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“Lovely holiday - but avoid booking with thompsons”

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Holiday Village Algarve Balaia
Ranked #109 of 517 Hotels in Algarve
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Lovely holiday - but avoid booking with thompsons”
Reviewed 29 June 2014 via mobile

We had an amazing time, weather was good, hotel and staff were brilliant. Took my girls one is 5 and the other is 3 they both enjoyed there 1st holiday,especially the pool area for kids. Food could have been better everything was salty, i love my food so i know what im talking about. Beach is abit of a walk so wld recommend to call a taxi but kids loved it. Also defo recommend to take the kids to zoomarine lovely family day out. Overall holiday was fab but would avoid using thompsons as i felt the agency let us down as the behaviour of staff are pretty much lets see how much money we can make, very misleading thats all i can say and will never admit they were in the wrong. Also if you want euros get it from someone else and when booking use the online services

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank remember
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (380)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
West Midlands
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2014

This is the third holiday village we have visited (been to Turkey and Egypt) and this one was just great!!!!! We stayed from the 12 till 22 June 2014. The transfer was 20 mins and we were welcomed to the hotel by a glass of sangria and a lovely warm welcome from Josie (first choice rep) she chatted to our daughter whilst we checked in!
Checked in pretty fast (they swiped my credit card as a deposit for TV, air con controllers and beach towels) and we went up to our room (block 1 room 224). The living/kitchen area is big and the the huge balcony was great! (We had a sea view and overlooked the main pool area) the only down side of the room was the settee bed, it had certainly seen better days and it was only a single bed (we had the impression from booking it would be a double). The room was spotlessly clean though!!
The main restaurant was never really busy when we stayed. The breakfast was the best I've ever had aboard!!!! Lovely bacon, sausages, beautiful fresh fried eggs etc they certainly catered for the the English, and it was forever being topped up and the surfaces were constantly wiped and kept clean!! The Lunches were very good too, fresh salads, meats (to make sandwiches) and loads of cooked food ranging from jacket potatoes to fresh fish! Evening food was equally as good too and the waitresses were friendly and kept your tables clean! The food at this hotel was really really good for variety and freshness!!! If you like your home comforts (roast dinners etc) these are beautiful too!!!! I was very impressed!!!!
The main pool (where we stayed) was very clean and the pool was beautiful! Always sun loungers available and the sun shone on the pool area all day! Always activities going on whether the had toys in the shade area for the little ones, face painting, skittles, giant Jenga etc! No pressure to join in either! Adam (daytime entertainer) was a lovely lad who was always getting our daughter involved in various games from the big hamster ball on the water to water Olympics! She really enjoyed these and Adam was great with everyone (a credit to the team!!!!)
The shop in block two had newspapers delivered daily at 10am and was stocked with lots of English bits from aptimil formula milk to Heinz baked beans etc so if your littles needed a snack the shop has plenty of bits that they will recognise!!!
In all this hotel was great for us (two adults and two children, a two year old and a seven year old) I am really pleased we stayed here and wouldn't hesitate in recommending (or reassuring you if you've already booked) this hotel is set up brilliantly for families!!! You can do as much or as little as you want and the staff are great!!!!!!

Room Tip: Ask to stay in block one!! The steps down to block two are steep and the main restaurant is in block...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank WoolmanFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Snettisham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2014

Just got back from a week at the resort. Everything was brilliant! Loads to do, great weather, lot's of sunbeds to choose from around all the various pools and great service. The staff all work extremely hard to entertain the children. There is so much for them to do and take part in! The evening shows were fun and entertaining. Food and cleanliness was all good. The beach is within easy walking distance, Albufeira is a bit more of a trek but a taxi each way is only 5 euros. I'd really recommend heading to the Old Town one evening too. Atmosphere there is buzzing with lot's of street performers, restaurants, bars and pretty shops. All in all a very pleasant holiday :)

Room Tip: Go for block one if you have pushchairs / wheelchairs. Steps / slopes from block two are easy to wal...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank lovetravel232
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barnsley, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2014

