restaurant is situated on the top floor of the main hotel building. There is a lift albeit only the one but for those able to walk, it was only 2 flights of steps. The views from the restaurant are fantastic!! The food is a typical Mediterranean buffet trying to please all tastes, there is always bound to be something you don't like! The fresh salads were delicious, there was always a choice of fresh grilled fish or meat along with burgers, pizza and chips, pastas, soups, breads and a veggie option. The deserts were OK, nothing fancy but most nights we couldn't eat anymore if we tried! Breakfast again was a typical med style buffet trying to do an English breakfast which never really works but there was still plenty on offer. The sausages were actually frankfurters but who cares haha. Some mornings there was a bit of a que for toast or coffee but again, who cares, just be social able and have a chat with someone in the que! For those of you that took photos of the buffet to show others "how bad, how awful, how disgusting" it all was, what planet are you from exactly??? The food at the pool snack bar wasn't great but what exactly do you expect from a "snack" bar? The sandwiches were thick white bread with ham, cheese or both. Admittedly the fillings were minimal but in this economic climate, can you really blame the hotel for that? The pool area was perhaps a bit small considering the size of the complex but I think the complex has been added to after the pool was built however, when the beach is a stones throw away, why would you want to sit by the pool ALL day??? Especially when said "pool sitters" done nothing but complain there wasn't enough room, the snacks are awful, the beers crap! All week we had to put up with moaning guests and yes, they were all British (we are British also so there's no discrimination going on here) as many noticed, the bar/restaurant staff were a lot nicer to most of the French/German guests........
The hotel reps were lovely people although they really did have their work cut out for them as nobody was interested in playing games during the day whilst we were there. A few of us joined in with the aqua aerobics (felt good to work off some the great food!) All the reps were multi lingual and would help when they could. Nelson was the star and in our opinion, makes a very good rep. The evening entertainment was somewhat questionable but again, it's impossible to please everybody. The reps also play some silly games most nights which a lot of people found "terribly irritating" but you're not expected or forced to join in, we found it quite funny watching everyone else make fools of themselves!
There was a Brazillain dance troupe of 3 who were very good, a "Caberet" show which was 3 brit girls singing and dancing, a kind of tribute show to a few different divas and also river-dance, not great but not bad - a parrot show which we loved haha - a keyboard player who sang a mixture of English, Portuguese and Brazilian songs and an acoustic duo, flute and guitar who musically were very talented but we found them extremely boring after 2 or 3 songs! The last nights entertainment was karaoke which actually proved to be the most popular night! The host was lovely and also sang very well. Throughout the week, I sang with the keyboard player and did a turn on the karaoke!
All in all we found the place to be very acceptable. We've already looked at prices for next summer, doubt we'll be booking just yet as the flight prices are almost triple what we paid this year but the accommodation is the same price, just £300 all inc for a week in Aug or only £200 if we do the same week in October - bargain!! Fingers crossed the flights get cheaper!
The only thing that put any sort of downer on our holiday were the people that could do nothing but complain, constantly, as well as speak to the staff like they were idiots - we were actually ashamed to admit being British! We did meet a couple of nice people so thank you to them for being "normal", friendly and down to earth!
But most of all, thank you to all the staff at Monica Isabel for showing that you really do need to treat others as you expect to be treated - WELL DONE!!!
- Also Known As:
- Monica Isabel Hotel Albufeira
- Monica Isabel Hotel
- Monica Isabel Aparthotel Albufeira
- Monica Isabel Aparthotel Hotel Albufeira
- Monica Isabel Beach Club Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel includes Monica Isabel Beach Club 4 Stars (Aparthotel) and Monica Isabel Beach Club 3 Stars ( Tourist Apartments). It has a privileged location in Albufeira, on Albufeira beach and only 500 meters from “Avenida Sá Carneiro “a popular avenue (better known as The Strip to foreign visitors) which is filled with cafes, bars, restaurants and a wide variety of shops. The Albufeira Resort is central to traditional shopping areas, restaurants and bars from throughout the region and only 1.5 km from the Historic and Cultural Centre of Albufeira, the Mónica Isabel Beach Club offers a variety of services that allow your holiday or short week-end break to be unforgettable. ... more less
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