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“Really nice but not 5 star”

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Pestana Vila Sol, Vilamoura
Ranked #19 of 37 Hotels in Vilamoura
Reviewed 16 September 2012 via mobile

We (myself, husband & 3 yr old daughter) stayed here for 8 nights and thought that overall it was a really nice hotel but not quite a 5*. It's probably worth noting that 75% of the hotel accommodation isn't actually in the hotel, but set in the gardens away from the main hotel. We were initially allocated one of these 'rooms' right towards the back which I wasn't happy with for the following reasons; the distance from the main hotel, the 'garden rooms' are no way as nice as the rooms in the hotel itself - if I book a hotel that's where I expect to actually stay. Luckily I explained this to the lady on reception and she arranged for a room change to the main hotel. The staff at Pestana are lovely and very helpful, especially the waiters/waitresses at breakfast who couldn't have been nicer. The breakfast is also very good. There is a kids club which is free for hotel guests - the club itself seemed well equipped but the staff in there weren't overly enthusiastic or 'kid friendly' which I found a little strange. There were no real structured activities, just watching Shrek and face painting...?! The pool area was good, no problem getting sun beds. The pool itself is pretty chilly (even in August) so I honestly can't imagine what it's like in May! The pool bar is ridiculously expensive, the food is nice but absolutely not good value for money. It's €5 for a lemonade from a soda machine. The area is lovely but I personally wouldn't stay there without hiring a car, unless you weren't planning on leaving the hotel.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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2  Thank KGee82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 September 2012

My Wife, I and our two year old daughter have just returned from a very enjoyable and relaxing 8 night break at Pestana Vila Sol resort in Vilamoura.

We arrived at Faro late at night (11.00pm) and hadn't arranged a transfer so hopped into one of the readily available taxis outside arrivals for the 20 minute ride to Vila Sol.

One note of caution is that the taxi driver charged us €32 even though the meter said €28 and his excuse was the luggage that he had to carry??? Then when I gave him €35 he said "a drink for me" and off he went and I was too tired to argue by that point. We did arrange a return taxi for €30 with Minatours (Pretty reliable the majority of the time and they always carried car seats so we used them regularly) This worked out cheaper than a round trip transfer and if you are on the ball you should pay no more than €30 from the airport.

The staff at the reception desk were very helpful and we were quickly checked in and whisked of to our apartment with our luggage courtesy of one of the large golf buggies.

The room was spacious enough although we did have twin beds and a cot and would have preferred a double and a single for the little one but they were easily pushed together to make a double. The bathroom was very large and clean and we had a nice garden view which was far enough from the pool and lakes to not be a risk with our daughter. If you are travelling without young children then I would recommend one of the rooms overlooking the pool or lake.
Our room came with a hairdryer, iron and ironing board, robes & slippers and the usual cosmetics stuff like shower caps and shampoo but one noticeable absence was a kettle which we needed to make bedtime bottles of milk and I was told at reception they couldn't provide us with one but we could buy one to use from the supermarket if we so wish so we made them with cold water!
The beds were very comfortable, not too soft or too hard and the goose feather pillows and aircon made for a comfy nights sleep.

Another note of caution, avoid the mini bar at all costs. My wife woke up thirsty in the night and opened a bottle 1.5L of water which was on the dresser which to my horror cost €5, cans of soft drinks were €3.50 and chocolate bars €2.50 I would advise going to the local supermarket Pingo Doce to stock up which is about 40mins on foot but only a 5 min taxi ride. A 5.4L bottle of water was only €1.25 so well worth stocking up asap.

There are 3 pools on the complex. A large circular one with plenty of sun loungers around it and a convenient bar with seating area for food. There is a kids pool which up a few steps from the main pool and is ideal for toddlers as is approx 1ft deep and circular with again plenty of sun loungers, we never struggled to find free ones even when very busy.

A short walk away set beside one of the lakes and close to the driving range is an indoor pool which also has a Jacuzzi. On the one day it was a little cloudy and not so warm this was a godsend as we could still take our daughter swimming. You can see it from the main outdoor pool but if you are not sure ask a member of staff.

There is also a kids club and small park for children and toddlers to play which is free to guests and very well set up but only available from 10am to 12pm however the park can be utilised at anytime.

Cleaners are out and about early doors and do an excellent job of cleaning the rooms and keeping the resort itself in immaculate condition. Although IMO I would not class it as 5 star, more 4 but I could not fault the cleanliness of the rooms in particular.

The service from all staff was excellent, they were all very friendly in particular the breakfast waiters & waitresses and were always willing to help.

Food overall was good although priced a little on the steep side so wouldn't advise eating on the complex everyday as you can get quality food cheaper at the Marina. Breakfast was served daily between 7am and 10.30am and had a huge selection of cooked, continental, cereals, eggs and pastries. As we were B&B we made the most of the breakfast each day meaning we didn't tend to have much of a lunch and had our main meal around 6pm. If you choose to eat in the Green Pines restaurant its usually an all you can eat themed buffet (Portugese, Italian, Thai, etc.) the other option is to eat in the Bar/Restaurant but that tends to be light meals and snacks which are all nice but a little pricey.

One of the let downs in my opinion as this is a family resort was the fact that we were unable to get any swimming nappies, nappies, wipes, etc from the resort shop. It stocked various trinkets, sun lotions, kids pool toys, etc. but all at greatly inflated prices. Some of the inflatables were twice the price of those you could get in stores at the marina. I suppose that's the price you pay when the resort is a little more remote.

We split our days between the Marina, The Resort and Falesia Beach. I was very impressed with how clean all three were and the beach in particular was excellent, well arranged, raked nightly and even when busy it was no problem finding space. Sun loungers could only be purchased in pairs and cost approx €12 for 2 for half a day (until 3pm). TBH we used these because of the little one but the majority of people just laid their towels on the beach and didn't bother with loungers. The sea is not warm though, about pool temperature!

The resort runs a free shuttle service which runs 3 times a day and if you plan it right can save you a lot of money in taxis as the beach/marina is not within walking distance.

They run a 10am, 2pm & 5.30pm service but if any of those are full they always add another half an hour later so nobody misses out. If we were going to the beach we would get the 10am shuttle and stay at the beach until around 2pm and get the 2.15 Shuttle back to the resort. If we were going to the Marina then we would usually stay in the resort until 5.30pm then head to the Marina for food and drinks and get a taxi back around 9pm.
If you want to stay around the Marina and beach they are only 10 minutes walk between each other so that's possible.

Of the restaurants in the Marina I would recommend O'Cesteiro at one end of the Marina if you like your seafood and good wine. This is actually the drop off point for the shuttle so easy to find. Around the middle of the Marina is the Mayflower restaurant which offers a more varied menu but still very good quality and away from the main strip of the Marina was an excellent Thai restaurant all of these cost about €60 for a main meal with a sweet or starter and a drink for two people.

If you want to spend a little less then I would suggest seeking out the restaurants that aren't on the Marina front in the streets behind it as they offer quality food for near half the price. There is also a McDonalds and Pizza Hut which are easily found nearby for the less discerning.

We were limited in terms of activities having a two year old but Vilamoura offers plenty including a Dolphin Safari, Parasailing, Shark and Wreck Fishing, Cave Tours and a 7-8 min taxi ride away from Pestana Vila Sol is the Aquashow which was an amazing Water/Theme Park, one of the best I have seen. We were charged €27 each and the little one was free but if we were smarter there are many locations where you can purchase tickets for €20 each which given the amount there is to do there is very reasonable. Although as with most theme parks food and drinks aren't cheap although weren't way overpriced either. I would recommend taking your own food and drinks with you if you want to keep the costs down.

Overall we had a very enjoyable and relaxing break, the weather was fantastic in the high twenties every day, the beach and marina were excellent, clean with good choice of food at reasonable prices.
Pestana Vila Sol was an excellent resort for families, couples, groups of friends especially Golfers which is one thing I haven't commented on as I didn't get the chance to play but from what i could see the driving range, 27 hole course and other golf facilities were fantastic and I understand its a renowned course in the area.
The location was a little remote but if you use the shuttles sensibly this isn't really an issue.
I would definitely recommend this location and resort and will definitely come back again.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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10  Thank anthonyhanaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2012

We stayed in this hotel for the last week of July. The staff in reception were very friendly and always were happy to assist. The pool bar staff were quite the opposite and the menu is very expensive! 4euro for a can of 7up! but the pool area is lovely! plenty of sun loungers and space around. We stayed in a double room in the main hotel. It was immacualte!! so clean and great air con! It would be a good idea to rent a car as the hotel is about 15 mins from the town and getting a taxi in the evenings can be quite difficult if staying during peak times! overall a lovely hotel and place to stay for a short holiday! would highly reccomend!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JodieOD11111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2012

I booked this hotel as a last minute holiday for my wife and two children, and although I got a great price, was a little apprehensive as to why it was so cheap for the end of August. I ended up being pleasantly surprised as how good the hotel was. I would agree with some other reviews that it isn't a five star hotel, however, it is a good four stars.

