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All reviewsriu palacea la carte restauranthalf boardgala dinnerhuge bedglass of sparkling winea partial sea viewpool arealovely hotellow keyshow cookingrelaxing holidaythomson reptable servicewalk in showerplenty of choiceplenty of sunbeds
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Reviewed November 25, 2017

The staff are friendly without going over the top. Entertainment staff work hard but are not pushy like some hotels. The room is large and clean. In the bathroom the hot water very hot, drainage a little slow but overall good. We did find the towels small, a bath towel rather than the bath sheet you usually get these days. Other guests we spoke to said they asked for a none slip mat in the shower but we didn't feel there was a slip hazard. Breakfast has everything from full english to continental. Dinner spoiled for choice, lovely fish even if we hadn't heard the names of some. The Cullinarium was free once during the stay but the food there is good and well presented so we visited twice more, its a shame it is not open every day. I used the hairdresser and had a very good cut and blow dry. The pool is not heated and is cold so unused it would be better if maybe some of the heat from the showers was diverted to heat the pool during the day. Most of the surrounding shops and cafes were closed being the end of the season but I imagine it is lively but not over the top in mid season. Along the 304 wooden steps to the beach there are shaded seats so the walk is not too difficult. If you go via the road the steepest bit is shady. A very good three star hotel, if the towels were larger and the pool heated it would get four stars from me.

  • Stayed: November 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Calcarb C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SensimarFalesia, Inhouse Marketing & Social Media Manager at TUI BLUE Falesia, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2017

Dear Calcarb C,

Thank you for choosing to stay at Sensimar Falésia Atlantic and for sharing you review with us.

We are truly happy to read that we have exceed your expectations in all our services. We aim to ensure all guests have a memorable experience whilst staying in our hotel which pleases us to know that for you we have succeeded to do so.

We look forward to welcoming you back to our hotel in the future!

Best Regards,
Suely Tregeira

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2017

Check in was fine, after a short journey from the airport. A glass of bubbles was most welcome while we waited for the process to be completed. The room was perfect, a decent balcony and the best shower ever! The room was cleaned every day, and to a standard I couldn't complain about. We were looking for a quiet, relaxing pre-christmas holiday and this is exactly what we got...the staff are as chatty as you want them to be; take the time to speak to them and they will happily chat but if you just want some down time, they will leave you be. Every member of staff we spoke to were friendly and helpful. The food was fine for us, always something we could eat and we found it hot and plentiful! Entertainment wasn't all out in-your-face rock concerts but easy listening background stuff which was brilliant as we wanted to just sit on the terrace with a cold beer and wine and chat. Thank you to everyone at Sensimar Falesia for making our holiday really good, we would definately recommend this place for a relaxing, friendly retreat.

  • Stayed: October 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Londonstuart74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SensimarFalesia, Inhouse Marketing & Social Media Manager at TUI BLUE Falesia, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2017

Dear Londonstuart74,

We would like to thank you for your highly pleasant review with regards to your stay in Sensimar Falésia Atlantic.

We are delighted to read that our staff, service and facilities have provided you with such a great experience. We work everyday to make memorable experiences for our guests therefore we are delighted to hear we manage to do so.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,
Suely Tregeira

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Reviewed November 13, 2017 via mobile

Situated on a cliff top in a village outside of Albufeira, so much calmer. Steep but pleasant steps lead down to a beautiful long beach, but not part of the hotel. There is another beach a 10 minute walk away. Attractive outside and indoor pools but I wish the indoor one had been better heated. The sauna and steam room were both out of action which was a shame. There is not much of a garden area to walk round but well kept lawns and plants make it attractive to look at. It’a shame there is wire fence between the hotel and seaview! It is easy to get a bus into Albufeira, Villamoura or Faro but the timetable they give you is incomplete and times are approximate! A few restaurants within walking distance although rather quiet out of season.
Very comfortable rooms - better to be on the side away from the road and noisy school children although the sound insulation is good. My only disappointment after specifically requesting a quiet room! Good wifi connection.
Excellent food considering it is buffet style. Dishes are replenished regularly and there is a wide choice. An effort is made with the tables at night changing themes and colours. Tables are relaid quickly for the next guests and you don’t feel rushed to leave as in some places as they don’t lay up for breakfast as you eat dinner! The outside terrace seating area is lovely.
In fact all personnel were excellent - both efficient and friendly.
Reception staff were very willing to help with anything.
There is a lounge for entertainment in high season. We had mostly low key but enjoyable singers in the bar area.
Drinks are reasonably priced - I can particularly recommend the sangria!
A very enjoyable stay and I would return.

