Had booked first week in February off work and we were going to go to Lanzarote, but checked the weather and chose Portugal as it promised sunny days versus overcast for Lanzarote.Weather was lovely as long as you stayed in the sun, otherwise very cold, but managed a good tan in a short time. Booked Tuesday to Saturday, It was booked very late(Monday afternoon), and checked all tripadvisor sites for prices. However they all seemed to be for standard rooms, so went onto the hotels own website and spoke to a very helpful person, Ana, in reservations. I explained we wanted a superior room, with nice view, B&B.I had told her it was a birthday break and she told me that the hotel did 'hotel experiences' where the room could all be decorated in rose petals, champagne etc for 100 euros! - (she obviously doesnt know my husband!). Initial thoughts on the hotel were just okay - it was obviously very good in its day, but it is a big sprawling building, and lacked comfort - (we were surprised the only fire we could find was in a smokers room!). I would guess that in high season, the facilities like pool, sunbeds, logistics of dining room would be inadequate. To be fair the weather was very cold when the sun wasnt shining, but we found the hotel cold, especially the bedroom. The beds (2 singles pushed together) were the hardest coldest beds I have ever been in, but you got used to it.The bathroom was adequate, with good strength overhead shower in the bath, and loads of hot water and nice towels and robes. The hairdrier is one of those weak ancient hose pipe systems that burns the hand of you, so bring your own.The heating in the bedroom was provided by a very noisy air conditioning/heating system, which we made sure we left on when we went out every evening, but had to turn it off during the night as too noisy. View could have been better but okay and not worth complaining about. There was a very annoying dog barking quite a bit - they need to get rid of it, It is very disappointing that a 4 star hotel does not have tea/coffee making facilities in the room - particulary as it was difficult to sleep with hard bed, barking dog and the cold - a cup of tea in middle of the night would have made all the difference, and certainly much more useful than an expensive mini bar where water is 3Euro- (6 small bottles in the nearby supermarket was 59cents) I know this all sounds very negative - However the good things outweighed the bad - We got it for a very good rate of 59 euro per night B&B. The hotel was very clean, the staff very friendly and helpful, and the breakfast buffet good(did not have any other meals in hotel) . Location wise, although not in a very attractive area of town, was ideal, easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and beautiful marina. The hotel has an indoor heated pool and jacuzzi, towels/lockers free of charge to residents. It costs 5 euros per day if you want to use the sauna, steamroom and gym. We had booked too late to be able to arrange hotel transfers with a shuttle bus, so ended up hiring a car, (not really needed unless you want to tour - we went to Silves which was very interesting) There is free car parking available at the hotel. If you hire a car, check out the new toll system on the A22 - it is expensive(about 7 euro one way) and very difficult to arrange payment as you have to go to post office after 48 hours of travel. This causes a lot of unanswered questions on how you can pay for the return journey, - we took the advice of the hire company and came home by the n125 instead. Where the hotel really scored for me, was in the free shuttle bus to the Dunas private beach club. This is about 2kms away, and is a really nice secluded private area with its own swimming pool, sunbeds and lovely views and easy access to a lovely beach with great sounds of the sea. There are very good facilities on site (expensive - so take a picnic), but it was a very pleasant experience and one which I think I would use a lot when the weather would be better. We arrived back to the hotel to find a bottle of champagne chilling in the room with a compliments slip from the manager with Happy Birthday greetings - a very nice personal touch. When you sign in to the hotel you can sign up for free wireless wifi coverage throughout the hotel, or there are 3 public computers available around the reception area. Signing up for this gets you a free newspaper every morning and a complimentary bottle of water in the room on the first night. The bar offers a 3 hour 'happy hour' (as does almost every other bar in town). The hotel was very quiet, although 'Elvis' who was very entertaining, did draw a good many oldies on the Friday night. Although breakfast doesnt officially start until 7.30am, they made the buffet available to all the early travellers which was appreciated. I can see how this hotel would have a lot going for it for the majority of people (and particularly golfers). Early season could be best as I think it would be very congested in high season - its cleanliness, location, good staff, breakfast, free parking, indoor pool etc, and particularly the private beach club ticks a lot of boxes, so I would be happy to recommend it. Portugal is obviously badly effected from the recession, but it is good to see that prices have got a lot more realistic - we had some very good value experiences. Definately would recommend that you go to the Marina bar /cafe to the left side of the Marina. It is a real sun trap,free wifi, and the food and drink are really reasonable - Toasted sandwich 2Euro, Sandwich 3Euro, Large glass of wine 1euro 50!. It shows all the sport, and the staff and customers are all real happy people. Also had a good italien meal in Borsaline restaurant, Rossio de S jao square (hard to find but not far from Lidl)- really good value 1 starter, 1 pizza, 1 lasagne, 1 dessert, 2 cappucino, 2 glasses of wine and 1 water for 34euro, and 2 complimentary liquers (just like old times). If you want something really special, recommend Artistas restaurant Rue Candido Dos Reis, but be prepared for c100 euro per couple, although they do lunch specials at c15euro for 2 courses. There is a restaurant called a Floresta - just to the right when you come out of the hotel. Service was very slow, restaurant cold, but food good and very reasonable -home made fish soup 3.50, the chargrilled lamb chops 9.50, steak 8.50, house wine 6.00 - perhaps when things get busier they will have more staff as the man behind the bar seemed to be the only one there, but he was so good humoured it was difficult to be annoyed with the slow service.
Ask for pool view or sea view - sea view is only from top floors
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC