Situated about a 15 minute walk from the beach in front of the old town, this hotel also is conveniently located with a big supermarket next door to the right as you walk out of the front, and the tractor train stop just to the left, which does a circular route from here up to the strip, then round to the top of the escalators for the old town before returning to the hotel (2.50 euros for a single trip or 4 euros for a day ticket) so it's definitely well placed.
The rooms were great for what we wanted although not perfect by a long way so if you are looking for spot on luxury perfection then you'd best be looking at places on a higher budget. So yes, the bathroom looks a bit tired, some of the sockets are a tad dodgy, even the waterman brown for a while when first turned on (we stuck to bottled water for the entire stay for drinking), but for the money paid you get an wakeful lot compared to many I've stayed in. We had a decent sided bedroom for two (single beds pushed together) and then a hallway connects that to your apartment front door, past the bathroom and into a large living area, with two big three seat sofas, a dining table, and a kitchenette, with two ring hob, micro way, toaster and kettle and all the crockery and cutlery you might need. Even clean tea towels in the draw. A sponge or something to wash up with would have been nice but I'm not really going to complain over the 69 cents it cost to by one in the supermarket!
The lounge also had a decent flat screen TV which thankfully wasn't "crippled* so you could only use the hotels choice of channels but could also plug into the AV socket as we'd taken a tiny AVI player to plug in if it was a very rainy day. Big coffee table as well and the glass doors opened onto a reasonable balcony overlooking the pool and on down to the sea. Back in the bedroom it was a good setup for those that need a dressing table as there were sockets close and really good lighting in that corner. If you ran out of wardrobe space n the bedroom there was another out in the hallway, which also had a set of coat hooks.
So that was room 07 which may or may not be indicative of the *average* room, I'm afraid I didn't see any others :)
The rest of the hotel was also pretty good with the restaurant area being well 'shaped' (whether by accident or design I don't know) to reduce the echoing these area often have. The buffets there were just a small choice, which at first I looked at in dismay, but virtually everything I tried was well prepared and so I managed to eat 6 out of 7 nights there without an complaint and most nights was great enjoyment. There was usually two meat dishes and two fish dishes to choose from and then a couple of 'carb' dishes, potato or rice on one day and then chips or pasta on another, together with a couple of vegetable choices too. There was also a range of salad sides and/or cheeses. Desserts normally had at least three choices. As I say many hotels I've been in ha duchy more choice, but here I'd say 90% of the things I tried were prepared well enough I didn't need the extra choice. Breakfast too was not a huge choice, but still ample enough. And for the Brits abroad it was real sausage rather than the hot dog style that may hotels think are part of the 'full english' (not that I mind them at all actually). So there was always full English, croissants, cakes, cereals, yogurt etc.
As usual, for half board, any drinks taken with you dinner were charged, and so one warns is that if you see a tray with ready poured glasses of wine as you come in, don't think they are complimentary! You are welcome to take one, but you do need to pay for it :)
The bar was nice enough though nothing special, but then again if you compare it to many of the sport bars out in town, it was actually very nice indeed. One very good point was that prices in the bar were consistent with those outside the hotel.
The hotel had a lot of other facilities which we didn't use so I can't comment much on the pool, gym, tennis & squash courts, other than to say, if you want to use the indoor pool, take a swimming cap, as they are mandatory.
Internet was available and I think we paid either 7 or 10 euros for the week (per device) which wasn't expensive, but was also only very weak in the room.
Finally on the facilities, I'd recommend the 15 euros (+10 deposit) for the safe lock as I think the patio door catches that secured access from the balcony I could have opened with a small butter knife!
Staff at the hotel were all very polite and generally friendly. Marco in the restaurant was especially jovial and made the place much more entertaining. Of course they were not all laughing and joking with you all the time and occasionally the bar staff had a look like they. Wish they weren't there, and let's face it, Christmas week is the equivalent of the graveyard shift, so no doubt they would have prefered to be at home with their families, but a smile always returned to the face when you went to the bar to order.
Room cleaning could take a while some days with us waiting until 5:30 before they came round, which was puzzling as it only seemed to take then less than 2 minutes to do our entire apartment.
There is also a very nice cake shop which is just to the left of the main door whose terrace also overlooks the hotel pool. Whether this is run by the hotel or just the space in the building rented by the cake shop I don't know but it's convenient being just next door and has a great reputation, although unbelievably we never quite got around to trying the cakes.
One quite specific comment I have is the complete chaos of our gala Christmas dinner. The plus points were that at least it was part of the half board (I've been to a few hotel where they charge you extra for Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners even though you' em already paid for half board) and the food again tasted great, but the organisation was fairly disastrous with rather than tables being called up one at a time to a buffet table, there was just a general call of "food's ready!" and queue formed. The result was a tad chaotic and didn't equate to a pleasant dining experience. They entertainment consisted of a guy with a guitar and backing track singing cover versions who was good enough but nothing inspiring. Had a bit of a dance and enjoyed the evening, but I must admit it didn't live up to expectations.
So all in all the hotel was a great choice for our Christmas week away. A shame Albufeira itself didn't quite have the charm to make me want to return else I'd probably have been very happy to stay at the Brisa Sol again.
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- Also Known As:
- Apartamento Brisa Sol Albufeira
- Apartamento Brisa Sol Hotel
- Brisa Sol Albufeira
- Hotel Apartamento Brisa Sol Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal