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“First choice living in the 80's”

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Holiday Village Algarve Balaia
Ranked #118 of 517 Hotels in Algarve
Certificate of Excellence
london
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“First choice living in the 80's”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Just got back from a week at holiday village. 1st time booking with first choice and probably last. The hotel facilities and food are ok but never more than a week as does get pretty repetitive. There's a similar hotel opposite called alfagar apart hotel which you can book self catering and it's not full of English, nice mix of nationalities and same facilities. First choice entertainment is stuck in the 80's with evening bingo, pool party which consists of the staff blaring out awful cheesy music to everyone sitting peacefully round the pool, dancing round the pool. The 'craziest' bit is when they jump in the pool, however this is deserved punishment as the pools are freezing. Our daughter is 6 and did not really enjoy the kids clubs as they tend to mix 3-8 year olds together and consequently cater for the younger one's. The evening entertainment is in a room which feels like a function room at butlins, you soon forget you are somewhere very beautiful. We ended up going out of the resort everyday after the 2nd day to find some class beaches, local one (santa eulalia) is very nice and Arrifes is very beautiful.

In summary if you want class don't book here and if you want Blackpool in the sun definitely book here

Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank grantos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (389)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

This is our second time at this holiday village (2 adults & 2 kids). we travelled 9-16 may. The weather was great, although it rained on our last morning but cleared by 12. Please take no notice of any bad reviews....its a fantastic hotel. The rooms have a fully fitted kitchen just like home, it was not needed as we always go here all inclusive. The rooms are big, beds comfy and you have individual aircon in the living room and bedroom. The hotel itself is very clean and well kept. The staff are very helpful and will do anything asked of them. The reps work tirelessly providing activities all day for all ages. The kids clubs are great and I know my children 5 & 3 are catered for and very safe. The food is of a good standard, always plenty to choose from no matter how fussy you are. The only slight downside is that the beach is about 5 min drive away. Although that never bothered us as the are plenty of pools and slides for the kids. Its a short taxi ride to the strip or old town and costs about 5 euro. All in all we love this place and have already booked to go back later in the year, a lot of people we've met there do. Keep up the good work!!!!!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Stu25252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2013

I would like to erase doubt over some troubled people on here about this hotel. We had reservations after booking when reading some of the previous reviews last year but I would say they are people who complain or moan because they can or their poor experience was a reflection of their own issues ( fussy - pessimistic - etc ). Come on - get over yourselves!!!!
HOTEL:- Clean and well looked after. Split into 2 main blocks
RECEPTION STAFF - Helpful - good English
CLEANERS - Excellent - spoke English - cleaned daily, towels every two days
FOOD - fantastic choice, never the same, hot, well presented, some food cooked in front of you. It was far better than we expected. Food was replaced instantly.
DRINKS - as you would expect.
SUN LOUNGERS - plenty to go around - towel policy, but did see the odd family flout the rules, however in general no mad rush to get a lounger.
ROOMS - We were in Room 001 in Block 1 just down from the reception. Double balcony end corner. These are the rooms to go for. Flat screen TV, with USB and HDMI. Was able to plug kids android tablet into socket to watch movies when they needed to chill out from the pool and general excitement. The TV's had local BBC and ITV channels if that's your bag! Ours was clean and bigger than expected, sliding doors to separate us and the kids ( Family Room ). Also had modern and clean kitchen at end of the room. Air con, shower, bath, hairdryer, twin balcony.
NOISE - This room and others at the end are quiet. Its people that make hotels noisy so it will travel down corridor if people shout. Other than that quiet for sleeping.
STAFF - Entertainment during the day is constant and great fun. There is plenty for kids and family activities to do. Pool party etc.
NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT - funny or what. It's the staff that make it and obviously can't vouch for the future but if you're travelling this year I expect you will see the same bunch. SAM and ADAM are hilarious and the rest make up a great entertainment bunch.
POOLS - there are several. Main pool looks lovely with the surroundings, Splash area, Pool with slides ( Kids loved this one ) which includes food hatch for AI food and drink offers. They all look lovely, they are clean and safe, my only gripe which is pretty much common with all, is they are cold. Didn't stop the kids going in everyday.
In general this was a great fun packed holiday, there are two tennis courts, a three quarter sized football pitch with artificial grass, archery range, indoor pool ( didn't use it though ) 3 pool tables, two internet enabled PC's a few arcade machines.
One other matter that concerned a lot of people was being put in block 2. Our room overlooked the steps to block 2 which has a few steps to be honest. I saw plenty of people push their buggy's up and down. Hey it's a good way to burn off that great, plentiful food. If you have problems getting around then it may be a hindrance, other than that it took me and my 5 year old 20 seconds if that to get up them after going to the supermarket which is at the end of block 2. Since I was on holiday I didn't see the rush to get up the steps in a hurry anyway - who cares!
What more can I say! We are not Chavs, this isn't a Haven site in the sun. We are an easy going family with good standards and morals with well mannered children.
Well done first choice and thanks for a great holiday. I will up some pictures soon to show you all how lovely it all it.
The Robinsons :)

Room Tip: Block 1 - End of building - we were in room 001 in block 1 - Double balcony low noise - sun in morni...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Lee R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2013

This was the first time I have been away in 11 years. Never been to Portugal before. The only thing I would say is, the weather wasn't great so I wouldn't recommend going in May. Never been all inclusive either, loved it. The food was really nice and there was loads of variety. The hotel was clean and the room was spacious with a fab balcony. The hotel, as a whole was worth the money. The evening entertainment kept my son entertained and the reps at first choice were very friendly and approachable. Didn't use the kids club but there's loads of info displayed in the reception area.