Myself,husband and our 4 year old stayed here from 8th-22nd June.We could not fault the hotel or the staff.We stayed in block one with a pool and sea view.Rooms were spacious with nice kitchenette which was well stocked.Food in all restaurants was nice and there was a decent selection.Kids club was great for the little one and staff were always helpful and friendly.Our little one loved the evening entertainment and the staff, Polly,Zander, Jess, Rachel and Ben put there all into keeping them entertained. Day time activities were great too and again the staff did a fab job at trying to get everyone involved. Brill family hol,would go back.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Tracy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2014 via mobile

Just got back from a fantastic stay at the holiday village algarve with my husband and 2 children aged 6 and 3. I Was a little worried having read the bad reviews on here before we went but I couldn't have been happier it was fantastic. The hotel is clean and the rooms are very very spacious we were room 10 first block our patio was directly next to the activity area which was great as my 6 year old saw what was going on and joined in from water walking to zorbing and games in the pool. He loved the high ropes and archery too. Football academy is great the two guys that run it are brilliant (Donnie and Stu).

The kids loved the slide pool (so did I)! We often went from that pool to the quiet pool in block 2 then up the the activity pool at the end of the day. The beach is about a 10 minute walk definitely worth a visit.

The staff at the hotel are lovely and the first choice reps are second to none Josie, Liz, Hannah, Dan, Ben, Polly, Adam, Zanda, mikey, miles and the two girls that sang (sorry can't remember names). They all work so hard and look like a lovely team to be part of.

Will definitely recommend and hopefully return one day.

The one and only thing that got on our nerves were the inconsiderate people that reserved sunbeds at the crack of dawn and didn't return until the afternoons. There are signs asking people not to reserve sun beds and if I worked for first choice I would allow a rep to throw all towels in the pool!

Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
13 Thank Toni T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2014

We holidayed at the Holiday Village - Alto da Colina from the 8 - 19 June. My husband and I travelled with our two children aged 9 and 2, and booked a one bed apartment with a sea view. Having read reviews on here before we went, I was very worried about the possibility of there being a sickness bug, and emailed the Hotel Manager direct beforehand. She assured me that there was no such problem, so we travelled feeling slightly more optimistic. We had a smooth flight from Birmingham into Faro, arriving at 10.30am to glorious sunshine. We had booked a private transfer with YELLOW FISH TRANSFERS and were met at the airport arrivals hall by our driver Ruben. We were then whisked away in an air conditioned car to the hotel, arriving some 30 mins later. I cannot recommend the private transfer highly enough - it was a fantastic way to travel to the Hotel, without the need to hang around and wait for other passengers and their bags to board coaches, and then drop off at other hotels en route. On arrival at the Hotel we were greeted by the children's mascots and the entertainment team dressed up in costumes. Check in was very quick and easy - our bank card was swiped (although no payment taken) and this secures your pool towels (which are changed every Tuesday and Saturday), and the remote controls for the TV and air con units. We paid for a safety deposit box - this is charged at 11 euros per week and we paid 18 euros for our 10 day stay. We were allocated an apartment on the fourth floor and even though are are only two lifts, and these are quite small, it was manageable for the whole length of our stay. The reception area and atrium of the Hotel is gorgous and the view from the one glass lift was spectacular. Our apartment was 1405 and on entering we were surprised at how large it was. There is a very well equiped kitchen area, with microwave, toaster, cooker, coffee machine, kettle, and we had two fridges. There is enough cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils should you need to use them. The bathroom is also very spacious, with a large sink area, toilet, bidet and shower over the bath. Towels are changed daily if required. The living area of the apartment had a table and four chairs, sofas and a chair, together with a flat screen TV. There are not that many English channels, but we had taken portable DVD players for the children to use, which were a godsend. There are patio doors from the lounge area onto the very large balcony, and also another set from the double bedroom. This was large enough for the travel cot for our son, and still gave us plenty of room. There are large wardrobes, which contain the safety deposit box, but not too many hangers. There are spare blankets in the wardrobes should you need them. The maids clean and make up the room every day, except Sunday and Bank Holidays. They will replenish loo rolls and make beds and replace towels are required. I believe the bed sheets are not ordinarily changed during your stay - but our son fell off the bed one evening and had a nose bleed soiling the sheet on our bed and in his cot - so after leaving an apologetic note to the cleaners, we did find our bedding had been changed.....this was on our last day.....

