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“not a 5* hotel”

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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 September 2012

just returned from 11 ngts at this hotel, although some aspects are ok other areas are not, the pool area was never cleaned properly, broken sunbeds and parasol bases, dirty cups and ashtrays from the day before, got to the point had to complain, to the hotel and Thompson rep, service was sometimes slow, although the staff that were there did their best, just not enough of them, breakfast buffet was nice, lunches good, evening meal was defiantly not 5* standard, entertainment was limited although we did enjoy "Elvis" . Chill out bar is not as is suggests, no comfortable seating, no waiter service, not even a coaster mat for your drink! We had heard rumours that the cs group is in trouble and this hotel is going into administration, although this is not confirmed, if it is true it is beyond me why Thompson are still sending people there because clearly there is no money to improve things nor the inclination to do so, I have written a strong letter of complaint to Thompson after travel support. I'm awaiting a response, if you've had a similar experience I urge you to do the same. Would definitely return to Portugal though, lovely country, weather and people.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Sara N
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 September 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to post your feedback regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I do regret to read that you were not pleased with our Hotel standards and facilities. It is very disappointment to know that your expectations were not met. I do value your comments and I will share your opinion with the Hotel Head Departments for consideration and for future improvements.
Our Hotel Team is always hard working in order to achieve our daily Goal: our guest’s satisfaction.

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 24 September 2012

We have just got back from a holiday at the CS Sao Rafael Atlantic Hotel and it was a really lovely experience. The staff are fantastic. Very attentive and to take pride in their work. We must say a special thank you to Rui who was our waiter every evening at dinner. A wonderful man, very friendly and took an interest in our holiday and the things we had been up to. That for us went beyond the call of duty. It was clear he took pride in his work as well.

The only issue we had was that the dinner wasn't really up to 5 star standard but it was pleasant enough. The Al Fresco restaurant was a nice touch (you could book in there for dinner and it was table service) The breakfast however was better in the main restaurant.

The hotel was clean and the facilities were excellent

We would definitely recommend this hotel and thank you CS Sao Rafael Atlantic for making our holiday very special.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank emmalilo
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 September 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for sharing your review regarding your recent stay at the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
It is always a pleasure to read positive feedbacks such as yours. I was delighted to know that you had a “lovely experience” with us. Thank you very much for your inspiring words about the Hotel Team, I´ve already shared your great comments with them, especially with Rui. They were all proud to know that you appreciated their friendly service.
I was glad to know that our breakfast met your expectations and I will pass your comments to our Executive Chef who is always attentive to our guests’ feedback.

It is a great honor to know that you will definitely recommend us!

I truly hope to have the pleasure of welcome you back in a near future and pamper you with another special holiday.

Sunny Regards from Algarve

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 23 September 2012

me and my boy stayed in this hotel and had a lovely relaxing week. The bedrooms were very clean and spacious, definitly 5* the pools were very relaxing and clean not like other reviews said. We tried the 2 different restaurants which were worth going to, try and book these as much as you can as the buffet restaurant wasnt up to much. 3* max food. Italian theme night was definitly the best!

Entertainment was very repetitive but Gemma the thomson rep was very good at getting you involved in day and night activities and always made you felt welcome. Gemma singing in the night was the best entertainment.

Staff at the hotel could be more friendly. Philipe and Ricardo were very friendly.

When staying at the hotel expect to pay to use the facilities:
Jacuzzi
indoor swimming pool
sauna
swimming cap must be purchased to use them all.

This hotel is not 5* however if the food was improved it definitly would be.

