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“Lovely hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel

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Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Sesmarias, Albufeira 8200-613, Portugal   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sesmarias
York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Lovely hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013 via mobile

Quiet location, only found a small, (expensive) mini-market, Chinese restaurant, English restaurant and two Portuguese restaurants (both of these on the two close beaches) within walking distance otherwise it's all villas/apartments and a few hotels.
Rooms are located three different ways off reception and it's quite difficult at first to find your way around - would actually suggest that a map is given to all new arrivals. Our 'garden' room was on the 4th floor and we could actually just see the sea over the palm trees outside. It feels very private, from our balcony we were not bothered by any other persons despite the hotel being fully booked (according to reception). Rooms are spacious, painted in various shades of brown, with tv, kettle (tea bags only, no coffee or milk provided), fridge/minibar, safe, large rain shower room (door didn't fit so flooded outside after using), separate toilet and obligatory bidet. Basin was unusually situated and not very well lit. Lots of hanging space and drawers. Our king-sized bed was a foam mattress and extremely comfortable as were the pillows. Beds and towels seemed to be changed everyday. You are also given white pool towels, new ones from spa reception whenever you need. Air-con worked very well whilst we were there.
Restaurant - we booked online with the hotel and had a good deal on half-board. Breakfast always had mountains of fresh fruit, pastries, cheese and ham, bread, which you toasted yourself, teapots for English (and other tea), fried eggs, (nasty) little pink sausages, 'bacon', hash browns, baked beans (sometimes), scrambled eggs (bit watery looking - I didn't taste this), fried peppers, mushrooms and courgettes, omelettes (made by Mr Misery). There was also fresh orange juice plus 3 other juices and cereals. How could anyone be disappointed with this? Evening meal was always a themed buffet. There were about 3 salads plus normal salad to start and 2-soups, about 6 main dishes plus vegetables, plenty for fussy children ie fish fingers, pizza, plain chicken. About 5-6 desserts and a fresh fruit salad every night. We were there 5-nights and didn't see any chips though we were served potato wedges on one occasion. The buffet food was ok, not stunning but not so bad that we hunted for somewhere else. Only 1 cat seen at mealtimes.
Arabian Sea bar - played chill out music, dj on Saturday night, live band Wednesday night. Lovely relaxed atmosphere but THE most uncomfortable seats ever. Reasonable prices - 7€ for cocktails. We happened upn a special offer which flashed up on the website at booking - buy 1 drink get the 2nd free. What they didn't tell you was you had to ask for a voucher from reception and you were only allowed one drink per stay. Not quite the good offer it at first seemed.
Pool area - 3 different size and depth of pools: All circular. We stayed during school holiday period and although there was a lot of bagging sun beds with towels we could still usually get 3-beds together by half ten, though not with an umbrella, these were at a premium. The pools were never too crowded that you couldn't swim and were not overtaken with kids. About half the people had children the others were all couples. There seemed to be about 50% Portuguese, maybe more and the rest were all mixed nationalities, a few Russian/eastern Europe, French-speaking and English. A lot of people smoked - spoilt our enjoyment when we ended up next to them and made us "fume"! when they put their fag ends out on the floor. there were no ashtrays on the tables but they only had to get up and ask for one. There was poolside waiter service which was prompt when we used it.
Beach - Sao Rafael beach is reached by an electronic gate, operated using your keycard (it failed most of he time we were there) and down about 80 good quality, wooden steps. The beach is not very big and people were packed like sardines when we went - plus usual fag-ends everywhere. It was lifeguard patrolled and had a bar/restaurant facility.. Consequently we stayed around the pool. There was another smaller beach if you went a little trek the opposite way down about ten steps and turned left. Looked lovely, not as crowded as Sao Rafael, also had a lifeguard present and a bar/restaurant
Spa and gym - didn't use either but looked lovely.
A la Carte restaurant - didn't try it, partly because we didn't find it for 3-days.
Free shuttle bus 3x a day, morning, lunch and afternoon, otherwise about 8€ for a taxi. Went once, not our taste.

