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“Best holiday we can remember” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sensimar Falesia Atlantic

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Sensimar Falesia Atlantic
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Quinta do Milharo | Olhos d'Agua, Albufeira 08200, Portugal (Formerly Hotel Palace Algarve)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 163 Hotels in Albufeira
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Manchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Best holiday we can remember”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

This hotel exceeded our expectations in every respect. It is an oasis in so many levels. The gardens are glorious, the pool is wonderful and the staff....... Well they were just astonishing. Food great. The gourmet restaurant is under used and we cannot imagine why as it is so good.
If we tried really hard to find fault it might be the evening entertainment which was a little odd and probably did not add much.
Overall, a 9/10 and we have not yet got over the shock of no longer being there. If we could we would go back today.

Room Tip: If needs be pay a bit more and get a view of the sea and avoid some if the ground floor garden rooms...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,033 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    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 (284)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

Well its a Riu. Good value, great customer service…..but this one wasn’t as good as the others.

Staff were friendly but no personal service or recognition unless you have been going there for years I think. Every greeting was as if it was the first time although I seen some of the staff 5 or more days in a row, especially by the pool. It was a bit surprising because at another Riu, there was a more personable approach. No big deal though.

In terms of location, the hotel is between Albufeira and Vilamoura There is not much to do in Olhos de Agua when compared to the neighboring towns. You do have restaurants and pubs...but it isn't as exciting as Vilamoura which has more variety and even bike rental. Olhos de Agua does have nice beaches and views!

Pool areas are nice and relaxing. Indoor and outdoor pools.
Small fitness centre.

There are several mini markets for essentials and gift shops nearby about 15 mins walk. There is a larger supermarket close but a longer walk of up to 30 mins. Prices everywhere seemed very cheap.

You can get to the nearby bus stations in about a 5-10 minutes steep hill walk. Allow yourself time for the walk as the buses come sometimes early, sometimes a little later but on time mostly. The buses are nice air con coaches. At the weekend the buses run less frequent and as a result fill up. You may have to stand on your journey or miss the bus completely. Better to go during the week than weekends if you can.

The hotel room was dated but spotless. No musty stench of mildew anywhere in the room. Housekeeping was immaculate. In the room is your standard non flat screen TV for entertainment with BBC and Sky for English and a host of German and Portuguese channels.
Ceiling fan and air con in the room, noisy as expected. Fridge in the room to stock up on water and snacks. No iron in the room although I suppose you could ask for one.

Rooms 2036 -2040 or so are above the entertainment stage. So you will hear the music into the night, 11pm or so.

I wasn't impressed with the food at this Riu location. I have had the pleasure of staying at three different Riu hotels, two in Europe and one in Mexico and the food at this location came in third. It wasn't what I would consider 'bad' but the quality of the items wasn't as good as in Spain or Mexico. Perhaps this is one of the differences between 4 star and 5 star quality? I had a satisfactory dinner every night however it was nothing too special. The Portuguese Peri-Peri chicken was a real letdown. It was like boiled chicken (not grilled) with barely a hint of spice. I expected authentic style. Veggies were overcooked (mushy) or covered in oil. Paella was slimy. Fish selection was really good. Breakfast, pretty standard. Bread rolls are not the best and I never knew bacon could have bits of bone in it. The salad bar was consistently good though. The menu choices offered a lot of variety. Try the cheeses first at the cheese station before you commit to filling your plate, some were sour and crumbly some days. The deserts get good scores for presentation but they were a bit boring mostly cremes and mousses. The fruit was OK...pineapple, melon and watermelon were the usual most days. Two bottles of water at dinner was € 4.20.

The WiFi in the hotel is awful but this seems to be the standard as most Riu Hotel resorts. It isn't completely free at this location. 90 mins a day per device is free and painfully slow, you won't get much done. You'll get your emails and messages but you will not be able to browse sites much and you might be lucky to download your podcasts and newspapers. I am not a social media person but I do need WiFi for checking my financial accounts, news and planning days out. I didn't bother to ask about the costs beyond the 90 mins. Not worth bringing a laptop in my opinion, just a tablet or phone. WiFi is only available in the lobby and patio (barely!) areas. You can get faster WiFi at cafes however you will of course have to purchase something. I'm on Three UK and tried the Europass for £5, it was also very slow around the region, not fast enough to browse most sites without disruption. Not worth it. Do your downloading before you arrive if possible.

