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“Very nice hotel - could be amazing with a few tweaks” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sao Rafael Atlantico

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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Milton Keynes
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Very nice hotel - could be amazing with a few tweaks”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2011

Just returned from a fortnight's holiday. Lovely hotel which although not perfect was definitely getting there. Previous reviewers have been very critical of so many aspects of the hotel and I am wondering what do they really expect for the very fair price charged. The buffet was always excellent at breakfast and in the evening there was so much choice although now and again some of the main course dishes were not quite to everyone's taste.

The 3 other alternative a la carte restaurants served extra special food beautifully presented but they were catering for a very small number in each case and therefore it was expected that they could achieve a higher level.

The bedrooms were very smart and modern and well cleaned. Personally we did not like the pilllows but hey we were not at home and each to his own.

The entertainment was made special for us by the young duo North Stars. What a talent they were but it was not suitable for them to perform on the large terrace. They were suited to a cosy and intimate environment and should always have been in the Chill our Bar where they performed some wonderful 'gigs' to a very enthusiastic audience.

The beach is not strictly at the bottom of the garden as advertised. It is a bit of a trek for anyone with mobility problems or the older guests which is a shame as we met a couple who were not able to get down and up the many steps to the beach.

Overall, the staff at this hotel are truly excellent each striving to give top service and make their guests feel special.

Yes, there is the old age problem with sunbeds and I do not know how this can be solved unless you have a full-time pool attendant to issue the beds as and when needed. This will in turn cost more money for the hotel to administer and therefore put up the price for the holiday.

Anyway, I could go on and on but hope that this review helps some people.

Room Tip: Rooms on level 3 and above.
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank LindylouMiltonKeynes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this review, 30 September 2011
Dear Valued Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel thank you for sharing your recent experience with us.
I am delight to know that you were pleased with our Hotel services and facilities. It is true, our rooms are very well equipped and well design just to provide you a comfort and pleasant stay. I am glad to read that you enjoyed our Restaurants options, our Executive Chef Rene Sandoval is thankful for your compliments about the food. Thank you very much for your kind words regarding the Hotel Team., they are happy to know that you found their services as “truly excellent”, we are lucky to work with a dedicate Team that goes an extra mile to provide you a nice and relaxing holiday.

I do hope to welcome you again in a near future,

Sunny Regards from Algarve,

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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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (272)
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English first
York, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2011

Our second visit to this fantastic, friendly, well set out hotel and the only thing spoiling it was the people who decided they HAD TO HAVE THEIR OWN SUNBEDS and got up at 7 a.m. to put towels on them to reserve them but this is not the fault of the staff, saw someone being aggresive with a member of staff for "having a quiet word", makes you proud to be British!

The staff are fantastic and the hotel is exactly as advertised, was here in May and can guaratee we will be back next year.

Yes, the food may leave a little to be desired at times but we never struggled to find something we enjoyed and I openly admit I do not live as well at home as I do at the Atlantic.

The rooms are spacious and kept spotlessly clean, the bar staff, reception, waiters, spa ladies etc are so friendly and nothing is too much trouble, pity some of my fellow guests do not know how to treat people with respect.

Thanks you to all at the CS Atlantic, you do a fantastic job and please do not be put off continuing your good works by the negative comments, they are unjustified.

Anyone reading these reviews, use your own judgment, but if you want a comfortable (not stuffy), relaxed holiday with peace and quiet this is the place for you.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Godecke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2011

Our holiday was on the 4th September for 1 week, when arriving at the hotel we thought it was amazing, the outside of the hotel is very neat and tidy and most importantly clean. When checking in we had champagne on arrival which was a very nice touch. Our room was ready for us straight away. We were on the same floor as reception and having already requested a "sea view" room when booking the holiday with Thomson we didn’t receive this, our view was of the car park at the front of the hotel... on a good note our bags had already been placed in the room which we thought was very good service. We could not fault the hotel room, very clean, tidy, modern and very nice indeed. We decided to take a look around the hotel and its grounds... First impressions were very nice indeed.
We arrived late for dinner on our first evening so there wasn’t much left on food which we just thought was our fault... When coming down for breakfast in the morning the staff struggle with regards to seats, they basically don’t have enough and as well as this they are very understaffed.

The food in the hotel is awful, breakfast is terrible and dinner is all 3 restaurants I wouldn’t even recommend it. The Seven Sea's restaurant is like a cheap buffet so on one of the evenings we decided to go to the Al Fresco restaurant, the staff here take no care on how they treat the customers, all of the staff were joking around and took over 25 minutes to serve us our drinks, I cannot even begin to tell you how bad the food here is... As for the Sea restaurant, if you have to pick one of the 3, I’d defiantly say this one is the best out of the bad bunch.

