My family stayed at the Baia for 10 nights in September 2013. We had the most wonderful time, although everyone thought we would come home divorced, due to travelling with our daughters (4), (2) & 6 months! The room worked out brilliantly. We could put the kids to bed after the kiddies entertainment at 9ish, and we could slip out to the balcony and into bed without disturbing their sleep. We had a pool view room, so during the day, when our two smallest had to nap, we took turns staying in the apartment - I took great joy in sunbathing on the balcony, so it wasn't "wasted" time for a sun-worshiper.
The dining was a little stressful - both restaurants were very noisy, with partial glass roofs, so any cutlery dropping, or child yowling was amplified. Our kids didn't tend to cry, but spent a lot of time staring around the large restaurants, in shock/awe of all the activity in a condensed area. Over the holiday, we figured out the best table, and times to dine, to cut down on noise. The food itself was lovely. We dined out in Alvor twice, mostly just for the change of scenary. The village is very nice.
Our eldest daughter, (then 4) spent some time in the kids club, but had to be heavily persuaded to attend after the first day. It seemed to be geared at 7 - 9 year olds, and most kids went with another they already knew. Also, the kids club staff had broken English, some of them quite poor English, so my daughter didn't really understand them. We found the evening entertainment very good, but NOTE, our kids are tiny. I think its aimed at age 9 downwards, and there's not much happening for adults, or teens. The time of the kiddies disco etc was ideal, because we'd be first down for dinner, and then go straight to the disco. Everyone's kids played in the evening also at the playground, which was ideal for parents to bring up a glass of wine and relax! Families who had young children were loving their holiday. Couples & families with older kids looked a bit disgruntled. The entertainment staff seemed to be people in their early 20s, just enjoying their summer, and didn't seem to have much guidance/supervision on what itinerary to put on, or how to entertain kids of different ages.
I went to the Spa for one whole day, and had a teeny tiny masseuse, but the massages I got were amazing - it was really well worth the cost. My daughter (4) came in for a swim at the end of my day there, and she loved the change of scenery.
We went to the beach one day, and although we got the bus, in the extreme heat, we found the trek too much. We didn't have all the beach equipment we needed, and didn't want to hire a bed as we were only going to be there of an hour or so. We just felt, although its only a quick bus ride away, it wasn't worth the hassle.
The pool was freezing cold. However, the weather was hot all during our holiday, so the kids didn't mind. I found I would have to swim or keep active in the water, or else I'd get cold.
We spent a long time trying to decide where to go this year, and due to the following, we have decided to return to Baia again this year:
1. Playground beside pool, so parents can sun-bathe and supervise kids at same time; The kids club is near the pool too, so you can collect in your togs!
2. There are scheduled eating times, so if the kids don't eat well at breakfast, they can have the snack at 11 instead & the same throughout the day;
3. The entertainment will be ideal for our kids this year - all three of them will be able to partake this year;
4. The all inclusive bar was great, and I only really figured out what to order towards the end of our holiday last year!
5. Alvor is a lovely village, that is maybe 15 minutes away, and is ideal for having an ice-cream after dinner, or sauntering around the shops.
6. We'll probably do the day trips to the waterpark and aquatic park this year - we heard from other guests that they were great, despite a very early start.
I read the reviews before our trip last year, and someone had suggested bringing your own hangers. We did this, and it was well worth it, so bring some! We almost left our clothes to be laundered, and at the last minute I checked the prices, and they were outlandish, so be warned!
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