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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 August 2012

We just came home yesterday from spending a week here, so, wanted to write review whilst still fresh in our heads.

Arriving at Airport, easy enough, baggage hall was a nightmare, but then what Airport hall isn't, came out, was hard to identify reps, but when we found them were pointed to bus and off we go.

About a 45 minute jaunt to the Hotel. Lovely quiet, residential area.

Upon arrival, we were given some champers which was lovely, our room was ready (not everyone's was), so that was fab. Went to room and were very pleased (Room 444), fab view and very very quiet hallway. Unfortunately, baggage didn't arrive until 1 1/2 hours later, which was a shame. We'd been up all night travelling, had checked in at 3am that morning, so, all we wanted to do was get into our swimmers and jump in the pool to brighten up, but, just a small minor point & didn't stress us out too much, was just a particularly busy day. Thursdays and Sundays are hectic, due to big changeover of visitors, so, be mindful that it can be a bit frenetic.

Garden grounds could do with sprucing up, very barren and burnt. But huge and nice to walk around in of an evening.

Although people are not meant to leave towels on loungers, be quick, as they are gone quickly. One nark was that people would take a pod, 2 loungers, a brolly and a table, which was unfair, as some people missed out due to this, and, you can only lay on a lounger OR a pod, not both at once, so, hopefully hotel will address this and make some stricter rules!

Chambermaids were WONDERFUL, they work their bums off from morning til early evening, they did an amazing job, we couldn't thank them enough, anything we needed, they got for us, really outstanding.

Some staff were very friendly, some not so much, but, you can't cater for all personalities, and that was fine for us.

Manuel is a particularly lovely gent, who gives fab wine recommendations, he works terribly hard, he was there from 7am until goodness knows what time at night!

Food was plentiful, not to all our tastes, but, if you couldn't find something to eat out of the choices, you must be MEGA FUSSY! Brekkie time - if u wanted boiled eggs, poached eggs etc, they'd make them for you.

As in any place, people can be greedy and take the last of everything, pile plates high and don't care about others, but that could be said of 1 star or 5 star. But, as soon as anything finishes, it's quickly replenished, the people really do work hard to look after you.

La Fresco restaurant (Italian) is very nice, but, be prepared for the wind coming from the sea! Very romantic, staff there are very nice and accommodating.

We didn't try the other Restaurant, but heard it was lovely.

Chill out bar is an amazing place to hang out and the Strawberry Daquiris are to die for, I could have smuggled the bar man home with me, so I could have them morning, noon and night.

Met the Manager on the meet and greet evening, charming gent, listened to all our comments and took them onboard graciously, obviously very well educated and cares very much for his patrons. He asked if we had been to the Algarve before, I have, but couldn't remember where, so, stated yes, I've been to Paphos and Limassol (which are both in Cyprus), he could've rectified my mistake, which would have been mortifying, but he didn't, so that was nice, getting out my Geography book tonight, so I can find out where it actually was that I visited, felt like such a dork!

We were saddened to hear on our last night, that a lot of the staff are seasonal, and, therefore, the tips are not pooled, e.g. regular staff get a share of tips left, but seasonal ones don't, we find that unfair, particularly as in our opinion, the seasonal team (e.g. chambermaids, Manuel etc) bent over backwards to look out for us, it just seems unjust.

So........... remember and leave these people a tip, as they surely have earned it.

Oh, weather was out of this world, scorchio, couldn't have picked a sunnier nor hotter week.

All in all, lovely hotel, great team, fab location, but, a bit too quiet for us, we are mid 40's, and don't have family, so, hotel was amazing in that respect, e,g, no kiddies running about, but, it is terribly quiet, some days, you could sit round the pool and hear a pin drop, so, for us, it's finding the right balance, quiet and zen like, but with a bit of sparkle thrown in.

However, we would most definetly recommend the Cs Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel to our friends and family, and, you never know, we may just partake of a visit again some day.

Thanks to everyone for making our week lovely.

