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“Not a 5* and food disaster.”

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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Gloucestershire
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Not a 5* and food disaster.”
Reviewed 16 September 2012

We had a relaxed, quiet time and generally enjoyed our stay at Sao Rafael resort and really loved Portugal. However we would not go back to CS Atlantic hotel again. Like every hotel and resort, this have also it’s positives and negatives. Firstly, it is not a 5* hotel in our view. It has potential to become one in the future but needs to improve in some departments which we’ll mention later. At the moment it has its star rating overrated.
Before we booked it, we read nearly all the TA reviews and somehow we didn’t want to take on board those bad ones. Unfortunately some of the earlier critics were spot on. If someone is talking this hotel is good value for money than I agree, it probably is. But if you pay a 5* price for your 5* accommodation you expect one with no exceptions.

LOCATION: hotel is located in a very lovely, quiet and peaceful residential area, so if you are looking for night outs and night entertainment this isn’t place for you unless you want use a taxi to get about. Nearby beaches are fabulous - Arrifes is small and cosy and Sao Rafael is much bigger and open. We went there everyday of our stay and we loved them both. On Arrifes beach you have small bar/restaurant which is much cheaper than restaurant on SR beach and the food is very good. Short walk from hotel is Tommys supermarket, Chinese restaurant and City Bar which is ok for a drink but I suggest you don’t eat there. I had there the worst burger of all times, on the good note, guy didn’t take money for it.

ROOMS: we liked our room. Décor and design was minimalist as it has been said by earlier reviewers. Plenty of storage in the cupboards, however by the bed side more useful would be cabinets instead of the lamp tables. We found bed very much comfortable and big enough although the pillows were a bit too soft but still had good sleep despite this. Also we didn’t mind the open plan bathroom, it was quite modern and spacious. There is also safe box to use free of charge.
Another positive point, there is a LAN internet available in the rooms but you need to request a cable from reception to connect. You can as well use the internet free of charge on 2 computer stations in the small “library” section or via WIFI in most communal areas of the hotel.
We were surprised that nobody in earlier reviews mentioned that there isn’t any small washing line/towel dryer on the balcony. Had to use chairs, table and balustrade to dry wet swimwear and pool towels.
Cleaning service didn’t put too much effort in cleaning our room on daily basis, making bed was the only sign. Our room never has been done until 4 or 5pm.
On a change over days maids were making hell of a noise from 6.30 am by vacuuming, banging their trolleys and shouting to one another.

STAFF: absolutely nothing to pick on. They were all very nice, polite and helpful especially Monica from the reception and Joseph from Al Fresco.

POOLS/GROUNDS: pools were very good and the water was not cold at all, it was nice and refreshing. Exactly how it needs to be. Although we didn’t like the cheap brown concrete finishing around the pools. In minus surprise too, were pool toilets which looked (inside and out) like toilets by road side for motorways users. Still noticed plenty of broken sun beds around but when get the good one, its very comfortable. Grounds are extensive but looking neglected and overgrown with weeds at places.
If you fancy a walk night time in the gardens, it might be tricky. It’s the first hotel we saw without having a proper night lighting in the gardens apart from small spot lights marking foot paths. And the pools weren’t also lighten up in the evening. What we found to be definitely 5* were the pool bar prices with e.g. 8,50 euro for a burger.

ENTERTAINMENT: rather dedicated to older generation of guests. Not really our thing. We saw Gemma and Willjamin on couple of occasions. Must say that seeing them once or twice would be much enough.
It might sound surprising but we did enjoy the Elvis performance, he wasn’t that bad in our opinion.
We suggest that having quite many young couples around (probably some older wouldn’t mind either) hotel should consider of doing a disco night for guests because on Dj’s Wendesdays guys were doing good work and playing good stuff at Chill Out bar. Of course, saw some people trying to give it a go and dance but it’s not the same.

