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“Another great HV!”

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Holiday Village Algarve Balaia
Ranked #112 of 519 Hotels in Algarve
Certificate of Excellence
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Another great HV!”
Reviewed 15 August 2014 via mobile

We're a family of four (with two boys aged 5 & 6) and we stayed at the Alto da Colina for ten days in early August. We've previously visited Holiday Villages in Spain (our rating 4/5) and Majorca (our rating 4.5/5).

Transfer and check in were great and we were allocated room 319 in block 1; a behemoth of a room with two separate sleeping areas divided from the lounge/kitchen by sliding doors. Including the sofa beds, this room could have slept 8 people. In addition to having enough beds, there would have been ample living area for 8 people too. Air con is plentiful and the balcony was huge. We had paid a supplement for a sea/pool view.

The Maid Service was good. Six times a week, except a Sunday. Friendly and efficient. Usually from 9.30am onwards and our room was always complete by midday at the latest.

We spoke to a couple who had booked an apartment in Block 2 and they said in comparison they felt like "second class citizens" as their rooms were tired and cramped. Still, there's a nice quiet pool outside Block 2, where there always seems to be sunbeds and it has it's own snack bar and the mimimarket.

Onto the subject of sunbeds. Changeover days of Thursday and Sunday mean that there are plenty of beds available until after lunch. On the whole, guests are responsible about the number of sunbeds they reserve. As a guide, a trip downstairs between 7.15 - 7.30am will see you score premium beds around any pool. Whilst 8am onwards leaves you with the shadier options or ones without umbrellas. It was genuinely never a big issue though.

All the pools are fantastic and for our family the splash pool, slides and adjoining swimming pool was perfect. More grown up than the option in Majorca, yet not the full on water park offered in Spain. The snack bar in this section of the grounds was great too and kept restaurant dining down to two visits a day.

The All Inclusive option is adequate. All the drinks you'd expect minus the Slush Puppies offered in Majorca (2013). In comparison, ice creams are from a pot rather than some of the premium brand 'lollys', which were again on offer in Majorca in 2013.

In terms of First Choices performance, there's a good selection of staff at this hotel. They range from those who you can have a good chat to (Alex and Adam), to the downright daft yet entertaining (Miles). Jack, the swimming coach deserves a particular mention. He had both our boys performing beyond their capabilities during threes sessions and he also took time out to muck about with them in the pool whilst taking bookings. Well done.

Kids Club was safe and secure, although it feels like some of the topics need a bit of an update. They've been very similar for the three years we've been visiting Holiday Villages and on occasions the boys came out saying they'd had a good time but looking a little bored. Widget Party and Chocolate Party excellent as usual.

The Kids Club facility also look a bit battered. Staff were constantly having to fight with a broken patio door entrance and some of the exterior rails were broken. This didn't affect your faith in the staff or the childrens safety, however it just looked unprofessional and not what we've come to expect for the Holiday Village.

Worthy of credit are the local staff. The bar staff were really efficient and friendly despite the contempt with which some of the guests treat them. As your stay goes on you'll also learn to appreciate Thierry, who will no doubt be serving you your welcome Sangria. He always has a friendly welcome to the restaurant for you, if you take the time.

Onto the food, which is most certainly the 'jewel in the crown' of this Hotel. Breakfast is good and as other reviews mention you get a satisfactory choice of both Traditional English and Continental. We only had lunch in the Palm Restaurant on our day of arrival but it was fresh with some lovely local salad offerings. Evening meal really was excellent for each of our ten days. The Sunday roast was as good as any UK carvery; Mexican night was great; all the meat choices were cooked perfectly and not too fatty (steak and lamb particularly good); the soups lovely and Wednesday saw the best prawns I've ever had. There was the normal 'Kids Corne' but for the first time (due to the choice and quality on offer), our boys regularly selected from the adult options.

Tables in the Restaurant were invariably always available, although changeover days can get busy early on and on occasions the girls then struggle to turn the tables. As an improvement, it may be better for staff to seat diners (as they do in Spain and Majorca), which in turn generally gives a more systematic approach and ensures all tables are presented as they should be. All in all though, a real tick in the box for the Chef. The best food we've ever had at an AI.

