The weather during our stay was far from typical for the time of the year. The first five days were cool and windy with intermittent sun, but it became much sunnier and warmer during the end of our week.
However, our stay in the hotel more than made up for the unseasonal weather. The staff, whether in reception, in the restaurant, in the two bars or in the large pool area, were a pleasure to be with. Each one was friendly and wanting to please. They all spoke English - to varying degree - and were keen to make our stay as pleasant as possible. One young person in reception spent nearly an hour finding out the times of the services at each of the island's two Catholic churches, so that we could attend on the Sunday. It is this kind of service which set the tone for the whole hotel. Excellent !
Similarly, our meals in the buffet restaurant were very pleasurable. We were all-inclusive; for an extra £13 (16 Euros) per day, and, for this, we had a 19 Euro lunch, very-drinkable house wines served in 250 ml and 500 ml carafes, and drinks throughput the day. The gin was British Beefeaters and the rum Cuban 3-year old Club Havana, both of excellent quality.
There were two different fish dishes for each lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, I am allergic to fish, but there was at least one meat dish of good quality. A particular entrecote steak was memorable. A majority of the guests were from Northern Italy, and were on full board, so there was a good, busy atmosphere at each meal. My only complaint was that the soup from the tureen was never hot. Availability of a microwave oven would overcome this.
Our large, airy room was on the top (8th) floor and had a view of the sea, but unfortunately, the strong wind meant that sitting out on the balcony was not pleasant. The pool area is reached by the hotel's undergroung passage, which goes under the island's "main" road. There are almost two hundred loungers and "umbrellas" and a very large enlosed bar and cafe. On the other side of the sand dune to the pool area is the magnificent 9 km long Porto Santo beach, which is almost deserted, as there are less than 5 thousand residents and an even fewer number of guests.
I was very impressed by the "farm" of almost 500 large photo-voltaic panels next to the hotel, but not visible from inside it or from the pool area. These provide electricity which gives very hot water throughout the day. The island is aiming to be totally "green", by the end of the decade. At present, it has to import oil to burn in three turbines to provide enough electrical energy for every building.
Although very small, less that 60 square kilometres in area, the island has a very varied geology, and an island tour is a must. We went with Animacao Turistica and had an excellent 3 hour 20 minute guided tour by jeep, which included a 20 minute coffee/soft drink stop at a lovely cafe in the middle of a small oasis. Most of the island is fairly barren and 100 % of the food eaten is imported by small container ships. (Not so green).
To sum up. We had a very enjoyable week's stay, making the most of the untypical weather. Walks on the beach are wonderful, whatever the weather.
If half stars were available, I would give the hotel 4 + 1/2.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located about 4 km's from the center, the Hotel Vila Baleira Thalassa was originally built with the intention of attracting to the island who wanted to take advantage of the medicinal qualities of its sands and is the best equipped hotel in Porto Santo.
The complex consists of 3 distinct areas: In the main building are the rooms, reception, main bar, restaurant, shops, conference rooms, kids club, games room, amphitheater and indoor swimming pool.
Connected to the hotel by a tunnel is Baleira Talassa & Spa, a fully independent structure where all thalassotherapy and spa treatments as well as gym and Diving Centre Rheadive work.
Also accessible through the tunnel is an outdoor leisure area with outdoor pool, children pool, outdoor children's room, children's playground, shooting, <
>, volleyball and beach soccer, the Beach Club and the walkway beach access. The social areas of the hotel and the rooms are spacious and decorated with light colors and local materials. Open from April to October.... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vilabaleira Thalassa Porto Santo
- Hotel Vilabaleira Thalassa