Booked transfers via Suntransfers online costing us €58 return in a executive air conditioned vehicle. Drivers were prompt, reliable and friendly:)
The drive took about 25 minutes and upon arrival, I must admit that I wasn't completely blown away by the buildings. There wasnt a bellboy in sight and I had to go up to front desk to request assistance with our bags. The expanse and decor of the lobby was a better sight and a slight relief. Staff at the front desk was very welcoming and insightful when it came to introducing the facilities and services of the hotel. We were given our week's worth of dinner vouchers for which we could exchange for lunch vouchers should we wish to dine out for dinner instead. Though we would be charged extra should we exceed the value of the dinner voucher.
After receiving 4 sets of key cards (one for each of us), we took ourselves to our 2 bed apartment. I couldn't be happier with the space, cleanliness, views and amenities. To have a kitchen complete with dishwasher and washing machine was a blessing. The hotel doesn't offer full board and with the closest supermarket being a 5-8 minutes walk away, you wouldn't go hungry. Speaking of food, I must iterate my disappointment with the buffet offerings. I can't complain about breakfast because it's a no-brainer. Eggs, waffles, pancakes, danish pastries, bacon, sausages, cereals, cold meats, juices, coffee/tea is always expected at any establishment. However, dinner buffet is a big let down. It is obvious that the hotel tries by offering a different theme each night but the spread is very much the same. There is a grill area where there is only ever 3 offerings of fish, prawns and chicken. Taste the same, looks the same. Pasta was on cue every night and you can trust that the rice will be undercooked. I must recommend you take the offer of dining out and using your voucher for lunch instead.
In the week that we stayed, entertainment was limited and we had a magician one night and dancers on another. One more thing, if you choose to eat outside on the terrace, please think twice if you are adversed to smokers because it is ok to light up amongst other diners. Restaurant staff were friendly and on alert. Plates are cleared as quickly as you put your utensils down!
My daughters had the opportunity to peruse the teenagers arcade. Armed with air hockey table, a couple of arcade games was all there was to it. There is 'no change' available at the desk so make sure you have €1 coins handy otherwise its a walk to front desk at the main lobby. The seating to watch movies on offer were delightfully teeny tiny and we were amused by a family of 2 boys and their dad who chose to sit at the back of the room on top of the snooker table. Nice'
The pool leaves little to be desired. A round pool surrounded by sunbeds and watchful eyes is a little intimidating. Also it is a bit on the small side considering the amount of people. Rest assured we were told by staff that it is always a busy period right to the end of summer break at the hotel. Therefore pool area was littered with children who happily has purchased spray guns and ginormous inflatables including my children:) Pool bar closes at 5pm and pool area shuts at 8. So a bit of a problem, if your children decides to stay after 5 and wants a drink or an ice cream:(
The one saviour of Hilton Vilamoura is the spa! Without the need to purchase treatments, you could use it for €20 per adult and €10 for children although they can only use it during the hours of 9.30 till 11am. It's a brilliant hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the pool areas and it's the perfect way to relax and unwind! We had aromatherapy massages which were wonderful for us and the children. However, the deep tissue massage at €80 was sadly a waste of money. My 6ft 3ins husband came away feeling rather pinched then reverberated by a masseuse half his height and weight.
Back to bedrooms, the beds were comfortable (a little hard but we like it that way), bathroom amenities replenished everyday. Coffee and tea were absent and when we asked housekeeping , they said we don't get any because we were in the apartment. This was silly as we were hotel guests and we did get this rectified with front desk and got coffee, tea, cream and sugar but for one night only! Housekeeping failed to replenish everyday of our stay. May I also warn future guests to be careful with your belongings because we've had suspicious broken items left on display like sunglasses, milk and juice carton tops torned off at the openings.
Bar prices are steep and to be honest at a minimum of €4 a drink including water, you would gasp. I've stayed at many hotels and not just the ones I have reviewed here and I must say, at this hotel everything is at a charge and at a premium.
We hired a car through Autorent. Awesome service and very reasonable. Hiring a car allowed us to get to the beach as and when we want. Beds are €10 for half day (4 hrs) and €15 for full day BUT you do get a children size water bottle each and your choice of ice cream or a little tub of pringles. Was it worth it? Hmmm, i could spend the €40 i paid on buying my own loungers or plush beach towels!!
We also went to Loule for a bit of sightseeing, Aquashow which was brilliant for the kids and about 10 mins away, Forum Algarve for a bit of shopping (about 25 minutes away) and the food court there was enticing and vast. Also went to vilamoura Marina. It is beautiful at night and worth a visit at least once for food, ambience and watersports.
I would return to Vilamoura, Algarve because it is beautiful, the people are truly delightful , weather was great! However, I choose to not return to Hilton Vilamoura. Thank you for the memories!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Treat yourself to a fabulous spa weekend, enjoy a fun-filled family holiday, or experience the perfect golfing break at the award-winning Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa, one of the leading family-friendly Algarve hotels. This attractive, modern Algarve hotel is situated in five acres of glorious manicured gardens in the heart of the sun-kissed Algarve, Portugal. Set amid the lush greenery of some of Portugal's finest golf courses, the Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa is replete with distinctive Moorish architecture, spectacular covered and outdoor pools and glorious cascading waterways. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Hotel Vilamoura
- Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort And Spa
- Hilton International Vilamoura
- Vilamoura Hilton
- Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa Portugal - Algarve