We returned recently from a trip to this lovely hotel. We were 3 adults and 3 children aged from 2 to 8. Initially we were disappointed not to have a room with a pool view. Our room was to the back of the hotel, overlooking the car park on one side but with a lovely view of the golf course and mountains on the other. The hotel seems to be well designed in this respect with the balconies having a dual aspect. I can’t imagine there are any apartments which don’t get a lot of direct sunshine during the day. As we were partially west facing we had lovely evening sun and it was really quiet so we were very happy in the end with our apartment.
The apartment itself was incredibly spacious. Other reviews on this site had talked about how large they are but they really are very big. So much so that we kept the pull out bed in the corner of the living area out the whole time and you wouldn’t even notice it. There were 2 bathrooms with showers and 2 balconies, one for the living area and another that both bedrooms opened onto.
The apartment was cleaned every day. No instances of unwanted insects or anything like that. We were very happy with the standard of cleaning. The kitchen had pretty much what we needed but they had no cereal bowls which was a bit strange.
There are only 2 washing machines and it’s pretty expensive at €5 a pop. They could definitely do with a few more machines as we sometimes went down and had to go back again as they were in use.
This hotel is very popular with families. The kids had no problem making friends. The Kids club ran between 2.30-4.30. I knew who Kristina was immediately having read reviews on this site. She is really super with the kids, both in the kids club and out in the pool area. She’s a fantastic asset to the hotel.
As regards the pool area, it’s really lovely. One very large pool divided by a bridge and a second baby pool. The deep end of the pool is well designed as there is a ledge that goes around the sides at the bottom so someone can stand on it easily enough if they get into difficulty. There are signs up about no inflatables, no pool attendant, no diving and no reserving sun loungers. These rules seemed to be regularly flaunted for the first week or so we were there. By the time we got down, all the loungers were taken up with towels (one morning a member of staff went around collecting them). Into the second week though, they seemed to get a lot more strict on their policies. A new sign went up and they definitely didn’t allow people to reserve the sun loungers which was great. On the loungers, they could do with replacing a lot of them as many of them didn’t tilt properly. Pool games were regularly run by the staff, including Kristina. Volleyball, diving for rings, collecting balls etc all of which were loved by the kids. One thing we found strange though was a lack of lifeguard for such a busy pool. I think they should definitely have one. Also the toilets down in the pool area are ok but I regularly found the toilet roll was wet as was that general area. Understandable it being beside the pool but staff could pay a little bit of extra attention to it.
On food, we only ate in the restaurant the morning we arrived for breakfast. The main restaurant provides a buffet for dinner – I believe it’s about €17 for an adult but we never availed of this as we went out most evenings. There is a pool side snack bar – it closes at 7pm. It provides Ice cream, cocktails, omelettes, lasagne, pizza, nuggets, wraps, burgers etc. It is not really my type of food but we ate there several times anyway. It is decent enough. There is a little mini market out the front of the hotel and I believe the icecreams are slightly cheaper there than in the snack bar!
If doing a proper shop, you could head down to the Aldi or Lidl in portimao – about €7 taxi. Just beware that on the way back, the taxi rank is across the overpass so lugging a load of shopping up and down steps is not pleasant! If you want some retail therapy Portimao Retail Center is also about €7 and is a huge shopping center.
As for beaches, Praia do Vau is a lovely beach and we walked it in 20 minutes. We also went to Praia do Rocha by taxi – about €5/€7. It’s a massive beach and very beautiful. For going out at night we tried Praia do Vau which has a small selection of restaurants. We also tried Praia do Rocha which has a larger selection along with a strip of shops etc. But once we went to Alvor (about €7 taxi) we never looked back and went there most nights. There is a lovely Indian restaurant there on a side street called Tasty Cuisine which I recommend. Alvor has a lovely atmosphere and is very family oriented.
This is a lovely hotel and great for the kids. If I could take it and put it right beside Alvor it would be perfect. Getting taxis everywhere became a bit of a pain for us as we had to wait at taxi ranks for a 7 seater or else get 2 taxis. It becomes pricey when you add it up over 2 weeks.
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- Also Known As:
- Apartamentos Estrela Do Vau Portimão
- Turim Estrela Do Vau Hotel Portimao, Algarve, Portugal