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“Well located, basic apartments” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha

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Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha
3.0 of 5 Condominium   |   Sitio dos Castelos, Praia da Rocha, Portimao 8500-801 , Portugal   |  
Hotel amenities
London
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Well located, basic apartments”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2011

We were offered a free Cosmos package holiday (flights/transfer/apartment) by Tesco supermarket's clubcard point’s scheme and stayed here.
As such we had little choice in where we went but were encouraged by good reviews on tripadvisor.

True to form, after just over an hour’s minibus transfer we were met by Laura who was lovely and welcoming, showing us around the apartment.

Whilst spotlessly clean, this was very dated with old fashioned wooden furniture and minimum decor (the bright yellow net curtains gave it a rather odd colour too).
14” TV had one English channel (BBC World News).
The "balcony" if you could call it that was 1.5m x 1.5m square. This means that with the supplied table only one person at a time can sit on it! However looking at other apartments in the area this actually seems the common size.

Both the bathroom and kitchen appeared to have been renovated to a reasonable standard many years hence but are obviously maintained very well as in any other hotel/apartment they would have needed changing by now - the cleaning staff do such a good job they have extended the life of these apartments!

At first we felt a little disappointed by the apartment and joked about checking into a 4* hotel on the seafront! but kept reminding ourselves we hadn't paid for it! Whether this review would be different if we had saved up and paid for this holiday is a good question. Other guests we talked to were more than happy with the apartments and commented they were nicer than many others in town so maybe were just being snobs.

The pool area is basic but very nice. We only used the pool directly next Laura's reception office as no mention of another pool (with bar) was made so we had no idea it existed until mid way into our stay! which explained why we missed the Cosmos rep – as he would have been waiting at the other buildings pool.

The complex is a very short walk to the seafront which is lovely. Some of the best beaches in Europe in my opinion.
Portimao is around a 20-30 min walk in the other direction. This is the place to head for large supermarkets and great shopping. Just follow the main road (dual carriageway) inland.
As well as Portimao old town, getting the cheap local bus to the large Aqua Shopping mall is a must visit.
If you’d rather walk to Aqua Shopping we tried that as well and it takes around an hour but is a great way to see the town.

All in all I would recommend Castelos da Rocha as clean but dated basic apartments, recommend Praia da Rocha as a great beach resort and Portimao as a nice town. 7/10 overall!

Room Tip: rooms at the front seemed to have larger balcony and less noise from residential block at the rear.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
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129 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Derby
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2011

I chose these apartments after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor and checking out the location on Google Earth. I cannot believe that people rave about this place, it is the worst place I have stayed in my life and that is my honest opinion. There was three of us, myself and my two children, I paid £950 for this five night stay (inclusive of flights and transfers), but self catering only.

We arrived at Faro airport late at night and there were no reps there at all as promised by our travel agent, On the Beach. Myself and my two children had to find our transfers on our own which I found very difficult as I dont speak any Portugese. We were given very vague instructions from a lady at the airport in broken English as to where to find our transfer. We found ourselves outside in the dark (very windy) on a large carpark with numerous buses there. Not many of the buses had numbers on so I had to ask most of the drivers before we eventually found ours. The transfer took well over an hour as the bus dropped off most people before us.

Upon arriving at the apartments we were met by a very nice lady, very chatty and kind. She showed us to our apartment and told us where everything was, we found out her name was Laura. Even though our stay was not good I cannot fault this lady for helping us with various things, i.e. ordering taxis and trips for us.

It was so windy and wet on our first night that we hardly had any sleep with the sound of the rain lashing onto the building and lots of rattling sounds coming from outside, I felt like the roof or something was going to blow away. Anyway when I got up in the morning the wind had dropped and all was calm. I opened the balcony doors (which incidentally did not lock as the locks were broken) and looked outside. It was just as I had seen on Google Earth, with trees and bushes directly below the balcony so all seemed peaceful and nice. This was short lived though.

