Sao Rafael Atlantico
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Fabulous girly weekend away!
"We decided a few weeks in advance that a girly long weekend in the sun was in order and we chose the lovely Portugal. All we wanted was a great hotel near a beach and we got all that and more at the CS Atlantic.
This hotel is really new, very modern and minimalist. We loved it the second we got there. The staff at reception couldn't be more helpful and this paved the way for a wonderful four days. The rooms are spacious and well equipped and our little balcony overlooked a very well tended garden. My only gripe was the lack of tissues in the room.
The hotel restaurant serves one of the most spectacular buffet breakfasts I've ever eaten. You even get sparkling wine :)
There are three swimming pools, one of which is a great little kids pool. Clean towels and an abundance of sun loungers are never far away.
Go to the spa - the facilities are exceptional. They have a wonderful hydro therapy pool, a standard indoor swimming pool, sensory showers, a lovely steam room and sauna and enough treatments to last you weeks on end. Just don't wear the slippers - they have no grip and I fell over!
There is a fantastic beach, complete with its own restaurant and cafe just a 5 minute walk away. We hired sun loungers and umbrellas for 5 euros. The beach is immaculate and perched in such a pretty little cove.
The hotel is a good few miles out of central Albufeira so I'd keep that in mind depending on your needs. We took a cab in to town each night and discovered some lovely bars and restaurants.
For a relaxing break in a beautiful location, look no further than the CS Atlantic."
- Travel date: Tue 17th of August 2010
Very good value for money
"are we glad we found this new 5 star hotel in the Algarve. Our room was large and modern with a balcony overlooking the gardens (hundreds of palm trees) and the ocean. The hotel was was busy with Poruguese and Spanish people, so we had a real feeling of being on our holiday. Loving forward to booking next year."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of August 2010
Adorable hotel and found great Sushi/Tepinyaki in Portugal!
"The serivce at this hotel was second to none and we adore minimalistic (no clutter) so if that floats your boat then here is the place to go! When you enter the reception it takes your breath away - so big with amazing wooden carvings and incredible illumination on lava rocks. The reception will help you with anything you ask them for! If they don't know they will find out for you. Excellent.
On your departure day, if you are leaving before breakfast you can ask them for a lunch pack and you will get this for free (depending on your board basis).
One or two negatives: room was left open by cleaner on one occasion, the extractor fan in the shower was broken (although we didn't mention it to them so they probably would have fixed it if we'd asked). There was NO MILK FOR TEA (apparently the portugese don't do milk in tea). We overcome this by getting some from the Lidl which is a short 5-6E cab ride away - maybe worth popping in there on arrival - u can get small UHT milk cartons that will fit in your minibar fridge and get yourself a few snacks whilst you are there! Because as always; the minibar etc is expensive if you just want a nibble between meals.
Take your own t-bags if you miss home comforts - saying that, I didnt miss anything else from home (UK). We were a bit cheaky and filled a small water bottle with some milk from breakfast when we were caught short for my morning tea fix :-)! However, tea/coffee in the rooms were complimentary - we all have something that we miss from home I guess?
Everything in the hotel was brand new & felt like you were the first to stay there - love that feeling. IT IS quite far from Albufeira but I will tell you the cheapest way to make this holiday affordable....and to accomodate the daily cab fares. DIY style if you can be bothered to hunt a bargain?
If, i'm honest, if you're not a drinker (alcohol) then the best way would be to get a cheap car via easyjet or another 'no-frills' car hire company from the airport (book in advance) - it would offset the daily cabbing to a choice of restaurants in old and new town as well cover the cost of your transfers. It could cost you 20E a day to get into town and back. BUT..... the hotel have a free shuttle service so if you plan your days around that (and book with them) then it can make it much cheaper and you won't need a car if you take this advice. We simply prefer to do what we want when we want on holiday so we didn't use this option at all.
The hotel is not cheap to eat at and heading out was often the cheaper option - even in a cab! However, the more evening meals you have at the hotel, the more discount you get over your stay. Can't really say what the restaurant is like at the hotel itself, as we found a great place to eat in the old town (will tell you more about that in a minute). Not only that, but I'm not keen on 'dressing up for dinner' on holiday as we normally only take one or two outfits to 'dress up' and it was probably a bit too posh for us anyway lol.