Evening entertainment was good and as with Spain, there's an entirely separate bar and seating area, which allows you to escape the Widgets and i5Live as you see fit. Unlike Majorca, there was seating available for the evening entertainment right up to about 8.30pm, so you never felt pressured to eat too early or too quickly just to get a table.

Outside the Hotel, we took a walk to the beach, which took about 15 minutes at a slow pace. There are multiple routes, just follow your nose. The quickest and easiest route takes you through the grounds of the Hotel over the road.

We also visited Albufeira Old Town. Staff at Reception in Block 2 booked the taxi for us which cost 7 Euro's each way. The Town wasn't as quaint as it may sound, but decent enough for a change of scenery and the normal tat shopping. Just be mindful when you visit. The daytime was like walking into a furnace and we're told the evenings can be very busy and a little raucous?

In summary, another fantastic overall experience from First Choice's Holiday Village range. From the three we've tried they really have a great formula. We never go back to the same place twice, nor do we verbally recommend to other people but in this instance we may well make an exception.

Stayed August 2014
Helpful?
11 Thank BirminghamValiant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Salisbury, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 August 2014

Just returned from a week stay at the HV Algarve, we were a bit wary before we went as we'd never took the kids (10 & 12) on this type of holiday before however it was everything as advertised.......and more.

Started off with a smooth transfer from the airport which took approx 40 mins and an even smoother booking into the hotel which meant we were in the pool after a spot of lunch.

The rooms themselves were spacious, we were in block 2 room 2201, with everything you need to look after yourself (Kettle, Toater, Fridge etc) with a balcony looking over the pool. The Kids had Sofa beds which they loved and the main bed was 2 x single beds pushed together. Block 2 had the smaller but quieter pool if you just want to splash around and top up your tan, also located in this block is the mini-market which you can get all your provisions (British Newspapers)! Block 1 had the larger and much more busier pool which is the hub of all the entertainment during the day if you want to get involved. If you want a Sunbed it is advised that you get up early and put your towels on them even though the signs say not to, if you don't you'll be very lucky to get one after 0800. There is also a separate splash pool with a kiosk offering drinks and snacks, there are also various slides and water fountains in this area to keep all the smaller guests entertained. Wi-fi is available free of charge in the public areas so you can still stay in touch with those back home via social medis or check the latest football scores.

The food on offer was extremelly good with plenty choice and variety meaning you can try different things each visit and you never go hungry. There were plenty of options as well for the young uns who are a little bit fussy just like our youngest. The A La Carte Menu in the Italian/Portugese was limited but very nice all the same. Drinks are plentiful, with a great choice of wines, lagers spirits etc, we cleared the cocktail menu to my great delight!

There are numerous day trips on offer if you want to get out and about rather than bronzing by the pool each day. We took the day trip to Zoomarine which offers various marine based shows with a man made beach/water slide, the kids loved especially seeing the Dolphins and the Pirate show. We also took the morning trip to Loule which i would actually advise against. It is sold a s a shopping trip but in fact is only what can be described as a gypsy flea market with each stall being replcated every third stall. The journey there and back was painful in respect to the 'host' who gives you an education on fruit trees (honest)! I'd highly recommend a trip to the local town of Albufeira, only 7 Euros in a Taxi, which offered a multitude of different shops and restaurants.

We also took the free shuttle to the beach which was ok but be warned if you get a sunlounger, you get charged 7.50 Euros by some local walking the beach after you've taken the lounger and this is not advertised anywhere.

The entertainment is non stop and the entertainment team work verry very hard all hours of the day keeping everyone happy, big respect for them. The evening entertainment is geared towards the younger kids early on with the focus switching toards the adults with quizzes and games later on. Some reviews have described it as cheesy and more like Butlins, sometimes you have to take it tongue in cheek and go with the flow but non the less it was enjoyable.

Staff are always on hand to assist you in any queries you have no matter what time (to a certain extent) with an out of hours helpline should you need anything during the night.

All in all a thoroughly good holiday which everyone enjoyed. Would we go back and do it all again....................Hell yeah!!!

