Just back from a week with family (kids 6, 4 and 2) - note that Pine Cliffs is a large self-contained resort in which the Residences are the self-catering appartments (with their own check-in area on the right of the resort) and the Sherton is the large hotel on the left of the compound - very good holiday and hits its target market perfectly - luxury family beach/pool holiday.
1. Quality of the new Residences (these are the 'S' blocks on the right of the resort) is very very high - beautifully furnished and decorated with large balconies. I have been told that the older ones are more tired but still good.
2. The resort is immaculate (I cannot overstate this) and beautifully maintained with lovely internal pathways that offer reasonable shade from the sun - it is actually not as big as it looks on Google Earth - a buggy is helpful however with small kids. You can walk to the beach lift in about 12-14 mins from the Residence check in area. The pictures on the website give the impression that you are at the edge of a major golf course (i.e. bit barren or remote) however the golf course is quite small and the Residences are a lot more 'intimately' constructed than implied.
3. Good range of pools (some heated and some not) sprinkled throughout the complex - the access to the main beach is easy and the route quite spectacular (open lift and then a boardwalk through a ravine that is lit in the evening) - while the beach is public (Portugese law), it is not that crowded and there is plenty of room on it (compared to major Portugese public beaches)
4. Plently of dining opions on the resort and the Beach Restaurant is well worth a visit - it not that packed and stays open late at night with an athmospheric lit boardwalk back from it.
1. The one little supermarket that covers the Residences (in the Residences check-in building) is extremely expensive. There is a good supermarket 15 mins walk away at the gate of the resort that is about 50-80% cheaper (yes the on resort market is that crazily expensive).
2. The dining is also quite expensive and quite bland (for the prices you are paying the food is fine but not memorable) - there is a very good local restaurant called 'Pinhal' at the gate of the resort which does very good local sea food for a fraction of the price (i.e. much better + much cheaper). We dined there a lot - service is slow but they get there and are very friendly.
3. You are on a 'compound' for the holiday - there is no 'old town' to wander into at night (or Villamoura-type bustling marina) - this may get to some people who want a more 'cultural' feel (i.e you could be in Florida or other equivalent place while on the resort).
4. The golf course is only nine hole and outside of the spectacular cliff top hotels is not that challenging for an adventurous golfer - the pools are also quite straightforward with no slides etc for more adventurous kids
5. The resort were meant to finish another pool/restaurant area at the end of the Residences (i.e. you can see the flat plot at the end before the cliff) but hit harder times. This makes the Residence area busier (although not too bad) but also means that the later 'S' blocks (i.e. S11) are quite far from anything (i.e ideal to be in S4 or S5 area)
6. The check-out time is 10am which is ruthlessl enforced (i.e the cleaners buzzed our house at 9am to monitor progress) - after paying (and experiencing) 5-star product, the 10am check-out is like a 'cold shower' as you are marched out back to the real world (the Hotel does 12pm check-out).
7. Thee are free wi-fi areas but no general resort free wi-fi - this is a bit 'down market' for such a resort - gives the feeling that they are trying to pick your pocket (not classy)
- Also Known As:
- Pine Cliffs Residence Hotel Albufeira
- Pine Cliffs Residence Hotel
- Pine Cliffs Residence Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
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