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Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort
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Reviewed September 7, 2012

This was our 4th visit to Sheraton Pine Cliffs and we stayed in the Residences.The Pine Cliffs estate is massive - so big that they operate a shuttle "train" service every 30 mins that takes you around the resort. The resort is 5* and part of the Sheraton Luxury collection and deservedly so - it is immaculate, impressive and beautiful with virtually every facility a traveller could ask for. There are a few things to be aware of if you plan to stay here. The resort estate is so big that it contains a hotel, time share apartments, the residences and also private villas. The newest addition are some ultra modern villas but I'm not sure if its possible to stay in these unless you own one ! Most guests will stay in the hotel, apartments or residences - with the residences being newest and of a very high standard. The residences have their own pool, reception , restaurant (O grill) and gym. At the hotel there are 2 outdoor pools and an indoor pool. The golf club also has an outdoor pool which is heated. All pools also have adjacent kids pools, there are also kids pools at Porto Pirata kids playground. If you're staying in the resort you can use any of these pools, no matter where you are staying. We favoured the golf club pool as we have young kids and the pools are heated making them much warmer.

The resort operates 3 seasons high, mid and low. In high season (July-August) the resort is full of families and children - so if you don't want to be around kids then avoid this period. Mid (shoulder) season you may find younger (pre-school) families and low season is probably favoured by golfers as its cooler.

The resort is definately biased towards holidays and not business travel - there is a business centre, conference facilities etc but most guests are there for a holiday.

The hotel has a private section of beach that is accessible via an elevator and 5 min board walk through the cliffs - the walk is very pleasant but its hard going and there is no pram or wheelchair access so you will have to carry babies. Once you get to the beach you have sun loungers, a nice beach bar/restaurant and a watersport rental shop.

The resort has a 9-hole golf course (I am not a golfer) that people tell me is very nice to play - it looks immaculate and you can play a round for 25eur if you're prepared to play when no-one else wants to (lunchtime).

There is a kids playground - Porto Pirata which is great for the kids and ticks all the boxes - playground, 2 shallow pools, mini golf, nursery, kids club etc be aware that the charges for the nursery/clubs are very high in high season!

Next door to Porto Pirata are the tennis courts - hard and clay courts that look very well kept.

Overall the estate is beautiful - well kept gardens, clean, safe. Other guests told me that the newer residences are superior to the older apartments - something to consider. The hotel itself is large and some rooms have balconies overlooking the car park so if a room with a view is important then you should book a sea view.

A few people have complained about the surrounding area outside the hotel not having much - we think this is a benefit as there is not much noise at night which is great if you have small kids trying to sleep. Teenagers won't be so impressed. If you want nightlife take a taxi to Albufeira for 10eur and party like its 1999 !

The outdoor pools are unheated with the exception of the Golf Club - this makes them virtually unusable in low season and they can be a bit cold even in high season - this is something to bear in mind if you have kids or want to swim. Also worth mentioning is that the sea is also quite cold even in summer - its the Atlantic , not the Med !

Pine Cliffs is probably not a great place for older teenagers - there is no nightlife in the resort and the surrounding area is fairly quiet.

Areas for improvement - money - its all about the benjamins ! The entire resort is very expensive, its 5* and a "luxury" resort so that should not be a surprise but some things are just a rip off and when you're paying top dollar in a 5* hotel you expect and should get the best. In our experience this is not always the case at Pine Cliffs. The WiFi is a glaring example of this - outrageously expensive (10 eur/day for a single device) and often does not work ! Many hotels offer WiFi for free - at least in communal areas, high end hotels often charge but when they do it usually works. My advice is to get a PAYG Sim card with data from a phone shop and then use the tethering feature on your mobile phone to share your internet connection.

Next issue - the restaurants. We used o grill twice, I was not impressed with the food myself but others in our party enjoyed the fish. It was not cheap and I got a visit from the Trotts after the second visit ! The kids menu was rubbish. Piri Piri - in the past this had a varied menu and we really enjoyed it, but this year (2012) its a Steak House. The steaks are good for sure, but the menu is now very limited. Piri Piri has a nice kids buffet which is free for 0-4yr olds but its 17eur for over 5s so its a bit pricey if your child just turned 5 and doesn't eat much. Saving the worst for last the Corda Cafe - *avoid* . 15eur for a rotten burger with a stale bun and fries cooked yesterday and refried today, accompanied by a rotting salad dressed 2 days ago. I would have sent the whole plate back to the kitchen but the wife didn't want to make a scene. If you want a burger take a taxi to Burger King - it will be cheaper and better ! Other guests also told me they were disappointed with the food and especially the kids menus. There are a number of other restaurants on the site that we didn't try so your luck may vary - but rest assured they will all be expensive. Note - owners of the residences get a 25% discount card that can be used for almost everything in the resort - this makes the prices far more bearable - you just need the 700keur to buy the apartment first !

There are a few nice restaurants right outside the hotel - our favourite being O Antonio which is opposite Piri Piri, child friendly, is very reasonalbe and serves great food. A short taxi ride away is Olhos de Agua where there are also some great restaurants - so there is no need to use the hotel restaurants if you don't want to.

Sun loungers - the hotel provides pool towels but sadly they are letting people "reserve" the sun loungers when they rock up for breakfast at 8am. So if you get to the pool at 9.45 you'll find 100 empty loungers covered in blue towels. This is something they need to sort out in high season.

In summary - a beautiful resort, albeit expensive, let down by some below par restaurants and crap WiFi.

Room Tip: Do some homework when choosing where to stay in the resort - hotel, apartments, residences. Walking distances can be long as the resort is huge !
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank FinnKitesurfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations Manager at Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for the time taken to post your feedback on Tripadvisor.
We would like to thank you for your preference in choosing the Sheraton Algarve Hotel & Pine Cliffs Resort once again and we are pleased to know that you have enjoyed the time spent with us.
We appreciate your comments and we regret to learn of some inconveniences upon your recent visit, for which we present our sincere apologies. At Starwood properties, we are continuously looking to improve our overall services and guest’s enjoyment; therefore your comments are of a great value to us.
Kindly be informed that the “ultra modern villas” you mentioned are our newest units, the Terraces, and although some of them are privately owned, they are also available to rent. Please feel free to contact our Reservations Department at pinecliffs.reservations@luxurycollection.com for more information.

We look forward to welcome you again in a future visit.

The Guest relations Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

Stayed here in July in Golf suite near tennis courts for 10 days . 2 adults and two teenage boys. It was our third visit to Pine Cliffs so obviously ticks many boxes for us , not least ease of travel and access from the airport ! The resort combines the facilities of a luxury hotel with the flexibility and comfort of villas and apartments located in discreet clusters around beautifully landscaped acres gardens surrounding a quite distinctive 9 hole golf course.

The resort does and provides what it describes in its marketing literature "on the tin" one might say! > all facilities are excellent , the tennis courts are exceptionally well managed by a most able and pleasant tennis coaching team headed up by charismatic American whose patience and charm is in play morning to night! The pools are good and the beach services are amongst the best in the Algrave giving a sense of exclusiveness and security and what is really a public beach.A highlight for us is the fabulous Mirador "champagne" bar which sets up some of the the finest sundowner experiences in southern europe.

There have of course been complaints about the consistency in food in one or two of the resort restaurants and we had experience of this. What is impressive was the response to our politely raised concerns where no effort was spared in ensuring that our issue was addressed and that all experience therafter lived up to expectations. ( thanks to chef Martinez -he is French) for a quite outstanding meal in the gourmet restaurant on our last night!

The resort is pricey, but not ridiculous but, I guess you gets what you pay for and if you are seeking a reserved tone of luxury and exclusiveness in a resort catering for visitors with good standards of facilities and service ..that is to be expected . Given the scale of Pine Cliffs the management challenge in maintaining such standards is huge and is undoubtably tested and stretched on occasions.So no room for complacency.

Overall a fantastic place for families and couples of all ages that does not appear to be resting on it's laurels as its impressive management team do seem focussed on continuous enhancement. Would and have recommended to friends family who want a no brainer holiday iwith diverse and good facilities in comfortable and tasteful environment.

Room Tip: Duplex Golf suites with view of course!
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank steve d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations Manager at Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 30, 2012

Dear Sir.

Thank you for your contribution on Tripadvisor.

Your comments are extremely valuable to us and they motivate us to continue to improve our services and to create lifetime memories.

We look forward to welcome you again at our Resort.

