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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 September 2011

June/July 2011. The hotel was very nice on first impressions, the room was comfortable and spacious with a nice balcony overlooking the pool area. I had booked a sea view but we were told just a week before that there were none available. This did work out quite well as when we looked out, the sea was that far away from all the rooms it wasn't worth paying the extra for a sea view in my opinion.
Restaurant: We thought the food was only mediocre not 5 star and the restaurant ambience
was let down by the management letting guests in for dinner in shorts and tee shirts, one lady was going along the buffet with a fork trying the food before deciding what to have! The other thing which spoilt the restaurant area was the fact that there were 4 large TV screens on the wall, not really what you want whilst dining. The small restaurant downstairs was much nicer but the menu lacked choice over the two weeks we were there. The pool area was nice but was let down by the fact if you went down after 9am all the sun beds were gone – this was made worse by the fact that people had reserved both sun loungers and a canopy bed, very selfish. After I complained the hotel did ask people to release one or the other, much to their annoyance. I think its very sad if you have to get up at 7am whilst on holiday to ensure a sun bed.
The resort itself is none existent just a couple of restaurants and a few bars, which isn't a bad thing.
There is a small beach which is very nice, but did get quite busy.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank hixflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 30 September 2011

Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking your time to post your review after your recent stay at CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel. I´m glad that our rooms were up to your expectations, I regret that you were not impressed with our food choices, we do have a comments book in our seven seas restaurant and we are receiving daily feedback from our guests, we will always listen to our valued guests to provide you the best experience. Concerning the dress code from 4 restaurants we used to have just one more informal, since last week all our restaurants have dress code.
Concerning the sun beds I can assure you that we have plenty of available sunbeds aswell as really nice Chill out beds for couples.

Looking forward to welcome you again in the future,

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 20 September 2011

just returned from a 10 day holiday could not wait to come home the food was terrible mostly cold and very little choice , lovely grounds but not looked after very well the bars were ok but not much ambience rubbish entertainment and nothing much to do ! ps lovely rooms and thats where they do get 5 stars but not for anything else very dissapointing and very expensive

Room Tip: pool view rooms very good
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank juliestevenson66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 21 September 2011

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel I would like to thank you for taking your time to post your review after your recent stay with us. I´m glad that you considered our rooms lovely, they trully are top standart rooms with all the confort and facilities carefully thought to provide you the best experience.
I regret that your opinion concerning our food options, entertainment choices and our well manicured garden don´t match with the majority of our guest´s opinions and expectations.
We will always take in consideration all our guests comments and suggestions, your satisfaction is without a doubt our main and daily goal.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 20 September 2011

Just returned on the 15/09/2011 after spending 14 nights ,the hotel is superb we had a suite and it was unbelievable his and her showers and toilets ( no groans here from the ladies complaining about the toilet seat being left up ) the lounge area is large with a massive couch and 2 chairs plus 2 balconies.The food is excellent ,plentiful ,varied ,sweets to die for and each night is themed ie asian one night then italian , chinese etc etc , yes if you are there for 2 weeks it does repeat itself but so do most hotels.There are also 3 other restaurants you can choose from 2 of which are al a carte and you get a 15 euro per person supplement . There was no shortage of sunbeds even though some reports state some people where a bit unfair and taking more than was necessary and the hotel was at full capacity , bar service can be a bit slow at times but hey you are on holiday whats the rush? you just walk through the hotel grounds and you have a choice of 2 beaches each with a bar/restaurant but quite honestly we never needed to have any lunch ( my wife and I both put on 1/2 a stone ) .There are various things going on round and about the hotel during the day ,but you can join in or just chill out no one forces you to paricipate . The resident duo North star are not the best in the world and sang out of tune and played out of key ,so hopefully they will be replaced for next season, that is my only negative response on this hotel.Some reports say its way out but I am 68 years of age and walked into albuferia 3 times no problem but if you dont want to walk reception will summon a taxi for you and it costs approx 7 euros each way .If you want a chill out holiday, good food ,friendly staff look no further book today ,mine is a honest and true report and I say it as it is. Drink prices are on a par with english prices ,and personally for a 5 star hotel reasonable .as I have paid a lot more in similar hotels and yes the mini bar in your room is pricey but no different than anywhere else ,you just buy from the supermarket and put it in the fridge ,also there is no charge for the safety deposit box in your room and it is quite spacious which enables you to be able to put your camera ipod etc safely away.So all I can say if you are thinking of going to this area do not hesitate to book now as I am sure it will get booked up early.!! Enjoy !!

Room Tip: Try and choose a room on a higher floor
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank scootermanEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 21 September 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for posting your review after your recent stay with us, it was my pleasure to read your feedback and to know that you consider our/your hotel as a fantastic hotel, thank you also for your mention regarding our staff, they really appreciate it.
We are very fortunate to work with such a dedicated and professional team , we all always welcome you back every time with a friendly smile.
I´ll share your comments regarding our food options to our food & beverage team, I´m glad that our choices suits you in the best way.

