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“Very child friendly but lacking in 5 star quality - townhouses poor”

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Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort
Ranked #16 of 154 Hotels in Albufeira
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 207 helpful votes
“Very child friendly but lacking in 5 star quality - townhouses poor”
Reviewed 5 September 2011

We stayed for a week in a 2 bed townhouse with our 4 year old daughter.
I struggled before we arrived to find any feedback on the townhouses so I will give our experience on them here in case it helps others. They are located around the front reception of the main hotel in a pretty garden area with a stream running through the middle. The area is beautifully manicured and very clean. Our daughter loved watching the frogs diving in and out of the water. The accomodation itself was disappointing. Athough spacious, it was tired and in need of updating. Our kitchen was in a poor state of repair and infested with ants. The whole house had a dreadful stale smell which we figured would go after a few days of being occupied, but it did not. Even the inside of the kitchen cupboards smelt dreadful and we washed everything before we used it. There were numerous maintenance problems - lights that didn't work, no access to the movies on the TV, no internet, a very weak shower output. Some of these were solved when we asked about them - others stayed unsolved all week. There were no 'basics' in the cupboard to help with self catering (surely the point in these accomodations) - not even salt and pepper.
In terms of layout - as you walked in the door there was a hallway, kitchen and a dining room, then it was up a flight of stairs to a lounge. Then more stairs to a bedroom and a separate bathroom, then more stairs up to an ensuite bedroom. The only phone in the house was in the hallway so if you were in the master bedroom and it rang, you had to race down three flights of stairs to answer it.
We ordered some milk for our daughter from room service on the first night and drinks for ourselves - it took over an hour for the order to arrive and they'd forgotten the milk.
The house was made up with two twin rooms on arrival so we rang and asked them to make one room up as a double which we were told would be done immediately. Four hours later and nothing. We ended up calling 3 times.
Overall - we would not recommend the townhouses - we paid £1800 for a week (accomodation only) and this was never worth the money. They seem a bit forgotten by the resort generally - the new, modern Residences are clearly their flagship self catering option, and you do feel like the poor cousins getting second class service in the townhouses.
Now for the rest of the resort - it is huge! The grounds are perfect - beautifully maintained, spotlessly clean and very, very pretty. There are flowers everywhere.
It is very child friendly. There was no--where that was forbidden to our 4 year old and she was welcomed rather than tolerated. This was a joy. We didn't use the kids cub as she didn't want to go there - the kids club area is huge but lack lustre. It was almost always empty and for such a huge space there was very little in it - the pirate ships are like big climbing frames but that's it. We spent an hour in there on the first day and despite walking past every day after that, she always refused our offers to go back in. There is a pool in the kids area but it is not heated, and there is zero shade - not even a parasol over a sunbed. This seemed nuts - it was never used as a result. There are 5 outdoor pools in the resort but only one is heated. The others are FREEZING and for us with a little person, they were unuseable. This also seems mad given the resort is full to bursting with families with young children.
The beach is lovely - yes its a long walk down there but I'm not sure what they could have done about that. The boardwalk they have built has been done nicely. We had a lovely meal at the beach cafe one day. Unfortunately while coming back up in the lift it broke down with us in it. It was a pretty scary experience as after it came to a halt, it kept jolting and throwing us around. It was very hot in there and they took quite some time to wynch us to the top. Once we were out, there was no attempt to see if we were ok, even with a small child in tow.
The restaurants were largely very good - the service was excellent and food of a varying quality but mainly good. Our favourites were O Grill and Pescador (which was excellent). Beware - the food is very expensive. One bad experience was in Piri Piri - a waiter literally threw a tray of drinks over us mid dinner, soaking all three of us and flooding our main courses. He didn't apologise and promptly disappeared. In fairness someone else came over and sorted us out and replaced our meals. But when the bill came, not only was there no adjustment as means of an apology, they gave us someone else's bill and we had to correct them. One thing to beware of is the billing generally - I lost count of the amount of times I checked the bill before signing to find it was wrong - never in my favour. Sometimes it was more than double what it should have been.
We were there for a week from August bank holiday weekend and the place was rammed. Even as parents ourselves we found the sheer number of children a bit overwhelming! It got better towards the end of our week when it was less full - it was much more comfortable and pleasant. Most other families seemed to have 3 or more children. We were the only couple with only one.
Generally - we found the service to be very variable and this is the thing that was most disappointing and that made the resort feel substandard. Some staff were wonderful, but they were in the minority. Mostly staff were disinterested at best, rude at worse. Service was inefficient - requests were often ignored and had to be repeated. Check in and check out were dreadful - at check in I was left standing for over 20 minutes while some staff wandered around talking amongst themselves behind the desk. When I did manage to grab someone they looked at me with utter contempt, like I was the most diffcult woman ever for wanting to get to my accomodation. My husband was left stood outside with the luggage in the full glare of the sun for this whole time - no-one offered to hep him and even when I asked someone for a luggage trolley, one was not sent. I admit I eventually had a sense of humour failure about it. I wasn't alone though - the guy next to me had been there over an hour with three small children and still didn't have his room key. Checkout was a similar farce - we had been allowed to use the resort facilities after leaving our room and were advised to come back 15 minutes before out car was collecting us so we could settle the bill and collect our bags. When we got there, the queues were out of the building. I asked the concierge for help, as I faced missing my car and hence my plane - she told me she couldn't help - I'd need to ask those in the queue if I could push ahead of them! Eventually in desperation I did this - and got a barrage of abuse from people who'd been stood there a long time. Some kind souls did take pity on us - but we still waited for over 20 minutes to speak to a receptionist. Even as I was trying to pay my bill there were annoyed guests trying to interrupt and get attention and shouting at me for insisting I needed to catch a plane! It was an utter car crash and I've genuinely never seen anything like it. It sort of summed up both how inefficient and non customer focused the resort it, and why it doesn't feel 5 star.
We didn't have a horrible time at Sheraton Algarve, but I wouldn't call it relaxing. We won't be going back and could not recommend it given the price we paid. There are better places for families to have a fun holiday.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Noo36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2011

Disclaimer - I stayed here on points so my review might be a tad colored since I didn't pay for a room. Nevertheless, my husband and I were blown away by this hotel! The photos really don't do it justice. The grounds are so lovely and well maintained, the staff kind and helpful (except for the rather brash lady who sometimes works the concierge desk). The pools (there are two) were smaller than I expected, but I was happy that they had plenty of lounge chairs in the shaded lawn area for those who just wanted to lay out all day. Access to the relatively private beach was fast and easy via the lift, and the use of chairs and towels were included with our stay (I love it when they don't nickel and dime you for the little things). We decided to try out the seafood buffet at the main restaurant downstairs from the lobby, and were not disappointed. Granted, a few of the cold seafood items (like the shrimp) didn't taste that fresh, but all of the cooked items were delicious.

We rented a car and parking was free and plentiful on the premises. Given that there are so many things to do on the property itself (hookah bars, restaurants, etc) I would think carefully about renting a car next time, especially since driving is so difficult without properly marked roads.

I think the only drawback here is that the rooms are a little underwhelming in terms of their decor, but they are clean and spacious, and the sizable decks do compensate somewhat. I would highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank minuit999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations at Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this review, 5 September 2011
Dear Mr./Mrs.,

Thank you for your contribution on Tripadvisor.

Your comments are extremely valuable to us and they motivate us to continue to improve our services and to create lifetime memories.

We look forward to welcome you again at our Resort.

Kind regards,

Rita Ferreira
Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2011

This was our first holiday with our 2 year old daughter and after searching for weeks, we decided upon the Sheraton Hotel in the Algarve. as its under 3 hours by plane from the UK and the hotel has facilities for kids.

From the moment we arrived we were very impressed, we are normally used to travelling long haul, as a couple, to exotic & luxury places, however the hotel was very impressive and I would ignore all the negative comments about the hotel. Expect to pay high prices for water, food etc. however this is a 5 star luxury hotel and if you can afford to stay here then you shouldn't really moan about the prices for other things. This is Europe which is not cheap anymore so do not be surprised to pay a high price. There is a supermarket outside the resort opposite the Piri Piri restaurant where you can purchase cheaper water bottles and yogurts, cheese and bread etc which will help.

Staff were friendly throughout our entire stay and as my husband is vegetarian, they were very flexible in all restaurants and food was good for kids, there were kids menu's everywhere. Fantastic for children. Breakfast had everything you can think of and our daughter loved trying different things.

The deluxe room we had was very roomy with a balcony and have nothing to complain about! There was a low single bed with mesh net support barriers for kids, my 2 year old slept very comfortably for a week! There are also sofa's and a table set up near the doors. You will have to pay if you want extra's like a dvd player but we ended up giving ours back as our daughter would not let us watch tv!! Staff were always wililng to help us out and if there was a problem , it was sorted out without any hassle. I would imagine that the people who have moaned about the service on trip adivsor do not know how to handle such issues so obviously staff will not want to help unless treated with respect.

