We booked a week at the Porto Do Mar hotel on the basis of the excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. Perhaps, therefore, our expectations were too high, but certainly if you're considering staying at this hotel, there are some points not mentioned in the other reviews that are worth consideration.
I'll start with the bad as these points haven't really been covered in any of the other reviews.
In our opinion, the hotel certainly is not up to a true 3* standard.
The Bedrooms are dated and very tired. Ours had broken and missing electrical fittings, a rusty minibar and safe, cracked bathroom tiles with grey grout. Curtains were stained and towels were threadbare.
A minor point, but no shampoo's or hairdryer were provided in the bathroom.
On checking into our room, we found an army of ants in the bathroom. Tired and weary we said nothing until the next day when the bathroom could only be described as "infested". Our thomson rep didn't seem too surprised by this and talking to other guests, most had a similar story to tell. By the 4th day, the hotel had managed to rid most of the insects - but only after they'd migrated into our suitcases and still an off-putting start to the holiday.
Although a selection of alcoholic drinks are available from the pool-side cafeteria, the hotel has no bar.
We made the mistake of booking the half-board option. This is definitely not worth taking since the hotel offers only a very basic evening menu. There's no vegetarian option, and realistically only 1 chicken, 1 beef, 1 fish and 1 shrimp option. None are served with vegetables which feature no-where on the menu. Fine for one or two nights maybe, but it's not brazilian food. Even if you're not on half-board, then the restaurant is way over-priced. A standard chicken dish comprising grilled chicken, chips and rice was on the menu at 35 Reals (£10). Compared to the local Tabua De Carne restaurant (walking distance from the hotel) offering a wide selection of meats all with a smorgasboard of vegetables and side dishes for around 17 Reals (£5) per person.
Our final grumble with the hotel was it's location. A pleasant beach can be reached in a 15 minute walk, but the local beaches are littered with debris and junk. There is only 1 restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. Ponte Negra or Natal town centres can be reached by local bus cheaply. However, the service is infrequent and not for the faint hearted! A taxi to the town center came in at around £8 each way. Could certainly add up.
All that said, we still had a wonderful holiday in Natal. The weather was fantastic and the hotel does have some redeeming features, namely:
The views from both the rooms and the common parts are amazing. The hotel is right on the beach. The pool at the hotel is fantastic - lovely and warm (but why was the water never clear?).
The hotel is immacutely maintained on the outside, with pleasant and well cared for gardens. The maids made an excellent job cleaning the rooms and there was always a brigade of staff cleaning the common parts each morning.
The air con in the room was much needed and worked perfectly.
To summarise, I'd have preferred a more central location. On a lazy holiday, I like to enjoy a good meal and a relaxing drink at the hotel on the days that venturing into town in the heat seems all too much - certainly not an option at the Porto Do Mar. I'd recommend paying slightly more and trying elsewhere in Natal.. If you book the Porto Do Mar, expect a 2* and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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- Also Known As:
- Porto Do Mar Natal, Brazil