We spent the day walking around the resort which I can only describe as the Portugese equivalent to Blackpool, very tacky. I can't complain about the beach, this was clean and beautiful, the only good thing about the holiday really. Upon our return to the apartment there was a lot of noise from machines directly below our balcony. I looked outside and to my horror discovered diggers and men with chainsaws flattening the land around the apartments. The noise from two diggers, three chainsaws, men shouting and other machinery was unbearable. This continued for the duration of our visit, they started from eight in the morning, so no chance of a lie in, until dusk. There was no way you could sit out on the balcony due to this horrendous noise and strong smell of petrol and diesel from the mechanical equipment.

Now then, onto the evenings, this resort totally changed. It became very seedy with dodgy characters around the promenade. We were accosted on various ocassions by men trying to sell watches, cigarettes and god knows what else, we didnt hang around to ask. We were practically dragged into restuarants as well by staff especially at the Concorde Restuarant, you could not walk past without being chased by staff who tried to get you to eat there. As I was there on my own with my two children this is not what we wanted, we wanted to be left alone to eat where we chose to go. I can honestly say that at night this place did not feel safe.

The apartment itself was relatively clean apart from the black mould in the bathroom especially on the inside of the shower curtain. The apartment was quite dated though, 80's style furniture and very basic. Very cold in the evenings as no heating here. The beds were reasonably comfortable but the sofa was as hard as a brick, I hurt my back just sitting on it. As previously mentioned the balcony doors did not lock so this was a bit of a worry. The pool was disgusting (see pics). Lots of debris floating about and a thick layer of dirt at the bottom. A punctured airbed sat on top of the pool. The sun loungers were filthy and there was a tub of cigarette butt ends at the side of the pool. There was no way I would of allowed my children to get into that filthy mess. The barbeque in the corner was relatively disgusting as well. Rusty and filthy.

As for the price of food here, completely attrocious, I feel very sorry for the Portugese people to have to put up with the high food prices and cost of living. We all complain about the price of food in the UK but in Portugal it is at least a third more expensive than what we pay here. I feel this is yet another European country on the verge of bankruptcy. You need to bring a lot of money to come on holiday here. Price of an average meal for three is 40-50 euros including one drink each, no starter or dessert, just the main. At the places we ate at the waiters bought us bread, butter, cheese, olives and sardine paste, before the main arrived. Little did we know we were charged for these as well, and no one touched olives as we dont like them, but they were all added to the bill. Also had to pay a service charge as well.

I dont know why this place has good reviews, maybe it is better managed in the summer than in the Autumn, I just dont know. The only thing I do know is that we were very glad and relieved when we left this horrible place and arrived back in the UK. I consider this holiday to have been an absolute waste of money.

Room Tip: Dont chose an apartment near the building site.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Leicester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2011

Just wanted to add a few comments after reading a negative review. We have just returned from a 7 nights stay at these apartments in Praia da Rocha. We stayed in Lote 2 a One Bedroom apartment, 3rd floor on 2 levels with two balconies. I booked this holiday through Travel Republic with transfers, perfect, everything on time etc. Apartment spotless, well equipped and after the lovely Laura saw us personally to our apartment, we were left to enjoy the holiday with no hassle, but knowing Laura was just opposite in Lote 1 if needed. We did not come across any bad smells whatsover in this Block, or anywhere.

The resort as already stated by previous reviews is about a 10 min stroll away, and at the zebra crossing, never did a car not stop to let us cross, unlike other Countries we have visited.

The beach is perfect with the softest sand to sit on, no need really to hire a sunbed unless of course u really cannot lie on the sand., but we were on the beach everyday FAB,

The people in the shops we visited were very polite and friendly to us, I felt very safe, I traveled on my own with my 14 year old son.

I would also recommend Claire's Restaurant , the staff and the food wonderful and very good value we ate there 5 nights of our stay. The staff made us laugh and as said very good food and service.

I would totally recommend these Apartments and Praia da Rocha.