The hotel itself, I found to be very clean and well kept. The resort grounds were also clean and have loungers where you can find a spot for the day. Towels are supplied if you have a towel card which is given when you check in. Do not lose these cards otherwise you will get charged! There is an elevator to go down to the walkway where you can leave your pushchair and then walk down to the beach which is beautiful. There are also loungers dedicated to the hotel down there and a cafe/bar so very convienient to take kids there for lunch.

The weather was perfect, not too hot and just right to be able to eat outside, lounge around and go for walks. There is a park on the grounds and a train that will take you around all the apartments and very entertaining for young kids! There are 7 pools around the resort, 3 of which are close by on the main resort, all of which are decent sized and have loungers all around. Best thing to do is get your towels before or after breakfast and reserve your loungers then. There is a Cafe near one of the pools and may get people coming dripping wet as there are table outside and it is not at all disruptive but gives the resort a relaxed feel, especially if you have children. The resort is absolutly brililant for this reason and don't let anybody put you off.

There is also an indoor pool and jaccuzi which we used, be aware that you do have to purchase a swimming cap for around £4 if you want to use the indoor pool.

Overall the hotel facilities are excellent and will have everything that you require, staff are very friendly and will do what they can to help with advice on excursions, booking restauants, taxi's etc.. We found it very clean and PERFECT for families. If you are a couple looking to go then beware that the resort is full of kids but as the resort is so vast you will find quiet spots. It is most definatly a 5 star resort and expect to pay the price. We reccommend Half Board.

Definatly a place worth visiting and I am so happy that we chose it for our daughters 1st holiday! We have very fond memories.

Room Tip: Deluxe Room is excellent and large enough for 2 adults and one child.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RS22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations at Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this review, 5 September 2011
Dear Mr./Mrs.,

At Starwood properties \ Pine Cliffs Resort we highly value your feedback which enables us to maintain the high standards of our Resort.

We are glad to learn that we were able to provide you a most enjoyable stay.

Looking forward to welcome you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Rita Ferreira
Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 August 2011

First visit to the Sheraton after many enjoyable holidays at Vila Vita. Whilst we had a good holiday, there were a number of things which let the Sheraton down. First and foremost the approach to customer service whether it be at the bar, by the pool, in the restaurants or at reception. This is not a hotel focused on delivering top quality, friendly customer service. Perhaps because it is so busy or perhaps first and foremost a timeshare resort..... Secondly, some of the hotel decor is tired - the best example of this is the shocking selection of old sofas and furniture outside the Middle Eastern restaurant, torn and with their stuffing coming out! Not what you expect from a 5 star hotel - no wonder it lay empty most of the time. Thirdly, the charges - beware the family game of crazy golf or a quick knock-about on the tennis court - everything costs, even if you have paid serious money for the privilige of staying there! Finally, the rules - no entry to the indoor pool unless you buy a swimming cap, no outdoor pool towels before 9am, no replacing of room towels in the evening turn-down service (that's if you get one - some nights you do, some nights you don't!). Rules would have come in handy in the restaurants - we were amazed that children were allowed to come through the Grill restaurant in the evening on scooters, children & adults arrived at tables in the Corda Cafe dripping in swim suits and towels at dinner (the pools remained open till very late) - there was no distinction bewteen day and night in the restaurants or bars in terms of dress code. In summary, a good hotel if you have children, want everything on site and are prepared to pay for it, but not, in our minds, a five star experience or in the same league as Vila Vita when it comes to customer service and making guests feel special!

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank openminded01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations at Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this review, 5 September 2011
Dear Mr./Mrs.,

Thank you for the time to share your feedback on Tripadvisor.

We regret to learn of your experience and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you directly.

Please email us at: 00199.algarveguestrelations@luxurycollection.com , so we may discuss the matter further.

Kind regards,

Rita Ferreira
Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Monica, California
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2011

My husband and I just returned from our fabulous vacation at the Sheraton. We were a bit relunctant at the last minute to go to this extremely touristic part of the Algarve; however this hotel was completely secluded from the 'madness' and was the perfect getaway for the two of us. The grounds were lovely, the restaurants were good, the beach was wonderful and one of the more magical locations was the hotel's champagne bar which overlooked the beautiful Algarve sea. The service at the hotel"s reception and the concierge were also quite good. Our ony complaint was that the gyms were not large enough for the size of the property (approximately 4 treadmills total) and the spa area was not that quiet (althoughthe massage was excellent) The place was full of families from all over the world and we missed our kids as they were at camp....next time we will bring them.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank carlyle952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations at Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this review, 22 August 2011
Dear Mr./Mrs.,

At Starwood properties \ Pine Cliffs Resort we highly value your feedback which enables us to maintain the high standards of our Resort.