Stayed: November 2017
6  Thank jjan28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
aureli0marc0s, Assistant Manager at TUI BLUE Falesia, responded to this reviewResponded November 17, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your nice comments of Sensimar Falesia.

Your nice words regarding garden, food and service will be shared within our staff.

It was a real privilege to serve you and we would love to do it again soon!

Kind regards,
Javier R

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Reviewed November 11, 2017

We stayed at this hotel in 2005 when it operated as a Riu Palace. We hold very pleasant memories of this holiday so we decided the Falesia Atlantic should be our first Sensimar experience when looking for a last minute pre-Christmas break.
Upon arrival our initial impression was that little had changed. We were shown to a seat and given the usual registration form to fill out. We were also each given a glass of cava. Check-in was completed efficiently and we were allocated room 1006. We were asked if we needed help with our luggage which we declined as unnecessary before making our way to the lift.
First impressions of our room were extremely favorable. It was equipped with a huge bed and more than adequate storage for clothing and personal items. The colour scheme involved several matching neutrals with one or two brightly coloured accessories and gave a light, airy appearance. The bathroom was equipped with a massive walk in shower. This had a large fixed overhead shower head as well as a hand held one. At the other end of the shower enclosure was a handy shelf on which to place toiletries. The bathroom sink was a large trough like basin which ran almost the full length of the vanity unit and the toilet area was equipped with a bidet.
A sliding door led on to a balcony which overlooked immaculately kept grounds leading to the famous pine cliffs that drop down to Falesia Beach. Indeed, from our balcony we could see the whole way along to Villamoura and could even make out the Praia de Faro in the distance.
There were, however, two major shortcomings with the room.
1 The firmness of the bed
2 The lack of efficient air conditioning.
We realise that in some cases complaints of a bed being too firm or too soft are simply a reflection of personal preference. Not in this case. There was little to no give in the bed and we suspect the use of a mattress topper may have been a largely unsuccessful attempt to make it more comfortable. We did not, however, raise the matter with hotel staff as we presumed all beds would be made up in the same way. We did ask if it was possible to get larger and softer pillows but were told the ones we had were standard to all rooms.
As far as the air conditioning is concerned it may as well have been non-existent. The temperature control was set to zero, the blower set to full power and it made the right noises but failed to lower the temperature. The only way to make the air in the room any cooler was to run the ceiling fan at the same time which at least created some air movement. The rise in temperature when entering the room from the corridor was very noticeable. When we retired in the evenings the only way to keep the temperature bearable was to leave the balcony door open until actually settling down to sleep and then leave the fan running. We stayed at the hotel from Thursday November 2 to Thursday November 9 and on the Sunday (November 5) I raised the issue with a member of staff at the reception desk. Notes were made about it but it appeared no action was taken. Had we been staying another week we would have had to raise the matter again as the inability of the air conditioning to lower the room temperature was becoming a major problem. All we wanted was to be able to emulate the pleasantly cool conditions in the hotel's public areas in our bedroom but this was impossible.
In general, the food offering at breakfast and dinner was of a reasonable standard. Breakfast was the usual selection of cereals, breads, hot food, cold meats and cheeses, yoghurts, fruits and juices. My coffee was served with hot milk and Susan's tea with cold milk. We were both slightly taken aback one morning when there was no cold milk supplied with her tea. I politely asked if some could be brought to the table and the waiter obliged. However, he also took the opportunity to tell me "for future reference" whereabouts it could be found at the furthest corner of the self service buffet. Prior to this and on every subsequent morning it was automatically brought to our table with the tea.
The best dinner selection was undoubtedly supplied on the evening of the gala meal which takes place every Saturday. This involves a champagne cocktail for every guest and a parade of staff in the foyer before the doors to the dining room open for the meal. The idea appears to be to provide guests with an opportunity to applaud the staff in recognition of the service they provide.
By contrast the most disappointing night was the Portuguese themed dinner on our final evening in the hotel. This was the first time in our seven night stay that we encountered the lukewarm to cool food often complained of by people on half board holidays in the European sunspots.
In terms of food quality our best meal was the one we enjoyed in the hotel's Culinarium a la carte restaurant.
If you go to this hotel expecting it to be exactly as it was when operating as a Riu Palace you will feel a little cheated. The food selection is not as wide. The lunchtime buffet in the Culinarium is no longer in operation, although there is a nice lunch menu in the restaurant, and when we were there waiters did not appear to make regular rounds of the sunbeds by the pool to take drinks orders.
However, staff did go out of their way to be helpful and friendly. The guest relations manager was very pleasant and took time to talk to guests. When we realised on our first evening that our shower drain was blocked, the problem was solved within 15 minutes. Now that is good service.

