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“Family holiday - a very honest review - disappointed”

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Pestana Alvor Praia
Ranked #3 of 24 Hotels in Alvor
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 11, 2012

Just back from a weeks stay in the Alvor Pestana. We booked our holiday with a local travel agent and were informed a few days before our departure that the hotel was overbooked and they wanted to move us to another hotel. The main reason we booked the Alvor Pestana was due to the close promimity to a beach. We have a one year old and three year old and we didnt want to rent a car or have to walk a distance to a beach. Also our kids sleep in the middle of the day so we wanted to be close to our hotel.I put my foot down and the hotel moved other guests.

The positives
1. Location is excellent when trying to entertain young kids. We brought them to the beach early in the morning then up to the hotel bedroom for a nap, back to the pool, lunch in the hotel, back to the beach etc.
2. The quality of the breakfast was excellent. Great choice for the health conscious, omlettes were tasty and the waffles with chocolate sauce were delicious.
3. Hotel staff made a huge effort to facilitate food choices for the kids. Made tasty dinners every day for the one year old.

The negatives
1. Swimming pools were freezing.
2. Drinks at the bar were very expensive. Approx. 13 Euro for a gin and tonic.
3. No kettles in the hotel rooms so i had to ring room service every time i needed hot water to make a bottle for the baby or else i had to go down to the bar area for hot water.
4. We had reservations about the room we would get considering the hotel wanted to move us to another hotel. The room that was allocated to us wasnt great. The room was located at the side of the hotel - we had a view of the fire exit and no sun on the balcony until late in the evening. The fact that our kids had naps in the middle of the day one of us sat on the balcony every day for two hours looking at a fire exit in the shade.
5. Our first morning we arrived down on the beach at 8.10am and all of the sun loungers were allocated to guests. The 2nd morning we arrived down at 8am and we were lucky to get two sun loungers. Guests are meant to collect their hotel towels at 8am by the pool area and then go to the beach and book their sun loungers with a member of staff. Problem is guests hold on to their towels from the previous day and go down to the beach before 8am and put their towels out. This was so frustrating. The hotel should either allocate a different colour towel/day or else remove all of the towels on the beds and make it clear to guests that they must sign for sun loungers. The 7 days that we stayed in the hotel we got sun loungers once. Also guests staying in other Pestana hotels in the area can use the facilities at the Pestana Alvor Praia ! We paid a lot of money for our weeks holiday so the facilities should only be for guests of the hotel.
6. The bedrooms are in need of a refubishment. The woodwork on doors was shabby. Also our bathroom was small with the shower built into the bath.

Hotel is really more suitable for couples. We did have a great holiday and the staff in the hotel were excellent. Special mention to the assistant manager. She was terrific.

Room Tip: Ensure you ask for a sea view room
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank JOANNE060973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2012

We had booked Superior Room with Sea View only to find when we arrived at midnight after a very long day that our room was not available due to the previous occupants being unwell and unable to travel. That night we were given an apartment on the site of the hotel then moved to our chosen room the next day. This was not an ideal start to our week's stay. Later in the week we ordered breakfast in our room (charge 5 Euros) but this meal did not arrive despite 2 phone calls to the Restaurant. On the plus side the grounds of this hotel are superb as is the sea view but those two little incidents would make us think twice about returning.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank 45Chrissie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2012

First Impression: Check in was easy, and when we arrived late we went for a walk on the beach and was blown away.
Room: our room was great- not quite garden nor sea view but really spacious and luxurious for what you would expect for a 5* hotel. The only complaint i would have is we were next to the fire exit, and the recycling was next to our room which proved noisy at 6am a couple of mornings.
Staff: The staff were extremely friendly and helpful each time we had a question, wanted directions or taxi and very friendly at breakfast time.
Food and Drink: Breakfast was fantastic, a huge choice- freshly made waffles, omlettes, continental and cooked breakfasts with a lovely terrace overlookign the pool area and the beach.
Apart from breakfast (as we opted for a b&b stay) we didnt' ear or drink once at the hotel. We felt it was very expensive, especially compared to local prices. Eating out is something i enjoy on holiday and i highly recommedn the restaurant 'Atlantida' right in front of the hotel on the beach, friendly staff and great fresh food at half the price of the hotel. Alvor had some nice restaurants also, but we ate in Atlantida 3 out of the 7 nights we stayed.
Location: The location was extraordinary, you genuinely felt like you had your own private beach. I urge everyone to walk and explore the coves and the small beaches to the left of the hotel. A secret tip- go for a walk through the coves in the eveing and you will come across a bar, with bean bags and seating on the beach- it is breathtaking!The location of the hotel was good in terms of relation to Alvor village. It was a good 15 minute walk, maybe not the nicest of walks but close enough and around 3 Euros for a taxi.
It is worth walking into Alvor along the beach as well, a boardwalk is there .
The only complaint i would have about this hotel is and perhaps at no fault of their own is the sun loungers by the pool. On our first day we planned on relaxing by the pool, by 9.30am nearly all longers were reserved by people putting towels on them. This was even more frustrating when most of these loungers weren't occupied until lunchtime.
Around the area: I recommend going on a trip to Lagos for a couple of hours and Praia du Rocha if you fancy a change of scenery, its a little more lively but we walked to the lighthouse which we enjoyed and ate at Titanic restaurant which was really fab, lovely food and staff!

