We have just returned from Browns Sports and Leisure Club, myself, my husband, my 9 year old son and my 4 year old daughter. We stayed there from 26th Aug 06 for 1 week. We only booked the holiday a week before going so we were a little concerned as to why we could get a two bedroomed townhouse (which is what we booked) so late in the middle of school holiday's. Anyway, we flew out via Manchester on Thomas Cook, no delays and when we arrived at the other end the pre-booked transport was waiting. It only took 20 minutes from Faro.
Our first problem was encountered on arrival. Our flight was at 07.30 from Manchester, on time and we made half an hour during the flight, therefore we arrived at the resort at 11.30 am. We were all very tired as a 04.30 start was necessary for the journey. We were told that the villa was not ready, infact the guests currently in the villa did not have to leave until midday. The somewhat 'stroppy' receptionist informed us that rooms are not available to guests until 4pm, of course if we had known this we would have tried to get a later flight.
Anyway, after a few hours roasting by the pool in the clothes we had travelled in, our villa was ready at 3pm. We had been given not a 2 bedroomed townhouse, but the best villa on site, a three bedroomed, two bathroomed huge villa with its own, rather large (approx 13m by 5m) pool. It was villa 202 should you wish to request it.
We were extremely happy with this after our initial bad start. The villa had everything, fully fitted kitchen with microwave, fridge, cooker, a utility room with dishwasher, iron and board, basically everyhting you need. The kids absolutely LOVED the pool, and I must say we did too, it was very big for a private pool.
We had booked bed and breafast, do not do this. The breakfast, which we only had the first day, is continental and very boring. Not worth the money. We bought our own food at the supermarket and this was much more convenient.
It is primarily a sports club for both local Portuguese and visiting clubs. It has Sauna, excellent gym facilities, tennis courts, running tracks, football and rugby pitches. It also has a childrens outside play area, with climbing ropes, bridges, swings and slides, this is very good for all ages.
It also has a medium sized outside swimming pool and an indoor pool. The outside pool is clean if not very big and there is a smaller childrens pool next to it, however it would be full with two toddlers in it. The main pool also has a swim up bar, however this was not manned throughout our stay, very strange for high season.
The indoor pool is again medium sized, we did not use it because of the pool we had, but were told should we wish to use it you must first purchase swimming caps from reception (4 Euros each) as no swimming is allowed in this pool unless you wear a cap!
It has a bar in the club where you can have a drink or eat lunch, the service is very hit and miss though. We ate lunch here three times, two times good food and good service, the other time, awful food, terrible service. All around are pictures of the visiting sports clubs, we realised that many British football and rugby clubs stay there to train. Attached to the bar is both an inside restaurant (remember the poor breakfast) and an outside eating area. We ate at night here twice. Again very hit and miss. The first time, very enjoyable food (great lamb chops) and friendly service, the seond time was our last night, OK food, OK service, but we were inundated by flies throughout the meal, awful!
We decided to hire a car on the second day, this is not a must because as I said you can eat at the main part of the resort, it would get a little boring though as the menus are not very extensive. We had to laugh at the daily soup of the day, very healthy, but its not everyone's taste, the choices were, spinich, cabbage, leek, spinich, cabbage, leek etc
We ate out most evenings and topped up on drinks from the supermarkets for our fridge at the villa.
Now, the other main problem with this resort. As I said clubs visit there to train. When we arrived and had to sit by the pool to wait for our villa, an Italian rugby team we in the pool, we spoke to another British couple who said their children would not go in the pool while some 15 burly looking men we messing about in there, our children would not go in either while the rugby players were in the water. We were told by this couple that they had booked this resort after much research because there children wanted to play lots of sports in the 'summer camp' that the resort advertises, but when they arrived, the resort told them summer club had been cancelled due to low numbers. They also did not have a car and found it expensive to travel by taxi every night to the nearest town.
She also told us the week before we arrived an English Rugby club took over the pool, and the profanity was awful.
We did enjoy our stay at Browns, but only because of the villa, it just needs to make up its mind, if its a family resort or a sports club. If you are a couple looking for sun and somewhere to exercise daily, you will love this resort, if you are a family, unless you get Villa 202, there are a much better alternatives on the Algarve.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Browns is Europe's premier warm weather training resort, facilitating training for grassroots, amateurs and professional sports teams of all disciplines. We are 20 minutes from Faro international Airport, 5 minutes to the famous Vilamoura Marina and 5 minutes to the beautiful Falesia Beach. We are also surrounded by 6 top European Golf courses. Browns modern facility has everything you need right at your finger tips. Accommodation, pitch, professional gym, changing rooms, conference room, team room, bar and restaurant are all on the grounds within a few meters of each other. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Browns Sports And Leisure Club
- Browns Sports & Leisure Club Hotel Vilamoura
- Browns Sports Leisure Hotel
- Browns Sports & Leisure Club Vilamoura, Portugal - Algarve