  • Stayed: November 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Neil G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
aureli0marc0s, Assistant GM at TUI BLUE Falesia, responded to this reviewResponded November 17, 2017

Dear Neil,

Thank you so much for sharing your review of Sensimar Falesia.

You are an important part of this hotel and for this reason your comments will be of great help for us to keep improving our service.

I am disappointed that our beds were not of your liking, since our king size model is highly appreciated by our guest.

Should you decide to give as another opportunity to serve you, please do not hesitate to contact us in advance so we can welcome you like you deserve.

Kind regards,
Javier R

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Reviewed November 5, 2017

What is described below is our trip and experience while staying at the SENSIMAR Falesia Atlantic in September 2017. I appreciate others have a different opinion however this is ours, which does match other travellers marking it 3 and below. If you require a true account of the hotel I would read the other reviews as mentioned, you will notice a pattern of issues raised.

Hotel:

At The Very Best and being generous this hotel is 3 * if that.

The hotel itself is very clean and well kept. The outside areas and grounds are also lovely, clean and very well maintained. The grassed areas were our favorite for relaxing on the sunbeds which I must say were more than enough of. There is no need at all in this hotel to run down at 0600hrs to lay out towels, but of course some still do!

The hotel guests are mainly of the older generation 60 plus, however there were some younger couples there. It just means there is no real atmosphere of an evening. Any entertainment that was on usually finished by 2230hrs then the place emptied with the majority heading off to bed if not before.

WiFi is free which is great. Although advertised as being available across the entire hotel it is not possible to get a signal in a lot of the outside areas. Despite a router / booster being situated at the pool bar roof.

Room
Very large and spacious. Huge bed, large wardrobes and about 20 hangers. Apart from the bedside table there were no drawer units which was a slight inconvenience. The safe is free which is great. The décor was nice and bright. A/C unit not the best but there is also a ceiling fan. Nice big TV if you need it. Very large bathroom and huge shower. Tea and coffee making facilities (more on that later) chair and table and decent sized balcony with 2 chairs, table and clothes dryer.

Room cleaning was poor. Just a very basic swish around, rarely brushed and mopped, cups left dirty for 2 days, fluff everywhere, sink not cleaned, mirror left dirty with water marks, shower left dirty, shower gel dispenser broken and never replaced for 2 weeks despite leaving it out every day, not up to a 4 * standard.

So these were the good bits and the best I could conjure up I’m afraid.

Arrival
On arrival at the hotel we were informed the room was not ready and would be approximately one hour. In the end, it was nearly two hours. We were never provided with any updates during this period. We had to continually ask even though we were sitting in the lobby. This was very poor service and despite us having a taxi transfer to arrive quickly and begin our holiday we lost the entire morning sitting around. Then to find out the balcony door was broken and required fixing and was again broken for 2 weeks and never repaired, we gave up requesting this. We also never saw our passports again for 2 days.


Tea and coffee facilities.
After being out travelling all day we returned to the room to find no tea, coffee or milk had been replenished. I called reception to ask if some milk could be sent up to the room where I was told that this was not possible and if I wanted any I had to go to the bar myself to collect some.

I asked if room service or a staff member could bring the milk as we had been out all day and were getting ready for dinner. I was told no we don’t do room service you must collect it yourself. After the phone call I went to the bar for the milk and then spoke to the reception. I was presented with an All-Inclusive notice on the counter and told to read it. It stated that the room replenishments only took place twice a week. I asked for clarification in the form of “Are you telling me that this is listed as a 4 T (Star) hotel, I’m an all-inclusive guest paying over £3000 for my holiday and I cannot have any milk sent to my room?” I was told “Yes. As per this notice this is the hotel policy and we will not deviate from this”. This I could not believe. For a 4 Star hotel reception to be telling me to go to the bar myself to collect milk is a disgrace. Even the smallest B&B in the UK will replenish condiments daily and go out of their way assist.