I would definitely go back to this hotel and i am so happy i found this gem of a hotel and Alvor. The beach was unbelieveable, definitely the best beach i have been to in Europe.

You're in for a treat if you've booked to go here, or thinking of doing so :-)

Room Tip: If i were to go back i would ask for a sea/beach view, well worth the £50 or so extra.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank elinmai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012

Just returned after a weeks stay at this hotel. Although the hotel is dated & in need of updating it is still very comfortable. The staff are very friendly & the hotel is kept immaculate. Breakfast on the terrace was enjoyable for both fantastic views & good food. However the menu & the food at dinner was terrible & although we were half board we ate out five of the seven nights. During our stay it was my birthday & I had a lovely surprise when a cake & a bottle of champagne was delivered to our room by the hotel management.

The hotel has a great location on a fantastic stretch of beach & there are lots of nice bars & restaurants within walking distance. This has been our fourth visit to Portugal this year & our first visit to Alvor. We would consider staying at this hotel again but on a b&b basis so that we could eat out in the evenings.

The hotel has a five star rating but at best is only four star but the fantastic staff & location make this hotel well worth a visit.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
3  Thank sutty_58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2012

This is a very nice hotel, not sure it is up to its 5 stars, probably more like 4 stars, but the views from the hotel are definitely 5 stars. We booked a garden view room but were lucky enough to be upgraded to a sea view and after experiencing the fabulous view from our room I would definitely recommend booking a sea view room. Apart from the fantastic views you also get a larger balcony with a table and chairs and a large bed/sofa that you can lounge on to read a book or sip your wine, whilst taking in the views. The garden view rooms have much smaller balconies with no bed/sofa and overlook the front of the hotel.

The breakfast was very good, with a large selection of fruit, breads etc. and the normal hot dishes. My only grumble would be that the queue for the egg station was sometimes up to 15 people long, with one poor woman tying to juggle 4 frying pans and on some days 2 waffle machines. For a 5 star hotel I think this was unacceptable. The said queue was also in front of the hot food counter which meant you had to continually weave your way in and out of the queue of people just to get to the dishes you wanted.

We did not eat lunch or dinner at the hotel as we were bed and breakfast. It seemed expensive, but we did see some people having the ‘buffet lunch’ located next to the pool which looked very nice and was 14 euro. We chose to eat lunch at the restaurants on the beach, which had lovely views and were very reasonable. Lunch for 2 with drinks never came to more than 15 euro. In the evening we went into Alvor as there are so many lovely restaurants to choose from. We did however eat twice at the Atlantida Restaurant which is directly below the hotel on the beach. The food is fabulous and the view of the beach at night is worth the visit alone, but if you want a table outside I would advise you book as the restaurant is very popular and always full. You also have the Buzio Restaurant next to the hotel, which I understand to be very good and the Canico Restaurant which is set in the cliff overlooking one of the bays next to the hotel, so if you do not want to go into town you have at least 3 good restaurants within a few minutes’ walk.

We did find the sun bed saga every morning a little tiring, we went down at around 9.30 and always just managed to get 2 beds and were told by regulars that to get a bed by the pool or in a ‘good location’ you needed to be down by at least 7am. The pool boys were very good and always managed to find us an umbrella. The same with the beach, only once did we manage to get beds and this was not until after lunch, however we were height of season, so it is probably much quieter at other times.

