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“All inclusive First Choice Algarve (summer holidays 2014)”

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Holiday Village Algarve Balaia
Ranked #103 of 522 Hotels in Algarve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 August 2014

High quality accommodation split into two blocks.
The main block (1) is were the main pool and daytime entertainment is situated.
Block is down a small hill with steps and a ramp to the side. This is the quieter of the two blocks and was were we stayed. This wasn't a problem for as our children are 8 and 11, if you had a push chair block two may cause irritation.

Due to tiled floors corridors can be noisy at night time and sound echos as people as the go to their rooms. Also as people move chairs above you noise will echo down.

The rooms are big and finished to a high standard and the daily maid service was of a high standard.

Day time/evening entertainment and kids clubs were fantastic and the First Choice team were excellent.

A wide choice of food each day and were some meals were repeated due to large choice we all had a different meal each day of our 2 week holiday.

Mini bus down to the beach 10am-1pm) or you can walk through the sister hotel Altaagar were there are steps to the quieter end of the beach (they don't you this)

Room Tip: Block 1 for families with push chairs. Block 2 for those wanting a quieter holiday
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Ian F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 August 2014

I have never written a review before but was so disappointed with this hotel that I felt compelled to post a review.
Having stayed at two holiday villages previously, Rhodes and Cyprus it was recommended to us by the travel agent.
We had a family room in block one. The room was sparsely furnished and looked like it had last been decorated in the 1980's. The electrical points throughout the room came away from the walls particularly in the kitchen. The kids den had the wardrobe and mirror located in it....so I could not get ready in the morning until the kids were awake and at night I would have to sneak in and out of their room to get stuff.
The rooms were seemingly cleaned everyday except on Sundays. After day three I had to go and Complain that the floors had never been cleaned since we arrived. Low and behold miraculously the floors were cleaned....nothing else though...the sticky coke stains on the kitchen table that were already there when we arrived stayed with us for the whole two weeks.
To our amazement when we got up in the morning we did not have hot water in our bathroom. We complained repeatedly to reception staff who said that this should not be the case....In our second week I managed to speak directly to the manager of the hotel. She assured me that the maintenance man would sort it out. We were told by the maintenance man that he did not understand this as the hotel runs off solar power and there was aback up system through the night. We had an early flight pick up and so had to get up at 4:45am. Guess what no hot water. We ran the water for 15mins...I then marched down to reception in my pyjamas to complain and ask where else we could take a shower. I was told to keep running the water and it would be sorted. As we were running out of time and still had two kids to get ready my husband got in a rather chilly shower followed by me. 45 minutes later we had warm water after continuously running the shower and all other taps. Does this not not go against the hotels environmental policy of saving water!
On our first day we we're unable to secure sun beds and were informed by another family that they were waking at 5am to secure sun beds. Despite numerous signs asking customers not to reserve beds this was not being enforced and so we were left with no choice but to put towels out at 6am to secure.
You should be aware that the pool temperatures in all the pools are cold. I have never experienced such cold water in pools whilst on holiday. The pools were not overly used and most kids and adults when coming out appeared cold.
The food was average....fruit juices were overly sweet. The restaurant felt like a roadside cafe and was not particularly clean. The restaurant staff struggled to cope with the volume of guests which meant that clearing and cleaning tables was compromised.
Overall I really struggle to understand how this is a four star apart-hotel and how it has been included in the Holiday Village group.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Lisa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2014

We have just returned from the Holiday Village Algarve and already I'm wishing I was still there! We arrived late morning, enough time to make a first impression - looked great. We were greeted by the First Choice staff who were very friendly and made a great first impression on our children.

Our accommodation (block 1 with a sea view) was very spacious and we had a very large balcony area. We always put our children in the bedroom and so was a little disappointed that there the sofa bed and a separate single bed were made up in the living area (when it suggested in the brochure that the sofa bed was a pull out double bed). Other than that I couldn't complain.

There were a number of swimming pools to choose from but we mainly stayed by the children's splash pools (our children aged 5yrs and 9yrs) and as previously pointed out, if you didn't put your towel on a sunbed early enough you had no chance of getting anything after 9:30am! We don't like doing this but by the third day I was fed up of having to hunt around for a single sunbed to use for 4 of us and then started to put our towels out.