Overall we had a peaceful, relaxing stay at this hotel but will look to go somewhere different next year.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lauren_kieron
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 24 September 2012

Dear Guest,
Thank you for sharing your review with us and other travelers after your recent stay at CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I´m glad that you had a lovely, relaxing week and that our facilities were up to your expectations.
I was surprised with your comments about the Hotel Team, we really receive many positive feedback concerning our dedicated team, Filipe and Ricardo were very pleased with your mention. Regarding our food options, thank you for your comments about our two á la carte restaurants, your remarks about our daily theme buffets will be discussed with our Executive Chef and all the necessary improvements will be done.
Concerning the paid Spa facilities , allow me to clarify , all our guests can use our main indoor swimming pool and our well equipped gym free of charge, apart from the main indoor swimming pool we do have an thermal circuit which is paid , this includes access to one animated swimming pool , sauna, Jacuzzi , Turkish bath etc, it is correct the use of a swimming cap is mandatory for health and safety reasons, the guests can bring their own or we can sell it in our Spa, 5,00€ is the price of one swimming cap that can be use during the entire stay.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 21 September 2012

We had a lovely stay here in mid September. The weather was gorgeous-constant sunshine from early morning and warm evenings. There was often a cool breeze and the heat was never stifling as it was a dry rather than a humid heat. Contrary to some other reviewers, we always found there was plenty of shade (umbrellas, pods, palm trees) when we needed it. The grounds are lovely, with 3 pools surrounded by palm trees and lots of grounds (hills overlooking the sea) to lounge in - we never found it crowded and felt it was easy to find a nice secluded spot away from the pools when we chose to. The only criticism of the grounds, was the number of broken sunloungers left lying around. I would not expect this of a 5 star place and think it would be easy to repair them, or at least remove them. However, we never struggled to find usable loungers and the pods are really comfy.

We loved the fact that this hotel is adults only. It was so peaceful by the pools, just the sound of the palm trees moving in the winds and the water rippling as people swam. Having just opened our own business, life at home is pretty busy and this holiday provided the perfect, peaceful getaway from it all.

We also loved the fact that the beach is so close-just through a gate in the hotel grounds. And it is not a plastic, touristy beach, but a pretty bay surrounded by rocks and coves. There were always lifeguards around too, which was reassuring as one day the sea was quite choppy! There is also a snack bar and restaurant and you can hire loungers and umbrellas.

Albufeira is a short, 5 euro cab ride away, but we only went once as it is quite a loud, touristy town and not what we were looking for, still, nice to have the option to go for dinner outside of the hotel grounds. We loved the fact that the hotel is a real getaway from it all, quite remote. But there were plenty of daytrips on offer too and we found the hotel staff and the Thompsons rep very helpful. We did a fun speedboat trip around the beautiful coastline and caves, culminating in some amazing dolphin watching. We only had 7 nights and wanted to take it easy, but there were lots of other trips available and we met a coupe who had hired a car quite cheaply and enjoyed exploring the local area.

The breakfast buffet is fantastic and it's lovely eating outside in the sunshine, looking out to see. The evening buffet is okay. I don't think it quite deserves the criticism it has received but it is fairly average, especially for a vegetarian. I think it could be improved. However, there is also the option to book the Al Fresco restaurant, which is included in half board, and this was lovely. Good food, great location and fantastic service. The pool side bar is also handy and we liked the fact that we could swap lunch for dinner as our half board meal, as this allowed us to eat out in town one evening without feeling we were losing out on a meal we had already paid for!

We are keen to return and I would definitely recommend it for those looking for luxury and peace a quiet. It may not be suited to those looking for lots of night life and hustle and bustle, but for us it was perfect. Next time we would like to stay for 10nights so that we can take advantage of the daytrips on offer and hire a car to do some of our own exploring.

Room Tip: Definitely book the Al Fresco restaurant as often as you can. We ate there 3 nights out of 7. It'...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank funky2
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 24 September 2012

Dear Valued 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 very happy to read, that overall our Hotel services and facilities met your expectations. It is true, we are truly lucky to be just a few steps from the beautiful São Rafael Beach. Thank you very much for your compliments about the food, I already pass your comments to our Executive Chef who was glad to know that you appreciated our options.

Thank you so much for recommend us, your words make us proud.

Knowing that we made you feel keen to return is without a doubt our best Award.