We walked into Alvor most nights and got a taxi back. The walk was no more than 15 minutes to the outskirts of Alvor and the Dunas Complex where the Cactus Bar, Marco’s Restaurant and the Chill Out Bar are, and it is another 5 minutes walk to the main restaurant area and another 5 to the harbour. We walked in front of the Delfin Hotel and then turned right at the bottom and then a quick left and we found that to be the quickest route into town. The taxi has a standard 3.90 euro price for the first few miles and this covered the trip back to the hotel.

We love walking and decided to walk along the beach from the hotel and join up with the ‘boardwalk’ in the town. To get to the new boardwalk takes about 20 minutes along the beach and is well worth it or you can take a taxi into town and just do the boardwalk. There are many different routes to take with a few benches and jetties if you want to sit in the shade to enjoy the peace and quiet and the views, which are stunning.

All in all, this is a lovely hotel with views to die for, on the best stretch of beach in the area, with many little coves to choose from. The staff were really nice, it was our anniversary whilst we were there and a waiter delivered strawberries dipped in chocolate and a bottle of bubbly to our room free of charge, and on our last evening 2 cakes and a bottle of water arrived with a card saying have a great flight home, which was a really lovely touch. If you are looking for a good standard hotel, near one of the best resorts along the Algarve, with fabulous views and a wonderful beach then you won’t go wrong if you book this hotel.

Room Tip: A sea view is a must !
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank tingley2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2012

Enjoyed my stay at this relaxing hotel. Rooms are beautifully appointed and very clean. The staff are very approachable and attentive. The pool and many rooms offer lovely sea views and fabulous sunsets. Breakfast is well presented with cooking stations. My only complaint about the food on offer would be that smoked salmon wasn't provided. The pool caddies work very hard but the hotel does suffer from incredibly selfish people who book four loungers for two. We watched this every day. You really had to be up early to bag a lounger. The lift to the beach is super and certainly cuts out walking back up the steps through the garden.
We didn't eat dinner in the hotel as Alvor has amazing restaurants.

Room Tip: Better view from higher floors
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank CAM52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

Relaxed atmosphere with attentive staff, bar the odd slight slip. Public spaces are good but young children need watching in the lounge bar because of the unguarded pool that meanders through it.
Evening meals are series of regional speciality themed buffets, a chance to try lots of new tastes. The battered calamari were the first I have had that weren't like chewing sliced inner tube, if they are on the menu give them a go.
Breakfast cold food pretty standard but hot food would benefit from being hotter, the bacon is rubbery and sausages are american 'link' type - not to my taste. However the omelet lady and waffle king always have a small queue of people, again try them.
Pools are well cared for with cleaning and treatment every night. Usual problem over sun beds but helped by the extra sun beds on the beach.
The beach is lovely fine sand and when wet this is nice and firm so young children aren't likely to have the sand beneath their feet washed away by a wave. The rocks they feature in the pictures hide four coves which are successively quieter, avoid the second one, disco music at ten in the morning!
Would I recommend it to a friend, yes if they are looking for somewhere to chill out.

Room Tip: Save money by having a garden view, you won't spend much time there and the view is pleasant any...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pestana Alvor Praia

Address: Praia dos Tres Irmaos, Alvor, Portimao 8501-904, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Portimao > Alvor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Alvor
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Alvor
#3 Luxury Hotel in Alvor
#5 Romantic Hotel in Alvor
#7 Family Hotel in Alvor
Price Range: $80 - $411 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pestana Alvor Praia 5*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pestana Alvor Praia is a 5-star hotel in Alvor, Algarve. Located on Praia dos Três Irmãos, one of Algarve's best beaches, complete with white sands and tranquil, crystal-clear waters. It's surrounded by expansive gardens, an outdoor swimming pool and an elevator for direct beach access. If you wish to relax, visit the indoor swimming pool with plenty of natural light, the Spa where you can schedule a Magic Spa massage or beauty treatment, the Turkish bath or the gym with the latest equipment. If you wish to enjoy your meals with your family or have a cocktail, the Pestana Alvor Praia offers 2 restaurants and 2 bars. You can even make use of one of the tennis courts or golf courses only 15 km away. The little ones can enjoy mini golf, the playground and Kids Club (available from June until September). All rooms have Wi-Fi and air conditioning. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pestana Alvor Praia Hotel Alvor
Pestana Hotel Alvor

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