We went here as a couple having being recommended this hotel as a "quiet resort" suitable for couples by Thomson. Please hold this recommendation in mind when reading the remainder of this review.
Upon arrival, around 2pm we caught the back end of the lunch service and decided to go to the pool bar, relax and have some drinks. Immediately there was an issue, the pool bar plastic chairs were all very poor quality and upon sitting down both our chairs gave way on the front legs. This I found to be quite dangerous and something that should be addressed immediately to avoid injury.
(The next morning I bought this issue up at the "welcome meeting" with the Thomson "rep" about the dangerous chairs and she said; "yes I know other people have complained about this and the hotel management are aware" - This astounded me, I said why had nothing been done and the told me that they were working on it. In the mean time we could not use this pool bar as there was no other suitable seating).
To deal with the issue of the broken chairs other guests were stacking two chairs one on top of the other but having tried this approach it was very hit and miss as to whether it worked.
As for a quiet hotel - NO WAY! the hotel was full of around 1,000 guests and I would say a good 30% of them were children. I have nothing against children at all, I have 3 of my own but what I object to is the way in which the children were allowed to run around the whole hotel screaming and shouting with total disregard for other guests. The parents didn't even care nor did the hotel staff if they were still running around at gone 10pm creating merry hell and so much noise the only refuge was our room!
Children were also allowed by parents and staff alike to run around the restaurant where people were carrying hot food and drinks around, it reminded me of films I had seen on TV of Butlins style hotels - disgraceful!
The entertainments team during the day are all about the children, they do very little for the adults (especially if you are English). The entertainers solely concentrated on the children during the day with adults only being offered water aerobics and water polo, wow what a choice!
The evening entertainment was dire! all the songs were mimed to - we found out later that poor Sacha the entertainments manager had a group of entertainers selected for him and not one of them could sing a note! This mad the evening entertainment (so called) just about as stimulating as listening to your iPod! I feel so sorry for Sacha he tries so hard and has very apparent and obvious embarrassment for the performances.
As for the food - now where to start! In a hotel with 1,000 guests there was very little variation in the menu for the week we were there, huge amounts of salad (the cheap option for the hotel) but when it came to meat there was very little and what there was was tasteless and either over or undercooked.
It was also very very sad to see the absolute human greed in the buffet style restaurant, people piling their plate high with food and wasting it - there was no staff intervention to "advise" guests politely about this behaviour.
We got so bored with the food choice that we ate out several times during the week although we had paid for all inclusive.
Please also note there are two other restaurants here which you have to book the night before you want to eat there. There was no English menu for either restaurant and despite telling our Thomson holiday advisor 3 days in to our holiday still no english menus had materialised by the time we left! but you are OK if you are German or Spanish!
PLEASE PLEASE be aware of the dreaded "sun bed reservation syndrome" people actually get up at the crack of dawn to reserve sun beds despite signs and checkin notification that this is not permitted and that the staff will remove the offering towels. In the week that we were there we saw not one towel removed and many arguments between other guests about who's sun bed was who's ...........
The bedrooms are of a good standard but the beds are firm, there is a fridge and a reasonable TV on which you get BBC1 and ITV should you wish to keep up with home news. I was horrified though when I checked out the bathroom. They only leave sachets of shampoo, shower gel etc in the bathroom, very cheap product and I would advise not using it.
All of the public areas in the hotel buildings were very hot, the air conditioning was not switched on even when the temperature reached 90 degrees! (budget saving again).
We have stayed at Riu hotels before but this one does not deserve the name Riu above its door, unless by some quirk of fate Riu means Butlins in Portungese!
As another review has stated this hotel is Rented by Riu - I suggest the management of Riu get down there and see how their brand is being degraded so badly!
In summary, please do not even consider this hotel if you are going to the Algarve as a couple and maybe a family unless this kind of noisy cheaply run hotel is your thing.
To end on a high note and being positive the hotel is immaculately clean and the staff are very friendly but a word to the wise the Brits get second place to other nationalities especially in the restaurant.
Please mail me for further information, I feel passionately that you should not be duped into travelling here like we were, so any questions please ask.
- Also Known As:
- Clubhotel Riu Guarana Albufeira
- Clubhotel Riu Guarana Hotel Albufeira
- ClubHotel Riu Guarana Portugal/Algarve - Albufeira
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Opened summer 2008. Located in Olhos d'Agua in the Algarve. 6-storey main building and 2-storey annex building. 15 minutes' walk from Praia da Falesia beach. Access to a small cove from the hotel Riu Palace Algarve is via cliff side steps (an approximate 10 minute walk). 8 km from Albufeira. 500 m from various shops. 35 km from the airport. 500 m from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa, Diners. ... more less
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