Having worked at a 5* hotel while at university I must admit that I may be hard to please and expect perfection when I stay at one. In summary for those that don't want to read the whole review: Great design of the hotel and rooms but poor service and insufficient staff. Some staff fantastic, others poor.
We booked a five day holiday at the last minute (booked in the afternoon and flew out the next morning) at this hotel on a half-board basis. We arrived in the morning at about 11am and were immediately impressed by the foyer, it is huge, quite minimalist with plenty of natural light. Upon approaching reception (which was staffed someone who appeared to think guests were a hassle to be got rid of) we were less impressed when told we could not check in until 3pm. We were brusquely told that we could use the hotel facilities and they could look after our bags until check in, facilities wise, this pretty much amounted to "the pool". Unfortunately we hadn't bothered bringing towels as that is something you expect a 5* hotel to provide from the outset. Upon approaching reception again I was told no towels until check-in. Somewhat unimpressed, we left the hotel and went down to the beach and sat in the cafe (which I recommend) and had some lunch and whiled away the first few hours of our holiday in a state of mild annoyance.
At three on the dot we were back, along with what seemed like half of Portugal, all clearly fobbed off with a 3pm check-in. The queue moved at a glacial pace until eventually we were shown to our rooms at about half past four. This is the point at which our fears that we had chosen badly were massively allayed. We were given room 221 which is a garden view room and faces away from Lagos, with about 50 metres between the room and any other buildings. Room is beautifully designed, however I am not going to focus on that as the pictures tell it much better than I could. Before coming I was aware that there was free wifi in the main area but not the rooms, however we were able to pick it up from the room with only occasional drop-outs. Rooms was always serviced when requested and not when the do not disturb was on the door.
Dinner each night was a buffet affair but was fairly varied with a good selection of meats and salads. Service (for breakfast and dinner) was strange in that the first few nights it was basically appalling and i took to roving the restaurant room attempting to corner a waiter to place an order, however this improved very markedly by the last few nights. I think this was down to the head waiter who seemed to do everything while the other more junior ones stood around looking useless and occasionally, laboriously clearing a table. Breakfasts were similar in that there was good variation in the buffet but nothing really outstanding, though the free "champagne" was a nice touch.
The upper pool is great, very peaceful and relaxed, I am not sure if this was due to being outside of school summer holidays or just the general ambiance of the place. There are plenty of sun-loungers, each with their own mat and a pillow. There are plenty of umbrellas to protect from the sun though be warned that these do occasionally get caught by a gust of wind and go flying.
Much of the holiday passed at the pool with occasional excursions to Lagos in the evening. I definitely recommend getting a taxi as the walk to town is pretty long and not pleasant along a dusty road. Though not the hotels fault, taxis can take a long time to arrive so it can be worth booking in advance and giving the time you want picking up. It would be good if the hotel would instigate a shuttle bus as other hotels in the areas appear to do. As far as we could tell there was very little in the way of shops or facilities around the hotel so any toiletries, cigarettes, non-hotel drinks/food etc will require a trip to town. Although there is supposed to be an internal shop this was closed for the duration of our stay, as was the A La Carte restaurant.
The pools-side restaurant was good and served a good variety of food for lunch. Drinks arrived quickly though time for food service was variable. Staff here were friendly and attentive which makes you wonder why things were so different upstairs in the main restaurant and reception.
I know this review appears to be a bit of a stinker but we had a great time and were disappointed when we had to leave. It is very relaxing and has the potential to be a great 5* hotel, it just needs to up their staff numbers and improve their training.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Adults-only hotel (16+) ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Yellow Lagos Meia Praia Hotel Lagos