Room Tip: Pool View Apartments have sunny balconies.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Romford, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

We have just returned from a twelve night stay at Apartmentos Castelos da Rocha staying in a privately owned one bedroom apartment in Lote 1 booked on-line via the Owners Direct web-site; the owners forwarded details of an airport transfer company but we opted for car-hire from Atlas Direct, we got a very good deal on a Fiat Punto but truthfully, we didn't need the car, the trips that we did could have been easily managed by bus or coach saving money on the total cost of hire and petrol.

On leaving Faro we phoned a contact number given to us and spoke to Alberto who was waiting for us on arrival at the apartments; Alberto showed us around the apartment, explained the entrance code and left, telling us not to hesitate to call him if we encountered any problems or had any questions.

The apartment was spotlesssly clean, spacious, very comfortable, and well equipped; the bedroom had a king-size bed, dressing table, two wardrobes and a small balcony; the living room/ kitchen had two bed-sofas(to sleep 4 more if needed), coffee table, display case, TV/DVD/CD player, lamps, lots of room; the kitchen was equipped with fridge/freezer, gas hob ( four burners), full size oven, washing machine, microwave, breakfast bar, table, four chairs, all the cutlery, cooking utensils, glasses and china you could ever need; on the balcony was a table with four chairs, the balcony got the sun in the afternoon and evening and overlooked one of the pools.

In the hallway lilos and sun beds were provided along with a selection of books and CDs; the bathroom had a very powerful, hot overhead shower, bath, wc and bidet; the apartment was good enough to live in permanently never mind a holiday stay.

The sea front was a ten-minute walk, and yes, we had to cross a dual-carriageway, aren't Zebra crossings wonderful, not one driver ignored us and then had to walk up a short hill; the beach is down a lot of stairs but is well worth the effort with a wonderful boardwalk along the length,with many restaurants and bars.

The sea front area is full of gift-shops, restaurants, bars, night clubs, catering for all tastes, we didn't notice any loutish behaviour just a vibrant scene be it day or night; we were also 'approached' every time we walked past 'Concorde' as indeed we were every other restaurant but a polite 'no thank you' was enough to pass, not one 'approach' was rude, in our face or obtrusive.

Our favourite eating place was 'Claires', with a very varied menu, a three-course meal starting at less than eight euros, 'Asia' was a great Chinese Restaurant, with an evening buffet for 10.95.

We would recomend the resort of Praia da Rocha to all, the Apartment that we rented in Apartmentos Castelos da Rocha was superb, could not be faulted, the whole experience was brilliant, a great holiday.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Telford, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2011

Im not accusing these reviews of being fake, but I am quite astounded at how consistently excellent Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha has been proposed to be. I travelled here with my Mum in early September, and we were supposed to be there for two weeks in Praia da Rocha, and we left after 6 days, paying over £250 to fly back to Birmingham from Faro, that desperate to get away.

We were sold our holiday by our local Thomson branch, being promised an 'inbetween' of Greece and Spain - Portugal, and the Algarve. We were greatly mis-sold it. For a start, the airport at Faro is insane, and makes no sense. The bus depo where we boarded our shuttle bus was ridiculous, as there were so many buses on the forecourt unnumbered, that we couldnt even find it until it was nearly leaving. After an hour of travelling through a graffiti ridden country, we arrived at Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha, being dumped in what looks like a hot New York, specifically Harlem. High-rise apartments everywhere you see, and absolutely no view of a beach as we had been promised. It doesnt even look like the typical holiday resort, it looks like a massive city which is boiling - which it is. We were astounded, dumped in a city, not much different except for temperature from one in the UK we've just come from.

We met the infamous Laura, who everyone seems to mention on these reviews, and after 12 hours nearly of travelling, we didnt expect to be given an hour's talk of absolute nothing when we just wanted our keys, a welcome pack, a polite greeting, and to be shown to our room - all the customary things. And ah yes, the welcome pack. What welcome pack? We wasn't given one. The welcome pack thats supposed to contain basics such as water and milk, that you pay for at the end of your stay if you even breathe on it? Yes we didnt recieve one. Nor did we know we were even supposed to have one until we discussed it with our rep, Jimmy, 6 days later, when booking the flight home, we were that mortified.

