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“Highly recommend this ultra modern hotel in Algarve”

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Sao Rafael Atlantico
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Sesmarias
Certificate of Excellence
Zug, Switzerland
Level Contributor
38 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Highly recommend this ultra modern hotel in Algarve”
Reviewed 3 April 2013

We are staying at this hotel right now and enjoying every moment despite of the cold & rainy weather.

Rooms
Very modern, big, clean with a beautiful view - everything very well thought through. We stay with a 2 year old daughter and had enough space for 3 of us.

Food
We tried snack bar for lunch and breakfast buffet and had a fantastic experience. Big portions, delicious food and great service.

Location
It's in a very nice residential area with a beautiful beach surrounded by riffs and its only 5 min drive to Albufeira.

Service
Excellent service, quick check in, very helpful staff.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank S0lfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (275)
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Warsaw
Level Contributor
36 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2013

A truly exceptional and truly excellent hotel amazingly located with breathtaking views and top class service. And tuna! : ) yes they got this hotel restaurant where we were served best ever prepared tuna which I can remember for lifetime.
The hotel is just perfect. We were there three times as anything other there simply couldn't fulfil our expectations. Every time amazed by tremendous client serviced uplifted to sky level. Living in huge amazing rooms so perfectly designed and styled as the whole hotel, with exceptional sport and leisure amenities. With top notch SPA and SPA specialists. And restaurants the one in-hotel and the one at the beach, no matter which one you choose - expect delicatessen.
The hotel itself and the guys working there made me not choose anything else there and always going back.

Room Tip: Request for club room. If not don't bother. Even second row room overlooking seaside are "e...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MaciejTPL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2013

Myself and my mum stayed here in early September, booked under a 'adults' only holiday we arrived to find it was 'couples' which we did find a bit awkward to begin with, as did another mother/daughter couple we got chatting to.

Bedroom
- lovely beds really comfortable with GREAT pillows!
- bathroom was open plan (bit awkward but manageable) and the shower was lovely.
- paid for a sea view which was really lovely

Pools / Grounds
- pools were lovely and really refreshing, not busy atall as most guests seemed to stick to sitting by the edge
- grounds were lovely we sat quite far away from the pools with a pod and a sun lounger which was really relaxing and quiet. Once the bar man came and took our drinks order which was a bit annoying

Food
- buffet breakfast was well varied and tasty although a little claustrophobic with tables about 1/2 a meter apart!
- lunch in the pool bar was okay, club dan which was good but BBQ was cold and boring
- evening meals were dire I have to say, we found ourselves taking our half board meal at lunch and going elsewhere for dinner, the restaurant on Sao rafael beach is AMAZING a lovely quiet little place with beautiful views of the sea with lovely steaks and fresh fish
- the other restaurant was ok, unfortunately we caught it on the wrong night which was the pizza pasta night which was grim and we left! Although the 'normal' night was delicious food just not a wide choice
- cocktails were very good if a little expensive

Excursions
- we went on the boat trip which was an hours bus trip away. This was BRILLIANT well worth the money we had a fantastic BBQ, cave trip and swimming in the sea which was refreshing to get away from the hotel as it had little atmosphere as most couples didn't speak to each other!
- we also went on the market trip which I wouldn't recommend it was too long and the market was cramped and very samey, although the indoor market with fish and veg was very interesting. Tour guide was very informative although constant chatting for the hour trip there and hour back did get a little irritating ....

We went to albufeira one evening and had lovely fish at a restaurant right on the beach.

Little shop 15 min walk away was brilliant for tea/coffee/milk used the mini bar to store it in.
Very clean and tidy rooms which was nice, towels were replaced plenty enough

Overall this was a good holiday but there was no atmosphere myself and my mum seemed to be the only two having a laugh and enjoying their holiday! I wouldn't come back unless I could guarantee the food had improved drastically.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SonyaJH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Central Scotland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2012

We stayed at the Sao Rafael in September for 14 nights. The hotel itself was nice but fell short of it's 5 star rating. The rooms were contemporary in design and spacious with all mod cons including a mini bar and Air con but be warned the items contained within the mini bar are very expensive, we emptied the mini fridge of it's contents and stocked it with goods from the local shop with no issues from the hotel staff.

