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“Overall fantastic holiday but food standard has dropped.”
Review of Club Med Da Balaia

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Club Med Da Balaia
Ranked #22 of 154 Hotels in Albufeira
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Overall fantastic holiday but food standard has dropped.”
Reviewed September 21, 2012 via mobile

Just back from a lovely week of sunshine at Da Balaia. We did have a great holiday but certain things have slipped since last year. . The baby corner was a disgrace. I wouldn't feed that food to my dog! Tough beef, dry pieces of chicken floating in water, tinned carrots, - really poor. They serve soup, cheese etc but no bread. Had to ask for bread and on one occasion got told there was none by the waitress. So dinner for my kids was a major let down. Clearly as a resort that specializes in under 4s they expect them to eat slop.
Bar staff were nothing short of rude - quite offensive actually!
Beach lovely! And plenty of lounge chairs. Pool great too and ample chairs. All and all we had a great holiday but its a shame the standards and service have slipped.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank cobbinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2012

My friends and I booked 3 rooms to travel in July. Club Med charges per person not per room since it is all inclusive. I had a medical condition and the doctor ordered me not to travel for the next 3 months. My friends went ahead and went there on vacation, including the friend who I was supposed to share a room with. I sent Club Med London my medical certificate and they refused to refund, they refused to allow me to get another friend to use the credit and pay more if needed. They said I can use the credit myself within the next 3 months max otherwise I lose all the money. They basically would rather have me travel thousands of miles away and be at risk away from home, a doctor or hospital which is aware of my condition then show the slightest flexibility. After long exchanges of emails the back office referred me to customer service which do not accept phone calls and provide an email to write to. I wrote to them 3 times in a matter of few weeks and no reply until now. The arrogance, inflexibility and complete and utter disregard of any customer service concept is simply astonishing. Don't book and pay unless your bags are already packed, and don't expect any customer service whatsoever!!!!

Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
Helpful?
11 Thank HanaN88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2012

Firstly we arrive to find all lessons for children have stopped!
Secondly the pool is not cleaned properly
Example: a child had pooed in the pool, a member of staff was alerted, who proceeded to use a net to take it out, then they use the same net with the poo in to collect other debris in the pool.... Everyone was still in the pool, and there was no sign of the pool being tested or chemicals added.. Absolutely disgusting!

Our room was interconnecting with our children. The rooms were shabby and tired looking..... They certainly were not 4 star quality!

Thirdly, the vasco da gama restaurant
Went for dinner there. Had fish soup which was cold... The overall quality was sub standard.... That night I vomited several times, followed by both my children... That was the end of the holiday....
The worst holiday I have had in years...

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank cmdennehy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 6 Contributor
324 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

We have stayed here three times now and think it is a great resort, set on top of the cliffs with a short (2 minute) path down to a beautiful beach.
We come with other families and the kids love the relative freedom of the place. There are many activities to choose from for kids and adults as well as the golf course setting for the golf set. Within our group we tried: tennis (not great instruction and poor English spoken by GOs but fun), golf, archery, football, stretching and pilates (both at very basic level), step class, ping pong, kayak, water aerobics.
The food is superb (many people say the best of all the Club Meds), wonderful choices and quality at every mealtime, fresh fish, meat, salads, a myriad of mouth-watering desserts and drinks all included. (Families with babies have a special area of the restaurant with special times to eat and their own food).
The pool was enjoyable though rather cold, not a big problem as it was hot and after the initial shock, we found it fine - though on previous occasions it has been rather too cold. It would have been nice if it had been open beyond 7.00pm.
The beach is the real selling point of this Club Med - it's large, soft sand, surrounded by picturesque cliffs and some nice waves - the sea is COLD!. Club Med has its own sun-lounger area. You can take a path over the cliffs with picturesque views and walk to the nearby fishing village and beyond and at low tide you can wander along several beaches and enjoy some wonderful rock pools.
We stay in the Golf hotel which is a little further from reception but much quieter (and cheaper!) than La Tour which has rooms overlooking the pool and bar so noisy until 10.pm. Our rooms were spacious and clean with comfortable, bedrooms- interconnecting. We are not talking height of luxury but we did not spend much time here.
The staff were friendly and helpful and most spoke reasonable English though you would enjoy all the shows and entertainment each afternoon and evening more if your French is up to scratch! The GOs work hard and are busy in the day and for the evening shows.
There is an eclectic mix here, many families with babies (due to baby club), toddlers, pre-teens and a few teens but also older couples playing tennis and couples with no kids coming for the activities.
I think at Club Med the more you engage with what's on offer the more you get out of it. We love it and will no doubt be back next year!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank HaskelUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ClubMedUK_official, Manager at Club Med Da Balaia, responded to this review, December 6, 2012
Dear Great Member,

Thank you very much for your loyalty and for this very comprehensive and amazing review about your holiday at Da Balaia. It’s great to read that you made the most of the wide range of activities and that you appreciated the kindness of our staff, the comfort of your room and the beautiful location of the Resort next to the sea.

