We stayed at Vidamar 10th to 14th June having taken advantage of a cheap deal. We had read the reviews so we were aware that some of the hotel facilities were not open (although the tour operator, Teletext Holidays/Broadway Travel mentioned nothing of this). For the price we paid we were completely satisfied with what we got but I wouldn’t have been so happy had I paid the full published price. The hotel was only about 20% occupied during our stay but we were still not able to take advantage of the late check out that we had arranged at booking because the room was needed for new guests, presumably that means that a large number of the rooms are not yet ready.
The hotel is part of a brand new development and although there are views over the golf course and lagoon, there are also views of masses of the same style/same colour buildings everywhere. Whether you think of the hotel as “fab architecture” is a matter of personal opinion but for me square boxes stacked one on top of the other is boring. The hotel was clean any tidy but all a bit too brown for me – everything came in various shades of brown – the walls, tiles, carpets, furniture, table linen, decking round the pool, outside buildings etc, etc – everything was brown! There was no colour anywhere and no pictures on the walls to break up the dull monotony. The only “music” was some awful non-descript music piped into the restaurant and corridors. It didn’t inspire a holiday atmosphere.
There is nothing much to do outside the hotel apart from a walk along the beach or a visit to the tiny supermarket 10 minutes away. There are no shops, restaurants or anything else within walking distance. Albufiera is several miles away so to get there or anywhere else you will need a taxi/hire car.
The main outdoor activity is the pool. There are three – a large swimming pool, a children’s pool and a chill out pool with swim-up bar. The first two were at 18° whilst the chill out was at 32°. Consequently all the kids were in the chill out pool so you end up with a kid’s pool with a bar! The chill out pool is very slippery on the edge and we saw lots of people step in and immediately slip over and bang their heads; there is bound to be a serious accident here before long. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas around to pool - all brown of course! The entertainment staff started to make an effort to put on a game of darts or table tennis and there was a yoga group one morning but they have a long way to go to make the hotel into anything close to a “resort”. That said, they have to start somewhere and they are trying to get things going.
The food was pleasant and adequate for the low occupancy of the hotel. It was a bit disappointing to find that the evening meal in the buffet restaurant, paid for as part of our booking, excluded drinks, you have to buy your bottle of water. I’m not moaning about the cost so much - €2.50 a bottle, but a 5* hotel not supplying drinking water is poor.
The rooms were OK, comfortable but nothing special. There is a free safe, a mini-bar (costs €6.00 to have unlocked), TV with a reasonable range of channels, kettle and cups (but no sachets of tea, coffee or sugar once you have used the initial two provided). We were told twice not to drink the water in the room yet none was provided for teeth cleaning. The free wi-fi is intermittent and you need to ask for the logon code from reception.
We found the bar rather expensive. A 33cl can of beer cost €3.50 when the exact same can at the local supermarket was just €0.69. A small non-alcoholic mixed fruit drink was €4.00. Guests don’t like being ripped-off which was obvious by the numbers arriving at the pool with their own drinks and the lack of patrons at the bar.
This is a decent enough hotel for a 3 or 4 night dash for some sun but I wouldn’t want to spend my main holiday here. It’s simply not ready for the holiday trade. However, the staff (who without exception were friendly and helpful) are obviously keen to get this hotel up to standard so hopefully when the main season starts everything will be running to plan.
Finally, an update on what is and is not open:
Buffet restaurant and Portuguese restaurant, snack bar were open
Japanese restaurant was only open two nights in our four night stay but appeared to have no customers.
Italian restaurant is still being built. The opening is scheduled for the end of June but they will have to get a move on because the exterior walls are not finished yet.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 5-Star beachfront Hotel enjoys a fabulous location: on Salgados beach sand dunes, alongside a golf course and nearby a nature reserve. The Vidamar Algarve Hotel Guests can experience the MAR laid-back experience with the lively VIDA family facilities. All hotel Guests stay on Half Board basis and can take advantage of the Dine Around concept, whereby you can sample a variety of cuisines at a selection of restaurants. This Hotel offers 250 double rooms and suites, with different views. Doubles rooms can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 children 0-11yrs. The Aquatica Kids World is designed around children and their daily needs. From 3 to 11-year-olds, the emphasis is on fun in a safe, secure environment. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vidamar Resort Algarve Albufeira, Portugal