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Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Tavira
Certificate of Excellence
Lagos, Portugal
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
Reviewed 11 May 2011

Having read the positive reviews of the Pousada Convento da Graca on this and other sites, I took my partner there for a two day birthday treat. We hadn't been to Tavira for over 5 years, when we were scouting potential areas to buy an apartment, and then we stayed at the 4 star Vila Gale Tavira. The abiding memory of that trip was rain – it poured down from lunchtime on the first day until the day we left. This time we were much luckier and the sun shone the whole time. The town is still very pretty, particularly around old-town side of the Roman Bridge, which has really been smartened up. However, there still isn’t an awful lot to see and do in the area and, given the choice between staying in Tavira and Lagos, where we eventually purchased, Lagos would win every time.
While not expecting perfection, I anticipated that a 5 star Pousada would be a significant step up from the Vila Gale Tavira. After all, Pousadas are extolled in guide books and tv travel programmes as being the ultimate places to say in Portugal, a cut above other hotels. Unfortunately this was not our experience.
At first glance, the Pousada Convento Da Graca made a strong impression. It is well situated next to the Castle right up against the old city wall. The common areas within the original monastery have been renovated to retain their character (although we hardly ever saw them being used) and they do possess an air of tranquility. For some reason, the original exterior walls have been painted a vivid orange, which makes the Pousada stand out from the other buildings in the town, which tend to be white. Also, the original building has at some stage gained an ugly and unsympathetic modern extension, which is where our room was situated.
Although it had an extremely high ceiling, the room was quite small and entirely lacking in character. It didn’t help that the large rug beneath the bed was seriously crooked, which made the room look untidy. Simply straightening it would have made a world of difference
The beds were comfortable and the bedlinen looked brand new. However, the furniture was modern B&Q standard (with brown metal runners on the drawers!) and not wearing particularly well. Hanging space was adequate but there was almost no space to store clothes flat. There was a built-in safe for use free of charge. The soundproofing was dreadful, as evidenced by the next door occupant who kept us awake on the first night watching the tv until quite late. The air conditioning was underpowered and not easy to control. The information binder was pretty useless, with hardly any information about the area and no maps.
The room had a small patio; but massive pinkish stone buttresses on each side, extending from the building to well beyond the end of the patio, made the patio feel hemmed in and closed off the view of the garden. The metal patio railings were rusting in places and had a layer of dirt between the bottom rail and the floor which had clearly been there for some time.
The bathroom was fine, with an unusual arrangement where the toilet and bidet were separated from the main bathroom by their own glass sliding door. The bath/shower was hot and powerful; but, by the time I had showered, the bath was half full of water, so the bath waste was either blocked or simply not big enough. On our arrival the tissue box holder was empty, although a box appeared on the second day. There were tiny bottles of shower gel and shampoo, a shower cap and a shoe cloth; but nothing like the sort of bathroom extras you would find in a Far Eastern upmarket hotel.
The pool and the surrounding area were clean and my partner said the pool was warmer than the sea had been. But the sun loungers were the most user-unfriendly I have ever encountered. They were made of woven wide plastic strips and so slippery that it was impossible to sit upright without continually sliding down. Every one we used was also showing serious signs of wear, with the plastic cracking along the top edge.
The staff we encountered were without exception pleasant and helpful. Staffing levels appeared to be on the low side for a 5 star hotel. Reception was manned 24/7, but the bar was frequently unattended during the day and there were only two staff covering breakfast, which meant that it was entirely self-service. It was even necessary to carry your own cups of hot drink around the dining room – nowadays a waiter with a tea/coffee pot is standard in many even 4 star hotels I have used. The food was fine and choice was good, although we arrived at 10am on the first morning (breakfast finished at 11) and both food and crockery were running out.
Unfortunately, we had to contact reception on the second day when we returned from the pool at about 4pm to find the room as we had left it. Since the room had been unoccupied since 10.30am with a "please make up room" sign on the door, and since there had been a maid outside the door when we left, this was disappointing.
Overall we were not unhappy with our stay at the Pousada and my partner enjoyed her birthday. But then we had got a deal on the room rate (30% discount) and were only there for 2 days. Had we paid the full rate and/or been there longer (and had I not been anxious not to spoil her birthday by drawing attention to the faults – most of which she noticed herself anyway), I suspect I would have made rather more fuss at the time.
The Pousadas are state run and this one gives the impression, maybe because of Portugal’s financial difficulties, that it has not been given the funds it needs to maintain the standard of excellence it has set for itself.
In one respect, however, the Pousada is truly 5 star: it adds a 10 euro surcharge on to any room service orders. Ouch.
Edit: After writing this review I came across the online booking form, which shows that we booked a “I Double Bed, Non-Smoking” room. In fact we got a twin-bedded smoking room. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the booking form with me; otherwise I would have asked to be moved. Anybody booking this Pousada should make sure they get what they ask for.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Pimlicoguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartaCruz, E-commerce Management at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 21 June 2011
Dear Guest,
It is with great disappointment also that we read about your stay not being great, as expected by the standard Pousadas de Portugal provide.
We truly apologize for the errors that were made on the process and the Regional Manager has been reported on the situations mentioned.
We will strive to improve the matters you have emphasized and we hope that, in a future opportunity, you can enjoy with no worries the Pousada’s experience.
Kind Regards
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Ireland
Level Contributor
79 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2011