The entertainment team and kids reps are fantastic - they get to know the children by name, and our daughter attended many of the kids club activities. On her first visit she was given a Kids Club Tshirt and water bottle. We used the creche facility for our son, and booked and paid for this after each visit, although you can block book and the price gets cheaper. Each session is 2 hours and costs 11 euros. There are no more than 6 children in the creche at any one session and two play leaders looking after them. Our son already received a Grovvy Baby TShirt and thoroughly enjoyed his time there. This allowed my husband and I to have a couple of hours by the pool child free !!

The food at this Hotel is SUPERB - I cannot fault any of it - even the temperature of it - as many have moaned about it being cold. It may not be as hot as you would have at home, but to be fair, the majority of the guests are children and do not eat boiling hot meals at home ! The choice, selection, quality, variety and presentation of the food is second to none. If anyone leaves this restaurant still feeling hungry then I would be most surprised. There is a massive selection of food at every mealtime, from breakfast through to dinner in the evening. There are often themed nights, from Mexican, Portugese and Italian and seafoods. We did eat a couple of days from the snack bar near the children's splash pool, for convenience more than anything, and this provided toasted sandwiches, jacket potatoes, burgers, chips, pizza and salad. It is all freshly cooked to order and service was quick.

The cleanliness of the hotel and grounds was very good, I only noticed a few pieces of litter in the cobbled area around the splash pool. We could see water quality being checked, the main pool area being hosed down in the evening and the pools being cleaned early morning. Our children did not develop any kind of skin rashes from the pool water - our daughter developed a slight heat rash on her chest, but so did my husband but this was due to the fact that we were there during a heatwave and temperatures were reaching 39 degrees !

We spent the majority of our time around the children's splash pool and slides - and there was never any problem getting a sunbed, although I appreciate during July and August this may be different. The life guards were very good, whistling to stop children from running up the ramps to the slides, and even turning a blind eye to the little ones and the adults using some of the slides. The three slides together on the far right side of the pool should have been used by over 6's and under 12's but our 2 year old managed their steps to these and loved whizzing down the slide, racing his Daddy and Sister on the slides next to him.

We did not take part in any organised trips, but instead chose to visit the Old Town and the New Town on separate occasions. A taxi is called by Reception and costs around 8 euros to the Old Town each way, and around 4 euros to the New Town each way. The Old Town is lovely to visit, has the famous Fishermans Beach with lots of bustling side alleys with shops and bars. There is paragliding from the beach and lots of sand sculptures to look at. There are also sunloungers and parasols should you wish to spend time on the beach. The New Town is where all the livelier bars and clubs are and although sedate during the day, is very much alive at night. There is not much to walk to within the vicinity except a local supermarket. The on site supermarket stocks a wide range of goods, from food stuffs to toiletries to inflatables, and any inflatable can be blown up for you with the air pump in the shop.

We visited the Italian A La Carte restaurant - situated in Colina II where the quiet pool is (The Manager arranged to leave the menus in our apartment a few days beforehand so we could see which we preferred) - my husband ordered steak, myself and my son had pizza and our daughter had sausage rolls. The meal was okay, nothing to write home about, but pleasant all the same.

This is a fantastic hotel for a family holiday, it caters for all ages, and includes the Hi Ropes challenge, which our daughter took part in four times ! That is free and bookable with the reps at reception. Everyone was so friendly, from the reception staff down to the restaurant staff and all the reps are fabulous. The Manager, Jo Waite, is a lovely lady who was happy to help with any queries. We had an early transfer on our leaving day, and although the restaurant was opening for breakfast from 6am, I really didnt fancy taking the children down that early. Jo disappeared to the kitchen, returning with a bag with a loaf of bread, bananas, butters and spreads for us to make toast in the apartment on our leaving morning - that little touch went a long way.