There is a small beach (when high tide) area nearby. You have to walk 2 mins from the entrance of the hotel then down about 300 wooden stairs. There are seated areas along the way in case you are tired but it is really a beautiful site of the ocean as you walk. When the tide is low, 10am or so, you can walk from the small beach to the larger beaches along the rocks. It is very nice.

I strongly wouldn't recommend this hotel if you have young children and are not part of a large family group. I think its more of a couples hotel than a family hotel. There is not much for children especially after the beach or pool and you'll have to keep them entertained. For adults, after dinner there is drinks and piano entertainment. For children….not much. A pool table and a ping pong table. I saw plenty of bored teens dying for internet access and others just sitting about by the pool. That isn't what children should be doing on holiday. Probably better to stay at the other Riu across the road, all inclusive across the way which seemed to have more children, teens and more pool music and activities. There was always children laughing and enjoying themselves at the other Riu which is larger and of course maybe not as relaxing. Depends on what you want from a holiday with your children.

I thought the hotel was acceptable for the price and service however I wouldn't stay again (it's closing anyway I've heard). I would stay in Vilamoura next time. There is much more to see and do and the marina area is lovely.

Room Tip: Rooms 2036 -2040 or so are above the entertainment stage. So you will hear the music into the night...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

From arriving at the hotel to leaving couldn't fault it. From bar staff to the hotel cleaners they were all friendly and couldn't help you enough. Alex the Thomsons rep was excellent with all the information she gave us nothing was to much trouble. This was our first time at a Riu Hotel and can't wait to try another

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Just back from 2 week stay and was so impressed by the level of service provided by all staff. It was our first time with Riu and would certainly recommend this, although our 19 year old daughter came with us and was not for her, we thought that there would be an entertainment team but there is nothing. Certainly a great destination for more mature couples, but not families with teenagers. Shame that Riu are not continuing with the lease, otherwise we may well have returned, like many other couples had. We had always used all inclusive hotels in the past and this was our first time half board, the food was great and plenty of choice, fish dishes were superb. Drinks in the hotel were rather costly (€15 for G&T) but selection of bars and restaurants close by, within walking distance. Evening entertainment was lame, although Elvis night worth staying for, many guests have commented that entertainment needs improving. However didn't really detract from our holiday too much, we either walked into Olhos D'Agua, or got taxi to Albufeira or Vilamoura. Be warned, taxis do not come immediately and can take up to an hour in peak season. The hotel reception ring through to order you one, but it is an automated service so they give you 4 digit code for when your taxi eventually arrives. Mosquitos love me wherever we go and I was delighted to find that there are no Mosquitos here! In fact I had stopped wearing any repellant within a couple of days, and no bites at all. Only brought one cardigan as was expecting the weather to be warm and balmy in the evenings, it was not, it was breezy and needed an extra layer. Pool area is rather small and found that people were reserving sun beds earlier in our 2nd week, as the hotel got rather busier. Some people commented pool was too cold, but fine for us. Weather was getting hotter as we were leaving so I expect pool will be like a bath in August! Travelled with Thomsons who rate the hotel as 5 star, have used many 5 star hotels and would only rate this as 4 star, which is the official Riu rating. Water is not provided with your evening meal, you have to pay for it, air conditioning in bedrooms is poor, no tea or coffee facilities in room. However as said before, service was certainly 5 star, they really do everything with a smile. We requested a quiet room and were delighted to receive a room which had a sea view, room 2052. Great hotel for a relaxing break.

Room Tip: Room 2052 quiet but has a sea view without charge!
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

There was nothing to complain about in the hotel. The room was lovely and the bathroom very nice ( to be honest we didn't even switch on the TV so no comment on that). The staff were always very friendly and helpful. Food was excellent with lots of choice and drinks reasonably priced.It was quite a long walk to the beach down the steps but then you could walk around the bays to the village and walk back from there.

