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“Short September break”
Review of Balaia Mar Hotel

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Balaia Mar Hotel
Ranked #27 of 154 Hotels in Albufeira
Certificate of Excellence
Blackburn, United Kingdom
1 review
“Short September break”
Reviewed 13 September 2013

After checking the reviews for this hotel/apartments we were confident that they would be reasonable.... Our expectations were exceeded. We had booked an apartment for 2 people and were given one suitable for 4, the rooms were of a generous size, the balcony had comfy chairs, loungers and a large table. The kitchen was well equipped with almost every utensil you could want (although a toaster or grill would have been nice for toast in the mornings).

The apartment was clean and well serviced through our 4 night stay. The area was very quiet with a supermarket across from our apartment block and one out of the hotel grounds across the road.

The reception staff were very helpful when we wanted to book a day trip.

Our apartment was near to the pool and we rarely saw anyone using it even though it looked clean and a decent size (I think people preferred just to sit on the loungers by it!). We used the pool on our last morning and enjoyed it.

The beach was less than 10 minutes walk, where there was an array of water sports on offer- pedlos, jet skis, banana boats.... the usual. The walk into Oura was about 15 minutes (in Oura there is another nice beach, para-sailing and numerous places to eat and drink), and a taxi to Albuferia Marina was less than 10 euros. There are a vast array of trips leaving from the marina from dolphin searches (we went with Black Runner and had a great time) to "party boats" and fishing trips. So much to do!

There were some reviews on here which said there was nothing to do and the apartment blocks were "miles" from the main hotel. Fair enough, the hotel did not have any "activities" on when we were there, but we were happy with that- who wants to go away for a nice break and have some "entertainer" wailing away in the background? Our apartment block was the furthest away from the reception and it was 2-3 minutes walk MAX, so I really don't know what that person wanted out of their location!

We didn't eat at the hotel, although the option was there if we wanted it. We did see breakfast one morning when going to the pool, it looked fine, but maybe a little pricey at 15 euros per adult for a buffet breakfast (when compared to local restaurant prices).

All in all a great stay and will return/recommend to friends!

Room Tip: We had a corner apartment in block C which was lovely and quiet, with a balcony facing the morning s...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Michelle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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803 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (160)
Date | Rating
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English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 September 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for a week. The rooms were well equiped but small and in second though should of gotten an apartment. rooms were quiet at night and bathrooms lovely and clean. Although the cleaners came nearly everyday I don't think they changed the sheets once during our stay which I did not like. The rest of the hotel is spotless! The reception staff are very helpful and really friendly.The breakfast choice was really good and really nice, cold, hot, fruit, juices, teas, coffees really nice!! And the breakfast area is lovely. The pool area is the nicest ive ever been at and could easily be 5 star. always a sun lounger and never loud its very relaxing. Pool like people havd said is very cold but still lovely. Location to beach could not be better litrally 5 mins stroll. Only issue was location to old town which is a taxi ride for between €7-10 each way which if ur staying for longer than a week can get quiet expensive as we felt the old town was much nicer for dinner and nightlife. The strip is €4 in a taxi but can be walked in about 25/30 mins. Overall brilliant holiday and hotel was lovely.

  • Stayed August 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank bexxor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lisbon, Portugal
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2013

My husband, my 2 little children (7 months and 3 years old) and I went for a week at the end of June and stayed at a 2 bedroom apartment.
This is a nice resort, close enough to the beach (7 minutes walk to Maria Luísa beach), and to Albufeira village, and with a nice although a little crowed pool (I cannot imagine in August!). The facilities are well take cared and clean but the apartment (at least the one I have stayed at) needs an urgent refurbishing - the furniture and appliances are outdated and it gives the idea that the owners only supplies the basic without caring for the guest's comfort.
Our apartment was close to the road (very noisy indeed) and to the beach (very nice) and it was on the ground floor with a large balcony.
We dinner twice at the restaurant - pricy for the diversity and quality of the food.

