Stayed in Alvor previously and really like the location. The resort is quiet but with lots of interesting walks and a lovely tidal estuary with lots of wildlife.
This new hotel opened for a couple of months in July 2011 (with mixed reviews) which I was a little concerned about, but the price was good so I booked. On arrival we were very pleasantly surprised at the service we received. Bellboys to take luggage to room, reception staff very friendly and efficient. Only slight niggle was lack of information regarding the hotel facilities but we soon found everything with no issues at all. The hotel decor is minimalistic and I thought this would be a problem for me, but the atmosphere is fine and not an issue at all.
The rooms are every bit as good as the photos on the website suggest. Fantastic layout with lots of space. If you want a sunny balcony then opt for the rooms with a pool/sea view, as the rest face out over the car park and are in shade most of the day. This is an extra charge on the booking that I didn't take up but I e mailed the hotel prior to arrival requesting high floor (four floors in tota) and pool view and they allocated us exactly that. Rooms have individual heating/cooling, 2 plasma TV's. It should be noted that the kitchen is very limited with sink, fridge, microwave, 2 ring halogen hob but no kettle, no cooking utensils, no oven and only one pan. However, the hotel is totally all inclusive if booked through First Choice so this is not a big problem. The only other possible drawback is the lack of drawers and hanging space. For the two of us there was enough room but for a family it would be difficult. Rooms are cleaned daily.
Breakfast is fine - toaster, boiled, scrambled and fried eggs, sausages, tomatoes, nice bacon and beans. Also have continental breakfast options and cereals.
Lunch and Dinner - meals could have been more varied but always had four choices of main - usually vegetarian, 2 meats and fish. Also very good pasta choices with 2 or 3 different sauces. There has been some bad reviews about the food but the salad bar was very good and we enjoyed every meal we ate. Freshly baked bread rolls each day. Only improvement would be to put potatoes onto the menu - chips every meal but no boiled potatoes. There is a microwave in the dining room if you prefer your food hotter than it is served.
Every member of staff at this hotel was friendly, efficient and eager to help. Laurenco the barman was especially attentive.
Security staff patrolled the grounds constantly - this was reassuring rather than obtrusive. One day my purse fell out of my bag at the front of the hotel as I got out of a taxi - by the time I had realised it missing and went to Reception (3 or 4 minutes) it had been handed in and after asking me some security questions it was returned to me with all contents in tact. Safety deposit box only cost 10.5 euros/week (cheapest we have ever had) and no deposit required. Pool towels also free of charge with no deposit, although they will charge you 40 euros if you don't return them. Didn't use the spa but several people did (because weather was a little chilly some days) and only heard good reviews.
Didn't use the swimming pool as the weather was not warm enough during our stay and it was quite windy around the pool area. It looked fantasic though and I am sure that in high season it would be full.
Overall, I would say that this hotel is superb for couples; perhaps not as ideal for families with children. Good food, excellent grounds and rooms, top staff. Entertainment not brilliant, but the bars are relaxed and comfortable. I would stay there again without hesitation.
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