Thank you First Choice

Room Tip: Block 1 if you want to be amogst it all.....block 2 if you prefer it quieter.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Paul D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westhoughton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2014

Travelling to the Holiday Village as a family of three with our 5 year old daughter. We booked through First Choice. Flight from Manchester was fine, 2 hours 30 minutes. Slightly dodgy coach transfer, we were the last family on the coach so didn't wait too long before setting off, although others families had been waiting a while. The transfer time from the airport was around 40 minutes - we were the first drop off point.

On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by the reps and we checked in quite smoothly. We arranged for a safe at 22€ for our stay (11 nights) and put down credit card details for the pool towels and the TV and air con remotes. The pool towels are changed twice a week on Tuesday and Saturday.

Initial impressions of the hotel were that it was clean. Our room was spacious enough. We were in block 1, room 336, which had a sea view as well as over looking the swimming pools. The kitchen is provided with all the necessary equipment: hob, fridge, microwave kettle etc. Outside is a decent sized balcony with table and chairs. We had one bedroom with an additional bed in the main room for the little one. There is maid service 6 times per week. We only felt the need to use the aircon a couple of times during our stay.

Although we are in the midst of the school holidays we never felt that the pool areas were over-crowded. The sunbeds around the main pools do get taken up early. People do reserve them. There are signs saying not to, but everyone does it. There are lawn areas around the pool also. The main pool is where the daily entertainment takes place. There's water polo, snorkeling, water walkers as well as quizzes and dancing.

We spent some time around the kids splash pool. This is like a mini waterpark and ideal for kids up to around 12 years old. There's a splash zone with fountains and showers to run through, a small swimming pool and the pool with slides. It really is amazing to have this free and available. This never seemed to get too crowded either. Also the snack bar next to the splash pool opens 10.30am to 6pm with burgers, hot dogs, pizza, chips and cold drinks as well as beer and wine.

The food on offer in the main restaurant is excellent. Varied choices each day. Breakfast included all your English fayre as well as choices of cereal, fruit, cold meats and cheese. Similarly lunch and evening options were plenty. Evening meals had a theme night, Italian, Tex-Mex etc. Drinks are self-serve including wine and beer. At times the restaurant did feel really busy, however the food choices were kept stocked up and there was not much waiting around. I consider the food to be high quality with some of the dishes being freshly prepared in front of you.

The First Choice reps and entertainment team work really hard, they seemed to be on duty pretty much all day every day. They give off a really positive vibe, being interactive with the kids, and the adults. Organising pool games, delivering the evening entertainment and just being visible throughout your stay. They really seemed to enjoy what they do! The welcome meeting was informative without being over-bearing. Our daughter went to several sessions at the kids club which she really enjoyed and gave us some chance to relax. There is also a small playground as an alternative for keeping the kids entertained.

In the evening, the entertainment room can get full up so best to try and get there early. There is a mix of shows geared towards the kids early on then for the adults later. Just outside is the playground for the little ones to burn off even more energy. There is some seating there to have a drink while keeping an eye on the kids. It can get a little cool once the sun goes down though.

There is an alternative bar with a games area. All Inclusive drinks are wine, beer, spirits. There are also pre-made cocktails on offer but probably better just getting a spirit+mixer.

Block 2 is where the minimarket is. It is much quieter there with its own pool and is accessed via quite a few steps down a steep hill. As the entertainment and restaurant and main pools are in Block 1 it's a bit of a trek especially if you had to do it a few times a day.

All in all this was an excellent holiday. A great balance between relaxing and activities. The pools and playground are clean and well maintained, the apartments are spacious. The food is superb, the staff attentive and friendly and the First Choice reps and entertainment team are amazing!

I would definitely return here without hesitation.

