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Algarve Reviews

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The Rooster

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Went to the Algarve last summer. One of the best holiday i have ever had. So much to do but as in all cases so little time. Would definitely reccommend to anyone.

Do investigate.

Sandra and Neil

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We had stayed at the Almansor in March 2003 and had a lovely time, so as the Almansor was doing a winter discount we decided to go there again. We hired a car in Lisbon, where we had spent three days, and drove down to the Algarve using the toll road. We saw hardly any other traffic - it was definitely worth the 17.25 euros toll. We booked this trip independently - flying out to Lisbon and back from Faro.

As the price of the room at this time of the year was so good, we decided to pay a bit extra for a sea view. We weren't disappointed - our room looked out over the impressive cliffs and the sea. We got sun on our balcony most of the afternoon. The room was big, with a comfortable double bed. The bathroom was also big, with complimentary toiletries. The shower had good pressure - my only complaint was the shower curtain, which allowed water to go onto the floor. The temperature in the room was comfortable. It got quite cold outside in early March, but we were never cold in the room.

Breakfast was included in the price and it was impressive. The breakfast is buffet-style and there is something for everyone, ranging from healthy options and allergen-free foods to a fried breakfast. My favourite was the walnut bread.

It was a bit too cold to sit around the outdoor pool, although some people were on the sunloungers. The indoor pool also has sunloungers around it. I swam in the indoor pool every day, but it is quite small, so if there are other people in it, it's hard to swim properly. The jacuzzi is attached to the pool, so it is the same temperature as the pool water, but the water jets work effectively. The jacuzzi tended to have parents with very small children in it most of the time, so it was hard to find a space. There is also a sauna and a steam room, which I used most days (except the Friday, when the hotel suddenly became busy with weekend guests, I guess).

There are also two lounges that are open all day - one lounge has a TV and a pool table, plus some other games, such as chess. The other lounge is where the bar is and has evening entertainment (usually a singer playing an electric piano). There is a terrace outside this bar which overlooks the sea and gets the sun on it in the afternoon. You could spend you whole time in the hotel if the weather was bad, as there are plenty of things to do!

We did leave the hotel - walking down the hill into the village of Carvoeiro. This hill is where most of the restaurants are. At the bottom of the hill on the corner is a bar run by an English woman called 'Smilers'. We had lunch here a couple of times. In the evenings we ate at a different restaurant each night. Our favourites were Maximes, A Lanterna Velha (both on the road going into Carvoeiro) and La Mona Lisa (pizza restaurant) - turn right out of the hotel and walk for about 5 minutes. Prices aren't cheap, however. We paid 40 euros for a meal at A Lanterna Velha for 2 main course, 1 dessert and a bottle of wine.

We also walked out of the hotel by the outdoor pool and by turning either right or left you can go for bracing walks over the cliffs. If you turn right you can walk all the way into Carvoeiro over the cliffs and by the sea.

Carvoeiro is a small village, which has retained its character, despite tourism. We drove down to Albufeira one day and were shocked at how commercial that part of the Algarave is - ugly hotels and bars and restaurants catering for Brits abroad. I would definitely return to Carvoeiro and to the Almansor.

Just a word of warning - when we got our bill we were charged 15 euros for something called 'cofres'. As we don't speak Portuguese we didn't find out what it was for until we got home. It turned out that it was for the safety deposit box (which we didn't use).

Alan & Mary

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Algarve June 2005

The Alto Da Colina apartments are in the Balaia region of the Algarve between Albifura & Villamora. You couldn't fault the apartments which only opened for the winter season last year.Decor was spot on and everything was there in the apartment for your use i.e Kettle , Toaster , Microwave , 4 ring Hob. T.V & Air Con were also available for a 30 euro dep refundable when remotes handed back in. Safety dep box also avail again for a small deposit.

The swimming pools were very large apparently the largest free form pool on the Algarve ? The water was cold on the first couple of days but as the sun shone non stop daily it was soon at a nice temperature. The pool area was spotlessly clean and that went also for the indoor pool and the pool at the other side of the Hotel.Plenty of daytime activities if you wanted to join in.The onsite shop was cheaper than the supermarkets which were quite a walk from the hotel.

Not a lot of choice to eat out so you need to go into Albifura about a 20min walk or 3 to 4 euros in a taxi which the reception staff will order for you at a 60 cents fee. If like us you prefer to walk go out of the hotel turn right and follow road to junction , turn right and just keep on walking you will eventually arrive at the strip where you can find everything you want to eat & drink on one long street.

Will definately return to these apartments all the staff so friendly and the reps are there from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m everyday so any problems there is usually someone around.