By having 2 cups of tea a day we were therefore not able to have any more until it was replenished. Unless of course you went to the bar, took it from the restaurant and acquired tea bags at meal timings, it’s just ridiculous and I have never come across anything like it in all my travels. The alleged all-inclusive fridge was also to be replenished every 3 days however it was not replenished once during our first week of the holiday. We also complained about this however again nothing was rectified and we gave up again.

Not an all inclusive hotel
The All-Inclusive package was extremely poor and the worse we have ever experienced. Very limited and not acceptable for the money paid. Many of the soft drinks were not included such as iced tea (3 Euros or but “discounted to 2 if you were AI), Iced Coffee, ginger beer and when asked if I could have fresh lime juice in a drink I was informed I would have to pay for that also!
Alcoholic drinks – Beer, locally branded spirits and wines were available which is normal and acceptable however only 8 cocktails allowed as all-inclusive from whole drinks menu, (photos attached) however due to not liking Brandy this reduced the options for us to 6.

As per other all-inclusive resorts we have stayed at, you would expect locally branded spirits. We never once asked for or expected branded drinks. We did however expect to have the normal popular cocktails made from locally branded spirits, especially as most of these spirits were individually available on the all-inclusive menu. It’s completely nonsensical to have spirits available individually but they can’t be added to a different glass to make a cocktail. Most non-All Inclusive cocktails were 4.50 – 6.00 plus Euros bringing in a decent mark up, hence the reason they were not available as part of the AI menu. My evening drink was whiskey and ginger, however even though ginger is a soft drink it’s not on the all inclusive and I had to pay extra for it!

Restaurant
Observed a chef dropping utensils and food on the floor to then just pick them up and replace them back onto the food trays!!

On several occasions, we watched the restaurant staff helping themselves to food while dinner was ongoing. We were outraged to witness the Restaurant Manager clear a tray of shark steaks at 8:30pm with another hour left of service, thus leaving my wife and I standing in the queue to be told we would need to wait 20 minutes whilst a new batch was cooked. I find it outrageous a restaurant manager could not work for 3hrs during a busy meal time to provide the highest quality of service to the guests. What standard is he portraying to the other members of the restaurant team when he shows a complete disregard for the guests and disappears off to eat food made for and, paid for by the guests. At the end of the evening fine, take what’s left but under no circumstances is this acceptable during guests meal times.

Despite what Javier the manager will reply to regarding this post, apart from the soup, the food overall was never ever hot, it was always luke warm at best. It was reparative and cheap quality cuts. Any remains were served the next day dressed up as another meal. Food was wasted constantly with piles and piles cooked and thrown on top of the last batch cooked so the food at the bottom of the pile just lay there for the entire meal times then disposed of. The food in the pool snack bar was also always cold and poor quality.

Coffee pots used by guests where continually returned to the trolley or transferred between tables and given to another guest to use, instead of replenishing the coffee. Coffee was therefore old and more than often cold.

It was very difficult and near on impossible to get another drink during meal times. Restaurant staff were far more occupied laying tables for the next meal. For example, laying for breakfast at 8pm when there was another 1.30hr left on the evening dinner service, then getting irate when we requested another drink.

Unbelievably we sat at a table for lunch then we were told to move from that table as it was where the management liked to sit and eat – we refused to move. This to me summed up the attitude of the staff and how they viewed the guests. Also again, why were management eating at the same time as paying guests.

The evening welcome drinks disappeared by 7.30pm so if you had not arrived for dinner before then you missed out as the entertainment staff had already gone. Not a major drama just another example of how the little things constantly let the hotel down.

Bar Incident
One evening my wife was ridiculed in front of other guests by the disgraceful attitude of a member of the bar staff. When asking for a specific drink he laughed, waved his hand in my wife’s face shooing her away and shouted “No Chance go to the pool bar”.

We complained to the Customer Liaison Manger about this incident and the dreadfully poor all inclusive package. The manager apologised on behalf of the hotel and stated the all inclusive drinks package attracts the highest number of complaints. Customers complain daily in regards to the poor quality of this package and it is extremely poor value for money with guest having to pay extra for the basic drinks they enjoy. We were offered a free ticket to the cocktail which we gratefully accepted. The outcome of the discussion with the staff member was never communicated to us despite us requesting this.

