We have just got back from 2 weeks at the Luz Ocean Club and have had a fantastic holiday. Such a lovely place I can't wait to go back!
We travelled as a family of 4, myself, my husband, our 15 year old son and 7 year old daughter. We travelled with Thomas Cook and had booked a 2 bedroom apartment. Flight was great from Gatwick and transfer was an hour (not the 3 they state in the brochure).
Check in was fast and efficient, 2 young English men on reception, couldn't have been more helpful or polite, we were taken by mini bus to apartment which was nice and the reception guy showed us how to use the security blinds etc.
I was worried before going at the lack of air con, however, our apartment had air con in one if the bedrooms and also in the upstairs living area. We did find though the Portugal is cooler than we are used to, as we usually go to Turkey or Greece. The apartment was lovely and cool in the morning and at night so we actually only used the air con twice, which was in the last week (first week in Aug) when it had been a lot hotter during the day. There were also 2 fans in the apartment had we needed them.
The apartment was in the waterside village part of the complex (mainly used for Thomas Cook and private rental I think as Mark Warner guests were up the top end of the complex near the Mill restaurant etc). It was set of 2 floors with the kitchen, dining room, lounge and balcony on the floor you entered onto, and the bedrooms and 2 bathrooms downstairs. The apartment W2D was slightly dated but could easily be updated with a change if curtains and bedspreads which dated it, but other than that it was great with a full kitchen inc washing machine, ironing board, microwave and all your utensils, 2 leather sofas, dining room table and chairs, digital TV, there was a. Wifi router in room, my hubby could connect his phone and nexus to it, iPhones etc wouldn't connect but we could have purchased the code from reception if we'd thought of it. (There is wifi at the pools and bars and free wifi more or less everywhere u eat of drink in Praia)
Bedrooms were both twin beds, 1 full bathroom with shower,bath, toilet sink and bidet (much to 7 year olds amusement) and the other bathroom had toilet, shower cubicle and sink. Mirrors everywhere so no fighting over them. Also a hair dryer in main bathroom but wasn't very powerful and best to take your own.
We had a lovely view of the beach from the balcony, and the apartment was very well positioned a few minutes walk from the beach, supermarket and the garden pool area.
We tended to use the garden pool area as it was closest but also as the other large pool was right next to the Mark Warner kids club which Thomas Cook customers aren't able to use. There is a hotel kids club at a charge if 12 euros a sessions. We didn't use it as Our daughter found plenty of children to play with at the garden pool, there's a small children's pool and play area, brilliant as it is fenced and gated so children cannot just wander off. Never any problem getting 4 sun beds whatever time we strolled down, although if you want a parasol you probably wouldn't want to be later than 9/10 o'clock.
The pool doesn't allow inflatables which our children usually take, but they were fine without them and it was actually nice that if you wanted to have a swim you had a clear swim with no lilos. Kids were able to play ball games so they were happy.
The pool bar tends to be quite expensive to eat and drink at, although for pure laziness we did use it, but would be nice if the Luz club adjusted their prices a bit. A can of diet coke at the Baptista supermarket was about 60 cents and the pool bar charge 2.5 euros. Gets a bit pricey if you are there all day. A pizza is about 10 euros and a toasty about 5. You will find much nicer cheaper food if you pop down to the restaurants and bars by the beach and it's only a 10 min walk.
They do have a happy hour each day - usually 4-5pm where jugs of sangria or pimms are 6 euros and a few cocktails are half price.
The area is cobbled and hilly as a few reviewed have mentioned, as fine for us although did have achey calves for a couple of days, buggies and wheel chairs may be a tad tricky, but the resort isn't huge prob 15 mins from top to bottom.
as I mentioned before it is cool morning and night in Praia with quite a wind, you don't notice it during the day when it's hot but evenings are definately chilly and I wouldn't advise choosing an outside table at restaurants unless you have a cardi or jacket. I took a cardi for the plane but could have done with something warmer.