This hotel has substantial gardens where guests have no problems in finding a suitable spot for sunbathing with more than enough sunbeds and pods With the choice of two swimming pools. There is a secure gate, which allows guests access to the beach via a boardwalk and stairs with a secondary beach restaurant available to sunbathers,which is part of the CS Hptel chain.
The only downside is the hotel location it is situated in a quiet residential area of Sao Rafael with only one small supermarket, a chinese restaurant and a bar which are a good 20 minute walk from the hotel not great in the mid heat!!. We elected to get a taxi from the hotel most days to Albufera old town (about 5 euros) where there are an abundance of shops, bars and eating establishments.

The hotel food was of reasonable quality albeit a bit repetative, but thouroghly enjoyed the breakfasts with a wide choice of fresh fruit, cerials and of course the expected full english (the fried mushrooms are to die for).
This was our first visit to the algarve and i have to say the hotel staff were very helpful and courtious at all times, entertainment most evenings however the bar prices were a touch on the expensive side (5.5 euros for a vodka & cola) (3.5 euros for a large cervesa)

We went to Albufera old town most evenings as there was lots to do with a vibrant atmosphere. One more thing to mention for those who love Indian food there are three restaurants forget two of them and head for the "Jaipuri" it's hard to find by yourself but street maps are available all over the old town pick one up and ask the taxi driver to take you to it I promise you won't be dissappointed. I hope this review helps prospective holiday makers

Flyaway3

Room Tip: Don't bother to pay extra for a sea view you will be disappointed. Better with a room to the fro...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank flyaway3
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, 14 November 2012
Dear Guest,
Thank you for posting your review after your recent stay at CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel.
I´m glad that you consider our/yours hotel to be a good hotel, and that our food options were up to your expectations.
It will be my pleasure to share your feedback with our team, they will be glad to know that you consider them to be helpful and courtious, we are really lucky to work with such a dedicated team that goes an extra mile just to provide you the best holiday experience.

Looking forward to welcome you back again in the 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
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 2012

Travelled with Thomson holidays advertised as a 'Couples Only' holiday.
Whilst advertised as 5* I considered it wasn't up to that standard. It is a very modern hotel situated some 5miles from Albufuria. No easy public transport available and the hotel is situated in a residential area. There appeared to be a lack of regular staff, I discovered that the majority of staff where recruited from an agency, as and when required. Whilst the staff were ok there was no feeling of personal care. Dining room staff changed more or less daily,with little or no recognition of guests. I was given to understand Thomson is not using this hotel for 2013.
Having used Thomson 'Couples Only' hotels in other countries I felt this did not live up to my expectations.

Room Tip: Some 'Garden View' rooms actually looked out onto a stone wall which hindered a view of the...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bill186346
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, 14 November 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time to give us your stay feedback.
It is true the CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel is situated 8 minutes away from the Center of Albufeira. Public transportation is available in our sister hotel CS São Rafael Suite Hotel located 5 minutes walking from the Atlantic Hotel. the hotel is near the São Rafael Beach with his private acess , beach considered in the last year the most beautiful beach in Portugal and the 4th in Europe. I was surprised with your remark related to our dedicated team since your opinion does not match with the majority of our guests feedback.
I´m sorry to know that our standards were not up to your expectations, you can be sure that our top priority is our guests satisfaction, and this is a goal that we daily work hard to mantain.

Kind Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
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Gillingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2012

This was our first holiday in Portugal celebrating our first anniversary, traveling with Thomson couples, we arrived late due to a piece of grit in one of our flight crews eye, worryingly our coach driver had to unload our baggage in the dark, greeted with champaigne and friendly staff.

Our room was at garden level which felt very private and pleasant, our room was amasing and lived up to its five star rating. Food was hot and the variety was adequate. Gardens where pleasant and we thought the loungers and pods where good. The indoor pool was lovely and the gym looked well equipped for the physically minded.

Unfortunately my wife was unwell on our 2nd day through to 5th day, the weather was warm and sunny so she could at least sun worship. The nearest Chemist was in Albufeira which was too far to walk, there was a local shop 10 minutes walk which sold basic provisions.

Entertainment; There isnt anywhere do walk locally in the evening so you are reliant on the hotel entertainment. We noticed the outdoor hotel pool had some water boatman in it so took care not to swallow the water fortunately these disappeared a few days later. The resident duo who played guitar very well did get a bit tedious after the 3rd night, Jemma sang amasingly as did Elvis- Ricky Ryan.