This pousada is a converted convent well designed and laid out. The room we had was fine with a small balcony. The breakfast is amazing with great variety and plenty for all. The pool area is nice, perfect for relaxing in the sun. The hotel is a short walk from the centre of town, adjacent to the castle. The staff are pleasant and helpful. No evidence of the construction work mentioned in another review.....

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank MikeCP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartaCruz, E-commerce management at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 13 April 2011
Dear Customer, it's wonderful to hear you've enjoyed your stay at the historical Pousada de Tavira. Thank you for your sincere comments on the general services of the hotel. We're glad we've met your expectatios and hope to welcome you again! Best wishes.
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london
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2011

We stayed at your Pousada last year in March, we liked it so much we decided to come again for my Mother's birthday. We were 3 adults, 2 were 60+. To our horror on Monday night we found it was not a three bedded room. It was two beds and a child's fold up bed. I complained as soon as i saw this, but nothing was done, only that they would add another mattress to the fold up bed. The front desk reception, said it was the biggest room, but that wasn't the problem. The problem was that the room didn't provided three proper beds. It was not acceptable, as three bedded room means three beds not two beds and a child's fold-up. I have stayed at other 4* and 5* hotels and they all have provided three proper beds, not children's fold-up. Another problem, the same as last year was the air conditioning, yet again this year it still wasn't working properly. My mother's says thank you for the lovely birthday gifts you left in the room for her birthday. Apart from that the Pousada is still lovely, and the food in the restaurant was very good, and the staff on reception are all very friendly, and helpful.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank katnatalia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartaCruz, E-commerce management at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 29 March 2011
Dear Customer, thank you for taking the time to post your review. We appreciate the positive comments on the staff performance and restaurant food. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience which the situation with the bed may have caused. We hope you can choose again Pousadas de Portugal. We will be delighted to welcome you again soon. Best Regards!
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2011

My husband and I stayed as the Convento da Graca for four nights. We drove to Tavira and found the pousada easily. We received a very warm and welcoming reception and checked into our room. The staff overall was very professional, and the woman who checked us in was particularly friendly. The room was lovely - spacious, clean, tastefully decorated, comfortable, and there was even a small (cramped) balcony with seating. The rug, however, did look at bit tired.

Breakfast was impressive - a vast array of Portuguese breads, yogurts, cereal, eggs, sausage, grilled tomatoes, meats, cheeses, fruit, spumante, juices, coffee, & tea. We looked forward to it every morning. The hotel had recently started charging by the day for WiFi. However, we soon discovered it was unusable in the room and throughout most of the building, save the bar area.

The pousada was a very comfortable base. We spent some time hanging out at the beautiful pool area (there are two pools - one for kids), explored Tavira, and took trips to Faro and even to Spain.

The only complaint was there was construction going on in the main courtyard, and there was loud drilling and clouds of white ash throughout the day. My greatest concern was that the white dust was floating around just outside the breakfast area. When I asked at reception about the drilling and noise, I was told matter-of-factly that it had to be done and would take a few months to complete.

Overall we enjoyed our stay at the Convento da Graca, though the construction did put a dent in the serenity of the otherwise lovely pousada.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank tsktsk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartaCruz, E-commerce management at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 22 March 2011
Dear Customer, thank you very much for choosing to stay at Pousadas de Portugal and for taking the time to post this review. We certainly enjoyed reading your comments and would like to thank you for your staff & restaurant evaluation. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience which the construction may have caused. The improvements on the hotel will possibly finish on April 16. We will strive to minimize discomfort. We hope to be able to welcome you again in a near future! Best wishes.
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Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
214 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2011

Most of the Algarve known to tourists lies to the west of Faro and is associated with sun, sea and sand. However, a mere 30km to the east is situated the delightful town of Tavira, and in its midst, the wonderful Pousada Convento de Graca.