Erika, Mark & Joseph

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Alto Da Colina - Balaia (Algarve)

We were allocated a 1st floor apartment overlooking the pool area. Probably one of the better locations as the balcony was massive and it was easy enough getting back to the room as you only had one flight of stairs to contend with (which was a mean enough feat with 2 inflatable dingys and all your towels, etc.,). The lifts were always very slow and often full. One thing we noticed was that despite the fact that all the entertainment was around the pool area (which we were overlooking), the apartments were very well soundproofed and there was very little noise to be heard from neighbouring apartments.

The apartment itself was very clean and well equipped - maid service was every day except Sunday - but we did notice that things were starting to look a bit grubby round the edges and the stairs were really dirty and littered for the whole 2 weeks we were there. We had lunch a couple of times in the restaurant....stuff like tuna salad, chicken salad, tomato and mozzarella and we had an evening meal there....nothing spectacular but certainly edible. We were initially put off by comments made on a review on the internet saying 'the food was awful and served by disinterested Eastern European staff'. This was rubbish. The staff were Portuguese (admittedly they do have a slight Eastern European/Czech slant to their accent) and they were very helpful and went out of their way one day to make me a fresh fruit salad as there was none already prepared.

The entertainment was ok. If you like playing cricket, football, bowls, water polo, aqua fit, killer pool and you like joining in then fill your boots, it'll be great! I prefer to do very little and remain prone on my sunbed. You weren't hassled though and it all took place away from the sunbathers so I wasn't disturbed! The swimming pool was good. Plenty big enough for everyone's inflatables, always very clean and I noticed the maids doing a chlorine check a couple of times a day.

The daily rush for the sunbed became a bit of a chore.....I think we're competing with the Germans in the heat to bag the most desirable spot around the pool. People were putting their towels out at 7am and then going back to bed for a couple of hours!! The reps got wise to it after a while and started collecting the towels up that had been left unattended for more than an hour and putting them behind reception. There is another pool complete with sun loungers and a poolside bar. It is also close to the children's play park, a little water park and the tennis court and football pitch. However, the pool is very small......a bit quieter round there though if you want to get out of the way for a bit.

The Kids Club was very good. My 8 year son went out with the reps for a whole day from 9am to 4.45pm to Krazy World and thoroughly enjoyed it. He also spent an evening at the Bugs Bunny Bash from 7pm to 10pm, giving us the chance to go out for a nice relaxed meal. There was plenty for him to do and there was also the indoor arcade games and the pool table (everything was 1 Euro).

We entered the quiz a couple fo times, which was good for a laugh but didn't really make use of the evening entertainment. We saw bits of it now and again when we returned from having gone out for a meal and it looked pretty awful but I suppose they try their best.

The worst part of the holiday had to be the location of the apartments. You are basically, out on a limb. Not wanting to spend every night stuck in the hotel restaurant, you have no choice but to either walk or get a taxi. We went to the Strip (in Albufeira) twice and it was abysmal....unless you like Blackpool! Really tacky, nasty cheap shops, lots of English chippies, Irish bars, yuk, yuk, yuk! Not really what I want when I go abroad I'm afraid.

You can walk to the Strip (apparently) and it takes 30 minutes......we walked to the beach one evening which isn't as far as the Strip and it took 20 minutes. There's a lovely restaurant down there though (at St Eulalia beach) but it gets very busy and it's probably wise to either go before 8pm or make a reservation. It's call St Eulalia Restaurant. We went to Old Town Albufeira most nights and that would probably take 40-45 minutes to walk so we got a taxi every night. To get reception to call you a taxi costs you 1 Euro. The taxi itself will set you back between 4 and 5.5 Euros. We worked out that we spent an extra £120 for our fortnight's stay purely on taxi fares. The other set back is that everyone else has the same idea. One night we spent an hour and a half in the taxi queue. The busiest time is between 6 and 8pm....the time most people want to go out for something to eat! The hotel got the minibus out one night as the queue was so bad but would only go to the Strip. It was by far the worst part of the holiday.

We went to Vilamoura one evening and went to play Super Mini Golf. It's open til 1am and it was really good. Expensive though as it was 9 Euros per person and 6 Euros per child. Vilamoura was a much nicer place to visit....more cosmopolitan than Albufeira, although we did like Albufeira Old Town. The Old Town has some lovely seafood restaurants and there's more of a continental feel about has more character and atmosphere. There were street entertainers in the evening and all the shops were open til late.

There was also a small mini market at the apartments. It was ok for convenience but obviously a little pricier than the supermarket in town. It would probably be cheaper to get a taxi to the supermarket, stock up and get a taxi back than it would to get the same items from the mini market but it was fine for fresh bread rolls and milk, etc.
We went on 2 trips. One was the gypsy market in Quateira......don't bother unless you like car boot sales. The stuff they were selling was dross. The only reason it was vaguely enjoyable was that it was raining that day and it would have been better than being stuck round the pool bar back at the apartments. The other trip was the jeep safari which was one of the highlights on my holiday. The guy who was driving our jeep was toroughly entertaining and gave us a very informative guide around some of the villages in the Algarve. Even my 8 year old son enjoyed it. He told us about bits of Portuguese history, the Revolution, the cork industry, etc., and we visited a distillery. Excellent trip!

