This would have been a five star rating if it was not for the restaurant experience.
We stayed in two apartments and generally enjoyed our stay. Some of the positives were:
- extremely friendly, helpful and cordial staff
- hotel effectively new, very clean
- the shuttle service to and from beach and to Marina worked very well for us, the service was always on time and we always managed to get a seat.
- we hired a car and this was helpful for exploring the surrounding area and shopping
- the apartments were spacious and well equipped
- excellent breakfast, fresh and big choice
We have not used the pools (seemed mostly occupied by small children). Used the gym couple of times, air quite stuffy but there are so many wonderful opportunities to do exercise outside, do beach runs and runs around the village.
We have also used the spa which was quite good (new) but staff was not always that friendly and the water was not hot but more lukewarm.
The reason why we gave the hotel only four out of five was the bad experience we have made with the restaurants.
Firstly, at Ruby, there was a huge stone (diameter one inch or 2.5cm) in my Portuguese rice. I never experienced a stone of that size in food, and last time this happened to me, I received a huge delivery of sample products by the producer. Here, the waiter apologised (it was not his fault) but there could have been a stronger response (eg free meal, drink etc).
We thought it was a one off but one of the following days, we made a reservation through reception at the other restaurant (where buffet costs 32+ euros). When we came to take our table, we found out that we were not even on the list and we were only offered a table inside (nobody else wants to sit inside in this fine weather). Apart from the offer of booking a table for the next day, there was again only a half hearted apology for the "miscommunicaton" by the head of restaurants. We then went to Guia, which is the worldwide piri piri HQ to have a nice dinner there at a fraction of the cost (the South American buffet they offered looked nothing like South American to me anyway).
I also have to report that my partner had diarrhoea one day after visiting the Ruby Hilton restaurant. We think it was related but cannot confirm for sure.
If you have to eat at the Ruby do so before 6.30pm because after that, the prices go up 50% based on a different, marginally varied menu (e.g. Foie gras burger where they run out of foie gras). My father complained of the toughness of the burger he said he had to drink two bottles of Orangina to somehow digest it.
The only other complaint we had was the sterility of the area. Vilamoura was designed in the drawing board in the sixties so no life or soul. Albufeira full of British chavs. There are a few nice villages about but not exactly lively either.
So - that was a lot of whinging. If a clean stress free beach holiday is what you are looking for, especially with kids, this is the place. But better eat outside, there is a regular shuttle bus to the marina.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Treat yourself to a fabulous spa weekend, enjoy a fun-filled family holiday, or experience the perfect golfing break at the award-winning Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa, one of the leading family-friendly Algarve hotels. This attractive, modern Algarve hotel is situated in five acres of glorious manicured gardens in the heart of the sun-kissed Algarve, Portugal. Set amid the lush greenery of some of Portugal's finest golf courses, the Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa is replete with distinctive Moorish architecture, spectacular covered and outdoor pools and glorious cascading waterways. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort And Spa
- Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Hotel Vilamoura
- Hilton International Vilamoura
- Vilamoura Hilton
- Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa Portugal - Algarve