FOOD: …. What do we say… A major let down of our whole holiday. This is still our own opinion but we think whoever says that the food is “fabulous” must never cooked his own dinner and eat only ready meals. If you like full English breakfast than you’re in paradise but if you don’t you’re in trouble. There are only few choices of cheese (only one type of sliced cheddar), 3 choices of cold meats (same everyday – blunt and tasteless). The worst was bread – nothing decent to choose from. Cheap toast bread and 3 other unknown, often stale (same everyday). No rolls, no buns, no baguettes to choose. And that makes it weird cause in the evening they were available everyday, as we were told baked at hotel. But when I asked for some in the morning they had none. So after the holiday we can’t look anymore at scrambled, fried eggs and toasts.
Evening buffet, again was very poor choice and quality. Salads had no description so e.g. if you don’t tolerate sea food you had to dig in the bowl and try to work out what it consisted of. We found buffet just satisfying on two occasions – Chinese and Gala.
We don’t know where all the excitement with Al Fresco coming from cause it’s also very average. Pasta and pizza meals are exactly same as on Italian buffet and the baked salmon was available on few occasions at the buffet as well, cooked same way. What we liked there was the cod meal with spinach. On our last visit to AF we both ordered the cod, and how much surprised we were that we got our meals made of one regular portion! Basically, there was half of the spinach and only one small piece of fish each! On one occasion some of the dessert wasn’t available as we were told – was not delivered from hotel. We leave drawing the conclusions to you.

Summing up, as we said at the beginning we had lovely holiday cause we did not want the negatives to put us off so we got on with it instead wasting time for complaints. We went to Albufeira Old Town few times, and it was great. Fantastic atmosphere, friendly people and all those small and narrow streets to explore with local cafes and restaurants. We didn’t like the New Town though, especially The Strip. Too commercial.
We absolutely fell in love with Portugal and Portuguese people and definitely will go back to this beautiful country.





Last but not least, words of critics about Thomson. Firstly, evening trip to Vilamoura. With Amanda… who was the worst and most incompetent tour guide we ever experienced (not only our opinion), she had no idea about the place we are going to, completely unprepared and not up to the task given. On the way back we almost ended up in a different hotel, cause the driver didn’t know the way to CS Atlantic and she even didn’t try to understand him when he tried to tell her that.
Secondly. They made ours and other guests departure day really stressful. Having in mind that we were leaving still during the peak season, our pick up coach was arranged to arrive at the hotel 2,5 hrs before the flight. It came 40 minutes late, so we arrived at the airport 1 hour before the plane departure!
I am sure Thomson’s staff know how busy Faro airport is. After the check in, we waited in the longest queue for the security check I’ve ever seen in my life at the airport. And they also are aware that you need to go through additional passport control (after you checked in) before going to the boarding gate (again enormous queue). Despite these facts they failed to arrange the pick up with reasonable amount of time between drop off and the flight. As a result we got on the plane out of breath and sweating 5 minutes before departure!!!

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking to the front of the hotel are quiet and away from evening entertainment. There is...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank dariog22
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, 19 September 2012
Dear Guest,
Thank you for posting your review after your recent stay at CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I´m glad that in general you enjoyed your stay and loved Portugal.
All your remarks will be discussed in our Operational meeting with the departments head responsables, and you can be sure that we will for sure improve in the less positive services mentioned. I´m glad that Al Fresco Restaurant as well as our breakfast options were up to your expectations.
Thank you very much for your mention to our staff, Mónica and José were very pleased with your kind mention.

I hope you can come back in the future to find out our improvements,

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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Manchester
Level 6 Contributor
179 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2012

On entering this hotel there is a quiet air of space and comfort. The harmonising mimilistic decor of browns and beiges even extends to the pool area where there is no sign of the ubiquitous white lougers and blue tiles. Our suitcases were delivered to ample bedrooms which have a huge bed with large squashy pillows. There is a wet room and ample storage space. Included is a fridge, TV,a/c,safe,kettle - all of which were extras at a Tripadviser highly recommended hotel in Zante. During the time we were there there was no sign of crowding in the spacious dining room and the table for two would seat four in most British restaurants. The themed buffet meals provided a varied selection and the plates under the domed covers were always hot. The Alfresco Restaurant where one can dine overlooking the sea has waiter service and is well worth a visit. There is another small restaurant where one has to pay a small amount but it appeared to be lacking in atmosphere as there was no music and it was very quiet. The entertainment was low key but pleasant and there were a number of bars where there was rarely any queues and drinks could be obtained on room number.
There is little in Sao Rafeal apart from 2 or 3 restaurants and a mini-market. It is 6-7 euros in a taxi to Albufuri or one can walk along the road to the Marina where there are a few shops and restaurants. This takes about 25 minutes and a further 20 minutes to the Old Town. It is possible to walk part way along the cliffs but it takes longer and you drop down past a gypsy site. In the opposite westerly direction is Gali which is over 2 miles by road. We tried a cliff route but this again was much longer was quite a scramble in parts and only cut off about a mile of road. There is an infrequent bus but be aware that the bus stops are only indicated on one side of the road. From Gali beach one can walk to Salgados where there is a shallow lake known as the wetlands. This contains many species of wading birds and we even caught sight of terrapins. We did not go on any excursions but just had a very relaxing holiday looked after by friendly staff. However we did hear a rumour that this was not in the Thompsons brochure next year and it would be a family hotel which is a great pity as there is obviously a demand for this type hotel (it was fully booked) and we would have loved to come and chill out again.