My 5yr old daughter enjoyed many kid's club activities and took a real shine to Dan! Having said this all the First Choice entertainment staff were brilliant and can't imagine how they keep going, especially as I know my 5yr old is constantly on the go - staff will know who!

The Venue where the evening entertainment took place was separate to the main hotel and was too small for the amount of families at the holiday village. If you wanted to get a seat you would have to have your evening meal early and get down to venue. As we didn't rush very much it was almost impossible to get a seat. Plus with a 5yr old who wanted to see the Widgets and I five live and a 9yr old who wanted to play pool and games in the hotel bar area it was very difficult to keep an eye on both children in two separate places! When we did go in the Venue the entertainment staff (we mainly saw Polly and Zander) were very good though and kept the children entertained. My 5yr old took part in the Razzmatazz stage show and thoroughly enjoyed herself - thanks to Katie and Danielle.

Food was okay, nothing very special but not awful. Mexican night was good for a change and we visited the Italian restaurant which was lovely. One disappointment though is that both in the restaurant and bar area, the chairs were a horrible lattice plastic type of chair that were uncomfortable if you were wearing a shorts or short dress as it left marks on the backs of your legs - cushions would be much more comfortable!!

All hotel staff were excellent they were very friendly and approachable. My 9yr old certainly made a friend with Coralina at the kids pool snack bar - I think he was the first one up there every morning! He certainly had his all inclusive quota of ice cream!

We had a great time at the holiday village and my 9yr old said it was the best holiday ever. Both the children made lots of friends - we would certainly recommend this Holiday Village and will definitely return sometime in the future.

Room Tip: Go for block 1 - you may have to pay extra for a sea view to ensure you get a room in block 1!
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Debbie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2014

We stayed at the Holiday Village Algarve at the end of July and start of August 2014. We are a family of 5 with kids aged 10, 8 and 2.

We stayed in 2 connecting rooms in block 2. Check in was straightforward with helpful staff and our rooms were ready when we arrived even though it was only midday. The rooms are next to each other with a connecting lobby. We were initially given only keys for the rooms but were provided with a key to the outer lobby door when we asked at reception. The rooms were clean with plenty of space. The air conditioning was a bit hit and miss but as the building is fairly new it still rarely felt too hot. I think it is mostly apartments that overlook the pools in both blocks, our room overlooked a road but we could see the sea beyond! Most facilities and activities are in block 1 which is up a small slope from block 2. Block 2 has its own pool and bar and also accommodates the supermarket and al a carte restaurant. It was a five minute walk from our room to the restaurant in block 1 and the slope did not cause us any difficulty, including our 2 year old!

The facilities at the Holiday Village are fantastic. The main pool is huge with a separate toddler pool. Part of the pool is used for activities which run throughout the day. We are not interested in early morning sunbed reserving, but there were usually some available when we wanted to use the pool. There is loads of extra space around the pool where you can put a towel on the grass if required. The slides in the splash pool kept my kids well entertained. A lot of the slides are quite small but still fun. The big red slide was very slow! There is another deep pool and a toddler pool next to the splash pool and a water play area. There is also a bar providing drinks and good quality snacks. The pool in block 2 is lovely too, but there is no separate toddler pool. There are also indoor pools.

Kids clubs run at 10, 12, 2.30, 4.30 and 7.45 each day (the evening one is later for the age 9-11 group). There is a wide range of activities; aeroball, raft building, archery, aqua Olympics to name just a few! The minimum age for each group is strict – my daughter was not able to join the older group – but kids can move down to the younger group if there is space. The clubs are very secure and the staff are brilliant. There are also family activities running throughout the day including pool inflatables, water walkers, water polo, party dances, quizzes, etc. The entertainment staff work really hard and are very friendly and welcoming.

We really enjoyed the food at the main buffet restaurant. There was a great selection of dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner with traditional favourites as well as local dishes and theme evenings; my personal favourite was Italian. During peak times there tended to be a reasonable queue for whichever counter the chips were on but everything else was easy to get to! The restaurant offers self service drinks; soft drinks, juices, hot drinks, wine and a beer tap. There was a good selection of all inclusive drinks at the other bars including a range of spirits, wine, beer, sangria and some cocktails (these were from a machine and not the best I’ve tasted!) The staff at the bars and restaurant were on the whole very attentive and efficient.