Kind regards,
Guest Relations Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

No way!!! But still a very enjoyable although overpriced holiday.A lot of things have been said about this place and their aggressive charging policy as really nothing is included but most of the reviewer have missed the main point. In fact if you book in the Residences that is the most expensive section of the resort you then share the facilities that have been created for this part of the resort with all the other guests who have paid a lot less than you had. Good experiment of social mobility but not if you are the one who paid the most to have a bit of exclusivity.
Other minor blips..... The Residences pool well stuffed with inflatable toys users and would be beach volley players and the fact that on the beach, that once there you will discover is open to the public, the sun loungers are so close to each other that you can barely move.
Don't spend over the odds to go there and as I said you will have a very enjoyable holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Marcello R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations Manager at Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 30, 2012

Dear Sir.,

Thank you for the time to share your feedback on Tripadvisor.

At Starwood properties, we are continuously looking to improve our overall services and guest’s enjoyment.
We do regret to learn of the inconveniences upon your recent visit. In order to improve, we invite you to share your comments further with us at the following address: 00199.algarveguestrelations@luxurycollection.com
Kind regards,
Guest Relations Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

This review is for the "Residences" section of the resort (do your research with care as there are different accommodation options in Pine Cliffs although all of them have equal access to the facilities) Having read recent reviews I'd say they give a very balanced and accurate impression of the Residences and the resort as a whole and so I won't repeat here what has been said by others about pools, beach, restaurants etc as I agree with most of it. Overall the facilities are excellent and the service similarly good & notably friendly and natural. The resort is large so you have good options for pools, recreation and dining. Although, like others, I found the dining slightly hum-drum for an adventurous foodie, the nightly buffet in the main hotel restaurant made things very easy for my family and the fact that the standard kids menu is available in all but 2 of the restaurants is handy too.
The acid test is, of course, the "will I return" question. Answer - yes, definitely, but possibly for less than 14 nights next time as "resort fever" set in for my wife and I agter about 8/9 days and this part of the Algarve is not over endowed with other attractions once the beach and pool have become old hat. Villamoura is good for a couple of outings but Albufeira is almost completely without charm or interest.

As noted by earlier reviews the one exception to the high level of service is at the Residences reception where at least half of them lack the natural charm of other staff and 80% of the time they give the impression that they are highly pressured and/or under-equipped to meet your needs or answer your questions.

Room Tip: Block S4 is the nearest to the Residences pool. We were in Block S7 and would choose there again as it was comfortably close to the pool and Residences Reception (which also houses the Gym and O'Grill where you have breakfast) but also slightly secluded. For young families I'd advise a ground floor room as the kids have direct access to a safe patio and garden area.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations Manager at Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 30, 2012

Dear Mr. Andrew M.,

At Pine Cliffs Resort we highly value your feedback which enables us to maintain the high standards of our Resort.

We are glad to learn that overall you and your family have had an enjoyable stay.

Looking forward to welcome you back in the near future.

Kind regards
Guest Relations Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

Just back from 11 nights at Pine Cliffs Residences with family (children 7 and 5). The residences' apartments are nice and spacious. However, you are a good walk away from the beach/kids club etc. and we found that the train was rarely to its timetable so we did a lot of walking but you get used to it. The only problem with having the best pool (in our opinion) on the complex is that it seems like lots of guests from the hotel and part-owned apartments come down to use this pool so it gets crowded. And there was a lot of reserving sunbeds with towels which was a bit annoying. O Grill restaurant and the beach restaurant were lovely and the staff were great. Corda Cafe we found a bit average. Porta Pirata kids club was good and the twice weekly movies for kids is great. Maid service was every day and they did a good job. The separate Residences gym and shop were handy to have nearby. A few niggles - the separate Residences reception/concierge is a good idea but we found the reception staff always seemed a bit flustered and referred us to the main hotel concierge when we had any questions. Room service was always ringing out and we were told they were very busy and would call back - they did but it took a long time to get food delivered. Plus charging 5 Euros for a bottle of water upon arrival in the room is just a bad idea - it gives the wrong impression of the place. But we did have a lovely holiday and the reason for mentioning all the niggles above is that it is very expensive to stay at the Residences and for the price we paid I would have expected a little bit better in some areas.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Julie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations Manager at Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your contribution on Tripadvisor.

Your comments are extremely valuable to us and they motivate us to continue to improve our services and to create lifetime memories.

We look forward to welcome you again at our Resort.

Kind regards,

Liliana Vieira
Guest Relations Executive

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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