The bar staff for most of the day were nonexistent. Many times, during the day and of an evening it was impossible to get a drink due to nobody being behind the bar, or waitress staff wandering aimlessly around the seating area cleaning tables on a go slow and saying they would come back in a minute never to return, unless you were a paying and tipping guest then they would be back like a shot. This resulted in guests having to go to the bar and wait for someone to turn up, I waited 20mins on one occasion for someone just appear despite them being in the back room messing about.

The outside terrace was unusable for non-smokers. It was inundated with smokers with smoke drifting to the outside area of the restaurant. We were told it was against Portuguese law to discriminate against the smokers in asking them to move elsewhere to smoke in a designated area, however what about the discrimination and comfort of non-smokers not being able to utilise that area? We used it once and never again as it was unbearable.

Pool & Whirl Pool
The pool and whirl pool were so cold my wife ventured in once in 2 weeks. Another guest mentioned he had been told that the water heaters had been turned off to save money as they were far too expensive to run. When on holiday you would expect to be able to make use of the pool facilities to relax and cool off however both these facilities were completely un-useable for enjoyment purposes for most guests. They were freezing, however I myself did use them.

The pool bar is a nice little area and the normal daytime bar staff were the best in the hotel. The snack bar is poor. Poor selection, cold food yet again and just so repetitive and boring. The terrace outside again stinks of smoke and you just can’t use it if you don’t smoke and want to enjoy eating out on the decking.

Reps / Manager
Very poor service delivered by the reps. Not interested, unhelpful and one day when I went to look for them at 12pm on a Saturday to book some trips they had a notice up saying back tomorrow at 7.30am, despite the timetable saying they should be there until 1pm. I therefore used a tour operator in the town resulting in lost sales for TUI. The young girl there was hopeless and patronising. I know they sell the resort as low key but we never saw any of them at all around the pool or just mingling with the guests just to say Hi, Morning, How’s things, Enjoying your holiday, just some very low key basic interaction. Never saw the manager once around the pool, communal areas again even just to say hello and provide that subtle personal touch. In complete contrast to last year in Cyprus where the staff and manager had a low-key wander around just to say Hello and show that caring personal touch.

In Conclusion
The holiday we encountered was certainly not to the standard we expected of a Sensimar 4T and were left completely dissatisfied by the standard of hospitality, value for money and the package we received. This was not in any way shape or form an all-inclusive holiday in comparison to previous holidays we have taken. In other locations cocktails, can be made using local branded spirits without being charged for them, all soft drinks are readily available, tea and coffee is replenished and Iced tea and coffee do not cost 3 Euros!
There is a distinct lack of management and pride in looking after the guests to make you have a great experience. To me it seemed the management staff and some general staff require completely changing. The new staff need taking control of and trained properly in hospitality. They are just going through the motions and do their own thing with a complete lack of supervision, discipline and direction as to what level of service a REAL 4 Star establishment should be providing. GO and visit 4 * hotels in the Middle East, Far East and Africa etc and you will see what a real 4 * hotel should be offering. I know this hotel will become a TUI Blue from next yet but to be honest unless there is a real shake up at the top and someone in charge to take proper control you can call it whatever you wish, nothing will change and the level of service provided will remain the same at a far higher price. I find it hard to believe we experienced what we did in 2 weeks and these issues go unnoticed and not challenged or changed by management.
As mentioned in other posts from guests who have returned and is also my opinion, there was a drastic level of cutbacks evident in the hotel which I presume had been implemented as a cost saving / money making exercise to pay for the upgrade next year.
We did complain over certain aspects however if we had complained about everything we experienced our trip would have been “completely” ruined and we would have never been away from the reception, ending up as troublemaking basket cases.

Considering this we honestly cannot see ourselves booking with TUI again soon. This trip has left us totally demoralized at the quality of the product TUI provided, the holiday left us deflated and we were relieved to be going home in all honesty. To be charged over £3000 for the privilege is completely unacceptable in my view.

Room Tip: Sea View / Partial Sea View are OK rooms
  • Stayed: September 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
13  Thank BBSpringers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
aureli0marc0s, Assistant Manager at TUI BLUE Falesia, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention.

I am very sorry that your review belongs to the 1% of reviews from guest who we were not able to meet or exceed their expectations.

Because we take great pride in what we do, I would like to invite you to contact me so we can provide you with the assistance and the answers that you deserve.

Kind regards,
Javier R

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