Conclusion - is this 5-star, well no, not if you're comparing it with the likes of The Savoy, Grosvenor etc but if you look at your usual offer of Mediterranean holiday hotels and the 'star' ratings then it's a very good 4* and that's what we went expecting and we were not disappointed. Would go again and would try get a proper seaview room.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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610 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (206)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cheshire,England
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

Excellent location. We loved the huge gardens and abundant sun beds that allowed us to sunbathe without having to listen to other people's conversations all the time. Rooftop bar is a great place to start your evening with a cocktail or two and restaurant food was good.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

Close to the Sao Rafael beach and Albufeira old town (10 min by car), nice and friendly staff, big rooms but be aware that to use the indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi you need to bring your pool cap or pay 5 euros to buy one!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

Turned up and it looked 5 star
Staff were ok but needed more smiles and speaking .
What I want to say is the restaurant was trying to hard
It needed to slow down on to many flavors on the plate.
And some descriptions were not carried out good food but could be a lot better for the price,
Will give it another try next time

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013 via mobile

My partner and I have just returned after staying here for a week. It was my 1st time in the algarve. 1st impressions of the hotel were lovely. Nice welcome from reception, efficient with check In and in our room within 10 minutes. Our room was beautiful, this was 5 star. Shame that we didn't have a double bed or sea view though as I requested. Plasma tv, huge wet room with a rain drop shower and and best pillows!!! The buffet breakfast was a huge let down, they just didnt get it right! Don't get me wrong, a good selection of food, but it was poor, sloppy eggs, cooked ham, not bacon, tiny weird pink sausages, stale bread! The safest thing to eat if we could be bothered to attend was a croissant! The pools were lovely, not enough sun loungers though as always taken up by rude people throwing their towels on them for the whole day. The ones that were free were broken! No pool service which I would expect from a 5 star hotel. The staff we ok but not the best I have experienced. The beach that is at the hotel was stunning, a must with out a doubt beautiful! Just a short walk down some steps Situated at the hotel. The cocktails were lovely as was the chill out terrace bar. No atmosphere in the bars, terrible entertainment at night! Don't take kids here unless u are willing to go into town every night. 9 euros into the old town which I lovely and we had some lush sea food! Over all I would come back to albufuria any day, but maybe get a villa or stay some where else next time that is up to its 5 star rating! All they need to do is make a few changes that have been mentioned in so many reviews for this hotel and it would be up to its 5 stars!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Patra
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

We spend 4 days in hotel and we have made a very good opinion .The area is really relaxing and the beach beautiful.the staff was very polite and ready to help you.In breakfast you can find anything you want.You have many choices for dinner or drink your cokteil.Great swimming pool and gardens.We recomend this hotel for the people who enjoying beach and a quiet place to spend a few relaxing days.We had dinner only one night in the hotel i would say that the buffet is a little overpriced for what it is offer.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lytham St Anne's, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
252 reviews 252 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013 via mobile

I didn't stay here so can't comment on the hotel itself but the spa was wonderful. I had an anti-stress treatment and the masseuse was excellent. The facilities are clean and tasteful and the whole experience was very relaxing. Staff were brilliant throughout, responding to my booking email very quickly and explaining everything in perfect English. I'd definitely come here again if I'm ever in the area. Worth treating yourself!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel

Address: Sesmarias, Albufeira 8200-613, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira > Sesmarias
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Sesmarias
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 149
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel has a spectacular location overlooking the Atlantic sea, direct access to Sao Rafael Beach and only at a short drive to Albufeira centre. The interiors have contemporary design features with space and light throughout. The rooms are modern and have large balconies with views over the sea and gardens. The extensive gardens offer a beautiful mediterranean landscape with olive and palm trees. There is also a state-of-the-art SPA featuring leading wellness therapies and treatments. ... more   less 
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