Room Tip: Block 1 for easier access to the main pools, bars and entertainment.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank stevedisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Just returned from our 11 night stay at HV Algarve.We stayed in block 2 & first impressions of reception & room we're exellent . The check in staff we're friendly & quick & we was soon off to our pool view room in block two which as been said many times before on this site is the quieter block out of the two which suited us just fine because that gives you the best of both worlds.
We booked our holiday with First Choice & was informed our welcome meeting was at 5o'clock on the afternoon we arrived . We went along & was a little dissapointed as it wasn't so much a welcome meeting but just a total selling pitch for there football , swimming , acting & day trips . Not once during the meeting was we told about the local area , what buses to get to places but more on trying to sell there trips etc . Neither was we told about the kids club passes which you need to get your kids into the daily clubs but more of the selling pitch .
ROOMS -
We was in block 2 with a 1 bed apartment & the size & cleaniness was exellent . The balconey is a very good size aswell.the only thing that let the room down was the beds which we're AWFUL & very uncomfortable..... i'd go as far as saying i don't think i had a good nights sleep the whole holiday.Being in block two meant walking up the "dreaded" steps each time you want to go to the main restaurant / main pool which for us travelling with a 7 & 8 yr old isn't that bad really , but we did see many famlies struggling with the buggies/pushchairs.
POOL AREA -
Pool in block two is lovely & quiet with a great little bar / snack bar in the corner.The pool in block one is where everything goes on ... games , music etc etc the pool area it self is great but having to get up @ 6 o'clock on holiday to get a sunbed which ain't that comfortable anyway is madness... after a couple of days of doing that we gave up on trying to get sunbeds & just put our towels out on the grass area which is great & out the way of the sunbed army .
the slides & splash area are great for the kids . Both snack bars are exellent to .
Food -
The food is exellent.... breakfast , dinner & tea are all great with loads of choice. It can sometimes become a little like feeding time @ the zoo but every AI i've been to have been a little like that at times.
DRINKS / BAR AREA -
The drinks are also good , the Lager/beer was fine & the cocktails are good too.I never really had to que for a drink either which is great .i found all the bar staff very friendly & easy to talk to !
First Choice Holiday Reps -
firstly i'd like to give a big shout out to Jack the swimming instructor who gave the Rookie life guard course , he was great with the little ones & made the course for my daughter very enjoyable & fun ! The reps at the HV work very hard but like alot of times with these sort of hotels the reps have there favourites & only really try to talk & be welcome with these. They would walk round each day going to the same people having there little laugh with those & moving on . The football coaches are prob the worst , i tried to book my son onto the football course one day while they we're sitting in the tavern bar area.... i felt like i'd got in there way & found them a little rude to be honest.
LOCATION-
Not the best for getting out & about

overall the hotel as more good points than bad

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank dlt958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chippenham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Stayed at the HV algrave last July and this was the second visit as we all loved the first stay, 2 adults and children aged 13-9 loved everything about this resort, the room we had was top floor and at the end with twin balcony's and a superb views this was in block 1.The room was basic but very clean and big and everything we could ask for.
The restaurant could get busy but we found by dining an hour after it opened it was allot quieter as all the younger guests would go first.
Plenty of choice at every sitting with something for all, if you can't then you must be very fussy eater, great snack and drinks San Miguel and decent spirits and wines to choose from.
Pools yes chilly but once in they were fine, no real problems with sun beds you did get the same families putting towels out in the same place every day but there is a lot of room and beds to choose from.
Block 2 has a great chillout pool and area which yes the steps are steep but no problem for your average fit healthy person.
The shop is ok for the basics, 5 mins down the road left out the complex is a shop that sells a lot more and good value.

Would we do the 3rd visit.....yes we would.

Room Tip: Block 1 seems to be the best bet, but block 2 is quiet and has a lovely chilled out vibe.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Torquay, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