Room Tip: The sea view rooms are very expensive and in the garden rooms one can still sit on the balcony and h...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Oldtuggo
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, 17 September 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for sharing your review regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was glad to read that you were pleased with our Hotel standards and facilities. It is true, our Hotel rooms are very spacious, they are designed with a contemporary concept that combines luxury and comfort must to make your holiday a relaxing one. Thank you for your compliments about the food, our Executive Chef was thankful to know that you enjoyed our options. I completely agree with you, the Al Fresco a la carte restaurant is without a doubt one of our best spots and it really deserves a visit.

Knowing that you would like to return again is without a doubt our best Award!

I do hope to have the pleasure of welcome you back in a near future and provide you another chill holiday.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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Ipswich, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 September 2012

Having returned from our holiday in the early hours of this morning I felt that it would be a good time to write a review whilst everything is still fresh.

First impressions- wow. The reception and enterance area is enormous with a very slick, clean line, modern feel to the place. An a welcome with some champers at 9am was a very welcome treat-perfect start to the holiday!

We arrived at 9am and our rooms were already available for us to check in (its worth noting we were also travelling with my now fiance's parents). The staff couldnt have been any more helpful-the patio door didnt lock properly however reception arranged for someone to come out immediately. Our suitcases were delivered to our rooms within minutes and were situated in Room 202 which had a lovely patio area looking straight onto the pools. This also meant in the evenings we could hear all of the music if we went to bed earlier which was also a plus point (although some people may not like this)

The rooms were fantastic. Lovely neutral decor as well as being immaculately kept. The cleaning was to a very high standard and the cleaners done our room at about 10am daily which was perfect for us!

In reference to previous reviews about the towels being placed on sunbeds, yes this did happen daily. After the first few days we decided if you can't beat them, join them. So thats how we got over that one!

The pools were cold however refreshing. When it was scorching hot, it was lovely for a dip to cool off. 1 or 2 degress warmer wouldnt have gone a miss though! The pools were lovely (the only suggestion I would say here would be to put some pathways through the outer area as everyone just cut through the small bushes!)

We never used the indoor pool but it looked fabulous!

Ok so the food wasn't 5* quality but was just what I liked. As a majorly fussy eater I was concerned about a 5* hotel as thought the food would be an issue however every evening I mananged to find something to try! After reading previous reviews before travelling, we booked up for 3 evenings in the Al Fresco dining. The first night was lovely with fantastic food and service. The second evening was the Rodizio which was after a wedding the previous night. The staff were clearly tired and were playing catch up however could not be more accomodating. They even provided 2 bottles of free champayne by way of thanking us for our patience!

Whilst on holiday we discovered that the hotel was in administration. We had no idea at time of booking this however the hotel should be extremely proud of the way the staff continued with 'business as usual'. All staff members are a credit to the hotel.

So the entertainment was a mix of activities including Aqua Golf (my new fiance was the champ at the time!!!) as well as French Balls and various classes ect. Gemma was very welcoming and gave people to be as much or as a little involved as they wanted.