The Pool area is nice and clean however sometimes there is a fight for the sunbed’s which quite a few people agree with having read their reviews. The Pools are all ICED cold, where you cannot spend longer than 2 minutes in. It's just a quick dip in and out.

There isn’t a lot to do at this hotel, in fact the only thing they have is a pool table, and outside the hotel the nearest thing is a supermarket which is a 25 minute walk.

Overall we have learnt our lesson and will not be going on a package deal again and will defiantly not be returning or recommending this hotel

Room Tip: Book early for a seaview room! Request floor 3!
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Courtney_Brown2388
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this review, 3 October 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 you found your room to be lovely, our rooms were thought to provide you the best confort. I´ve already share your comments with our food & beverage team, we will always listen to our valued guests feedback , more vegetarian and gluten free options will be created and they will be availlable not just in our á la carte restaurants but also in our main restaurant.

Thank you,

Looking forward to welcome you again in the future,

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich
Level Contributor
41 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 September 2011

Having stayed in 4 Thomson Gold hotels where the food has been excellent or outstanding, we were expecting similar or even better from this Platinum hotel. How wrong we were! Sampling the cuisine of the area in which we are staying - and any other flavours they wish to tempt us with - is an integral part of our holiday, and the poor choice and quality at this hotel spoilt our 2 week stay. I follow a vegetarian diet and often couldn't find a main choice to suit my needs - ratatouille and rice or black bean stew and rice was as good as it got on 2 nights. The salad bar looked appetising but the mixed salads weren't labelled so you couldn't always tell whether they contained meat or fish until it was in your mouth. The a la carte restaurant was attractive and the food nicely presented but there were only 2 veggie main courses which, sadly, lacked flavour. The Italian restaurant was lovely with superb views towards Albufeira and attentive waiters but, again, flavour was low on the agenda. The beach restaurant was disappointing and we were bothered by a cat, flies and the waiter's grubby trousers. My husband will try virtually anything but even he found it difficult to find something that looked appetising in the buffet restaurant. Not once did either of us say "wow, that's lovely" at a meal. Breakfast was okay but why keep pastries over hot water when it ruins the texture?? One day we swapped dinner for lunch at the pool bar which, amazingly, had a vegetarian menu and the curry with lime rice I ate there was the best meal of the fortnight. The food is prepared in the same kitchen so why can't vegetarians in the buffet restaurant be afforded the same respect?

I complained to the Thomson rep who found out for me that when I was in the buffet restaurant I could ask a waiter for a meal from the a la carte menu but, to be honest, with only 2 mains to choose from which I'd already eaten, it wasn't worth the hassle of having to wait for the meal. I sent a letter of complaint to Thomson on our return but, 4 weeks and another letter later, I still haven't had the courtesy of a reply.

Our room (312) was lovely - overlooking the pools and garden - and it was refreshing to have a complimentary safe. However, our balcony was only cleaned once in our 2 week stay when my husband asked the maid to sweep it for us. Not once did we see the floor of the external dining area cleaned and noticed the spills and stains building up on an almost daily basis. The contemporary style of the hotel meant that there was no "wow" factor.

We had some lovely walks and great days out (Silves, Monchique, Sagres, Lagos in our hired car). For a little adventure, follow the clifftop walk from Sao Rafael to Gale - nerves are sorely tested in a couple of places when you have to scale rocks, cling on to the fences of clifftop properties and walk across a bridge with missing planks. There are some lovely beaches and coves en route to Gale but Gale itself was very busy and uninteresting.

The hotel should be marketed as not suitable for those with restricted mobility. The boardwalk from the hotel towards the beach has 75 steps and then there are 40 concrete steps down to the beach.

We love Portugal and would like to return but certainly not to the CS Atlantic Sao Rafael. Two years ago we stayed at the Atlantica Imperial Resort in Kolymbia, Rhodes (then Thomson Gold) which was fantastic - superb hotel with plenty of "wow " factor and oustanding food. This hotel is now a Platinum but is in a completely different league to the CS Atlantic.

Room Tip: Choose a room on the third floor. Second floor rooms are low with poor views.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LynneNorwich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CSHOTELS, Manager at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this review, 30 September 2011
Dear Guest,

Thank you for posting your review after your recent stay at CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel, we do value very much all our guest´s feedback, and we will always take in consideration your comments in order to provide you the best holiday experience. I regret that overall our hotel was not up to your expectations, even the wide variety of our food options and available menus and theme buffets in all our 4 restaurants.Besides the vegetarian options available in our main restaurant and our vegetarian and gluten free options in our Mediterranean á la carte , our team will always take in consideration our guests orders to make sure that our guests are pleased at all times. We do have a comments book in our main restaurant and we value very much all our guests feedback, fortunatly all the comments registed in our book are all very positive which indicate us that we are in the right path.

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ripon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
england
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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
Report response as inappropriate
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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