The Pousada is a new addition to the group (and does not figure on all maps), but is easily found when approaching from the A22 motorway or the N125 main road. There is no parking outside, but an electronic door leads to a spacious parking area set amidst lilac blossom.

We received personal and friendly service from all staff from the reception desk to the waiters at breakfast and dinner. It was one of those hotels (like many Pousadas and Paradors) which are simply a delight to be in. Rooms are spacious, quiet and well-fitted with the payable (grrr) wi-fi reaching into all of them.

Breakfast (self-service) was ample and well presented (a good choice of both cold and hot dishes), although there is rarely a foreign hotel which realises that tea requires boiling water, so stick to the coffee! We had dinner twice, and found dishes to be tasty and plentiful.

The hotel has a charming pool and outdoor bar area for the summer months. The hotel really scores, however, with its location, which is close enough to the centre of Tavira to allow the journey to be made on foot (less than five minutes to the Roman bridge), while distant enough to provide the peace and quiet needed after a hectic day. Tavira itself sits on an inlet and has a wonderful sense of light and space. There are a few other restaurants worth considering and plenty of opportunity to sample coffee or lunch al fresco overlooking the bridge or river.

It is also worth mentioning that the Pousadas group run many special and enticing offers. We benefited from the 'Golden Age' package (must be over 55!) which gave us a brilliant deal. See the Pousada website for details - and book direct through it.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank keithmalin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MartaCruz, E-commerce management at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 9 March 2011
Thank you so much for your wonderful remarks! We certainly enjoyed reading your comments and would like to thank you for your Staff performance evaluation. We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and look forward to welcoming you back soon. Best wishes.
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Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
312 reviews
155 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 January 2011

This is a beautiful hotel, centrally located. Rooms are nice, modern and very comfortable. Good breakfast buffet. When checking in, service at front desk was very friendly. I highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nathalie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manager-Pousadas, Gerente at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 17 January 2011
Dear Customer, thank you for your wonderful remarks, which we have shared with our staff. We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and look forward to welcoming you back soon. Best wishes. The Management
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The Algarve
Level Contributor
128 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 November 2010

To celebrate my husband's birthday we decided to host a dinner for friends here and decided that we would stay the night afterwards. We took advantage of The Golden Age rate for those over 55 and thought it was a good deal all round. We checked in and the welcome could not have been better from a very charming young lady, Annabella. The room was fine, not over luxurious but good for what we had paid and the bathroom was very well equipped and designed. On learning it was a birthday treat, a bottle of bubbly was provided which I thought was a great touch.

The dinner for 12 was very good and the service was friendly and attentive.

My only complaint would be the breakfast buffet which promised a lot visually but failed to deliver. The HOT food was distinctly not hot. The remainder of the buffet was okay, save for the bread which was super.

Overall I would definately recommend this Pousada for its excellent staff and the cleanliness of the rooms. And we would visit again

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sandra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manager-Pousadas, Manager at Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel, responded to this review, 9 November 2010
Dear Customer, thank you very much for choosing to stay at Pousada de Tavira and for taking the time to post this review. We certainly enjoyed reading your comments and would like to thank you for your Restaurant evaluation. We hope to be able to welcome you again in a near future. Best wishes. The Management
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Additional Information about Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel

Property: Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel
Address: Rua Dom Paio Peres Correia, Tavira 8800-407, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Tavira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Tavira
#2 Romantic Hotel in Tavira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Pousada de Tavira Historic Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 36
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pousada de Tavira is set in the 16th-century St. Augustine’s Convent and is just a few minutes walk from the Roman Bridge over Gilao River. All of the rooms in this central Tavira hotel overlook the courtyard or the hotel’s pool garden, while some have balcony. Each has a private en-suite bathroom with tub and hairdryer. Guests can relax under shady umbrellas on the poolside sun loungers. A daily breakfast buffet is offered in the dining room or in the courtyard outdoors. The restaurant serves delectable local and international cuisine for lunch and dinner. Ilha de Tavira’s white beaches are situated just 15 minutes’ drive from the Pousada. Excellent golf opportunity is offered by Benamor Golfe Course, 7 km away. Plenty of restaurants are found near to the hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pousada Convento Da Graca Tavira
Pousada De Tavira Historic Hotel Portugal - Algarve

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