The second evening of the holiday was Gemma singing. Wow. What a fantastic voice (okay so the choice of songs wasnt up my street but you cant please all of the people all of the time!) She's one of those people who just doesn't know how good she actually is! This was followed by the resident duo Willjamin. After reading previous reviews we had low expectations but were plesantly surprised. They dont take themselves to seriously which is what is endearing about them. This was also the evening my boyfriend Jack proposed on Sao Rafael beach so the following evening my 'to be father in law' asked one of Willjamin to make an annoucement to congratulate us. They didnt bother which I think left a sour taste with the father in law to be! That aside, I think they could do with helping each other a little more- e.g when Gemma was singing, would of been good to have had some support with the sound and song changes ect as Gemma was doing this herself whilst also singing. Elvis also made an appearance on 2 of the evenings we were there- after reading the previous reviews again had low expectations. However what impressed me about Elvis is that he doesnt pretend to be amazing. He's a pretty good stand up comedian and with a few amendments on the CV could really make some money in the stand up field! But having said that, he's a tryer and doesnt take himself to seriously and everyone loves a tryer!

Alison the Thompson Rep was brillaint. Really helpful whenever needed and good with recommedations. Whilst we were there we went on the Jeep Safari SuperDay. George the driver was an interesting character! Watch up for him! We also went dolphin spotting which was fab!

The hotel location is good with a short transer from Faro. Taxis didnt cost much- 6 euros to Alberfuria maria and 8 euros to Old Town. More to Villamora- about 25 euros.

Dress code- after the first few days noticed not many people followed the dress code so decided not to aswell. I think the dress code in the buffet room should be got rid of all together and just have for the other 2 dining areas.

The free WI-FI was also fab!

Whilst there we also watched the sunrise from out the back of the hotel which was amazing.

The chillout bar at the hotel was lovely however not sure about the seat where you pay 80 euros for champayne and strawberries- recommend ditching this idea and just let people sit in it!

Overall this hotel made for a perfect holiday.

Room Tip: Really liked the location of ours which was 202.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jennifer 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 review, 17 September 2012
Dear Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel thank you very much for taking your time to post your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
I was delighted to read that our Hotel caused you a “wow” effect from the first day you arrive. I was glad to know that you rate our rooms as “fantastic”! They really have all the necessary equipment and furniture just to make you feel at home. Thank you so much for your kind words about the Hotel Team, they were very proud as much I was to read that you consider them a “credit to the hotel”. We are truly lucky to work with such dedicated members who go an extra mile just to provide you a wonderful holiday. Our Executive Chef was also very thankful for your comments about the food. We do highly value your opinion as it help us to understand what are our guest’s preferences and needs.

Ii is a great honor to know that you had a “perfect holiday” at our/yours Hotel.

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

Sunny Regards from Algarve,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2012

A lovely setting and great view from seaview room on third floor. Bed was lovely and comfortable and rooms are very big with plenty of stotage space. Beware -- partial seaview rooms are on the ground floor and are below the level of the ground outside. You can see the sea as long as you stood on the balcony wall. Reception staff are great and always helpful.

However food was cold, lacked any flavour and had very limited choice at breakfast and dinner. A boiled egg for breakfast had to be ordered especially as they were never offered automatically. It was a 30 minute wait for a five minute hard-boiled egg. Al Fresco restaurant was very good but had inconsistent standards. We ate there on three occasions and sometimes the food was cold, whereas the same menu item had been pipping hot on the previous visit.

There appeared to be few staff on duty so there was no waiter service from the bar areas and this is not the standard to be offered at a 5* hotel. If you wanted a drink, you fetched it yourself. Also, cleaning left a lot to be desired. Again, the small number of cleaning staff appeared to be maintaining the entire hotel. Our room was never cleaned before 3pm and near neighbours were having their room cleaned at 5pm, when they were expecting to chill out in the room after a day at the pool. Our balcony still had the same dirt in place after 14 days.

Pools were dirty and very cold. The Thomson rep was seen with the manager inspecting the pools after complaints had been made during our stay. That said, there seemed to be plenty of sunbeds available and the hotel grounds are massive in comparison to the small number of rooms and occupants.

Wea are mature adults and like a relaxed holiday but this hotel could have hosted a remake of Cocoon. It was often so quiet around the pool that you could hear a pin drop!!

Room Tip: Seaview rooms are well worth the supplement.
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Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Malc0lm53
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, 17 September 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to post your review regarding your recent at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was glad to read that you enjoyed our Hotel rooms, they are very comfortable with modern furniture just to provide you a relaxing break. Regarding the cleanness of the room I must mention that it can be done until 5:00 pm, although if you wish to have your room cleaned earlier you can inform the reception and we would be happy to meet your request. Thank you for your kind words regarding the Reception Team, they were delighted to read that you appreciated their services. I do regret to read that you felt disappointed with our food options, I do value your opinion and I will take on board your remarks in order to improve and keep the quality of our food standards. The outside pool temperature cannot be regulated by the Hotel since it is set according to the weather conditions. The pools are cleaned automatically but in case of sand the cleaning must be done manually like it was the case. I will pass your remarks to or Head Housekeeping who will for sure take the necessary measures to improve this situation.