Looking forward to welcome you back in a near future,

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 19 September 2011

What a fantastic hotel, very good service and quality, really couldnt fault this, all very modem and contempory, this is a couples hotel. Lovely grounds, very very peaceful, so perfect for a relaxed week, spa offered good offers on massages etc, and also free trails out by the pool in the gardens during the afternoon which i thought was a nice idea.
Hotel and rooms very spacious and clean, fresh towels everyday, plenty of space, and the hotel staff couldnt do more for you and speak very good english (which always help!)
As for the preious review on here, yes it is all english, but then so is most of Portugal!

Food we were all pleasently surprised with, very good varierty every night, excellent quality again, and very good value for money, even drinks in hotel was very good price, 2 euros for a beer 4 euros for a glass of wine. Very good breakfast too, again something for everyone, even champagne which i saw lots of people making the most of!
Short walk to a supermarket which sells all you need while you are away, and a short cab ride to Albufeira old town, cab rise costing 12 euros for a return journey.
Again we really couldnt fault this holiay at all, and wehave stayed in 5*s before all over the world, and we thought this hotel was perfect, fingers crossed we can go back next year!!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BillieH0907
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 30 September 2011

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel thank you very much for posting such a nice review after your recent stay with us. I´m glad that our hotel was up to your expectations. Our Executive Chef René Sandoval is grateful for your comments related to our food options.
Knowing that you enjoy your stay and that you are planinng to return next year is our biggest award.

Thank you,

Looking forward to welcome you again,

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 15 September 2011

We have just returned from a really lovely holiday. However, it could have been amazing! This hotel offers great value, maybe it is too cheap? If it is to remain a 5 star hotel perhaps they should keep the prices high along with the standards? The location is so nice it deserves a really good quality hotel within the lovely grounds.
There were many things we really liked about this hotel. The entertainment from the group called the North Stars and the Al La Carte restaurants were brilliant. The appearance of the hotel and the position by the beach could not be faulted. The lack of a bath was not a problem and we had a lovely sea view.
The negatives were the food, luke warm roast dinner on the first night set the standard for the buffet. We prefer to eat grilled local fish and salad or a local speciality. The ambience of the restaurant was similar to a staff canteen, which is a shame as the waitors tried very hard to make the meal an occasion. One night we had cold Mc Donalds chips, which I would never eat, even in England. The reps told us it was because the hotel was full of English people and this is the food that they had requested. Maybe we should have visited earlier in the summer as we do not go on holiday to eat poor quality English food?
Another negative was the pool area. Although two outdoor pools they were both freezing for the first 10 days of our holiday. We wondered why one couldn't be heated slightly? Then just before our holiday came to an end, both pools were wonderfully warm and had been heated!!! This made me cross as I had swam in cold water, which was very unpleasant to enter, for the majority of our holiday.
We may sound very spoilt but I also think that if they are advertising the hotel as 5 star then table service in the bar at night is essential. We do not really like queing for 20 minutes to get served. But the hotel was cheaper than many we have been to, so maybe we should have expected this.
We have never been to a hotel that is entirely full of English people before and maybe the hotel is trying too hard to cater for us. We have never liked the look of the Gold range as we thought they looked a little like England by the sea. The Couples range seemed to be different from the Gold but this hotel is in danger of losing its identity and becoming another Gold hotel. I actually think that the Thomson reps think that this is what we want.
The holiday was brilliant overall but we will not be booking any more holidays from the Couples range. If we had realised that couples meant English food served cold we would never have booked. The chefs in the hotel can produce marvellous food, as the Al la carte restaurants were all great. But this food was the worse buffet we have ever experienced in any hotel anywhere, even in the cheaper 3 star hotels there is usually a cooking station where fish and meat are grilled. Slicing piza is hardly show cooking!
It is such a shame as this hotel could be truly amazing!! We would rate this hotel as 3 star but could so easily be a super 5 star hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for a sea room, the view is worth the extra cost.
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank TERRYANDSHARON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 16 September 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your review regarding your recent experience at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel. I was delighted to read that you had a “lovely holiday”. I am glad to know that you were pleased with our Hotel services and facilities. I really regret that our food options were not up to your expectations, I already pass your comments to our Executive Chef, who is always adapting our meal options to our guest’s preferences. I do value your opinion and I can assure you that your feedback is very important to guide us to our daily goal: our Guest’s Satisfaction.

I do hope that you give us the opportunity to redeem ourselves and welcome you again in a near future.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 15 September 2011

When we arrived the reception service was excellent, didnt have to wait long and we were phoned when the room was ready.