The rooms are spacious and clean, and ours had a nice balcony looking over a little lake. We stayed B&B, and the breakfasts were good and plentiful, although if we went after 9.30am, they tended to get a bit chaotic.

We ended up eating in the hotel a few nights, the main hotel has a themed buffet every night, which to be honest was a bit hi and miss, the Mexican and Spanish ones quite good, the Italian one poor. A better bet was the Clubhouse which has a menu, and the food was pretty good, with a nice setting over the golf course.

On the whole the staff were very friendly and helpful, with he exception of the pool attendants, whose sole purpose in life seemed to be stopping children jumping in the pool! Surely that's what children do in a pool, apparently not at the Vila Sol - health & safety! Ask them to help you find some beds or an umbrella, well that seemed to be beyond them. The one niggle we did have was that the beds around the pool ended up being bagged with towels pretty quickly, but no people, and despite a notice saying that beds unattended for more than half an hour would have their towels removed, they weren't.

The hotel is a little out of the way, about 10 minutes in a car to Vilamoura Marina, taxis are fairly easy to get, we hired a small car in Vilamoura for our stay which gave us a bit more flexibility.

Overall though a great hotel that I would recommend

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank AberdeenAndrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012 via mobile

I stayed here with my boyfriend for a week and it was a very enjoyable stay I must admit.
The only thing we were slightly dissapointed about was the 5 stars awarded to it, in our opinion is a mere 4. So don't expect any luxury, but it's quite good 4 stars hotel.

The location for us was amazing, but its true what the other reviews say, it's a bit remote from vilamoura/quarteira. Although if a vehicle is rented then the Algarve is your oyster. Distances are quite short by car and there is plenty to see. The beach is like 5-10 min. away.

The staff were very professional, but never over the top though, which I think you should expect from a luxury resort.

The swimming pool and the rooms were great, we really liked the fact that most of them are like small cottages (at least the suite where we stayed) so privacy and relax were assured, perfect!

One thing I need to complain about though is the cleaning service of the room, the most they do its tidy up and change the towels if required, but dont actually clean it every day. In fact, our bathtub was not clean in the whole time we stayed there.

Overall, very good stay and unbelievable holidays! One of the best breakfast buffets ever as well! Thank you

  • Stayed: August 2012
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3  Thank IreneFraser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012 via mobile

Really nice hotel: nice rooms, nice prices for the rooms even in August, big hotel with gardens everywhere and lacs. The suites are really nice too. The bar serve good food but a little expensive. You should try it! :-)

  • Stayed: August 2012
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5  Thank AnaGui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2012

extremely clean, well presented hotel. everyone really obliging. good food. only down part of staying here, is that it is not near anywhere. there is nothing in the immediate area. you have to rely on the free minibus from the hotel, which takes you down to the beach and the marina. the minibus would be perfect is it ran more times a day. we booked a taxi from the hotel a couple of times and discovered that the taxis we got to return to the hotel were half the price

Room Tip: we had a garden room. if you have a choice, go with on of these
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank s4hom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pestana Vila Sol, Vilamoura

Address: Morgadinhos | Morgadinhos, Vilamoura, Quarteira 8125-307, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Quarteira > Vilamoura
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#7 Business Hotel in Vilamoura
#9 Spa Hotel in Vilamoura
#14 Family Hotel in Vilamoura
#15 Romantic Hotel in Vilamoura
#15 Luxury Hotel in Vilamoura
Price Range: £53 - £184 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pestana Vila Sol, Vilamoura 5*
Number of rooms: 189
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pestana Vila Sol is a 5-star hotel in Vilamoura, in the Algarve. It is perfect for those looking to take a family vacation and to relax with a round of golf or tennis, or simply take a dip in one of the swimming pools. It is located just 7 minutes by car from Vilamoura beach and 5 minutes by car from the marina. The hotel offers one restaurant and 2 bars. You can also make use of the gym, indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi. For the youngsters, we offer a game room, a playground and a Kids Club available during the summer months. Each room includes a private balcony or patio and has Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pestana Vila Sol Golf Hotel Vilamoura
Pestana Vila Sol Golf And Resort Hotel
Vila Sol Hotel
Vila Sol Resort
Pestana Vila Sol, Vilamoura Portugal - Algarve

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