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Sao Rafael Atlantico
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Reviews (1,213)
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Reviewed July 6, 2013

We just got back from a week at CS Sao Rafael Atlantic hotel. We were greeted by plenty of reception staff - our check in was swift. Shown to "Village room" which was larger than average - we liked the set up of the modern bathroom facilities. Showers were amazing - a large wet room with big overhead power shower. Our balcony overlooked garden with palm trees and beyond the pretty white villas on short road down to the beach.
On the other side of the hotel are large gardens from where guests access the beach and the pools. 2 pools for adults - and in our opinion - sufficient loungers. Staff from pool bar were always happy to reposition them and move heavy sun shade bases for guests.
Everyone chilled out on lazy days round pool, reading or just soaking up the rays of beautiful sunshine. Very few children around, it's not that kind of place, nothing for older children to do.
Negative comments re: hotel evening buffet we agree with. We loved buffet breakfast though. Hotel's indoor Mediterranean restaurant was more to our liking. Staff attentive, food very nice - we watched a waiter deftly make crepes at the side of the dinner table for a young couple.
Another option: take the board walk down to the restaurant on the beach. It opens at 7.30 pm and specialises in fresh fish. We walked down 2 evenings and took pleasure sitting in the airy room (covered but with partial open sides) watching the waves break against the rocks, while our meal was cooked and served to us.
It's not cheap to eat here - but food is great and waiters friendly.
Nice walk back to hotel, then we had a cocktail most evenings in the Gin Bar, (they don't only serve Gin) it became a ritual. Every other night live musicians set up to sing/play there. It was sadly small audiences (more when TV tuned into Wimbledon tennis !) We especially liked the guy with guitar who specialised in Gary Moore songs :) Very peaceful after 11.30 pm - unless you go into Albufeira. All in all a charming place and we were sad to leave.

Room Tip: Not a high rise hotel. If you want a full sea view you probably need to be on a higher floor. We were happy in Village view room at less cost.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Wils58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

Excellent holidays for my birthday, I highly recommand the place!

The best:
- 3 minutes walk from a lovely beach, with private walk.
- Rooms with sea view have an amazing view through a wall sized window and balcony.
- The SPA is free to use for all hotel guests and it is very relaxing.
- On my birthday, the hotel offered us a bottle of Champagne and a cake, very nice touch.
- Breakfast restaurant has a terrace and fresh orange juice.
- Modern design is lovely.
- The huge Italian style shower in the bedroom is a delight, especially if you are a couple.
- The bed was gigantic (2 big single beds joined together).
- The outside pool was warm (not very deep so not very cold).
- Staff were always available and friendly.

To improve:
- Internet is very v-e-r-y slow (either wifi in the lobby or cable in the room)
- People put a towel on the swimming pool chairs early in the morning but only use the pool hours later (they go to the beach in the morning). Remove unattended towels to free the chairs, however this should be automatically done per hotel policy. if you do not remove unattended towels, all seats seem taken all day.
- the outside pools are a bit small and not very deep. One is only for babies, the second is one meter deep, the last is 1 to 2m deep. They are circle shaped so everybody lying around is staring at the people swimming.
- Some little areas, on walls or roof have unfinished painting/refurbushing in common areas.
- Breakfast is a bit repetitive (wide selection but always the same).
- We booked through an internet discount tour operator but it was still a bit expensive.

Room Tip: Some rooms with sea view on the lower floor have a wall hidding the view, beware. Need to use a cap for the SPA & inside pool. Some people leave towels in the morning to secure a pool chair, just remove them.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank El_Fred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

We stayed at this hotel for 9 nights last month so that we could chill out after a stressful few months. We chose this hotel because of it's description, 5 star rating and good reviews on Trip Advisor. We regularly stay at 5 star hotels in the UK, Europe, USA and the Middle East and are familiar with services provided. There are some excellent aspects and some not so good points about this Hotel.

THE GOOD POINTS. - The staff are pleasant, helpful and efficient, particularly the reception staff. Our room was large, comfortable with plenty of wardrobe and storage space. It had a fantastic view over the gardens to the sea. There is an aqua spa and indoor swimming pool which was fantastic and we used it several times - you do have to wear a swimming cap which they supply for 5 euros - we thought it bit odd they charged. The pool area was good and kept tidy.There are only 50 sun beds and about 25 parasols, given the size of the hotel seems insufficient. The Garden areas are neat and tidy with lots of palm and olive trees.

