My partner and I stayed at the Solaqua Hotel from June 6th - June 13th and have no complaints about the hotel itself; it is very well kept inside and out; it was very clean; our room was very spacious and had maid service every day, as well as everything you would need in the kitchen to host a small dinner party (fridge/freezer, pans, cooking utensils, cutlery, plates, bowls, cups, glasses, toaster, kettle, even a juicer!), although you're not provided with cleaning supplies like cloths, washing-up liquid or tea towels; the staff were also very curtious, helpful and friendly throughout our stay. We had no problem getting a seat or a brolly by the pool either, although unfortunately, that probably had more to do with the rubbish weather than the hotel's facilites! Also worth a mention is the fact that there is a small but powerful little hairdryer attached to the wall in the bathroom, so save the room in your case and leave yours at home!
The one complaint we would have about the hotel is the food. We were half-board and so made the most of it, but if you're self-catering then I really wouldn't bother paying the 24 Euros per head they were asking for the evening meal. You will be disappointed. Breakfast was 7 Euros and consisted of a variety of things including toast, cooked breakfast, fruit, cereal etc, and was fine most days - sometimes the sausages were slightly under-cooked, and the scrambled eggs a bit gooey. The evening buffet-style meal was also varied, with a different soup to start each night, salads, chips or wedges, rice or pasta, meat and fish, and something for the kids like pizza or fish fingers. There was also a variety of desserts. Even though there was a good choice of food, the quality of the evening meal was inconsistent at best, and often badly cooked - the pasta and rice was undercooked, the meat was chewy and sometimes slightly greasy, and the chips were sometimes over-cooked. It wasn't all bad though, as the soup was always delicious and the desserts were lovely as well, but staying half-board at the Solaqua is not necessarily something that I would recommend.
The hotel itself is in a great location with a huge supermarket at the end of the street, and various shops and restaurants across the road. It is also a mere 10 minute walk to the Old Town, or you can (and should!) buy an all day ticket for the Noddy Train for a very reasonable 3.50 and go to the New Town, the Old Town or both - it really is an excellent way of getting your bearings and exploring the surrounding area for very little money. We enjoyed the New Town as much as the Old Town, although the bar/restaurant workers in the New Town can get a bit much when trying to get you in to their respective establishments. We ate in Wild and Co one night (at the very bottom of the strip in the New Town) and it was great. Don't be put off by the noisy Western-style bar dowstairs - the restaurant upstairs is tranquil and beautifully decorated, the staff was very efficient and the food to die for (I had the ribs followed by the cheesecake and would 100% recommend that you do too!). We also went to Johnny Hooper's Jazz Bar and had a great night - he is a genuinely lovely guy and the staff do their utmost to make your evening as enjoyable as possible. On a Friday he does a music quiz, a good old fashioned sing-a-long and sets the mood for the eveing with a bit of sax-playing while you're eating your meal. The portions are decent but watch out for the prices of the booze - a peach schnappes at Johnny's cost a pricely 5 Euros compared to the 3.50 we were paying everywhere else. Definitely worth a visit though, but book in advance if you are a larger party.
Overall, apart from the not-so-great food and the cloudy skies, we thoroughly enjoyed our week in Albufeira, and would definitely go back to Portugal in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Luna Solaqua assumes a central position on the Algarve coast. It is just a few minutes from the iconic Praia dos Pescadores, as well as the main shopping area of Albufeira. Next to the hotel, you can find numerous restaurants, bars and shops, typical of tourist offer very characteristic of this region. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Solaqua Apartments Hotel Albufeira
- Luna Solaqua Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve