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Club Med Da Balaia
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Reviews (3,062)
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Reviewed 6 July 2009

We stayed here in late June just as they were gearing up for the summer season. This is our third Club Med and this resort is absolutely top notch. The location is great, the beach is a stroll away (down several sets of steps) and is stunning. There is a private sunlounger area for Club Med and a resident lifeguard/caretaker.
The pool area, bar and resturaunt have been renovated and are superb. The rest of the Hotel is a bit older but it's well maintained and spotless.
This resort is aimed at couples with under 3's and older couples. It has a more grown-up feel to it than some of the resorts based around sports etc. We have two children 3 and 5 and though they were too big for the kids club they loved the resort. The two standout features of this club are the food and the staff. They were both beyond fault and the professionalism combined with the fun club med atmosphere made for a fantastic holiday.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank Mark F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2009

I read the other reviews before going and did not have high expectations. However I really was very pleasantly surprised. It might be something to do with the refurbishments - but the pool, restaurant and bar area were absolutely beautiful and it felt like we were in a very luxurious resort. Other parts of the hotel weren't quite as lovely but still very pleasant.
We were met at the airport and taken very comfortably and swiftly to the resort. We were given keys at the airport and so didn't have to undergo a labourious check in procedure.
The room was comfortable but fairly average and the air conditioning didn't cool at all - not really a problem in may but if that was the case in the height of summer I'd have had more of an issue.
I am surprised by the comments about the staff as they were all SUPER friendly and helpful, more than I've experienced in most hotels.
The food varied from very good to superb, each meal (other than breakfast) was different and the choice was immense. Particularly impressed with the fois gras night and the 'fish' night where there were literally mountains of fresh shellfish, fresh fish and every variation you can imagine of sealife! The wine included was of good calibre, the cocktails (particularly the mojitos!) were pretty good and there was absolutely no pressure whatsoever to spend any money on any extras (indeed there was little opportunity). Pancakes and ice cream and watermelon by the pool in the late afternoon was good fun too. We had a go at the driving range and archery and there was pitch and putt and tennis available too.
We ventured out to Albufiera one afternoon, a taxi was 6 euros each way.
The only real downside was that the pool was not heated, at the beginning of the week it really was quite unpleasantly freezing but towards the end it warmed up. A shame that our 6 month old couldn't have a dip because it really was too chilly. Again only really an issue out of season.

They have wifi that you can use with your own laptops but there is also a few computers in the lobby you could use for a fee.

The place is otherwise fantastic for kids and particularly easy if you have a baby as the baby room is open 24hrs and has baby jars, yoghurts and fresh fruit plus a steriliser and microwave available. The baby buffet has plenty of fresh food and there's a blender and microwave available plus lots of ikea highchairs which are comfy and easy to use,. We had a 'baby welcome' in our room which included cot, bottle warmer, changing mat and baby bath and we were even provided with pre-sterilised packaged water to use for bottles (so we didn't have to boil it). We didn't use the baby club but it looked great and another time we probably would. All the kids in the kids club seemed to be having a great time. A good tip is if you think you will use the baby/kids club even a few times you may as well book it for the entire week as it is much cheaper in advance , you can book it there and pay a daily rate of 60 euros or a half day of 30 euros.
In summary we really enjoyed our break, and felt it was excellent value for money. The refurb is fantastic and the whole experience was very pleasant and the baby facilities far and beyond anything you would get anywhere else. We'll be going back I imagine.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank martian101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2009

I stayed in this hotel with my husband and 22 month old son. We booked a premier package including a suite. We were greeted at the airport by a friendly representative and had a good ride into the resort. Our room had fantastic views but inside was a bit run down and many things were slightly broken like the curtains and doors (not what I expected in a four trident suite!)

Like other reviewers, I found the front desk staff unhelpful to the point of rude. Most of the staff spoke little if any English which didn't help either.

Note that while there is wireless connection available in hotel you must bring your own laptop. There are no computers, no business centre, and they will not assist you by letting you use a hotel computer, even if it is to do something important like check your flight (which I needed to do!)

The food was good, although served by grumpy, unsmiling staff. The cocktails were undrinkable as they were all about 50% alcohol and tasted horrible.

The only pool was unheated and freezing. We were there for a week and it was never warm enough for us to use which was a real disappointment as my toddler loves the pool.

We did not use the Petite Club but did view the facilities which were clean, bright and friendly looking.

We needed the Infirmary for our son twice and were cared for very well. Our nurse Caroline was excellent, very reassuring and helpful and exceedingly sweet to my little son.

The absolute best thing was the beach. It is amazing! Incredibly beautiful, there are cliffs and caves and all sorts of things to do. My toddler was thrilled hunting for shells and playing with seaweed and marine life.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank Traveller8272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2008

We had an absolute ball at the al balai portugal. When we arrived I did think the hotel looked dated and a bit seventies but as soon as we went out into the grounds they were so beautiful and we didnt stay in our room or the hotel much as there was so much to do. I understand others concerns about the language as the main language is french and we are fortunate enough to speak it. The instructors give better coaching in french than english but seem to get the message across. We really enjoyed our time with the staff who made our holiday so much fun. Our son went to the petit club every day and the pyjama club at night. I know there have been some complaints about the petit club but the facilities are excellent. The french have a different approach with children, where children are just expected to go in to creches and schools without much fuss and dont get as much attention showered on them as our little darlings in the uk . So as far as quality of childcare goes petit club is excellent for french but for more sensitive british children used to alot of attention they may struggle as they are expected to just get on with it like all the others. My son who was two got to play tennis, mini golf and put on a show it was great for him. Great for us too as we got to play tennis and do all the activities everyday.

I loved the food and couldnt believe the standard of the meals. Cocktails and wine were superb. The value for money was excellent. We had great fun with the other guests and the GOs encouraged everyone to mix. I will definitely be rebooking this year and hopefully bringing some friends with us.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
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Thank holidaylover98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2008

Never again! Words of warning; if you have a baby or child under 2 years old, read below before you consider leaving them in the baby/petit club. We left our 8 month old boy ( the club starts for 4 months old+), for only 1 hour and returned 10 mins early to find him crying and very distressed; sitting alone on the floor, unattended, with no toys and no play mates. Call this a Baby Club? Where were the staff? Where was the Baby Club Manager? When we complained, we didn’t even receive an apology, and we were not given an explanation as to why he was left screaming, distressed and completely ignored by staff. Both the manager of the baby club (and her boss) said that older children take priority over a screaming baby. In our opinion this Baby Club isn’t suitable for younger children/babies.
After getting nowhere with the ‘manager’ of the baby club, we eventually complained directly to ‘Village Director’; he talked the talk; he said he would investigate the situation, but in reality he did absolutely nothing! (we saw him the next day and he completely ignored us!)
We have sent an official letter of complaint to the Club Med Head Office and we are awaiting a response.

As for the rest of the hotel:
1. It’s in desperate need of refurbishment; tiles coming of the swimming pool, which isn’t heated and it's freezing cold.
2. Food: on the surface it looks good, but my husband got food poisoning and was ill for the rest of the week.
3. Bedrooms: Okay, but not what you would call ‘family’ accommodation; just a normal sized hotel bedroom with a cot!
4. Staff: Hit and Miss! Okay until you complain, then they don't want to know.
5. Grounds: Lovely view of the sea
6. Cleaning: Hit and Miss
7. Overall: We won’t be going back!!!

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled with family
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13  Thank MissFortune99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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