We can’t wait to welcome you next year,
Kind Regards,
Your Club Med UK Team.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2012

As a sociable, sporty couple whose children have now grown up we enjoy the club med formula.
The setting at Da Balaia is on a cliff top giving a cool breeze.
The food was of the usual very high standard and the GO's very helpful and friendly.
Our room was in the pyramid hotel which we would recommend.
My only complaint on our weeks holiday was that the groups for tennis coaching each morning were much too large. This meant that however good the coaches were they could not satisfy as some mornings we were 12:1. This was a disappointment to me as we have holidayed at other club meds in europe in august which feature tennis and the groups were much smaller.
I think this is something that the management at Da Balaia should improve.
Otherwise a lovely holiday.

Room Tip: Recommend Pyramid hotel
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DeborahCambridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ClubMedUK_official, Manager at Club Med Da Balaia, responded to this review, December 6, 2012
Dear Deborah,

Thank you very much for your comment about your holiday at Da Balaia. We are happy to read that you found the staff very friendly and that you liked the gourmet cuisine.
We also would like to thank you for your feedback regarding the tennis lessons, we value your opinion and will keep your suggestions in mind for the future.

We hope to welcome you again in one of our Resorts,
Best wishes,

Your Club Med UK Team.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moscow, Russia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

We had a great time with my mom and my little sister at Da Balaia ClubMed this August! The place is really nice, it has a small pool, but the ocean is just down the stairs from the lawn behind the pool area, where you can simply rest in the shadow of big trees.
And the beach is really great. While it's municipal, the ClubMed zone has tents and is supposed to be guarded (I don't really know, we never stayed there, because we just loved the lawn with the trees).
Upon arrival, we learned that we had conjugated rooms, one twin and one double, I think, but it played in our favor, I guess.
The hotel itself, I think, has been renovated thoroughly. We stayed in the Golf Hotel, so I can't say for the Pyramid, but it was really nice, very clean and fresh. The only problem with my room was the broken light on the balcony. (And also minibars were not working. D: But I think it's because ClubMed is supposed to be a healthy place and minibars also have greasy snacks and vodka.)
Still, overall, the hotel gave off that kind of Hamptons resort vibe. All very relaxed and cheerful.
They have two reastaurants. We only went to the main restaurant, but it proved to be pretty diverse. Every night they had a different dress-code (for parties or certain events, like the seafood night), and special themes. I'd especially recommend "La Dolce Vita", if they'd still do it, because cookies and pastry were AWESOME.
Also, the bar was great. They make all sorts of cocktails and do not mind if you take the drinks to the pool or to your room (and had nice little snacks between the main meals).
The GO team was great! All very enthusiastic and sociable. While dance routines a la Turkey resorts aren't my type of thing, it really brought people together in a certain way.
I also read some reviews saying there were few people speaking English, but we had no problem like that, and there were some staff members from England as well!
The golf was popular with French families, and the hotel also provides tennis, archery and kayaking lessons.
Last but not least, you can reserve some excursions from the hotel (they are quite expensive, but the one for Lisbon is pretty cheap). Our agency lady's name was Isabel, and as we decided on some tours, we said that we really wanted to go to Monchique (they don't have an excursion there), so she suggested us a safari jeep tour, going from Portimao. And it was seriously epic! So if you happen to be in Algarve, don't miss Monchique either. (Another great tour was the Grottoes tour. We even went on our boat to see the dolphins, which we haven't seen, but we saw a real whale! A small one, but still. And the Grottoes are beautiful. But I digress.)

All in all, I would definitely recommend this hotel! Especially to people with children and those who seek relaxed atmosphere, comfort and fun!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank ramone_zuckaroo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2012

First stay at Da Balaia, and it was great for us, but a lot probably depends on why you want to be there. One thing which, however, doesn't depend on anyone, but deserves mentioning, is the great climate: in July, we had 30°C-plus temperatures but the constant fresh breeze from the Atlantic makes it always agreeable - and the total absence of mosquito's helps as well!