Room Tip: Pick a sea view - fourth floor is outstanding and so so so quiet, higher floors are the ones to go f...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Michelle A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 August 2012

My husband & I have just returned from 14 days at this Hotel. The rooms are so contemporary & comfortable. We paid extra for a seaview (room 272) and it was well worth it!!! Unfortunately the food is NOT 5 star in main Seven Seas Restaurant. They have other restaurants that you can eat in and they were good. The staff were always friendly & courteous.
As the Hotel is quite far out I was under the impression from the Brochure that they ran a shuttle bus to Albufeira - this was not the case and we had to rely on taxis albeit sometimes having to wait quite a while for one. The grounds need TLC as in the brochure they look nice & green when in fact the ground is nearly bare. The Hotel requires more sunloungers & umbrellas & it is ridiculous that they are reserved from 7am with towels. This should NOT be allowed as one day whilst sunbathing in the grounds a couple reserved a cabana & 2 sunloungers & umbrella at 8am. They did not use them until 2pm when in fact guests were looking for sunloungers.The Pool Bar could benefit from a makeover. We went there for R & R and certainly it was a nice relaxing holiday with beautiful weather.

Room Tip: Room 272 was perfect for us!!!!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rosied76
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 31 August 2012

Dear Guest,
Thank you for sharing your review with us and other travellers, after your recent stay with us.
I´m glad that our rooms were up to your expectations.
It´s correct besides our main restaurant with daily theme buffets and show cooking , we do have two á la carte restaurants , in order to please our valued guests, I regret that our food options available in the seven seas restaurant didn´t match your preferences, and I´m glad that you consider to be good our á la carte options.
We are very fortunate to work with such a dedicated team , they will be very pleased to know your mention.
Our gardeners team are aware of some maintenance and necessary work to be done in our gardens and they will for sure do everything in order to mantain our lovely areas.
It´s correct some guests book sun beds with their towels earlier in the morning, but even so we have plenty of sun beds besides the pods, to accomade all our valued guests.

Knowing that you had a relaxing holiday is without a doubt our biggest award,

looking forward to welcome you again in the 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
Reviewed 28 August 2012

The Hotel accomodation and its staff were excellent and I wish the catering could raise its game to match those aspects, because it lets the side down. This aspect is more like a good 3 star and it lacks the flair, creativity and choice to help make the basics interesting given the price you are asked to pay. The menus/food in the two speciality restaurants is not much better.
The public beaches are smart, clean and very popular with lots of visitors.
Buses run locally during the day but stop early evening and if you want a taxi, be prepared for a very long wait for it to turn up.

Room Tip: There are only 30 or so rooms with a clear sea view, so be careful what you pay extra for.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mac187049
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 31 August 2012

Dear Guest,
On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel let me take this opportunity to thank you for sharing your feedback regarding recent experience with us.
I was delighted to read that you enjoyed our Hotel rooms, they are very well equipped with modern design just to provide you a relaxing stay. Thank you so much for you kind words about the Hotel Team, they were very happy to know that their efforts were worth it. I do regret to read your less positive comments about our food options. Our Executive Chef is already aware about your issues and he is always improving our options in order to please every single Guest.

I do hope that you give us the opportunity of welcome you back in a near future,

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
Reviewed 27 August 2012

Spent 11 days at this hotel in August 2012. Having read some of the earlier reviews we were expecting problems with the food but although the buffet may not be the most inspiring buffet ever it is fine and we found there were enough options to keep us going! Earlier critics have mentioned the food being cold but the staff were constantly checking the burners under each serving dish to ensure that the food was kept warm (surely, unless if comes straight from the kitchen it is not going to be piping hot). I wasn't so sure about the themes. They didn't quite match the food as far as I was concerned. The soups were always lovely. The salad bar plentiful although on one occasion everything seemed to have some form of fish or seafood in which isn't great if you're not into that. I had to laugh at the tropical night as the parrot cages came out and, as someone previously mentioned, pineapple rings were placed in the tray next to the roast beef. Other than that I'm not so sure that it was really tropical. Barbecue night would have been much better if what was served at the pool barbecue on a Sunday or Thursday lunchtime was served in the evening.
Breakfast choice was fine, although the second week hash browns had been swapped for potato wedges - a bit of a disappointment.
If you expect lots of night life and activities then this is not the place for you, however, if you enjoy a relaxing time in a lovely chilled environment then this is the place.
Yes the sunbeds do get reserved from early morning onwards but if you are an early riser it shouldn't be a problem. The only point I would suggest to the management about this is that maybe couples don't need two sun loungers, a pod big enough for two (with sun shade), an umbrella and a table - surely some could make do with just the pod or just two loungers and an umbrella? I do object to people saving sunbeds and then not appearing for 3 or 4 hours, which I did notice on a few occasions.
We felt the drinks prices to be reasonable (2 Euros for Coke, 3 Euros for a large beer - 400ml, 4 Euros for Magners - 568ml bottle). We bought our water at the local supermarket so only paid for water with our meals. The pool bar snack food seemed to be great, probably better than the evening buffet if the truth be told. Although we did only try the cheese burger, classic club sandwich and the barbeque on one occasion. Warning... if you eat everything from the barbeque you probably won't need to eat agin!
The room we had was fantastic, room 270. A great sea view in a quiet location. (Even number rooms 254 -274 shared similar outlooks, although I would think 266/268/270/272/274 are angled more towards the sea.) The second floor was fine as up one floor was the reception area and down one floor to the outside gardens and pool area. The beach is accessed by a longish boardwalk and with a number of steps and then a slope down to the actual beach where there is a snack bar and a restaurant, so if walking is an issue this may not be ideal although it really isn't too far.
The staff were fine, no they may not always smile but who does at work! They were always polite and helpful. Our room was always cleaned on a daily basis to a high standard. The shower was fantastic!