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

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2012

If you want a really Chilled and Relaxed holiday then this is for you!!!
My partner and I did practically NOTHING for two whole weeks!!! The weather was amazing lovely and hot with a lovely breeze!!!
The Hotel rooms were clean and spacious although a little too brown for my taste,We did have a small issue with the shower with the water not going down the plug (other guests also had this issue)but as soon as it was mentioned it was fixed! (The shower was AMAZING btw)
Overall the Hotel was clean and modern the staff friendly and helpful (football did seem to be on EVERY PLASMA screen mind) and this was a little annoying!
The pools were quiet and relaxed and we had no issues getting beds around the pool a little light music and pool service would have made it a bit more "Luxury"though.
The food at the buffet I am afraid to say was a little poor and not really of a 5* nature!!
We found Sunday and Wednesday the best for choice!! all the other days were a bit BLAH !!
The Al Fresco (you need to book this at no extra cost) was Wonderful!!! Gorgeous Views and Yummy Food!!! Try and book this as often as possible!!!! We never went to the Mediterranean so cannot really say how it was but others told us it was also very good!
The Breakfasts in the morning were great !!!
We did do a trip with Thomson "Western Wonders" we renamed it "Wonder why we bothered" We took the "VIP" package at 69 euros each We were greeted by a "DRIVER" and not a tour guide his words not ours!!! who talked about TRESS for basically the 9 hours of the trip !!! He also went on to complain about his personal circumstances "not being paid from a previous employer" "Not liking to live in Portugal" although its fine if you are visiting like us and also blaming "The IMF and bankers" for the world recession the mini bus also lacked air con and he in generally was just a little to opinionated for a "DRIVER/Tour Guide" we did speak to many other people who had the same driver (he also drives in the Jeep safari trips) and EVERYONE said the same thing that he went on tooooooooo much about his OWN ISSUES!! We did complain to Our Thomson Rep who did give us a partial refund Although I think she thought we were lying !! So if you want to do the trip do the regular one and 30 odd euros!!
Now onto the Entertainment !!! Wow is all I can say Gemma WAS AMAZING !!!! really friendly not to pushy on in your face and very very talented!! Activities during the day were fun and not intrusive and during the evening was relaxed and chilled!!
When Gemma Sang we literally went to see her sing every time she was just BRILLIANT !!! The duo WillJamin were also very good and very nice lads!!!
All in all it was down to these people Gemma the Duo and some wonderful people we met that made our hoilday what it was RELAXED CHILLED AND FUN !!!!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank colby_cat21
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, 17 September 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank your for taking your time to share your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed our Hotel services and standards. I was glad to know that our Hotel rooms were up to your expectations. Our Hotel Team was delighted to know that you appreciated their services. Gemma and WillJamin were also grateful for your mention. I do regret to read that you were not pleased with our Buffet options at dinner. I already pass your comments to our Executive Chef who is always attentive to our guest’s needs and preferences. He was glad to know that you appreciated our breakfast options and the tasty meal at the Al Fresco a la carte Restaurant.

I do hope that you give us the pleasure o welcome you again in a near future,

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 September 2012

My wife and I travelled to this hotel with Thomson. It is a decent place, but in our opinion it is let down by lots of little faults. Overall we thought it worse than we'd expected, given the price level.

BEDROOMS We don't like the wash basins within the bedrooms, and the WC / shower separated from bedrooms only by a glass door: it's too easy to wake up your room mate when using these facilities. It is quite a noisy hotel: we could hear sound from adjacent rooms and from nearby plumbing clearly. Furniture in the room looks nice but is not very practical. We found the chairs uncomfortable (the same virtually everywhere in this hotel incidentally), and the lack of a bedside drawer unhelpful. We didn't find the bed comfortable, but maybe that's just us. On the bright side the rooms are reasonably spacious and look nice.

