10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"from reading other peoples reviews about this hotel l feel we were staying in a different hotel. My husbband and l stayed in the Solaqua Apartments early September 2012 for ten days. We had a room facing the road at the back of the hotel the lady cleaning tried her best but she could have done with mayby a little more help. The floor was filthy there was an empty small water bottle under the T.V while we were there and the cobwebs on the balcony must have been there since it opened l would have mentioned it to the girl at reception but she was so unpolite and unhelpful l just could not bother.if you are planning on staying there stay away from the very last room on the second floor to the right it was the worst holiday l can remember the only one at reception with any manners was the man."
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of October 2012
SolAqua Not all cracked up tht its supposed to be !
"I would agree with some points raised about this hotel, the rooms were pretty large but the hotel does need a few things completed before you could class it as a 4 star.
1:- Rooms are large and given a quick clean every day, not spotless but better than other so called 4 stars I have stayed in.
2:- TV channels are provided which is good if you have kids or a better half that misses the usual soaps back home.
3:- Bathroom facilities are standard for a four star hotel nothing to shout about though.
1: - The lifts still do not work properly, the staff provided a multitude of excuses dependant on which one you spoke to.
They would stop at which ever floor they felt like and would randomly take you to a floor even though you had not requested it to. a fine example of this is the time we entered the lift on floor -1 and pressed 3 to take us to the 3rd floor. The doors opened on floor 0, then floor 2 and even though the light for floor 3 was lit up and the arrow up was showing, the lift returned to -1 and would not move. We finally ended up walking up four flights of stairs, not good for a disabled person.
The final excuse was that it was the heat that was causing problems, not the equipment. they were waiting on a specialist from the USA, it was a specialist from Spain at the beginning of the week. Why would you install equipment affected by heat in a country that is red hot for 90% of the year ?
2: - The external cleaning was non existent, the pool area was never cleaned for the whole week we were there, the same cigarette ends were lying around all week and the tiled area was dirty to walk on.
3: - The pool filtration system was switched off most of the week, you could not see your hand a foot in front of your face under water, and bottom of the pool was only cleaned after several of the guests complained to the reception.
4: - The cost of food at the pool side was expensive compared to elsewhere. you also needed to check your bill as we often received the wrong bill with several items on it we did not order or receive.
5: - The indoor pool area and other options are still closed, the kids play area is still not completed or even built. The extent of the kids club as a few colouring pencils and paper at 16:30 each day
If you're looking for a localised apartment and you don't mind walking to go anywhere then I suppose you could do worse."
- Travel date: Fri 15th of August 2008
Brand spanking new accomodation
"Meraman has got it spot on pretty much.
The Apartments are excellent and represent great value. Brand new, so everything is clean and pristine. Spacious. We had two good size beds together, then in the living room there is a sofa which can convert into a bed (for a child really). Nice bathroom (Shower was average however, with a mind of its own for temp!). Flat screen tv with a great selection of channels. First class aircon. Nice new complex, glossy reception area.
The maid service really was excellent. Everyday we were there, change down, fresh towels, toilet paper, bathroom toiletries, etc.
Location is good I would say (8/10). Modelo supermarket on hand for all your everyday essentials and pretty good prices. Walkable in 3 minutes. Its part of the overall mini-mall which also includes clothes shops, gift stores and a Pizza Hut. For those with small kids or fussy teens (!!), there is a MC-D's and KFC across the street.
Furthermore, Old town is a 20 minute walk and very enjoyable. Take the road to the left and if you head left you can have a walk to Old Town via Fishermans beach - the best in Albufeira apparently. Also, the Strip is to the right about 20 minutes walk again. Taxis to both are a set â¬3.90, but we walked most fo the time and that was with our 7 year old. Helps to walk the dinner off!
If you take a left as you get to the end of the road (instead of right for Modelo), you will see a place called Bar101. Its run by Liam an Irish chap and his wife to be from Finland. This is a very down to Earth place (rough n ready!), but we found it great for a few drinks before hitting Old town and the prices are waaay better! Good game of Pool too.