THE NOT SO GOOD POINTS - the hotel food was very disapointing. On our first night we had the buffet dinner at a cost of 25 euros each. There was a large selection to choose from. The meat dishes were dry or tough and the fish were overcooked and hard. I think the problem is caused by the food being kept warm for long periods over bain maries which were steaming hot and so continued to cook the food. We also tried the a la carte restaurant, again a disapointment. I had minestroni soup which they presented the plate containing the pasta, noodles and vegatables and then poured hot boullion over them at the table. The soup did not taste of anything other than boullion. My wife ordered roast cod dish with fennel ravioli and roasted potatoes. When it arrived trhere was no ravioli or roast potatoes and the cod was boiled or steamed and over cooked. To the restaurant's credit they did not charge for the dish. We ate out at other reaturants for then on. Breakfast was not good either. There was a good choice of items however the replenshment of the buffet seemed to be reacative rather than proactive - they replenished when asked to by the customers. I sometimes like an omelette for breakfast but chose not to have one when I saw they used commercial, ready made egg mix from a carton rather than fresh eggs. the fried eggs were deep fried and generally hard and no poached or boiled eggs available. The hot food items were at different locations on the large buffet so you had to move around to get the items you want and having to queue several times - making your hot breakfast cold by the time you get to your table

MATTERS OF TASTE- Many reviewers have mentioned the modern look of the hotel which has a style that has been adopted by the hotel company. The overall colour scheme is cream and brown, almost everything is cream and brown even the staff uniforms are cream and brown. The first impression is of stark angled lines and open space. After a while we found that design was at the expence of comfort. The gardens had only trees and grass - no flowers, therefore only geen and brown colour. We do like both traditional and modern decor but found the Hotel's scheme monotonous.

We did not like the "open Washing" facilities in the bedroom. The wash basin is behind an open partition wall, the toilet has an opaque glass screen door as does the shower room (no bath tub). You have to be comfortable hearing ALL the noises of ablutions etc. Also, the sound proofing of the rooms is inadequate - on more than one occasion we were able hear our near neighbours conversations and arguments etc.

TheWiFi was very slow and on several occasions I could not access e mails

All in all we had an relaxing time but had to look outside the hotel for meals, which was not so easy given the location of the hotel with few local reaturants nearby.

I do not think the hotel rates 5 stars perhaps 3+ stars. I say this as there are not many facilites i.e no shops and the pool bar closes at 6 p.m. etc.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank DBDDorset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

Beautiful location with a lovely small beach within a 5 minutes walk. Rooms (ours was a partial ocean view) are generously sized and comfortable. Footsteps from rooms overhead were annoying, but otherwise this was a quiet location. I was disappointed with the overall décor of the hotel which I found felt to be out-of-keeping with the surrounding district with more of a business vibe. Wi-fi was only available in common-areas and was very, very slow. Reception, check-in and check-out were difficult to say the least. Our booking made via a link from this website had not come through and it took over 45 minutes for the check-in to be arranged. Three of my credit cards (Visa x2 and AMEX-Australian issued) were declined at check out with reception staff hinting that I must have had insufficient funds, or my bank had problems. Strange, especially given that this was not the case and they have since been accepted in Lisbon without issue. A five star hotel should not leave the customer feeling like they are at fault with such matters - left a very sour feeling about my stay here.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank MiaJ29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

I wanted a weekend away that wasn't too far away and where I was guaranteed some sunshine. The Algarve seemed the perfect spot, and it is very nice indeed.

In terms of location it is worth noting that the CS Atlantic is about 45 minutes direct drive from Faro airport and not easy to get to by public transport (how I would normally transfer to a hotel) so I used a transfer service (Yellow Fish) which cost about €60 return so you do need to factor in how you are getting there.

Another note on location is that it's not that close to Albureira so you need to be able to walk the long distance in the sun, take a taxi or make use of the hotel transfer service. There's not much choice in terms of bars and restaurants near to the Atlantic so if you don't want to eat at the hotel every night then you will need to drive or cab out.

For me, this was perfect for what I wanted, I wanted peace and quiet and not in the middle of 'English Breakfast served here' and bars. If you want to be in the thick of it in terms of places to eat and drink then you really need to be located in Albufeira new town.

The hotel itself is very nice, it is what it is.. a Spa resort hotel. The grounds are really nice, th beach is accessed by a board walk from the pool area, and there are a number of bars and a couple of restaurants. I am not sure about the 5* rating... it IS nice but there are some touches that could do with some attention, BUT, I think there is a difference that needs to ne noted between city 5* and beach 5*.

The breakfast was plentiful and all nice enough. I did eat in the buffet restaurant one evening and I did think that this was expensive for what it was and I wouldn't recommend eating here.

The staff were al lovely, very helpful and friendly... and the bar tender who made my Caipirinha did a splendid job!

1 criticism that I do have is that the mattress (which was very comfortable) was a memory foam one which can trap heat and make for a hot nights sleep.

Over all a very nice place if you want some R&R...

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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4  Thank ange71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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