Room Tip: Apartments from Block A are closer to the beach
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank AerialLisbon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 9 September 2013

I had researched this hotel thoroughly before we booked and it gets tremendous reviews for 3 star, but please make no mistake this is a 3 stat hotel.
I'm a very picky eater so food on holiday is super important to me, and all the reviews praised the food, you need to like the food here because its the same for lunch and dinner everyday, you also need to go all inclusive unless you want to walk min. 10 minutes to the nearest alternative. There is a bbq station lunch and dinner which is nice, but please beware that the Portuguese like everything rare! I had to pick my meat and hand it back and ask to please cook more, I like meat a little pink but this was bleeding!
There is bar table service but we did not realise this for 2 days because noone ever asked us for drinks, it wasnt until day 2 of being ignored at the bar to finally understand. You have to just grab whatever waiter passes your table and ask for a drink. When I got sick of the small glasses they put my drinks in and filled to the brim with ice, so I was finished my drink very quick, I asked for a bigger glass when I was told 'oh I dont know I'll have to check with the barman' the answer must have been no because im still waiting for that drink.
I do have to credit the hotel on its cleanliness which was spot on, although the rooms are not done everyday. Also the staff are very nice, especially the ladies at reception.
Our room was great, I recommend room 1. It was huge and the bed was massive, as was the balcony because we had table and chairs and two sun loungers, although the tv only had bbc1 and the remote was broken but I didnt go on holiday to watch tv.
The pool is nice, there is a cornered section for kids but only toddler sized and not many would fit in it so the main pool could get a little over run with children as there is nothing else for them to do at this hotel. You'll always find a sun lounger at any time of day which was good, although the only 2 parasols are up on the top decking, so you need to be quick to get them, otherwise its only loungers in the shade or direct sun. This is not a beach hotel so bare in mind it is a 10 minute walk. I'd like to say its value for money but I feel maybe I could have gotten better for what I spent.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank totsie87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 August 2013

Its in the perfect location, 20 minutes walk to the strip and 6.50 for a taxi to the old town which was my favourite spot, loved the walk in the evenings to the strip, the beach is literally 5 minutes walk from the reception, the staff keep the hotel pristine clean and the staff were so friendly, room was lovely perfect for what we needed and lovely big balcony and the food all I can say was just wow but for someone not all inclusive the buffet was a bit on the expensive side, the pool area was georgous always a bed available and the pool was nice n cold for when u get too hot lying in the sun, overall I really cant wait to go again so definitely recommend the balaia mar to anyone going

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank markyk25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Workington, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2013

Stayed here for a week with a friend earlier this month.

Very nice hotel, staff provide a good service.

Starting with the room. We were originally taken to the room we had been booked into, but had requested a twin room, not a double room. The guy who showed us to the room immedietaly realised this when he let us in, and said straight away he would rectify this - which he did, giving us a bigger apartment as compensation. This apartment was located on the ground floor on the other side of the hotel. Due to the location, we had no balcony - just a little terrace area with a table on, but due to our apartment block and the main block opposite us this area was very shaded and didn't see a great deal of light so we didn't spend much time sitting there. Inside the apartment we had a big kitchen area with countless utensils and appliances (never used them due to being All Inc), the beds were quite firm and pillows slightly lumpy but adequate for a nights' sleep, and the bathroom was good. The room was very dark though, due to the aforementioned shaded areas outside and when we opened the window at the back of the room it was looking straight at a very tall perimiter wall so no sunlight really got into the room at all. The room contained a very efficient air conditioning unit and also had a TV, which randomly picked up one UK channel - C4.
The room was clean and well looked after by the cleaning staff.