If going with First Choice like us, we did 3 excursions; a) Jeep Safari [8/10], b) Family Cruise [9/10] and c) Water Park, Slide n Splash [8/10]. I would recommend all of these and they represented good value.
Downsides? As others intimated, the bar is pretty lame. 5 out of 10 from me. Needs better trained staff. This doubles up in the day as the snack area and the service there is slooowww to say the least. Plus for both drinks and food the pricing needs looking at as it is 30-40% too high.
The entertainment is a good effort and on everyday except Sundays. We saw a fun parrot show, cabaret and the comedian. All were worth staying around for and free (just dont spend too much on those drinks!).
Overall, its a BIG thumbs up from me. get it while its still new and fresh! Great value.
- Travel date: Thu 14th of August 2008
Worth a Visit
"Stayed at the Solaqua last week in July and first week in August with our two children and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Yes parts of it still to be finished, but nothing that would spoil a holiday. The pool showers have been fitted and working, the pool bar was nearing completion and some internal workings were happening, but nothing that would disrupt anything. One irritation was the road at the back of the complex, it is a dirt road and when trucks or cars travel at speed a cloud of dust sweeps across the pool area and on to some balconies.
The rooms are very spacious, we had an apartment and storage was not a problem, We did have a few minor issues and these were dealt with very quickly by efficient reception staff. First Choice reps were also very approachable and informative about the surrounding area and knowledgable about things that were going on in the area.
The Modelo is 2 mins walk away and has everything you would ever need, McDs and KFC are 5 mins away for munchies. The Strip and Old Town are in opposite directions, but no more than 15/20 mins walk and only 3.90 euros in a taxi, we prefered the Old Town, but this was a personal choice.
We had a great time and would recommend these apartments.
Spike, Eileen, Danni and Darren.
- Travel date: Tue 12th of August 2008
"This is definitely a four star place , the rooms are top class , fully equipped wiv the air con inclusive , good sized storage and beds very good quality , flat screen tv , large rooms and superb bathroom facilities - bath shower hairdryer wc bidet very large mirror just brilliant.
I dont agree with the previous review the staff and the location let the hotel down in my opinion. the staff were rude and dismissive and we found them very unhelpful. on our first day our party of eight went to get a snack and a drink in the restaurant, we waited 20mins to be given menus then10mins to be served and a further 30 mins to get the food!! and it was severely over priced. that was the last time we ate there, the evening time they had entertainment most days but we never saw more then 8/9 people buying drinks there in the evening as the bar staff served you when they wanted to.
The pool was very good but too many bedsavers. eventually the first choice rep started to move them onto a table to let others lay on the unused beds. countless amounts would save beds from 8 in the morning then not use them till gone 2 in the afternoon sit there for 1/2 hours at the most then go !! morons.!!
locations ok for the modello the supermarket but other than that its a 15/20 minute walk to the strip or the old town or 5e taxi.
all in all its anice place but it isnt totally finished yet and the staff need some retraining for sure."
- Travel date: Sun 3rd of August 2008
Great value for money
"I stayed at the Solaqua from the 17th to 24th July and had an absolutely fantastic time! The staff are excellent, and everyone of them I came in to contact with were happy to help in any way they could.
The apartments are cleaned daily and reasonably large, with all the equipment you are likely to need for a self catering holiday. The hotel has an excellent pool area and a snack bar (pool bar not open yet).
The location is excellent, right next to a large shopping centre and within walking distance to the old town and "the strip". I would definitely recommend the old town rather than the strip, but I probably wouldn't have said that 10 years ago.
Although I would definitely recommend the apartments, I do have one or two gripes -
The lifts are unbelievably frustrating, regardless of the floor you want to go to they will stop wherever they want, or not even move at all.
The snack bar is very expensive and the food is average at best, but with so many restaurants within walking distance it didn't bother us too much.
But the most irritating of all is, I kept banging my head on the light over the dining table.
Very minor complaints but other than that I am struggling to find anything negative to say about the apartments.
One tip I would pass on is not to bother with the tourist train that goes around Albufeira, it is always full and unless you plan to use it several times in one day, it is cheaper and easier to get a taxi.
Overall great apartments in a great resort!"