Where to eat!!!!! We ate out for 11 out of 14 nights and didn't have a bad meal. Slightly more expensive to eat out than other holiday destinations. For 4 of us we average 2 courses for 3 of us and one children's meal, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water and soft drinks for the children and were paying between 80-110 euros! Drinking is fairly cheap with wine apx 10euros in a restaurant 3/4 euros in supermarket and beer being anywhere from 1-4 euros. Soft drinks def bump up your bill.
We all have different opinions on our favourites so I will just list where we went,
Chiccas - slightly set away from other places so took us a while to find it, amazing food, menu differs each day, all organic and nice that children could have a smaller portion of the adult meals. Has deserts to die for! Also the owner loves gin so there is a massive selection, also serves processo which is my favourite tipple.
Valentinos - not great reviews on here but was nice enough and we couldn't get in anywhere else on our first night, kids had ribs, hubby had prawns and clams and I had portugese prawn pasta -all enjoyed it.
YOLO - my personal fave, doesn't look amazing from outside but inside is gorgeous, we had fishcakes to start which were beautiful, boys had steak, I had a delicious cous cous with lamb steak. Was the priciest meal we had at 110 euros.
Chaplins - our daughter chooses this restaurant, nice terrace area with view over beach, hubby had sword fish, I had piri piri chicken which were lovely, staff her are English and so friendly.
Cafe Fabrica - another favourite, you could go here very night and find something you wanted to eat as everything was amazing, you do need to book most restaurants unless you want a late dinner ie 9pm. I had piri piri prawns and bread and the Fabrica burger, which is amazing, served with chilli jam and beautiful chips, hubby had the belly pork with crackling and surf n turf on our visits.
A concha - on the seafront again you need to book, even if it's only on the afternoon of the day you want to go. Shrimp pate was lovely and light and their hanging monk fish and prawn kebab looks and tastes amazing. Puddings here are a must,! Homemade chocolate mousse, poached pears, old fashioned banana splits.
Fortdeleze - restaurant that used to be a fort over looking the cliffs, beautiful setting, set menus or normal menu available every day, I had a baked chorizo and warm bread, lamb kebab and a portugese cake and ice cream. Again you need to book in advance as they get really busy.
Ondaluz - international restaurant not as nice as some setting wise but meal was nice, hubby had monkfish and prawn kebab, I had steak stroganoff, kids had prawns in garlic, and a kids slush meal.
Habbanas - great for breakfasts, snacks and lunches, they do do pizza and some dinners but it's more of a bar and is all outside, chocked block on evenings they have music. The boys had big habanna English breakfast each time we went, I went for either bacon baguettes, or they do a continental with 2 nice rolls and piles of butter, jam, ham, cheese and sliced tomato. Baguettes at lunchtime are nice and it's nice and cheap for a drink or a coffee.
Habbanas also own the pizza takeaway up the hill, which is great if you have a night in, we had a couple of nights in when our daughter was tired from late nights and playing in the pool, 2 takeaway pizzas are about 17 euros. We also got an Indian on another night which is more expensive than uk about 65 euros for 4 curries, rice, and naans. But was delicious.
Supermarkets - we used both the Baptista and the Spar. They are both good but Spar slightly cheaper but outweighed by the bakery at Baptista. You can buy anything you need, we tended to do mainly breakfast or lunch at the apartment so mainly bought bread, rolls, water, sorts drinks, wine. They do a nice selection of meats like chorizos, pates, olives. Obviously local beans are cheaper so kids had crisps and biscuits but not the imported ones as you are talking 1 euro for Portuguese and up to 4 euros for imported.
We didn't bother to book any trips through Thomas Cook, mainly as they were so pricey, but our son did the waterpark, splash and slide with his friend and his family and loved it, and we went twice to Lagos. Worth a visit especially to the marina and the old town. We did a dolphin tour with Bon ami trips 95 euros but worth every cent. We saw loads of dolphins up close and were out on the sea for about 1.5 hours. Would definitely recommend.
Sure I have forgotten other things I should have mentioned, but I'm going to stop waffling now.
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- Also Known As:
- Luz Ocean Club Hotel Luz
- Ocean Club Portugal
- Luz Ocean Hotel
- Luz Ocean Resort
- Ocean Club Apartments
- Ocean Club Praia Da Luz