We got to our room, which was on the second floor - covering our mouths from the obscene smell of sewage. So bad infact, on the second day, I vomited. We got into our one-bedroomed apartment (with a spare double bed for me in the lounge), and everything did seem quite pat, except for a broken blind leading from the lounge meaning it would never shut. In the self-catering apartment, there seemed to be all the customaries - an oven, a microwave, a kettle, a toaster. But what is this? No plugs! Actually, two plugs - two plugs for numerous kitchen facilities, which are just model pieces and which infact cant be used. The oven doesnt work except for the grill, and to use the microwave you would have to carry it to the far corner of the room to plug it in. We had to move the kettle to this corner to use it, and keep walking back and forth for milk and teabags. I lost a considerable amount of weight on that holiday.

The smell enduring, we decided to see what Praia da Rocha was actually like. After walking via a roundabout and a busy road, then up steep steps and a hill, we did arrive at absolutely beautiful scenery. The coastline is amazing, cliffs and bright blue sea's, exceptionally gleaming yellow beaches. But the rest of the resort is not far off dire, to be perfectly blunt. The minute you hit the strip, your dragged into restaraunts - or molested by them, as the case of the Concorde promoter. On one occasion, I thought he was going to kiss me, as he came to within two inches of my face and took off my sunglasses, telling me I had a beautiful face. The strip itself, I found quite frightening. The Irish pub's great, if you like breaking no smoking laws and smoking inside, and listening to an overweight man impersonating an Irish accent rather badly, playing on guitar for four hours. We only went into the Irish pub after being at one bar further down the strip, and being offered marijuana and cocaine by a seedy local, and then being followed and shouted at. All I wanted was a pint of cider. And the bars dont even serve that. They dont even know what cider is. All they offer me is wine, and I hate wine. I thought it was supposed to be a resort for non-Portugese aswell as Portugese, not just tailored to Portugese and ex-pats.

So, we left after 6 days, with 'delhi bellies' from the horrific food in the restaurants which is ludicrously overpriced, and from the stench in our toy room. The beach was too expensive to sunbathe on everyday, and there was no night-time entertainment except for restaurants, and approximately three dedicated boozers. When we came home, which was an untold relief, we were told after complaining to Thomson that if we'd've booked to go to Alvor, it was full of nightclubs aswell as decent restaurants, and was full of tourists instead of just Portugese, and we'd've probably liked it more. Thanks, Thomson, you really did us proud there.

Overall, no, I wouldn't go again. The Algarve isnt what its made out to be from Praia da Rocha, and the Apartamentos Catelos da Rocha. There were other things that made this holiday dire but I'm sure you've read enough to make a wise decision to book somewhere else.

Room Tip: get a pool view at least. otherwise you'll be overlooking a building site.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Harlow, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2011

we were greeted by laura on our arrival and as everyone has said she is really helpful .the pool was great most days had it to ourselves with 4 teenagers that was great . we opted for the private minibus for our transfer to and from the airport they were on time and very helpful giving everyone bottles of water. anyone with walking difficulties might want to think hard about going to this area as the walk to the restaurants is up and down hill both ways .the steps down to the beach are extremely steep even the kids with us were puffed out by the time they got to the top . we all enjoyed our stay and would like to thank laura again for a great holiday

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Luton
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2011

To be greeted at the coach , not the reception, by this wonderful lady Laura who made sure that our stay was perfect was the best start for our honeymoon. Nothing was too much trouble for Laura and she gave us some very good info of where to find what we wanted. The apartments have every thing you need and are clean and comfortable. D o not expect hotel silver service but a peace full apartment with a good pool and very friendly staff. Even the maids where helpful and carried out there work with a smile on there faces. We would definietly recommend these apartments for families or those wanting to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha

Address: Sitio dos Castelos, Praia da Rocha, Portimao 8500-801 , Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Portimao > Praia da Rocha
Amenities:
Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Praia da Rocha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha 3*
Number of rooms: 50
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Apartamentos Castelos Da Rocha Hotel Praia Da Rocha
Apartamentos Castelos Da Rocha Praia Da Rocha, Portugal - Algarve

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