We stayed at Cerro Mar in the first week of March 2008. Managed to check-in several hours early without any problems and was pleased to be given a room in the new block (room number 107). First impressions of the apartment were above average - the kitchenette is very well-equipped with more utensils than you would really require on a holiday. There is also an oven, full-sized fridge, washing machine and diswasher. The entire apartment appears to be newly-built and all the furnishings are contemporary in style. The bathroom is massive and decorated in a classy manner. However, it must be said that you should bring your own toiletries as the hotel only provides shower gel and toilet roll (but no toilet roll or bath towel holder). Apart from this, we were also slightly disappointed that despite asking for a double bed or larger, we were given 2 single beds which were pushed together. Also, although there is a safe in the bedroom, you are expected to rent the lock for it at 9 euros a week (with a 15 euro deposit). Most mornings, we were also awoken by the sounds of construction work above us so we assume parts of the hotel are still being finished off. As long as you don't intend to still be in bed past 10am, you should be alright.
The hotel itself has all of the basic facilites you would expect - indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, gym, massage services, restaurants, bars and a tennis court. There are lounge chairs and parasols around the outdoor pool but you will have to rent towels at 2.50 euros each or use the ones in your hotel room. The outdoor pool is not heated so no one actually used it whilst we were there. However, the indoor pool is heated but you will have to buy a swimming cap at 2.50 euro to use it or bring your own.
The distance to the nearest beach from the hotel is approximately 10-15 minutes by foot through the centre of town. There are exactly 98 steps leading to the centre and it is advisable to wear comfortable, padded shoes as the pavements are cobbled. The beach is fairly clean although not exactly pure white sand and the water can be cold even in the midday sun. There are no mats, towels or umbrellas to rent anywhere nearby so you will have to bring your own. Despite reading on the web that there are activities like jetskiing or parasailing which one can do, we found no sign of any of this (unless they were referring to other beaches).
All the eateries can be found in the town centre or along the little streets near it. Price-wise, you can get meals from as little as 5 euros per person but these will be in little snack bars or cafes. As personal preference, we ate out in fairly decent restaurants for dinner. Starters, drinks, main course and dessert for two would usually came up to about 50 euros altogether (including tipping). Although Albufeira seems to be proud of their seafood offering, we weren't exactly blown away by the quality and freshness of it all (some things like prawns tasted like they were cooked from frozen and shellfish like clams and mussels often tasted very strong of seawater). Two Portuguese dishes probably worth trying at least once would be the cataplana and piri piri chicken. We personally enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere of Cabana Fresco (on the beachfront) and also a Thai restaurant a little bit further from the centre called Royal Orchid (nice romantic atmosphere and good food).
We chose to cook our own meals for lunch on most days and easily bought ingredients from the nearest supermarket (LIDL) for this. If you must have fresh mik however, bring it with you as we only ever found UHT milk in all the supermarkets we saw. It is also difficult to find English tea (the hotel does not provide any) so bring your own as well if you are particular.
A taxi from Faro Airport to Cerro Mar is 65 euros and easily available as soon as you exit the airport. For our return trip however, we booked a shuttle bus with a travel company located in the town centre and this cost only 20 euros (and they picked us up from the Cerro Mar reception building). You could also book the shuttle bus to the hotel from the airport but you will have to do this in advance prior to leaving your country.
The weather at this time of year is fairly sunny throughout the day but can get quite chilly due to the wind. It is necessary to have at least one cardigan/jumper on hand when hitting the town in the evening. However, we did manage to get several days of decent sunbathing.
On the whole, we could see that both Cerro Mar and Albufeira seemed to appeal mostly to older tourists (whether this is true all-year we don't know). The whole area is quite laidback and touristy although there are a few livelier bars and pubs around.
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- Also Known As:
- Cerro Mar Atlantico Touristic Apartments Hotel Albufeira
- Cerro Mar Albufeira
- Cerro Mar Algarve
- Cerro Mar Apartments Albufeira
- Cerro Mar Hotel Albufeira
- Cerro Mar Atlantico Touristic Apartments Albufeira, Portugal - Algarve