We stayed in a 2 bed apartment in As Cascatas and were generally impressed with the experience, from booking to checkout.
As Cascatas is managed separately from the on-site Hilton franchise but shares the same facilities and these are pretty good by any standards. The front desk at As Cascatas is much more personal than the busy Hilton reception however and they went out of their way to assist us with any request (usually taxi-related, but also an extended stay and late checkout). Also at 80m2 our apartment was huge, with a fantastically equipped modern kitchen (including full size oven, hob, microwave, big fridge, dishwasher and washing machine), 2 good bathrooms, 2 double bedrooms and separate living area. Flat screen TVs with English channels were everywhere except the bathrooms. I don't know why you would choose a Hilton room frankly, as early booking in As Cascatas means you get a massive apartment versus a small suite equivalent. As mentioned, facilities are shared, including restaurants; the poolside grill is good value and doubles as an a la carte in the evening, the neighbouring buffet venue is a tad expensive for what you get as far as dinner is concerned (rather tame themed nights) but excellent for breakfast. For a discounted €12 per adult (small kids free) the reknowned Hilton breakfast buffet is a bargain. The site also houses a rather formal hotel bar, 2 large outdoor pools, 1 "tranquil" pool for adults, 1 heated indoor kids pool, 24 hour gym and the spa. The pools were often a bit mobbed with kids, especially late afternoon (once they had warmed up!) but this made the atmosphere lively. The Owners' Bar in the As Cascatas area was open from 10am, closing 5ish which was a shame as others have written. The Kids' Club, Paradise Island, is big and offers a variety of climbing frames and activities. The zip-wires were our favourite. There was no charge for the facility if parents accompany their kids.
There are a few more noteworthy negatives. The location means you need transport to town or anywhere else for that matter. Walking would take 35-40 minutes to the marina. Taxis are cheap but unreliable when called out. Getting back from the marina is no issue assuming taxis are on stand but expect a wait if you're in the Old Village calling a pick-up. Not much the hotel or As Cascatas staff can do about that to be fair. Closer to home however, there was a bizarre morning ritual of queue-forming for the main pools to open, to get towels and, yes, to reserve sun-loungers. Staff did not enforce a no-reserve policy, nor a 30 minute turnaround rule for vacant (but seemingly reserved) loungers, leading to an often heated bunfight at 9am when the areas were formally opened. Scenes during our stay were sometimes worthy of a youtube posting. And before you ask, this is a very Brit/Irish dominated resort; we appear to have learned a lot from our friends on the continent. The pool areas are Hilton managed and the As Cascatas guests have to collect towels (albeit different colours) and grab a spot in the same way as anyone else. There were only just enough loungers versus guests during our stay and the place wasn't full, no doubt fueling the morning rush hour. Our only other gripe was the schlepp to the nearest supermarket. The hotel shop is of limited use and if you want to stock the fridge with water, wine, beer and food essentials then it's a 15 minute walk there and back. Not insurmountable but tougher when it's 30c in the shade. You should note there is no "welcome pack" of water, milk etc so you'll need to visit the shop at some stage.
The positives way outweigh the negatives for this place though. Recently we've been to Martinhal near Sagres and Monte da Quinta up the coast, both 5 star resorts, and this is a much better all-round experience. It helps that the town has a handful of very good restaurants of course (try Akvavit for lunch, O Marisco for dinner, both on the main marina). The personal touch afforded by the As Cascatas team is a stand-out. With a 5 year-old (and no car) we were a demanding bunch and they coped admirably. Given this and the facilities generally, top marks.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This 5-star Suite complex is located in Vilamoura, with the Largest and most Luxury Suites in Vilamoura, within a unique resort set in five hectares of gardens, featuring three onsite restaurants, bars, kids club, six pools, a semi-indoor pool, Golf simulator, fitness centre, tennis and occasional live entertainment. Enjoy all the homely comforts in your Suite while having access to the service and facilities provided by one of the world’s leading luxury international hotel chains. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- As Cascatas Golf Resort And Spa
- As Cascatas Golf Hotel Vilamoura
- As Cascatas Hotel
- As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa Vilamoura, Portugal - Algarve