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank CRonhols
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 31 August 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your feedback regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was glad to know that in general you were pleased with our Hotel standards and facilities. Thank you for your compliments about the food, our Executive Chef was very thankful to know that you enjoyed our options. Although he already made notes about the issues you mentioned in order to improve the quality of our food options. I was grateful to know that you enjoyed our Hotel rooms, the showers are very much appreciated by our valued guests. Thank you for your inspiring words about the Hotel Team, they were very happy to know that you rate them as “polite and helpful”. We are truly lucky to work with such dedicated members who goes an extra mile just to provide you a pleasant stay.

I do hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back in a near future,

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 26 August 2012

Just back from a very enjoyable weeks holiday in this hotel. From the moment we arrived to receive our glass of champagne welcome drink, we felt totally relaxed. Rooms very spacious and clean, very comfy large bed and fantastic wet room. Beautiful sea and olive tree view from our balcony. Rooms were kept clean by our maids and beach and bath towels changed whenever you wanted fresh ones. Coudln't fault food, lovely buffet style. We chose to sit outside, which we love and our waiter Rui and waitress Lucianna were fantastic, so friendly and couldn't do enough for us. We also ate at the al a carte restaurant, which you have to book, which we did, but was told that our table that we asked for could not be guaranteed. We got there early and had the table we wanted. A very enjoyable meal looking out to the sea and very good waiter service. Although if you needed the toilet you had to walk back to the hotel which is only a few minutes but inconvenient when having such a lovely meal.
Entertainment was relaxing, two resident guys singing and playing guitars were great, also Gemma, entertainment manager had the most beautiful voice. I also enjoyed yoga in the pool and an aromatherapy class with Gemma, lovely, oh and how to make a rose out of a napkin, very relaxing. Our Thomson rep, Lorraine was fantastic, and very helpful and informative.
If I had to say anything negative, it would be that there was no dressing table in the room which would have been nice and a few decor points in the room were needed eg. Marks on paintwork and curtains did not draw properly. Furniture on balcony could have been nicer. All these points should not be found in a 5 star hotel. All this aside we would definitely think of returning sometime in the future.

Room Tip: Advise sea view room
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Karen C
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 27 August 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you very much for sharing your positive feedback regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was delighted to read that you had a very enjoyable week at our/yours Hotel. I was glad that you appreciated our spacious and comfortable Hotel rooms.
Thank you very much for your comments about the Hotel Team, they were happy to know that you appreciated their services. Rui and Luciana as well as Gemma and Lorraine were very thankful for your kind words.

It is a great honor to know that you would definitely visit us again.