Moving on to the All Inc side of things. There is a free bus for AI customers that can take guests to either Olhos D'Agua, the Albufeira Strip, or the Albufeira Old Town between 8pm and 10pm each night, which is quite a nice touch as a taxi would cost around 6-7 euros to the strip and maybe 9 to the old town.
Breakfast was good; usual selection of fruit, cereals and breads etc plus hot dog sausages, streaky bacon, scrambled egg etc. It was all nice but the hot stuff did tend to go cold quite quickly, so only bothered with breakfast once or twice.
Lunch was also good; pastas, chips, soup, breads, veg, fish cakes/ meat parcel type things plus a selection of meats and fish freshly cooked on the grill.
Evening meal was basically the same principle but with a few changes - enough so that it wasn't repetitive, plus a chef cooking a big dish every night, things such as korma or stroganoff.
Snack was served in the afternoon which consisted of breads, tuna, salad, hamburgers, pizza and hotdogs.
Never had a single desert all week so cannot comment on those.
Overall the food was excellent, it must be the first all inclusive where I haven't found myself picking through things by the end of the week. Lots of variety without complicating things.

One improvement would be to have self-serve drinks taps at meal times, as we were sometimes halfway through our meal by the time a waiter came to take our drinks order if it was a busy time.

Drinks at the bar could also be slow if it was busy, they could maybe do with more bar staff but credit to the ones that were working, they always gave you their best service. Was pleasant to see that they had large glasses for the beer, as some all inc venues only have small ones.

One improvement could be the sports bar. This is a big area with sofas, American pool tables and tv screens. However, the bar does not open til 9.30pm, which is the advertised time but in fact was sometimes 10pm. This bar is open until 2.30am, but all inclusive finishes in here at 11pm with drinks becoming expensive - we chose to just go to the strip like the other nights, as one night we were in here til around 11 and seen that the drinks were going to work out roughly as expensive as on the strip. Pool is available all day, but it would be so much better if the bar was open for longer instead of having to go to the other bar for a drink while playing pool.

The swimming pool area was nice, with sunny or shaded areas freely availble, as well as a 'top deck' up on top of the restaurant which was a nice place to snooze. Would be a bit better if there was some background music on during the day because there is nothing at all.

The hotel is about a 30 min walk from the strip, with the top of the strip taking slightly longer. The old town would probably be at least a 45 min walk from the hotel. The closest beach is about 10 minutes walk from the hotel, but to be honest the beach at the bottom of the strip and the one by the old town are probably a bit better and more interesting, plus you have shops, cafes and bars near to those too.

There is a supermarket opposite the hotel, and a few down the road to either side, as well as one located on the ground floor at the rear of the hotel.

The staff are very helpful on the reception, with things such as sending postcards and wifi. I had the misfortune to lose my wallet after a few too many drinks and this contained one of our room key cards. I went and explained at reception next day and apologised, at this point some reception staff may become a bit unhelpful but they just smiled and asked me how many replacement cards I would like.

Hotel doesn't seem to feature any live entertainment at all whatsoever, but the old town is absolutely jam packed with singers, groups, musicians etc so just get the free bus down there, have a few drinks and then get a taxi back (or take a very long walk). It is ok if you like football though as the Sports bar screens football matches shown on the Portuguese Sport TV channel, which we certainly enjoyed.

Not a noisy hotel at night nor is it full of stag and hen parties, probably due to the location, so sleep doesn't seem to be a problem. However, we were in the bars until 430am so I was out like a light as soon as I got into my bed.

Overall, I didn't have a bad experience whatsoever at this hotel, recommended and would return.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank andrewm1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2013

This hotel was definitely one of the best!! Had a group of 23 and we all enjoyed the stay!! Great staff, great food and definitely worth the money! It's only rated 3 stars but must say its service Etc is defiantely more than 3 stars!
Food is great! A chef cooks different types of dishes in a large wok in front of your for dinner which was delicious everyday! BBQ chicken, fish, pork chops, lamb chops etc!! The chefs and waiters and bar tenders are really hard working!! Staff gave great service and very helpful! All very kind too. One Of the Receptionist helped our group a lot!
Rooms were very nice and large, very clean when we got there but cleaners don't come
Everyday.
I would definitely go back and would recommend this hotel!

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MHP94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Balaia Mar Hotel

Property: Balaia Mar Hotel
Address: Beco Maria Luisa, Albufeira 8200-635, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Albufeira
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Albufeira
#23 Romantic Hotel in Albufeira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Balaia Mar Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 32
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Also Known As:
Balaia Mar Hotel Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

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