MAINTENANCE As often with hotels, maintenance is a problem. There were well over a dozen faults in our room on arrival. We had some of them fixed by the in house repair team during our stay. They respond well to simple things, but some issues are beyond them. So various loose things including towel hooks, basin tap, loo roll holder, lights and cupboard doors were fixed, as was the blocked shower drain; but the inadequate water flow to the bidet, chipped furniture and bits of IT hardware dangling from behind the TV were not. Decorations are getting worn too.

IS IT TOO CHEAPLY DONE? Some things around this hotel are just cheap. We don't expect coloured concrete around the pool areas in this price range - nor bulkhead lights in the 'Al Fresco' restaurant, similar to those you'd find lighting up a scaffold! The general styling may be described as modern / minimalist but that again is cheap. It compared unfavourably to the opulence of other similarly priced hotels we have seen recently. The lack of maintenance means that parts of it are looking worn - even though the place is only 3 years old. Wooden stairs, in particular, are badly scratched in places.

RESTAURANTS Food is fair. Again, it didn't compare well to other similarly priced hotels we have seen recently. Restaurant service is attentive - often too attentive. We don't want waiters taking our plates the moment the last bite is in our mouths! We didn't like the TV's in the restaurants either. Sports fans would probably enjoy them, but to others they are not restful.

STAFF We found the staff to be helpful and pleasant. The front desk people are good, and other staff are friendly, apart from some of the cleaners (which is normal enough).

LOCATION The location is in a good quality residential area, set in a decent sized garden of olive trees, lawns, and palm trees. There are problems with the irrigation, leading to some areas being muddy. The garden is just above Sao Raphael beach, and there's a footpath / stair to reach it, from the hotel. We liked the location. For most people the marina in Albufeira will be too far to walk, and central Albufeira much too far. The bus service to Albufeira is infrequent. There's a small grocery store and a couple of restaurants in the immediate area but to get beyond that, you will need a car, or possibly a bike if you feel brave / fit.

SWIMMING HATS We objected to being asked to pay 5 Euros for a swimming hat - a requirement to use the indoor pool. The official excuse is that this is for hygiene. It is the only spa pool I have ever come across with this requirement and I suspect it is just an excuse to make a bit of money.


CONCLUSION Thomson won't be using this hotel in future, we are told. To those considering it, I would say the location is the major attraction. For those who want to be outside the busy resort towns, in a quiet area, it is great.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter S
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, 17 September 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to share your opinion regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I deeply regret that you were not pleased with our Hotel services and facilities and I was disappointed to read that you did not enjoy your holiday with us. Thank you for your kind words regarding the Hotel Team, they were happy to know that their efforts were worth it. Regarding your issue with using the Swimming Cap at the indoor pool I must mention that yes it is mandatory due to Health and Hygiene reasons. Using a swimming cap protect your hair from chlorine and prevent goggle straps from damaging your hair. It is not an excuse for making money because you can bring your own Cap.

I do value your comments and I do respect your opinion.

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 September 2012

My husband and I have just returned from this hotel and without doubt it is one of the best for quality food, service and standards that we have ever had the pleasure of visiting!

People who have left reviews moaning about the food i am very suprised about; this hotel states it is a buffet restaurant which implies food is going to be kept warm, there is a huge variety every night and also each morning with something for everyone! If you want cooked to order food you can go to the al fresco restaurant which is also lovely.

The staff are excellent , especially Manuel in the restaurant and bar, they all work very hard - morning till night!
Entertainment is fine, not too much, in keeping with this style of hotel!

This hotel is couples only, no children and so of course it is going to be quiet round the pool - isnt that the point?!!! The atmosphere is pure chill out , no loud music or screeching in the pool! Bliss! And in lovely surroundings .....

It is around 20 mins walk into albufeira old town which is nice , but no need to go if what you are after is a relaxing holiday in one of the best hotels, definatley 5* and cant wait to return !!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Brucey9
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, 11 September 2012
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful review regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I was delighted to know that you “can wait to return!” to our/yours Hotel. I was glad to read that you were pleased with our Hotel standards and facilities. Our Executive Chef was very grateful for your compliments about the food, He was happy to know that you appreciated our tasty options. Thank you also for your kind words about the Hotel Team, they were very proud to know that you appreciated their services. Manuel was also very thankful for your mention.

I do hope that you give us the honor of welcome you back again in a near future and provide you another relaxing holiday.

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

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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