I got a very cheap last minute deal to this hotel, so wondered whether its advertised four star status would actually be real, but it was probably deserved. The central atrium of the building rises from the reception floor to the seventh floor, with most of the rooms leading off corridors around this, and it is is vast and not particularly attractive, but the warmth of the welcome and the quality of the rooms and the service could not be faulted. The vast majority of the staff were professional, pleasant, and smiling, with just two exceptions preventing me from awarding five stars in this review. Smiling, being pleasant, and making eye contact should be compulsory for all those working in hospitality!
I had a room on the sixth floor of seven, which gave pleasant views across a neighbouring cove and east to Almacao. Lower rooms are unlikely to have a view, but are cheaper. The room had a vast bed, which was comfortable, a marbled spacious bathroom with loo, bidet, and bath with good shower above it, a kitchenette area (behind sliding doors alongside the wardrobes) with cupboards well-stocked with crockery and cutlery, a kettle, a fridge, and a microwave. No coffee and tea were provided, but the facilities were great. No hair dryer in the room, but you can ask for one at reception. There was a chair at the usual hotel desk/dressing table, plus two very comfy chairs at a table by the window. Glass doors (great curtains to block out light) onto a spacious balcony with a table and chairs - though not used much during our stay.
Breakfast was excellent. Cereals, juices, fresh fruits, yoghurts, continental cheeses and meats, hot dishes, great range of breads and cakes- plus extras could be bought such as made-to-order omelettes. There was some variety, though not a great deal, but the range was such that no further variety was needed. I didn't have an evening meal but I gather from friends that they were rather ordinary. (There were several good eating places nearby, even in February, and the lunch time specials at many cafés were a real bargain). The bar is rather lacking in atmosphere, and prices are high, but there's a local bar just over the road (Palmeiras) that we enjoyed.
Before travelling I found it hard to find out exactly where the hotel was. Some descriptions say it's in Porches, others in Almacao de Pera, but it's actually in a small area called Senhora de Rocha, between Porches and Almacao ( about 30 minutes walk from the latter). The hotel is surrounded by blocks of recently built apartments - all unoccupied at this time of year - but there is a local bus stop just across the road which is halfway between Portimao and Albufeira (4.10 euros each trip) and the hotel runs a courtesy bus into Armacao at 10am and 2pm, so exploring the area is relatively easy even without a car.
Most of the guests were German or English golfers. We walked, and explored the coastal paths in both directions. (Eastwards you cannot walk along the cliff top from the hotel, but need to detour up local roads for about half a mile before joining the impressive path.) Try taking the hotel courtesy bus, then walk from Armacao along the beach to the bird sanctuary, then round the boardwalk and back onto the beach, or to Gale, and back. The coastal paths give amazing scenery, though past Armacao the cliffs give way to dunes and the walk is less spectacular.
The hotel indoor pool and spa looked good, but I didn't use either so can't comment. The outdoor pool and the grounds were being well maintained despite being little used in February, and there is also a shop which sells basic gifts, snacks, magazines and postcards. Wi-fi is available in the bedrooms - free for the first 24 hours then one euro a day after that. It worked, but required logging in every few minutes so was not great, but holidays should perhaps be email free, anyway!
If I was being ultra-critical I would say the quality of the pillows let the hotel down, but of the four provided in the room, I did find one that sort-of-suited. A minor point, given all the positive features.
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- Also Known As:
- Pestana Viking Hotel Porches
- Hotel Pestana Viking
- Pestana Viking Resort Algarve, Portugal - Porches