We felt the evening entertainment venue was too small for the size of the hotel, by “prime time” a lot of people were having to stand. I can’t really comment on the prime time evening entertainment as we only stayed a couple of times and then not for long, but we felt the kids entertainment was very repetitive and us adults were quite bored of it after a fortnight – that said, the kids really enjoyed it and were keen to go back every night! It starts with the Widgets puppet show followed by I 5 live which is basically a combination of games and party dances. Again, the entertainments team work really hard and put all their energy into the shows.

The location of the hotel is quite far from any sort of resort centre. It is about a half hour walk in either direction to get to shops, bars and restaurants. Both areas are pleasant, but the walk is along the road so not very exciting, particularly for the kids. We took our first walk to the beach without reading the directions provided at the hotel, turning right from the supermarket – this route took us down a lot of steps but with a really great view and a lovely beach at the bottom. The route suggested by the hotel – left from the supermarket – was a much easier route, especially with a buggy, again ending at another lovely beach, this one including some lovely cliffs, caves and rock pools. It was about a 20 minute walk to the beach. Taxis to Albufeira old town are inexpensive – as a group of 5 we had to take a more expensive larger taxi and it was still only 8 euros. The old town is lovely with a mixture of culture, shopping, entertainment and beaches! There are plenty of trips that can be booked through first choice at the hotel which are decent value.

Overall, I think the hotel was brilliant. The food, pools and daytime activities for all the family were great, however the evening entertainment could do with a bit more variation and I would prefer to be a bit closer to a resort centre.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank Sandie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2014

I wish I had read the reviews before I went, but as it was our third time at this hotel, I thought I knew what I was getting. I did not bargain on my daughter getting the bug on the morning of our return home, and then I had it. Truly a terrible sick bug, the worst I have ever had, aching body and chills. I did hear of other people being sick the day before we left. The reviews about the pool water are terrifying, as it was so hot my kids spent most of the time in there. It really isn't good enough, measures should have been put in place to control the bug and there is no excuse for dirty pool water at a hotel like this. We had ants all over our room and in the bathroom. The venue entertainment centre did have a terrible smell of raw sewage, we couldn't bear to sit in there.
We re visited as our kids loved it previously but never again!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
4  Thank Kate F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2014

Shoebox size room for family of 3. Shouldn't be expected in 4 star aparthotel (whoever gave this rating should have their head examined). We were met with arrogance and sarcasm by hotel staff. The Thomson reps were gibbering fools. When we pointed out that the room was small it was stated the room had limited space and could sleep 2-3. I pointed out that 10 people could sleep in the room if you staked them high enough......
We decided to make the best of it and requested a kettle and a refrigerator which was met with a blank stare and the a sigh....eventually the next day these things showed up in the room. The cleaning service of the rooms was crappy and we had to call the reception twice to get the room cleaned. To use the washing machines is 5 € and the iron 1 €.
The hotel food was under all critic and wasn't fit for human consumption. The buffet breakfast and lunch was like feeding time at the zoo. All inclusive is royal ripoff with crap wine and strange tasting San Miguel.
I had to smile when people block booked the sun beds at 6a and on another funny note I also found a taxi service that was substandard to anything I have ever seen before and completely unreliable. The so called block 2 of the hotel had the architecture of an asylum.

The only good thing was that my son had good time and made loads of friends but I won't be back again.

Room Tip: Don't go here in the first place but apparently the actual apartments are big.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Kemalmbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

Second visit to this HV and just as good as first!

Rooms clean and large!
Food from breakfast to tea super and plenty of variety!
Soft drinks and beer super (cocktails and shorts need improving)
All swimming pools and splash park excellent.
My little boy (the mini Messi) went to the football for 4 days - he loved it and the 2 coaches were brilliant with the kids.

Holiday definitely one for the kids and that's all us parents want. Had a great time and would recommend. Don't understand how people can give this place a negative review - there again some people always look for something to complain about rather than just enjoy themselves!

Stayed: August 2014
9  Thank Amber W
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

Address: Balaia, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Algarve
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #103 of 522 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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