I do hope to have the pleasure of welcome you again in a near future and pamper you with another lovely stay.

Sunny Regards from Algarve,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 19 September 2012

This hotel was very good, in parts. The staff were excellent and helpful, as were the Thompson' s reps. with their local knowledge and friendliness , The breakfasts were first class, plenty of choice, and freshly cooked egg dishes by very competent chefs in the restaurant. We had some good evening entertainments by an "Elvis", Gemma, a super soul singer, and some enthusiastic local Portuguese dancers.The hotel was spotless, and our room cleaned to a high standard.The hotel grounds do need a bit of tlc. The location,quiet, was a little far to walk to the local town, but taxis were cheap and the hotel well served.Front staff always helpful and only too willing to phone taxis, a few minutes wait. Ranks in the old town again had a good selection of waiting taxis, about 5 Euros.
The soups, starters, and desserts in the evening buffet were fine,as was the limited food cooked in the restaurant . However, OH DEAR, the main evening meals brought from the kitchens were poor, lacking in quality, taste, and heat.One needs to be selective of the several choices, I normally headed for the restaurant cooked food at the far end of the room.
Perhaps the management need to try the food, and send the kitchen staff on training courses, to get the sources integrated with the fish or meat dishes Works canteen comes to mind !
There was plenty of food.
The location was in a quiet area, a couple of shops,a bar and restaurants in the vicinity. Evening entertainment, therefore, in the hotel was important, and apart from the above on three days from about 10pm to 11 pm, apart from TV in the rooms, there was a resident duo. The songs were unrecognizable, listening was not relaxing and uncomfortable. I suppose they kept people awake until the decent acts arrived. With so many unemployed good pub type singers around...,why?
Apart from the above flaws, which can be easily corrected, we enjoyed our stay at the hotel and local area.

Room Tip: Sea view.On the side of the hotel.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank barrie n
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 20 September 2012

Dear 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 enjoyed our Hotel standards and facilities. Thank you very much for your wonderful comments about the Hotel Team. I already pass them your kind words and they were proud to know that you appreciated their services. Thompson’s Reps and Gemma were also happy for your mention. Our Executive Chef was glad to read that you rate our Breakfast options as “first class”. He was disappointed to notice that you didn’t appreciate our food options at evenings. We will take on board your comments and we will discussed what measures can be done in order to improve the quality of this service and continue to meet our guest’s expectations.

I do hope to have the pleasure of welcome you again in a near future and provide you another enjoyable stay.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Reviewed 19 September 2012