We are glad to learn that we were able to provide you a most enjoyable stay.

Looking forward to welcome you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Rita Ferreira
Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lisbon
Level 6 Contributor
85 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2011

I was there in the beginning of August 2011 (Sheraton Pine Cliffs Vacation Club) for one week, and when l left I forgot two ware pieces in the apartment. I complain immediately in the next day and I was told by the management that they did not found nothing (I AM SURE ABOUT WHAT I LEFT AND WHERE I LEFT IT), explaining that the hotel did not have any responsibility about belongings forgotten in the rooms, apartments and public areas of the resort (!!!!) and hat they had all confidence in the cleaning staff of the hotel...
And what about confidence in the client???!!!
UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR IN SUCH A QUALITY SHERATON MANAGED FACILITIES AS THERE ARE (5 STARS THEY SAY!!!).

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jose P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2011

My husband and I spent a week here last year, and we were a bit underimpressed with this Luxury Collection property. Still, I wanted a warm holiday with my mother and decided to give it another try in June. I'm very happy that I did. With only little exceptions, I found the service to be much better here than it was last year. Upon arriving, I informed the front desk that TAP Portugal lost my luggage. The man I dealt with immediately took my claim information so the front desk could contact TAP and find out the status of my lost luggage (my luggage was delivered late that evening). Due to our SPG status we were also upgraded to a nice, large room.

The pool areas are massive, and there are more than enough loungers for everyone to relax comfortably without being crammed into a small area. The men who handle the towels are also very helpful with moving the very heavy umbrellas when needed. This resort is very child friendly, so be prepared for children (and their parents, unfortunately) shouting in public areas. The beach is a bit of a hike away. The resort itself is at the top of a cliff, and the beach is obviously at the bottom. It is necessary to take a lift down the cliff and then manage a long walk and a large number of steps to actually make it to the beach. I was happy with the pool and had little patience for this hike.

The breakfast buffet is very good and offers just about anything one could want for breakfast. We ate lunch by the pool most days and just hadthe food delivered to our loungers (from Pescador I think). We had the misfortune of actually sitting to lunch at the same restaurant by the heated pool on the first day of our trip and made sure not to have a repeat. The service is just terrible, and the waitstaff seemed terribly confused. Piri Piri was actually a very decent restaurant for dinner. Beware though- the signature drink always seems to be a strawberry daiquiri, and the waiters really want the patrons to order one.

The greatest annoyance during our stay was at checkout. Someone had charged drinks to our room, and the woman at the front desk was very unpleasant when it came to removing these charges. When I told her these charges were not mine, she looked at the receipts, pointed and said something along the line of- is this NOT your signature? I informed her that not only was it not my signature, but it was not my name either. Then she would not complete my checkout until she had finished her paperwork regarding removing these charges from my account. This is a terrible way to treat resort guests and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. This property does not rise to the level of of other Luxury Collection properties, but generally speaking I was happy with our stay.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NoraNJtoLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pinecliffsAlbufeira, Guest Relations at Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, responded to this review, 22 August 2011
Dear Mr./Mrs.,

Thank you for your contribution on Tripadvisor.

Your comments are extremely valuable to us and they motivate us to continue to improve our services and to create lifetime memories.

We look forward to welcome you again at our Resort.

Kind regards,

Rita Ferreira
Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort

Property: Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort
Address: Praia da Falesia, Albufeira 8200-593, Portugal (Formerly Sheraton Algarve Hotel)
Phone Number:
Region: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Albufeira
#7 Romantic Hotel in Albufeira
#8 Spa Hotel in Albufeira
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Albufeira
#13 Luxury Hotel in Albufeira
#17 Family Hotel in Albufeira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 217
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort, formerly known as Sheraton Algarve, offers recently renovated rooms, enhanced and extended dining options, and a brand new, 1000m2 Serenity Spa, The Art of Well Being. Pine Cliffs Hotel has a stunning cliff-top location above Portugal's longest beach, Praia da Falésia. All of the beautifully decorated rooms and suites at Pine Cliffs Hotel include in-room entertainment systems with LCD TVs. All rooms also include furnished balconies with garden or sea views. The resort features 5 tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, a beach club and a mini golf. For children and teenagers, the Junior Club provides a variety of activities such as mini-golf and football. The property is a 1-hour drive from Faro International Airport. Free on-site car parking is available. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sheraton Albufeira
Sheraton Algarve
Albufeira Sheraton
Pine Cliffs Hotel, a Luxury Collection Resort Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

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