Location; Sao Rafael beach is amasing, you need to be fairly fit to walk up and down the many (80+) decked steps down directly from the hotel, very quiet secluded location with direct access to beach. We managed to take the 30 minute walk down to Albufeira marina where we took a very memorable Cateraman trip along the Algarve coast ... such a beautiful coastline. There didnt appear to be any planned hotel endorsed excursions but a trip to the Marine zoo to swim with the dolphines and a trip to the Old town of Albufeira would be things to do.

I notice Thomsons no longer have this hotel in their brochure which is a shame, i would suggest the hotel bring in some varied entertainment, test their outdoor pool regular, and have a bit more food variety. the room will not fail to please :-)

Andrew & Sharon from Gillingham, kent

Room Tip: Front south facing Garden view room feels very private
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 426Andrew
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, 14 November 2012
Dear Guest,
On behalf of CS São Rafael Atlantic Hotel, thank you for sharing your review with us and other travellers after your recent stay.
I´m glad that our standards and hotel facilities were up to your expectations.
It is correct our rooms were thought to provide you the best confort and a trully relaxing stay.
Thank you for your comments related to our food options, it will be my pleasure to share them with our Executive Chef.

Looking forward to welcome you again,

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
Newport Gwent.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2012

Before we left for hols I e.mailed Thomson because I heard that the hotel chain was in trouble. They advised there was nothing to worry about. Locals told us otherwise and the gradual overall decline of the hotel and grounds substantiated it. I have never had cause to complain to Thomson in 20 years but this hotel was very disappointing. The one positive aspect was the very helpful and friendly staff and the views were gorgeous.
The hotel grounds were poorly maintained - hundreds of palm trees with heavy branches hanging dead and brown everywhere, unkempt gardens - more weeds and soil in evidence than grass. Only saw 2 gardeners over the 2 weeks. Maintenance work was carried out near the pool during the first week and the soil remained on the edge of the pool area well into the 2nd week. A lot of the Parasol stands and loungers were broken - we tried 5 loungers on the first day before we found 2 that were usable. The area around the pool was a rubbery looking concrete and this was cracked and broken. Meals were repetitive and choice was poor - we stayed 2 weeks and the daily menu's were the same both weeks. I spoke to a waitress who proudly advised that she had made the Black bean stew (both weeks) - where were the chefs??!! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A 5 STAR HOTEL. I have never heard anything like it. Tureens remained empty on many occasions and at other times replenishment was slow to the point where you gave up and tried something different! Cob webs and dirty windows EVERYWHERE. We felt let down by Thomson for the first time ever - entertainment was on a weekly cycle so the 2nd week was like living in "groundhog day". There is very little in the way of bars etc in the near by vacinity so we relied more on the hotel entertainment than usual and it was v. disappointing. Guests complained about one of the pools being dirty and this was dealt with quite quickly but again I never saw anyone cleaning the pools during the 2 weeks other than at that time. There was no lighting around the grounds and there was only one pool toilet! The hotel was not horrendous but neither was it 5 Star and when you pay a premium you expect to get what you pay for! It is definitely not a hotel I would recommend to anyone with an expectation of enjoying a 5 star holiday. I believe the hotel chain is struggling and the guests are suffering for it. Thomson have pulled out for next year - that says it all really! Truly truly disappointing and the sad thing is that I have now waited almost 8 weeks to receive a reply to my letter of complaint to Thomson. Their customer service department is not the easiest to get hold of - even for the staff in my local Thomson shop. I wonder how important their customers are on an individual basis!

Room Tip: Don't book a limited sea view - the balcony is below garden view and you have to stretch or need...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Eirwen 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 review, 12 November 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 deeply regret to read that you felt disappointed with your stay with us. Thank you for your kind words about the Hotel Team, they were glad to know that you enjoyed their services.
I will take on board your comments with the Head Departments, and together we will find the best way to improve and fix the less positive situations.
I do value your opinion and the comfort and satisfaction of our valued guests is our top priority. We strive to provide you with the highest quality level of services and standards that we daily set.

Despite you have stated , I do hope that you give us the opportunity to show you the improvements that we always establish in order to exceed our guest’s expectations.

Best Regards,

Álvaro Aragão
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
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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