- Travel date: Thu 31st of July 2008
Nice place, but not 4*
"We stayed in a studio at the Solaqua from 3rd to 10th July. This hotel was only opened at the end of May and most of the leisure facilities are still not completed. It appears that First Choice will be the only holiday company using the hotel.
Currently only 1 of the 3 bars is open, though it does serve snacks. The outdoor swimming pool and kids' pool are open, but the indoor pool and jacuzzi are not. The equipment for the kids' play area had arrived before we got there, but had still not been installed when we left. In fact, we saw no evidence of any work in progress on any of the unfinished facilities.
For such a new place, it was a shame the outdoor pool area is not being well cleaned and maintained from the start. Sunbeds and tables were already quite dirty with sticky drinks spillages, and never appeared to be swilled down. Similarly some rubbish around the pool area was not removed for the entire week. However, the swimming pool itself was kept very clean, and is of a decent size.
People started reserving sunbeds quite early, but 2 days before we left signs appeared prohibiting this. The next day at about 0930 the First Choice Rep did remove towels of people who had not yet come out. Let's hope this policy continues! As somebody who likes to be out quite early, it's always very annoying to not get a decent seat due to selfish people who have reserved them.
Daytime activities were minimal, though there was a nightly entertainment act. Bar prices in the hotel were very high (3.50 Euro for a 400ml beer, 2.50 Euros for 200 ml), so this probably put most people off staying at the hotel to watch it.
The inside of the building was kept very clean, with maids constantly cleaning public areas and a daily maid service in the rooms. Reception staff were very polite, though not the most helpful.
The hotel is located in a very quiet street, just to the side of the Modelo - a huge and inexpensive supermarket. There are several restaurants and bars within a 3-4 minute walk. The old town and beach are about 15-20 minutes walk away, and "The Strip" is about 20 minutes walk in the opposite direction. You can get the tourist road train outside the Modelo, but this was always very busy at peak times.
Our studio was room 308 - top floor partially overlooking the pool area. (Even numbered rooms overlook the pool side and are south-facing, odd numbers overlook the street and are north-facing.) I believe the apartments are double the size of a studio room.
The studio consisted of the following:-
- bath with shower over it, toilet, washbasin, bidet
- new fluffy white towels (changed frequently)
- hairdryer, shaver point, & extending shaving mirror
- small soap, shower gel & shower cap (not replaced during the stay)
- fridge with freezer compartment
- 2 ring hob
- crockery & cutlery for 2 people (not enough glasses though - only wine glasses, no tumblers)
- electric coffee maker & juicer, old-fashioned type non-electric kettle
- no tea towel was provided (you'd think they would encourage people to keep the pots nice and clean!)
- key-locking safe inside cupboard (fee is 2 Euro per day, plus 10 Euro deposit)
- table with 2 chairs (mind your head on the light above - it's very low!)
- twin beds (firm but comfortable - nice clean crisp linen)
- 1 armchair (no settee!)
- LCD TV (has BBC, ITV, Sky News & Eurosport)
- wardrobe, dressing table, suitcase table, 2 bedside tables
- *EXCELLENT* air conditioning unit
- patio doors to balcony with table, chairs & washing rack.
If anybody wants somewhere inexpensive for a good quality meal, I can recommend "Os Compadres" restaurant on the north end of the Strip (in a square on the right, just past the 60s bar). For just 8 Euros you get bread & butter, delicious soup, choice of about 8 main courses, dessert, coffee and a drink (small beer, half bottle of wine, or soft drink). Both times we ate there it was delicious and excellent value.
To summarise, it was a very nice to stay in a brand new place, but due to the lack of facilities (even when it is completed), I would rate it no higher than 3*."