I would not hestiate in recommending this Hotel to anyone - and in fact we would not hesitate to return again. It was an enjoyable 10 days in the beautiful Algarve and we look forward to returning in the future.

Room Tip: Apartment 1405 - lovely views across the countryside and the sea
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank Lynne G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2014

We returned last week from the holiday village algarve. I have to say that although I enjoyed our visit to costa del sol last year (holiday village) this was even better for a number of reasons listed below:

We arrived around lunchtime and were welcomed with a glass of Sangria and one of the first choice reps was outside as the coach pulled up - this was a very nice touch (high five the kids etc). We had paid for a sea view/pool view room in block 1 and we weren't disappointed. We were on the second floor and had a great view of everything and the lovely scenery in the distance. The room was he biggest apartment room I've stayed in! Great balcony area as well and even a few uk channels on the tv.

It seems very clear that there is a good relationship between the Alto da Colina staff (that's the name of the hotel) and the first choice staff (it's a holiday village from May-Oct). I think this is down to the hard work the first choice staff take to blend in. There were two holiday reps (there to answer questions/book excursions) as well as all of the entertainment team and kids club workers. All worked really hard and were friendly all the time - as were the Portuguese staff.

The holiday village in Spain was a very big complex so didn't really have a family feel whereas this year the hotel maintained that atmosphere. Not too big but not overcrowded either. The atmosphere was really nice - it's obviously geared heavily to parents with smaller children but that's what we have so perfect :-) I found last year that there were a lot of families who saw their kids as a bit of an inconvenience (keeping them up till ridiculous o'clock - grotty screaming kids as a result) but no such issues here - we made lots of friends and everyone was in a relaxed family mood.

I would imagine if you are a teenager, there isn't too much for you but the holiday villages are what they say on the tin.

We hired a car (as we always do) so were able to get out and about. There was a minibus service to the beach but we're not beach people anyway. The nearest town is Albufeira and there is plenty to do and see there.

The food was of a good standard. Plenty of choice at all mealtimes and not just British stuff although there was the usual nuggets and hot dogs etc.

If you like a drink there was plenty of choice and the draught was San Miguel - bonus!!

In this season of life (we have a 6, 4 and 1 year old) if the kids are happy, we are. The kids loved it!!! There were kids club options pretty much all day although ours usually went in the mornings. All the staff were great and really seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Add to that the relaxed atmosphere and we really did have a lovely time.

I would absolutely give it 5 out of 5 based on our own circumstances but just a couple of minor points:

1. Depending on what you like, block 2 (down the hill) is a bit of a trek up and down the hill each day. We were in block 1 but I did have to go down to the supermarket a few times. I can imagine if you like being in the thick of it, block could be a little too quiet. Also, the restaurant is in block 1 so there could be quite a bit of back and forth. Some people we spoke to did prefer being in a quieter part though.

2. There is a snack bar that does food from 11am-5pm and quite a few people used this instead of lunch at the restaurant. It's not a buffet though which although is probably more hygienic than last year (kids helping themselves with their hands to the nuggets and chips etc) there was often a big queue as it was prepared to order and there was often just one lady serving drinks and taking food orders (very friendly) and one woman behind the hut preparing the food (very grumpy)

Apart from those things (which didn't really bother us anyway) it was a fab time - wouldn't definitely recommend and would go back! Please feel free to message me if you have any questions - would be happy to answer :-)

Room Tip: block 1 is where everything takes place. block 2 is down a steep hill and could be a bit annoying go...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank dwade1901
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Holiday Village Algarve Balaia

Property: Holiday Village Algarve Balaia
Address: Balaia, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Algarve
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #109 of 517 Hotels in Algarve
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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Also Known As:
Holiday Village Algarve Balaia Hotel Algarve

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