I have given this a 4 but I don't think it's a UK 4 star standard. We have just returned from a weeks holiday. 2nd week of school holidays so it was as busy as it's going to get. We travelled with children aged 5, 3 and 7months. We also travelled with 2 other families. Transfer and check in were fine, great flight times with such young children. About the rooms; We paid extra for a sea view room which was what we got, in block 1. However my husband and I had to sleep in the lounge on a camp bed and the sofa as we weren't confident that the older 2 children would not end up black and blue from falling out of bed every night. They were awful, so uncomfortable. We did have a kitchen though. Our friends who paid almost £2k more (as they had a 16, 6 & 4yr old) had to have interconnecting rooms but no kitchen or lounge area at all. I certainly felt for that much more they should have had something a little better! They also looked out onto the main road which was permanently noisy. The sunbed issue is what you make it. We are Brits and it's what we do, I certainly accepted that I had to do it and we shared it out between us, as we needed 8 beds a day. We went to the splash pool everyday and we didn't feel that it was overbusy at all, bearing in mind the time of year. Everywhere you go it will be the same. I agree with some of the earlier comments about the state some of the sunbeds, you literally couldn't lie on some of them, very uncomfortable. Food; was lovely, and as it was being cooked to serve so many at once i think they do an excellent job, decent amount of variety, all hot and replaced often. I definitely didn't starve! I didn't feel that the restaurant was ever that busy and I certainly didn't have to queue for anything. Staff in there are fab, clearing very quickly and very clean. The Italian restaurant had mixed reviews from our party. We booked in as a group of 13 and the kids ate very well, no complaints there. My husband had pizza which looked awesome (and tasted it too apparently) and one of our friends had cannelloni, again, very pleased. 4 had steak which wasn't good at all. So, definitely go to the Italian but stick to the Italian food! We didn't even bother booking into the Portuguese restaurant as the menu wasn't very appealing. Food down at the Madiera snack bar at the splash pool was fine, chips, hotdogs burgers etc, plus a couple of salads for those that wanted a healthy option. San Miguel was fine, no watering down. White wine was nice as well. Staff lovely and helpful, very good with the children. Kids club was perfect, kids loved it and went every day. My husband even managed to pry my 7month old away and booked him into baby club which he loved (Kim is awesome - he just beamed when he saw her) but as he started crawling before we went he was sooooo frustrated at not being able to get down and move about. The crèche is equipped with a completely padded floor so he was in his element, plus I got a break. Evening Entertainment wasn't as good as previous years, we went to Flamingo Beach in Lanzarote in 2011 and 2012 and both times the kids entertainment was far better. Whilst along the same lines, we all got the impression this year that the reps were interacting too much with each other rather than getting on with it. It just didn't have the same draw that the other years seemed to have. Although nothing else to do so kids would play in the park just outside the venue. I did not get the feeling that they were rude at kids club, they have very strict guidelines to follow to ensure the safety of the children in their care and I for one am totally in support of the guidelines they have in place. Pools were cold but the kids didn't mind and now and again came back to be dried off before getting back in. The weather was scorching so it wasn't too much of a problem. As for the awful slope between blocks 1 & 2? Some serious overreacting, the steps are absolutely fine, nice and deep and not steep at all, I had no worries about my kids going up and down them. The ramp was fine as we had a buggy but I wouldn't have wanted to try and get up and down in a wheelchair. My husband pushed the buggy up and down and had no complaints. Although as a lot of it is wooden, it would be quite slippy when wet. The pool down at block 2 was much quieter but my lot wanted to be on the slides.
We went into old town Albufeira one night and weren't that impressed. Full of bars (a lot catering for the Brits) and every shop/market stall had exactly the same stuff. My husband went for a walk to the beach one day and it's about 25 min walk but he did say it was lovely. We never ventured down there as a family as the kids were so happy by the pool.
Wifi available but the best reception is in the main reception which is also where you will find the young teenagers hanging out with their mobiles!
We generally had a lovely holiday, was it worth what we paid??......jury is still out, but it's the summer holidays and that's the premium you pay. We had the best time with our friends and the kids are saying how much they missed Portugal. I just felt there were lots of little things which could be slightly improved, although did not ruin the holiday in any way.

Room Tip: Block 1 is closer to the main pool and restaurant.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Anna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Middlesbrough
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Having spent 11 days in this wonderful hotel I'm not sure where to begin. Having a demanding 10 year old daughter we needed a holiday that would keep her entertained and this did that.
Kids clubs were brilliant and the entertainment staff were so friendly, I don't want to name them for fear of missing anyone out but they were all brill.

The 1 bedroomed apartmanet was huge and even had a kitchen even though we were all inclusive. The food catered for all tastes and there was no way anybody could say they couldn't find something to eat. With regards the drinks they were not watered down.

The only downside to the holiday was the reserving of sunbeds, despite notices up saying dont reserve the beds, if you wanted a bed around the main pool then you needed to have your towels out by 7am at the latest

The hotel manger was very visable and a credit to the hotel, nothing was too much trouble for her. I would definiately recommend to families and can't wait to go again

Room Tip: Block 1 is near everything. Ask for a corner room, not so much traffic from the lifts
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LouiseCMiddlesbrough
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 #112 of 519 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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