My partner and I spent one week at this hotel from May 31st and overall had a really good experience and a lovely holiday, however, the hotel very much still has some kinks to iron out.
First of all, the room was excellent. We luckily bagged a pool view room (I did email ahead as one reviewer suggested, however due to not receiving a reply, I'm not sure if it was cheekyness or luck that got us this room!) Always very clean with a modern interior. Good working air conditioning which is always a plus. Plenty of storage room. However, it's quite clear the room was designed by a man as there is only a mirror in the bathroom and a mirror on the wardrobe doors with no accessible plugs nearby. It made any hair styling etc a bit challenging! As has been previously said, the balcony is a very large size and catches sun for a good portion of the day.
The pool itself is very large and as you'd expect, quite chilly. The pool area again, was immaculate, a theme that carried on throughout the entire hotel and its grounds. Very well maintained. It did catch a lot of wind but on very hot days, this was a blessing. I found the wind far worse on the beach. The shuttle train from the hotel was very helpful in regards to the beach and runs every hour.
If you fancy a visit to Alvor, it's a short ten minute walk downhill (which of course means the return is uphill but a taxi at night is only 3.90). It's a lovely place with lots of fish and seafood restaurants. It isn't exactly a wild night out, as you would expect for a small fishing village, but there is a good choice of bars and an evening is what you make of it.
We can't say much for the hotel entertainment as we never attended. It seemed to be aimed more at children which is fine. Evenings in the bar could become very boring, with most families sat with their nose in an ipad and kids playing on D.S's. No one seemed to chat to each other at times! However, we went down to Alvor most evenings so this wasn't particularly a problem. If a chillout and do nothing holiday is what you want, this is perfect. However, there are lots of kids so the hotel doesn't seem to have yet found it's niche in that sense.
Now, sadly, the negatives. The dining experience at the hotel really needs to improve. That aspect is by no means 4 star. The dining room is very much like a school canteen, as has already been said, and at busy times can become VERY noisy. It is not somewhere you want to take your time and enjoy your meal, it is more a case of get the food down and get out. And this is very much encouraged by the staff. I understand the general attitude will be that this is what you expect of an all inclusive buffet, however having been to other hotels all inclusive, I never at any point felt I had to hurry my meal down as the staff wanted my table. It was an uncomfortable experience, and one particular staff member made it this way most evenings. I don't feel it is appropriate to name the gentleman, however, as he appeared to be the head waiter, I do not expect such rude behaviour. One several occasions, i tried to ask him a question as he showed us to our table, and had his hand put in front of my mouth and basically shushed as he continued to walk. I also saw him repremand families on two seperate occasions for requesting a table for a certain number of people, and then waiting for the rest of their party to arrive. They must have waited around 5 minutes maximum but were told they shouldn't ask for a bigger table if they were going to take so long to occupy it. 20 minutes and I'd have understood but he was embarassing people publicly for little to no reason. I can't imagine it's easy at all to have to look after foreigners day in day out, but this seemed ridiculous.
Also the hotel has 2 dining rooms but only one is currently open but given the number of travellers at the hotel during our stay, and how busy the dining room became, I think it's time to open both.
We also witnessed rude reception staff basically standing "Taking the mick" out of a man who had gone and asked a question they must have deemed stupid. It wasn't done in private and I think people forget that regardless of language barriers, body language gives you away.
The service and dining room itself aside, we felt the food was fine, it was always hot when we got to it. Overall, a lovely hotel but the dining experience and some staff let it down massively.
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