I wouldn't go to the Alto Da Colina again simply because of its location. The apartments and the amenities are great but it's let down by the fact that you're in the middle of nowhere and it's so difficult to get out and about. We toyed with the idea of getting a car but we both like a drink and the hardest part was getting a taxi to go out for a meal so we didn't think there was any point. The buses were also unreliable so you didn't have that as an option. I'd be more inclined to go to Vilamoura or somewhere round the west coast....Lagos, for example. I wasn't terribly struck on Albufeira but would definitely go to Portugal again. The food, the wine and the people are wonderful and the climate is fab....not too hot and always that bit of a breeze to keep things cool. Perfect! Bon dia!

Chris Webster

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To us the Tivoli Almansor lived up to its 4 stars. The bedrooms were clean an comfortable with maid service every day, clean sheets every other day and clean towels when you want them. There were also towels for the swimming pool. Tea and coffee making at no extra cost.The only down side was the bathroom that was a bit tired looking but the shower was powerful over a deep full sized bath. The view from the balcony brilliant, overlooking the cove and swimming pool(view cost exta )

The public rooms were fine,the bar being on the 5th floor with the balcony looking over the view.There are 2 computers for pulic use in the reception that give you free internet access.
Breakfast was always varied ,cooked or continental.My only complaint was that the cooked breakfast was often cold.Breakfast opens a 7am each morning for the golfers and they do not restock readily.
The swimming pool is quite large and there are also a large number of sun beds. Towels are provided.There is also an indoor pool.

As we did not eat at the hotel we walked into the village each night.There is a good selection of places to eat. We like to search out restaurants that serve good food and wine but also have an imaginative menue.We found several,notably Mymies , A Gale , Jota Lita ,Ele and Ela and An Indian restaurant , the name escapes me.
From the hotel the walk into,the village takes 10 minutes up a slight on the return.
For those that like walking there are good walks along the cliffs to 2 coves that have magical beaches. Praia Carvalho is the best, a 1/2 hour walk along a not too busy road.A car would be useful as there is onl a limited bus service.Lagos,Alvor and Silver are within easy reach.

Jenny Cook

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Our first time in Portugal (Sept 2005) and loved every minute of it.

The apartments (Vale de Carros) are very clean and comfortable with everything you need. In a quiet area but not too out of the way, you get the best of both worlds. The Falesia beach is about a 20 minute walk away but they put on a courtesy bus twice a day which you have to book the day before.

The balconies are huge plenty of room for sunbathing, the only thing I would say though is they aren't very private.

I would recommend going to the beach, the water is crystal clear with golden sands, paradise!

There are two pools which are both lovely and all the staff in the bar are very friendly.

Easy to get to Albufeira and Vilamoura by taxi, both towns only about 10 minutes away.

The local restaurant Lagosteria in Acoteias about a 2 minute walk away is lovely and the food is excellent as well as the service.

If you need to go anywhere a bit far out speak to reception as they have a minibus and may be able to do you a cheap deal.

Albufeira is really nice and has all your shops, bars and restaurants. Watch out for the time share people though, they are everywhere.

All in all, we all had a fantastic holiday and would go back in a heartbeat.

Jane & Shawn

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We have just returned for a wonderful holiday at the Falesia Hotel in Aceotias (June 2006).

Firstly the resort - it is small but this is clearly stated in the Gold brochure and lots of Golds are in the quieter areas - which is why we choose them. The best way to access the resort is to come out of the hotel and walk down the right hand side of the driveway go straight down the road oposite (looks like a dead end)and go down the steps you are then directly in the middle of the resort. Places to eat, Nice coffee shop where they do amazing chicken sandwiches this is the at the bottom of the steps, immediately right and has green tables. If you walk to the left there is a chinese, Italian place (excellent pizza and pasta), an Enlgish pub called the Pig & Whistle and several more. We ate at all these places and found them very reasonable and the food excellent.
There are two supermarkets one larger to the left of the resort and one smaller to the right.

Hotel - Very good, rooms large and comfortable, all rooms have good views, we had pool side view on floor 4 which was great. Food is very good although the choice of main dishes was more limited than we have had in other Golds. Drinks are more expensive than in the resort but no too bad although we did hear some guests complaining that the drinks were "watered down". We personally did not experience this. The inside pool, steam room and jacuzzi were very good and we went in most days around 3-4 and found we had the place to ourselves.

Entertainment - this isn't really our thing but we saw a couple of the shows and they were good.

Reps - excellent reps especially Lyndsey and Leanne. Entertainment hosts very nice especially Rosie.

All in all we had a great time - this hotel does lack the small Gold "finer touches", ie the cocktail when you arrive and the managers cocktail party needs improving but as they are only just entering their second year of gold I would expect this will change.
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