I do hope to have the pleasure welcome you again in a near future and provide you another relaxing holiday.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 25 August 2012 via mobile

We have just returned from this hotel where we stayed for two weeks after having read all the reviews we thought it was ideal .firstly the location is not that good no bars or reztuarants nearby which we were led to believe though there is a good local bar selling food about fifteen minutes walk away .the hotel itself is very nice and the rooms are very spacious and clean as for the staff customer service needs to be improved and a few smiles would go a long way the food was not brilliant very bland not much choice and quite often cold lunchtime the food was overpriced the same as the drinks were overpriced ie a bottle of water was 3euros50 yet it was only 95cents at a shop that is a big mark up by anyones standard we will not be going back to this hotel

  • Stayed: August 2012
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3  Thank Sophia P
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 27 August 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to share your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
I was glad to know that you enjoyed our Hotel rooms, they are very well equipped in order to provide you a relaxing holiday. I do regret that you didn’t appreciate our food options. I already pass your remarks to our Executive Chef who is always attentive to our guest’s comments. I was surprise with your comments about the Hotel Customer Service since this is an area where we shine the most. Our Hotel Team is always hard working just to provide you everything you need to have an enjoyable stay.

I do hope that you give us the opportunity to welcome you back and provide you a relaxing stay .

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
Reviewed 24 August 2012

Just back from a week's stay in this hotel.

Rooms - fantastic, very large and modern with comfy bed, huge wet room, etc. However, as we had booked quite late (two months earlier) we had no choice of views and we overlooked other rooms and some trees. It was really dark on the balcony and we didn't sit out much. It didn't spoil the holiday but I would definitely try and book a sea view if we went again.

Pool and gardens - Don't know what other people are talking about the pool being cold.. The air temperature was 33 degrees and the cool water was very refreshing - I wouldn't have wanted it any warmer. The hotel is built on an olive grove and I woulldn't expect the grounds to be lush. However, I never once saw a gardener while I was there and the grounds did look a bit scruffy.
The best sunbeds were reserved before we got down at about 8 am. Around the pool you could have either be in the sun in the morning or in the afternoon, with the parasols hardly being large enough to cover your legs! The pool was very peaceful, you could hardly hear a pin drop, but the beach was the complete opposite as it was the Portguese holidays and all the locals were there so it was rammed!

Entertainment - Gemma was the events ccoordinator but as her forte was singing (which she did very welll) there was no zumba, aqua aerobics, water polo or any of the usual stuff. The resident duo were a couple of Brits called Willjamin - I called them Will I Am and my hubbie called them Bill and Ben. Their guitar skills were fantastic but unfortunately spoiled most of their music by singing along! Apart from that there were Portuguese dancers (a fusion of Amish and whirling Dervish!) who were different and an Elvis tribute which was quite good.

Staff - All the staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

And last but certainly not least - THE FOOD!! The buffet restaurant was very disappointing. We found out later in the week that there had been a theme in the restaurant every night but you really wouldn't have guessed. On the tropical night they had added some pineapple to the roast beef! One night there were pork sausages on the evening menu - presumably left over from breakfast! The food was often cold and the trays were not changed until the very last drop of food had been eaten. Occasionally we had to scrape out the trays to get the last bit of food. The choice was terrible and we never once had seafood. The soup was cabbage, etc and very poor. The only saving grace was as part of the package you could eat in the Al Fresco restaurant, which had waiter service, a lovely view of the sea (although we were forced inside on the last night because of a strong wind) and the food was fantastic. I couldn't believe it was so much better there than in the main restaurant. We went twice and if we had known how poor the main restaurant was we would have gone in every night.

We didn't do any of the organised trips but we walked into Albufeira one day, which took about 45 minutes each way. Don't bother with a taxi - it's an easy walk if you leave early before it gets too hot.

I would definitely go back but would book into the Al Fresco every night and would book a sea view room.

Room Tip: Choose a room on a higher floor and pay more for a sea view.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Indiechick56
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 27 August 2012

Dear Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel let me take this opportunity to thank you for sharing your review regarding your recent stay with us.
I was glad to know that our Hotel rooms made you feel comfortable during your stay. I am thankful to know that you enjoy the Pools, they are truly relaxing. I will take on board your issues regarding the sun bends and grounds, I do appreciated your opinion as it helps to improve the quality of our customer service. Thank you very much for your comments about the Hotel Team, they were delighted to know that you appreciated their services. I do regret that you felt disappointed with the buffet options at evening. Our Executive Chef is already aware about your comments and he is always working out in order to improve the quality and variety our meals options in order to please every single guest. He was very happy to know that you enjoyed our options at the AL Fresco Restaurant.

Knowing that you are planning to return is without a doubt our best Award!

I do hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back in a near future,

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
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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: £70 - £250 (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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