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“Lovely relaxing holiday in fantastic hotel.”

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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 September 2012

We have just returned from our second visit to this lovely hotel and no doubt will book again. it does exactly what it says on the tin - a relaxing and peaceful (adults only) break in a lovely quiet spot just far away from albufeira town and the typical tourist bars and shops and yet only 2 euros 20 on the local bus to get there - if thats the kind of thing you want. The rooms are spacious and spotlessly clean - with the mini bar and toiletries restocked daily.Last year I commented that the hotel really needed more seating and loungers around the pool and gardens - this year they were plentiful and we never struggled to find somewhere pleasant to realx.
The hotel is quiet - thats why we booked it -to relax, chill, read and have a drink round the pool. There are some day time activities but they are not intrusive and you are not harassed into joining in activities as you are at some hotels. This year there was more evening entertainment than last year and Gemma works reall hard to make sure you can be as involved as you want to be.
The spa is lovely and I enjoyed a very relaxing aromatherapy treatment before sauntering back to the pool - and yes the pools are cold buts that just what you need to cool off in the August sunshine. We only went to the beach once this time because it was too busy and noisy for us with it being peak holiday season. We preferred it when it was less busy and you could stroll along it in may / june.
The only thing that I would agree with some of the more negative reviewers on is the seven seas buffet food but only because there are limited vegetarain options - some nights I struggled with all the meat options so perhaps that could do with improving? Most days we walked the 5 - 10 minute walk to the City bar round the corner for lunch which was easier for a veggie. However the service and friendliness of the staff in the seven seas was brilliant - thanks so much.
So overall really enjoyed our stay at this hotel and will be booking again - thanks a million,

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Fahy_9
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 7 September 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing such wonderful review regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was delighted to know that your last stay with us had inspired you a second one. I was very happy to read that for the second time you had a lovely holiday at our/yours Hotel.
I was glad to know that you enjoyed the Aromatherapy Treatment, I already pass your feedback to our SPA Team, and they were happy to know that you enjoyed it.
I do regret to read that you felt disappointed with the theme buffets at evening, I already pass your comments to our Executive Chef who always do all the necessary efforts in order to pleased every single guest. I do value your opinion and I really appreciate it a lot, it helps to improve the quality of our Hotel services and standards.

Knowing that you which to return is without a doubt our best Award.

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

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 3 September 2012

Just returned from this hotel - having been really worried about negative reviews. No need to worry, we had a lovely week of relaxation and excellent service. Yes, the hotel is in a quiet area but a bit of research before booking would alert you to its 'out-of-town' location - so those who choose not to be around clubs and bars can get away from it all. The fact that the hotel is adults only made it quiet round the pool, which again made for a relaxing stay. The breakfast buffet had a wide choice of both cooked and continental options, plus loads of fresh fruit. The dinner buffet wasn't amazing cuisine but a buffet can't be that. The special Gormet dinner in the Mediterranean restaurant (once a week, book ahead) was a real highlight - delicious. We swapped half board to use at lunch time (really good selection) and went out to dinner locally. Rooms were really quiet (sound proofed?) so there was every opportunity to relax - and the spa was lovely too! Above all, it was the fact that all the staff worked so hard to provide an efficient and friendly service that made it a great place to stay. I will be going back when I can.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Bajankate
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 7 September 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for sharing your valuable feedback about your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was happy to read that you had a “lovely week” at our/yours Hotel. I was grateful to know that we were up to your expectations. Our Executive Chef was delighted to know that you enjoyed our food options. The “Gourmet Dinner & Wine Presentation” is very much appreciated by our guests and I am glad to read that you tried it and you were pleased with all this new experience. Our Hotel Team was also thankful to know that you appreciated their services.

It is a great honor to know that you are planning to return.

I do hope to have the pleasure of welcome you back in a near future.

