We stayed at the hotel from 29th March - 5th April through Thomson. We are amazed that so few people have mentioned what we consider the worst aspect of our stay - the inescapable presence of the guards! We considered the atmosphere to be like a prison with a guard or guards staring at us as we sat on our balcony every evening and patrolling the perimeter of the hotel 24/7 looking intimidating. They even followed us as we went for a walk around the grounds or down to the beach! On arrival at the hotel on our first day as we queued at reception, the guards were present with a dog, apparently facing down a picket line. No explanation was given for this.
Our room was not ready when we arrived. We had been awake for 24 hours at this point and were asked to wait in the bar and have a coffee (at our own expense). A timescale for our room being ready was not given, despite asking how long it would be. We were the very last people to get our room, approximately one hour after arrival.
We found the staff in general to be very sullen, reception and the bar staff in particular were not very welcoming. Thomson had advertised this hotel as having many bars including a beach restaurant, which were all closed apart from one.
On leaving the hotel there was no 'thank you' or 'goodbye'. Once again the guards stood watch right beside us as we boarded the bus, as if to make sure that we did indeed leave.
Despite all these negatives, we still enjoyed Portugal. Our room was spacious and cleaned to a high standard every day. The food was outstanding in quality and choice (we did not find it cold). We cannot praise the skill of the kitchen staff highly enough.
We will, however, never return to Sao Rafael, as CS resorts seem to own the whole area. We saw the same intimidating security presence at their other hotels nearby and do not think that this makes a relaxing holiday atmosphere.
- 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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