Very very good. Recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: We stayed in a twin room. There's sliding doors to section off the room to the living room, wher...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lilster564
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brighton
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2013

My partner and I went to this hotel with our 2 yrs 11 month old son returning on the 19th may. The hotel as a whole was lovely, a typical All Inclusive hotel, but we didn't expect The Ritz! All of the Portuguese staff were very friendly and polite, as were most of the first choice / Thompson staff. Before booking this hotel I spoke with a first choice travel agent, he advised me that there was no point in spending the extra £42 to upgrade our room on booking as the options given were exactly the same rooms. He also advised me that although the Internet says that the kids club was for 3yrs plus, that it was in fact for 2yrs plus and that my son would be able to take part in their activities.

On arrival we were placed in block 2. We soon realised that with our son having to go in the pushchair up the huge steep hill ( as he couldn't walk up it all the way ) and me being 6 months pregnant that this was going to be very difficult for us. We asked the staff at the fc/Thompson desk at reception if we were able to move to block one to be told that they would see what they could do. That it would probably incur a charge but that it should be possible. We were expecting the £42 that it was on booking plus the admin charge that's supposedly a standard cost. I went back to the desk Sunday evening to be told that they had to all the main booking office in Cyprus as could not do anything without talking to them. ( quite strange, but fair enough I guess ) I was told that the office opened at 7am so they would get back to me. I then spoke with them again Monday morning, lunchtime and evening only to be fobbed off... Tuesday came and went with another 2/3 visits to the desk to enquire if we could move to the main block... Finally on Wednesday lunchtime Lewis the Thompson rep advised me that he now had the costs that were required should we wish to move to the main block ( baring in mind we had been there since Sunday and were due to leave sun am ). On asking why it had taken them 4 days of excuses to give me a price Lewis told me that he had put a note with the costings under our door on Monday ( he told me that he personally delivered it so he knew that it was most definitely delivered ) unless the cleaners had stolen the note, it as not delivered... Just an excuse. We then looked at the price to move... A FEW PONDS SHORT OF £1000 to move from block 2 to block one for 4 nights!!! After a while with Lewis being extremely patronising I arranged to speak with Tracey ( the manager I was told ) she basically told me that they did not have to publish the fact that block 2 was such a trek from the main hotel, or that it was up such a huge steep ( and when wet, very dangerous and slippery wooden slope ) hill. That I was welcome to move but had to pay the huge bill that she had presented. I filled in a complaint form there and then only to be told afterwards that nothing would be done about it as she was the highest level member of staff - I later found this to be a lie. She also told me that she knew that they note was put under my door on Monday as she had driven the girl down to post it personally ( yes that's right... First Lewis delivered it, now Tracey dropped a girl down to deliver it )... Basically, she didn't really care. Lewis was totally rude and actually offered services that he couldn't provide, when I pointed this out he shouted in front of the whole reception that he was not prepared to deal with me and asked me to leave his desk ( other guests were v shocked as they'd heard the whole thing and couldn't quite believe it )... I would have happily paid a couple of hundred pounds even to move, but thought that £1000 was taking the mickey for 4 nights!

The hotel in itself was clean ( but our bathroom was not touched by cleaners the whole week we were in it, nor were the towels changed ) food was about as good as you can get for an all inclusive hotel, it's not restaurant quality, but who expects it from AI?

Pools were nice, lots for kids to do if they're over 3years... My son was 2 weeks away from being 3 and wasn't allowed to take part in any activities ( we were told at desk ) we later found out by Steve the football coach - lovely guy who does a great job , that he could have done his football session one day ( but we'd missed it by then ).

All in all, it could have been a lovely holiday, but the couple of rude and unhelpful staff at first choice/ Thomson with their long list of excuses totally spoiled it for us. Block two was much to far away and just not practical pushing a pushchair up that hill when you're 6 months pregnant.

Would I return to that hotel? No way. Would I recommend the company? No, not likely... If you are lucky enough to be in the main block and have no problems whist you're there you will I'm sure have a nice time, however, if you need to query anything or have a problem, good luck in getting any help from the staff. I expect if the Portuguese staff were able to deal with your problems you'd have a much easier time - they seemed lovely!

My advise... Steer clear of Thomson and first choice!!

Room Tip: Do not book a room in block 2 unless you enjoy mountain walks!!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank BrightonAlison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2013

We stayed for a week commencing 13th May. We were a family of 4 with a 6 and 4 year old. We stayed in Colina 1 and had an apartment overlooking the main pool on the 3rd Floor.
The hotel was pleasant, clean and well presented. The food was the best choice I've ever had at an all inclusive holiday of which I've had many. The only issue was the fact that the outside pools were freezing- no doubt the warm weather will warm them up.
Now the fab part- the staff- the entertainment team were fantastic and Sam especially was a total sweetheart who made everyone welcome.
The kids club was so good my daughters were begging to go in every day and often presented me their schedule of a morning.
And lastly the swim coach Ditta was a miracle worker after 5 lessons with him my eldest can now swim without armbands and my youngest is a proficient swimmer with a woggle. It's important to note on day 1 my youngest panicked and cried every time an adult let go in the pool.
If you are going this summer you are in for a treat, I'm actually a little jealous.

Room Tip: Try to get Coluna 1 if you can.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank emmah26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2013

Just got Back today stayed in block 2 and very happy with our room how friendly and all staff was all the way through our ten day trip I have a 5 year old and 12 month old and both enjoyed the holiday thank you to all the staff also the food is lovely too stunning hotel :)

Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Natalie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Holiday Village Algarve Balaia

Property: Holiday Village Algarve Balaia
Address: Balaia, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #118 of 517 Hotels in Algarve
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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Also Known As:
Holiday Village Algarve Balaia Hotel Algarve

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