Sunny Regards from Algarve,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 3 September 2012

We stayed here in July and found the hotel to be an excellent choice for us. It was nice that it was an adult only hotel, which added to the relaxing stay. The rooms and bathroom facilities were excellent, very clean and modern, the cleaning staff did a great job in ensuring the rooms and public areas were spotless. The staff were friendly and obliging and nothing was too much trouble, especially the care taken in making the fantastic cocktails in the chill out bar, which was a perfect spot to end the day. It is a quiet hotel, with the entertainment pitched at exactly the right level. If you are looking for nightlife, go and stay in Albuferia and save on the cost of a taxi and the wait. It is exactly as described in the brochure and on trip adviser, perhaps people should take the time to research the hotel and area before travelling.

I think this hotel is perhaps for the more discerning holidaymaker that appreciates a good hotel in a fantastic location overlooking a beautiful beach.

Our experience of the food was mixed, the breakfast and the starters and deserts were very good, the main course could have been more varied, although I always managed to find something to eat and certainly didn't go hungry.

We did eat in the Al Fresco restaurant one night which was a lot more to our taste, it is a shame that this doesn't open at lunchtime as well so that more people could eat here, we could only book once as it was full the rest of our stay.

We had a perfect holiday in a relaxing hotel and would both recommend it and return.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Catri69
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 7 September 2012

Dear Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel thank you so much for taking your time to post your review regarding your recent stay with us.
I was happy to read that our Hotel standards and facilities made your stay a “perfect holiday”. Our Hotel Team was glad to know that that you appreciated their services, we are truly lucky to work with such dedicated and enthusiastic members. It is true, the Chill Out Bar is without a doubt one of our best spots and it is an ideal place to drink a delicious cocktail while you enjoy the warm summer evenings. Thank you for your comments about the food options, I already pass your opinion to our Executive Chef who is always very proactive in finding solutions to improve the quality of our meals.

Thank you so much for recommend us!

I do hope to have the opportunity of welcome you again and provide you another pleasant 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 3 September 2012

I feel I have to write my comments on the Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel as I was disgruntled at other peoples unwarranted negative commentsl. I read many reviews before going here just over a week ago. The hotel is ten minutes from Albuferia. The reception were very happy to help, in any way and to get you a taxi, which was minutes to wait. No problem to get back either if you walked to taxi rank and of course were patient in high season. At the hotel we were greeted with sparkling wine of real orange juice, There were quite a few couples and it was very speedy registratiion. We went to our room and our luggage followed ten minutes later. The rooms are huge and minimalistic which gives it a very clean feeling, which is refreshing when the weather is so hot outside. The wet room is huge with two showers overhead and on the wall with great tiling thoughout and frosted door. A full length provided which you do not often get in a hotel room. The bed was extremely comfortable even though they were two beds but together for a very large king. Pillows sumptious. The rest of the hotel was always very clean, staff very helpful. Could'nt do enough for you when we wanted to book a boat trip through the hotel not Thomson as this can be cheaper. The breakfast buffet was lovely, again staff friendly and helpful especially the lady behind the omlette and fried egg counter. She constantly made omlettes to order with sometimes the queue being 6 deep and frying eggs at the same time. I would challenge anyone who complained that they had to wait, to do this themselves under pressure. The omlettes were great as was the choice of the other breakfasts available. You could eat as much as you lliked. The dinner buffet was equally good with good choice and great salad bar and as many lovely bread rolls. We visited the Al Fresco restaurant which was provided with attentive staff and again good food it was just a shame some nights were too windy to sit outside, but that doesnt reflect on the hotel and its great position. Myself and my partner went to the beach every day as well as going out too, and frankly could not understand why on earth everyone mostly stayed by the pool. The beach is voted the 3rd best in Europe and it was beautiful with easy access through the gardens and down decking steps which is not far! it just seems it in the heat!! The swimming pools are lovely and have been landscaped into the surrounding gardens, they do not look dirty in anyway, and have brown and irredescent turqoise tiles which I thought were very refreshing change to the normal turqoise look of swiiming pools. They also had four, I think or five anti-slip ladders which were brilliant so you did not slip getting out. There is also a relaxing shallow pool which you think is a baby pool, but obviously it is not as this is an over 16 hotel. It is to keep cool whilst you read. Great idea. The entertainment, Wiljamin and Gemma were fabulous. Wiljamin are two english guys who play guitars and frankly the hotel is lucky to have them. Gemma is a great singer, she told us she is only there for 5 months and has done over 2. The hotel again is lucky to have her, her voice was lovely. It was nice to sit and have a cocktail and listen to her and the guys in the evening. The chill out bar is fab, and you really can chill out with a lovely cocktail, and admire the views relaxing on a bean bag seat . We didnt manage to get a table all week at the Mediterrean restaurant as it was fully booked so would recommend early booking. We will do this next time as we felt the hotel and its staff were extremely attentive to your needs and did not faulter on helping you. So anyone reading this take it from us you will not regret going to this hotel and if you do then theres no pleasing some people. One more thing the english cannot complain about germans, as over the years they have, regarding getting a bed at the side of the pool as all the guests here got they mostly before 8.30am. But the beach is far lovelier anyway..

