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.
- 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