Room Tip: We asked for a room on the top floor as we don't like people walking over our heads, but to our...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

Check-in and room - We were welcomed at check-in with a glass of champagne - a good start. We had to wait a while for our room to be ready but when we got there, the room was spacious with large twin beds and a bathroom with efficient shower over the bath, and a separate foot-washer aka a bidet. We were lucky enough to get a room where you get the sun late into the day, although it did mean that it overlooked a side-street with only a distant partial view of the sea.
There aren't many places in the grounds of the hotel where you can actually get much of a view of the sea and beach, which was a bit disappointing. Maybe the views are better on the higher floors of the hotel?
Food was superb, especially the breakfasts. Loads of fresh fruit, juices, smoothies, yoghurts, pancakes and cooked breakfast choices too. Dinner good too, with loads of choices although there was some queuing. Always puzzles me how much time it takes for people to put food onto their plates from the buffet. Stop pretending - we are all a bit greedy when the food looks so good, and putting it onto your plate slowly doesn't fool anyone into thinking you are less greedy!
Ice-cream parlour / pool bar - service a bit slow, but the delicious ice-cream with strawberries and banana was great for me as a midday snack. We did eat at the lunchtime snack bar one day too, which was good, although limited choice at reasonable prices.
Bars - good choice of drinks, although service was a bit slow at times.
Staff are lovely - always friendly, polite and professional. Manager Juan was seen about the hotel a lot, occasionally helping out in the restaurant - he is certainly adept at dishing out champagne!
Pool area and gardens - gardens are beautiful, and well worth a walk around, so don't miss the chapel, the herb garden and the zen features too. We never had any problems finding a sunbed, although it was busier around the pool so we generally took our sunbeds into the garden areas.
Beaches - one down the wooden steps, although we didn't go to this one as no facilities there. 15 mins to walk to Falesia beach - beach is lovely with a couple of restaurants. My favourite beach was the village beach, although this is about 20 mins to walk from hotel, as there is no short-cut so you have to walk all the way around the Riu Guarana hotel.
As others have said on here, it would be better if steps could be built down from the side of the hotel as it would knock 10 mins extra walking time down to the village and beach.
Evening entertainment at the hotel was generally not very exciting. And for me and my friend this was the main downside of this hotel, particularly as it was such a drag of a walk to get into the village, and even once you got there, there really wasn't too much going on.
We were at the hotel for a week, and so one afternoon/evening we took a taxi into Albufeira (approx. 12 euros each way) which was much more fun. Another aft/evening we, took the bus to Vilamoura (3.25 euros), had a lovely meal and fun night out there and then got a taxi back for approx. 16 euros.
One of the highlights of our holiday was the LazyDaze cruise arranged by Thomson. We were lucky enough to have Cory as our hostess on the boat for the day - what a character - an amazing lady, with an unforgettable cackle! - the day as a whole was brilliant, with a cruise, cave visit and then BBQ on a sandy cove. In fact, all the crew involved on the boat trip were amazing. Alex the Thomson rep was brilliant and took us on a walking tour the day after we arrived to show us the routes to take to the beaches as well as some short cuts.
All in all, we had a brilliant week here, but were thankful that it was a very hot, sunny week as the location and lack of entertainment at the hotel wouldn't have been ideal for the sort of holiday we enjoy.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

To start we flew with Norwegian airways? Thomson holiday? but what an experience , great check in , great flight crew , great flight times , got to Faro holiday started , chaos again only 2 reps for coach number info for 4 flights !! after a 50 min sit on the coach at the airport a good trip to hotel full coach all to the palace , great room , great pool and staff, great restaurant, really good food , fantastic bar and all and I mean all staff , overall a really good holiday not for less than good mobile people lots of hills around this are but worth while walking these getting to the little beach at Ohlos you pass so many good restaurants and bars to get to the fishermans beach which is clean and well looked after , 9th time of visiting this hotel would recommend to all , but why are RIU pulling out in October I hope Thomson keep it on their books whoever take's it over ,

Room Tip: floor 1 2 ask for 1001 to 1010/ 2002to 2010 all overlook gardens and sea 1011 2011 up to 1022 2022...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sensimar Falesia Atlantic

Address: Quinta do Milharo | Olhos d'Agua, Albufeira 08200, Portugal (Formerly Hotel Palace Algarve)
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Albufeira
#1 Family Hotel in Albufeira
#4 Spa Hotel in Albufeira
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Albufeira
#6 Luxury Hotel in Albufeira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Sensimar Falesia Atlantic 4*
Number of rooms: 349
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 4* Sensimar Falesia Atlantic Hotel is a holiday resort located on the seafront, in Albufeira, at the Algarve, Portugal, for adults only. It has 349 rooms surrounded by extensive gardens, 3 restaurants, 1 bar, 3 swimming pools, sauna and gym, WiFi access with a fee. With access to a small cove directly from the hotel. Located only a 15 minutes walk from Falesia Beach away, 10 minutes from Albufeira and 20 minutes from Faro International Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Algarve Albufeira
Sensimar Falesia Atlantic Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve

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