Room Tip: Ours was at the front so away from music and very quiet
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank sian H
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 7 September 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for posting your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
I was delighted to know that you rate us as a “fabulous Hotel”. It is very rewarding to know that you enjoyed our Hotel standards and facilities. Our Hotel Team was very grateful for your kind words, they were happy to know that their efforts were worth it. Gemma and Wiljamin were also glad for your mention. Our Executive Chef was also glad for your compliments about the food.
I was thankful to know that you appreciated our Hotel rooms, they are very well equipped t with modern furniture just to provide you a relaxing stay. It is true, the São Rafael Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve and it is an amazing place to take memorable pictures.

I do hope to have the pleasure of welcome you back 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
Reviewed 1 September 2012

Lovely hotel with very spacious rooms and very friendly staff but dead. No atmosphere around the pool and water was freezing. Accommodation was very clean but the pool and pool area was not cleaned all week (dirty tissue in filter the whole week). Very remote location with nowhere to go in the evening. Getting a taxi in peak season was a nightmare even with couples sharing. Entertainment was rubbish. Food was average. Never again. Wanted to go home after 2 days. I would have jumped off the nearby cliffs if I had booked 2 weeks.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank HughM848
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 3 September 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 you enjoyed our Hotel rooms, they are very spacious and equipped with all the comfort you need and provide you a relaxing time. Thank you very much for your kind words about the Hotel Team, they were glad to know that you enjoyed they services. We are truly lucky to work with such dedicated members who always have a friendly smile for you.
I do regret that your experience with us was not up to your expectations. I do value your comments and I will take on board your remarks . At the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel we are always listening to our guest’s feedback in order to improve the quality of our Hotel standards and facilities.

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 1 September 2012

We stayed here for a week from 26th July and had a fantastic relaxing time. Pools were lovely, bedroom amazing, wet room huge. Gemma and Willjamin were the perfect entertainment for those looking for a relaxed holiday atmosphere. Thoroughly recommend the Tai Chi on the roof. Loved the chill out bar, went there every night. Went to pasta night at the Al Fresco restaurant, tnis was superb,otherwise the food was plentiful and acceptable, but not 5 star. Reception were very helpful and professional at all times, we arrived at 9.30 am and our room was ready for us, very impressive. The Manager is very approachable and genuinely interested in our views. Hope to go back soon.

Room Tip: Our room overlooked the front of the hotel so we got the evening sun on our balcony, and it was very...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank 272LinV
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 3 September 2012

Dear Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel let me take this opportunity to thank you for posting your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
I was glad to read that you had a “fantastic relaxing time” with us. Thank you for your kind words about the Hotel Team, I already pass them your comments and they were delighted to know that their efforts were worth it. Gemma and Willjamin were also thankful for your mention. I am glad to read that overall you did enjoy our Hotel standards and facilities. It is true, the Chill Out Bar in one of our best spots, and it really worth a visit. Knowing that you are planning to return make us pride and satisfied!

I do hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back in 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
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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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: £80 - £257 (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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