This was when we encountered our first disappointment. There is no Bathroom or shower room, the toilet and the shower are in cubicles with glass shower screens. There is a partial wall between the rest of the bedroom and the washing, toiletting and showering areas. The area can be clearly seen reflected in the large glass mirror at the end of the bed and from the head end of the bed directly into the shower screen. The lighting in the washing area poor. None of it helped by the chocolate brown paint.

The room was nice and large with an excellent view of the sea and gardens.

The hotel is described in the brochure as 'on the beach accessed by a stepped walkway, There is no way this hotel can be described as 'On the Beach'. The beach is accessed by a walkway at the far end of the gardens comprising 117 stairs.

The meals in the restaurant were ok, and,like with many holiday hotels becomes monontonous after a couple of days. We stayed for 11 days the meals are themed evenings on a one week rota.

We ate at the al fresco italian restaurant, Italian themed, the food was nice and hot there, More relaxed.

I have read in previous reviews that the restaurant service was slow, we did not find this, in actual fact the sevice was so swift your plate was whipped away before you had finished chewing your last mouthful - The sense of being watched while eating became extremely uncomfortable.

There was not poolside service.Should be in a five star hotel.

The pools themselves did not look inviting due to the brown/silvery tiling, Not a nice inviting blue. Quite slimy around the edges. We did not have any problems getting sun loungers, however they were not comfortable to lie on. Saw the pods, some couples had a pod, two loungers, a table and brollies.

Overall the atmosophere at the hotel seemed "flat",no pizzaz.

We would not recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank JudithLincolnshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 16 September 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to post your feedback regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel. I am glad to know that you appreciated our room’s size and views. I regret that your food experience was not up to your expectations, we will always take in consideration all our guest´s feedback that we trully appreciate and our commitment is to mantain and achieve higher standarts.
Thank you for your mention to the Reception Team, they were happy to know that you rate their services as “excellent”.

I hope that you gives a chance to redeem ourselves and welcome you again in the future,

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 15 September 2011

Where do we begin! The minute we stepped into the lobby you felt special and it was extra special for me as it was one of my birthday treats my 50th on the 3rd of september when we returned from having a day out in the old town we entered our room to be greeted with a bottle of champagne two champagne flutes napkin wrapped cutlery and the most amazing hand made cream and strawberry birthday cake!!!!! My husband said he would have loved to take the credit but he was as overwhelmed as me. We could not thank all the staff enough it was such an amazing thing one I will never forget.well now onto the hotel...as we said above wow. The hotel was amazing inside and out and the staff Were so obliging and nothing was too much trouble. The rooms were kept spotless every day and the spa was so chill out actually the whole resort was just chill out!! There was no need to go outside as there was things to do during the day and different themes and entertainment every evening. The bars were very well equipped and there was a different recommended cocktail for the day on display. I understand about the sun loungers,pods and bean bags as for the first few days we were there the same couples had the same pods,loungers and bean bags which they claimed as theirs!!!! Having once asked whilst the two of them was laying on the pod if they were using the bean bag they said yes and notice they did not use them all day!!!! We had a sea view room which was fantastic the views were amazing. This is the first time we have been to Portugal and on couples only holiday and thought it would be weird not seeing children around but we could not believe how lovely,peaceful and tranquil it was. Pure bliss!!!! Definitely going back as it is heaven on earth!!!! The hotel and staff go above and beyond to make sure you have a wonderful holiday.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank Pixie0309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 16 September 2011

Dear Valued Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel thank you very much for your review about your recent stay with us. I was delighted to know that you had a “Wow!Wow!” experience at our/yours Hotel. It is a great pleasure to read that in general our Hotel services and standards were up to your expectations. I already pass your comments to our Hotel Team and they were thankful to know that you appreciated their services.

I´m really proud of our staff and it´s correct they will always go an extra mile just to ensure that all our guests are greeted with a smile and a friendly service.

Once again thank you very much for your inspiring words.

Looking forward to welcome you again in a near future.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sao Rafael Atlantico

Address: Sesmarias, Albufeira 8200-613, Portugal (Formerly São Rafael Atlantic Hotel)
Region: Portugal > Algarve > Faro District > Albufeira > Sesmarias
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Price Range: £83 - £338 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sao Rafael Atlantico 5*
Number of rooms: 149
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel Sao Rafael Atlantico enjoy a spectacular location overlooking the Atlantic sea, direct access to Sao Rafael Beach and only at a short drive to Albufeira centre. The interiors have contemporary design features with space and light throughout. The rooms are modern and have large balconies with views over the sea and gardens. The extensive gardens offer a beautiful mediterranean landscape with olive and palm trees. There is also a state-of-the-art SPA featuring leading wellness therapies and treatments. ... more   less 
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