- Travel date: Tue 15th of July 2008
Sola so Good
"We were among the first people to stay at the Solaqua at the end of May. There were a few teething problems but as time goes on they will be sorted out. There was always someone on Reception which was reassuring. Lifts to all floors. Plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas around the main pool and childrens pool. There was some sand in the pool which may have been removed by now. There was an indoor Bar near the pool which also sold ice-creams and light snacks. The Modelo supermarket was only a few minutes walk away and it was excellent. The supermarket is in a shopping complex with snack bars open till late at night. Accross the main road is a Pingo Doce also a very good supermarket. The land train has a stop about 5 minutes away and for 2euros you can travel around Albufeira for about 40 minutes. The Old Town/Fisherman's Beach is about 20 minutes walk downhill - with an escalator to help for the last bit. Many places to eat at reasonable prices. We also found the Bus Station ( by the gypsy market land),and got a bus to the railway station (Albuferia), from there we travelled to Lagos one day and Faro another day. Good Holiday!"
- Travel date: Sat 5th of July 2008
Lovely place, Great Holiday
"These apartments are great, spacious, nicely decorated, and well equipped. Rooms have air conditionining, LCD flat TV with all channels (BBC,ITV,CBEEBIES....) They had not been open long and we found a couple of things missing in our apartment but a quick call to reception and they had it sorted in minutues. Really large balconies, with plenty of furniture, and we had a cot for my daughter which was in great condition and came supplied with all the bedding. The maid came in everyday to clean rooms and we had regular sheet, and towel changes.
The hotel is also up to a high standard, we did experience some problems with the lifts, but I'm sure these will be sorted out, and for people without buggies etc.. would not have posed a problem anyway. Pool area was clean, and both main pool and childrens pool were well maintained. Our biggest gripe was the price of the drinks in the bar. There is currently only one bar open, but another two are set to open soon. The one that is open serves snacks and drinks, the food was quite reasonably priced, but the drinks were extortionate, two large pops costing 7 euro, and a beer(not large) costing 3.5 euro. There are plenty of places on the way into the old town, and in the old town that do happy hour where you can get a large beer for 2 euro, but if you want to stay and drink round the pool, could work out quite expensive. We did not use the bar of an evening as preferred to head into the old town, but there was entertainment on.
The apartments are in a great location, the old town and strip are both in walking distance, there is the tourist train stop a few minutes away, and a taxi rank, but we never used either as enjoyed the walk, and it only took 10-15 mins(with a buggy). The supermarket at the end of the road is also brilliant to get all your supplies.
We all had a great time, and would definitely recommend these apartments."
- Travel date: Wed 2nd of July 2008
"We have just returned from a week at the Solaqua apartments.
Our experience was very positive so lets get the negatives out of the way first.
They have only been open 3 weeks so there are still some very minor things not finished. The childrens playground isn't open and neither is the pool bar although all the tables/chairs arrived while we were there so I imagine it is close.The snack bar does a selection of light meals all day. There are endless options for eating all very close by. I do confess to finding the constant music played by the pool all day irritating at times. A little peace and quiet occassioanlly would have been nice but I expect other guests appreciated it.
The lifts seem to struggle a bit which the management put down to the heat?!
Internet access appeared while we there as well.
For the price we paid these apartments were excellent. I noticed the price has already gone up significantly as they are 4 star.
We had a one bedroom apt. They also have studios. The furnishings were lovely all co-ordinated rugs and curtains. 4 rings and a microwave, toaster , juice and coffee maker.
Flat screen TV and airconditioning in both rooms and they
even have canvas artwork on the walls. Considering it was full we heard very little noise from any other apt sunlike some places where the walls seem very thin.
The living area was very spacious as well with table and chairs as well as a large sofa.
There was plenty of storage space.
The pool is very clean and a small separate childrens pool.
Location wise it is about 5 mins from a really big supermarket where you can get virtually anything you need.
It is about halfway between 'the strip' which is where most of the clubs/pubs et are and the old town where the beach is. about a 20 min walk. Personally( maybe due to age!) I preferred the Old Town. There are escalators down to the beach which is quite unusual.
The Old town is full of eating places and small shops and if you wander up the little roads away from the centre you will find some much more authentic portugese living.
We didn't travel around so can't comment on the wider area, as we were out there visiting our son who is working at First Choices Holiday Village as a Soccer Coach this summer.
I never saw a studio so can't comment on the size of them
All in all we were very impressed by the Solaqua. Maybe we are easily pleased but I would say once they iron out the last few teething problems ( none of which spoilt any part of our holiday)they will be great."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of July 2008