GOLF - newly bitten by the golf virus, we found everything we wanted: (1) beautiful courses such as Vale de Lobo Ocean and Royal, and a great beginner's course at Pine Cliffs (which is actually too nice to merit being classified a beginner's course, even if it's only par 3's and par 4's); (2) Club Med instruction (the one-hour-per-day free sessions at the Da Balaia Village golf practice) were great for practicing daily; (3) Manuela (not a GO, but in charge at Club Med of all golf bookings other than the free lessons) was very efficient, also in getting us rates far below the official rates of the numerous courses which are between 10 and 30 minutes from the Club Med, and organizing transportation; and (4) there's a free shuttle every hour to both the Pine Cliffs and the Da Balaia Village golf courses.

BUT:
(a) if you want to pay for more serious lessons, don't rely (ioho) on Club Med GO's, but go ask the pro's at Pine Cliffs for example - you can't blame the Club Med GO's for being less good, as they have a lot of other stuff on their hands, in addition to generally having decennia less experience at teaching golf!
(b) don't count on the golf facilities available at the Club Med. (1) The driving range is just a driving net (if you use a lob wedge you can manage to pitch over the net, but apart from such learning how to pitch over very high obstacles it won't teach you much!), (2) the "pitch and put" is a bit useless (it COULD be great, but all its greens, including the practice green, are of a very poor quality artificial turf - for putting, never practice on that on you'll get a very wrong feeling of the roll; for pitching, it's like "pitch and see my ball say me farewell as it bounces three meters high over the cliff never to appear again") and (3) the mini-golf, COULD, again, be great fun, but it is such a bad shape that you or your kids will never have fun on it, and it certainly won't help your putting.

NOW, IF YOU DON'T PLAY GOLF (or want to start playing it):

Beach: is a long walk down (and afterwards back up) the cliff, at it really is off the Altantic Ocean and not the Mediterranean Sea, some tens of miles eastwards, so the water is not half as warm as you would like!

Swimming pool: a great deception for our kids, because when we arrived, in the second week of July, the water was much too cold (the pool is not heated, which I find crazy). Two weeks (and a lot of good weather) later the temperature was manageable, but still frankly only to try to beat Phelps in a discipline he hasn't won yet, but not to have fun as a kid.

Tennis: there are two clay courts in good shape, and around five hard courts in a bit less good shape. Good tennis instruction is apparently (and strangely, for so many available courts) not a priority (two out of three GO's were good players but none was a good teacher - our sentiment was obviously shared by many as by the end of a week there would be nearly no candidates for the tennis lessons).

Babies: babies all around! and a Baby Club Med available. I frankly wonder what this combination stems from: (1) The temperature of the swimming pool would generally chase babies and their parents to some other hotel; (2) Da Balaia is clearly not a "beach destination", given that you're off a cliff on the Atlantic; (3) the bias on golf should I suppose imply that (most people booking a golf vacation not being of the age of having two-to-four year olds) there would be two very distinct populations at Da Balaia.

Rooms: just as the mini-golf and the "pitch and put", some rooms and corridors could obviously use some renovation.

Food: great, simply! This was really four-trident level!

OVERALL, we were very impressed by this golfing vacation (and also by the new golfing friends we made - a lot of golfers apparently come year after year to Club Med Da Balaia). Non-golfers should consider whether the above remarks are meaningful for them, however.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jeanne640
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Med Da Balaia

Property: Club Med Da Balaia
Address: Praia Maria Luisa 8200-854 | Albufeira - province de Faro, Albufeira 8200-925, Portugal
Phone Number:
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Albufeira
#11 Family Hotel in Albufeira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Med Da Balaia 3*
Number of rooms: 372
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Da Balaia stands on an ochre cliff in southern Portugal, overlooking a magnificent white sand beach. The Resort allies sports and well-being in an outstanding setting. It's a world to unwind in, perfumed by the woody scents of parasol pines, olive trees and eucalyptus. Comfort and cosiness are to be found everywhere, even in the reception area where marble floors and deep red walls set the tone. This is a Club Med Resort where families, golfers and Spa enthusiasts live together in harmony. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Club Med Da Balaia Hotel Albufeira
Da Balaia Club Med
Club Med Albufeira
Albufeira Club Med
Club Med Da Balaia Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve

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