We arrived back from the Atlantic Hotel on Monday morning.Firstly,we went with Thomson & I cannot fault them at all.They were absolutely fantastic with me & my husband.I had an accident a few weeks before going on holiday so was in a boot using crutches & a wheelchair.Everything was done to help us from using a lift to get into the aircraft( as I can't do stairs!)to having seats with extra room.We didnt have to queue at passport control etc we where taken to the front.At both Manchester & Faro airports they were brilliant with wheelchair passengers ( there was 3 of us).Even on the coach they had booked seats at the front with extra leg room.The hotel was fab.The room was very spacious.Flat screen TV...everthing you need.There are lifts in the hotel very wheelchair friendly.The spa was lovely I had a fab arometherapy massage.99% of the staff were wonderful especially Santos & Manual..they were brilliant.We came across 2 staff who were unhelpful & miserable looking.Both waiters one male one female but other than that everyone else was brilliant.Lorraine the Thomson rep was very good and always on hand.I neede a chair for the shower room as I can't stand...it was sorted out within a couple of hours no problem.We really enjoyed this holiday & thought the adult only hotel was great!The only problem we had was the food!This stops this hotel being 5 star in our opinion!There was such a variety of food.Also 3 restaurants we ate at 2 of them.There was themed nights also.However everything was bland.A piece of broccoli tasted the same as say a chocolate cake!!!!The food really did let this hotel down.Everything was bland....meals came out looking fabulous...you tucked in and it tasted bland!Everything tasted the same it was soo disappointing.A few other guests alao commented and said the same thing to us so wasnt me being fussy.The breakfasts were the best meals but the evening meals were the let down such a shame!Apart from the food being a let down the holiday overall was lovely.The hotel was fab really liked it.And most of the staff were great very friendly & helpful.Sue the Thomson rep on the transfer coach was hysterical...soo funny!She was great...brilliant at her job.The coach driver on arrival was miserable and rude!Doesnt give a good first impression of the country!But the coach driver on the way back was lovely helpful and polite!I would definately recommend the ghotel but would tell of the bad food!So for me only 4 star...as the food lets this hotel down.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Lyn B
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 20 September 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel thank you for taking your time to post your feedback regarding your recent stay with us.
I was delighted to read that you had an enjoyable stay with us and that you considered our/yours Hotel as a fabulous. I was thankful to know that our Hotel room was up to your needs and they made you feel comfortable. Thank you for your feedback regarding the Aromatherapy Massage, I already pass your comments to our Therapists and they were happy to know that you enjoyed it.
It is true, our Atlantic SPA with 1800sqms is very much appreciated and it really worth a visit. Our Hotel Team was very happy to know that you considered them to be wonderful. Santos and Manual were also very thankful for you mention. We are truly lucky to work with such friendly and professional Team who goes an extra mile to provide you a pleasant stay.
Regarding your comments about the food, I do regret that our options didn’t meet your expectations. I already pass your opinion to our Executive Chef who is always very attentive to our guest’s feedback.

Knowing that you your will recommend us is without a doubt our best Award.

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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Reviewed 18 September 2012

The last two years my wife and I stayed at the Falesia hotel Acoteas a Thomson 4* gold hotel just 6Km east of Sao Rafael.
This year we payed a little extra and went 5*. I cannot fault the hotel in any way except for the quality and choice of food in the buffet seven seas restaurant in the evening, (not the morning as I don't mind a full English, and my wife liked the fresh fruits on offer).
As others have said, there was often no labeling of the salads, so you had to ask someone what was in it. If you're not keen on fish there is very little choice. On the Sunday we arrived, they had done roast. It was a little like school canteen food, the vegetables were soggy, and the meat didn't look very inviting. I felt quite depressed that evening, but thought I'm not going to let it spoil my holiday.
We ate at the Alfresco 3 times and enjoyed our meals there, there is a limited menu, but it is very good with waiter service. We met a couple that had eaten there 8 nights out of 11. I was quite surprised that they could book it that many times, I wont return return to this hotel for that reason only, but from what I have heard it is not in the 2013 brochure.
I would however definitely recommend the Felasia as an alternative.

Room Tip: Sea view room was worth it we stayed in room 354
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Claretsman
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 19 September 2012

Dear Guest,
On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel , thank you for sharing your feedback after your recent stay with us.
I´m glad that overall you had a relaxing stay.
I regret to read that our daily buffet options in the seven seas restaurant were not up to your expectations, we are always listening carefully to our guests comments in order to adapt our food options so that we can please you the most.
Every day in the seven seas restaurant we have a diferrent theme buffet with live cooking, all our ingredients are fresh and prepared with care by our dedicated team.
I´m glad that you enjoyed the Al Fresco á la carte options as well as the provided service.
Besides this two restaurants we have also available the Mediterranean á la carte restaurant with a more elaborated menu.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager

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Additional Information about Sao Rafael Atlantico

Address: Rua dos Corais, 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Price Range: £73 - £341 (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):
Just minutes from the centre of Albufeira, the São Rafael Atlântico enjoys a fabulous location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and with direct access to the São Rafael beach. The interiors are spacious, bright and airy, with contemporary design features. The rooms are modern in design and have spacious balconies with sea or garden view. The extensive gardens are magnificent, beautifully landscaped in Mediterranean style with an abundance of olive and palm trees. The hotel’s facilities also include a modern spa offering the most innovative treatments and therapies. ... more   less 
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