The hotels club sandiches are pretty good and filling I have to say....but for a sandwhich (with chips) it is a little expensive. But you have to remember this is 5 star and therefore 5 star prices! The restaurant at thier beach is nice too (a little cheaper)! It is only open during the day I think. You can also get burgers, chips ice creams etc at thier own private beach bar (next to the beach restaurant).
You do have to pay for the umbrella's/beds (10E I think) but towels for the beach/pool are available at spa & beach respectively using a towel card which you are issued with on arrival (saves carrying towels around). The beach is a 5 min walk from the main entrance of the hotel and was perfect for a lazy holiday....this place can force you to relax due to the distance from the town...suited me as I often get itchy feet and want to explore on a daily basis unless I am left with no choice but to chill out.
We managed flights with easyjet/Monarch (for 2 of us Â£180 inc bags for 10 days from Luton) and you can find the cheapest time to fly using skyscanner.net. Most 'no frills' airlines now charge you for baggage and per bag weight. The hotel we got through booking.com - cost us about Â£900 for 10 days; this is a bargain considering the hotel could cost you a few Â£100's a night on most websites even expedia. That was B&B basis too! Monarch.co were the cheapest if you wanted to book the flight & hotel together for less hassle. To get free insurance, book it all on a credit card that gives you it for free!
Transfers we got through alpharooms.com cost us about Â£54 TOTAL 2 of us there and back (one way was a shuttlebus @ Â£8 each and another was a private cab @ Â£17 each - estimated). Apparently a one way taxi from the airport will cost you what we paid for our transfers - and trust me, cab fares do vary considerably in the algarve. The hotel will call you a cab anytime and it may arrive in a few seconds - and at busy times (summer months), I believe you could wait a long time!
The best sleep I have ever had anywhere in the world....even better than my own bed! The pillows are to die for.
Our best food advice is to try a fabulous Japanese Restaurant called Fuji in the old town (it doesn't look much rom the outside but the food is the best Iwe've had anywhere in the world). If you don't like/have never tried Sushi then the Tepinyaki is also amazing. The chef cooks it in front of you and is a very clever man. Even cooks pancakes and ice cream. Just watching him will keep the kids amused! They do a resonably priced 'try out' menu during the day and that is guaranteed to get you back for more! Use this option to try Sushi if you've never tried it before??
We ate there about 4 times on a 10 day holiday as it was just too good; we would even get on a plane and go for a meal there now if we could....that sounds sad I know, I like to try different places normally when I go away but it was just too good to pass up the opportunity & we found ourselves craving for it! Partly because Sushi in this country (UK) is poor as well as pricey. We have tried Nobu & various Sushi places in Cape Town loved both but we really didn't expect to beat it in the Algarve of all places?
New town was a bit 'young' for us on the clubbing scene - even tho we are only early 30's - but if you manage to seek out an Irish bar (ran by an irish man called Michael and his good wife) called Flannagans then you are in for a great night if you catch it right. Guinness was good in there but costly! A real good atmosphere can develop in there and he has some marvellous stories to tell if you can understand him - his irish accnt is as strong as ever!
Whilst we were there we went to Zoomarine - as it stands it's probably not the most exciting place compared to other animal parks BUT, we took the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. My partner has done this several times (in mexico & cuba), and another friend has done it in Florida...both of these say that Zoomarine is the best place to do this! This will cost you more when you get there, but if you book online before you go @ zoomarine website; you will save yourself at least 10%. They are very strict on jewellery etc so take it ALL off before you leave your hotel. Some people think this is silly and complain about it but this is for the protection of the dolphins so please respect this!!!!
Could go on forever about this holiday - one of the best I've had and we have done the maldives. But I do hope at the very least, this review gives you a chance to consider booking a 5 star place that you probably think you can't afford at a great price. Non of us like to scrimp and scrape on holiday - but if you get this for the prices we paid, and follow the advice to keep costs down - you will feel like you have got a 5 star bargin and you won't mind trying to save yourself a few quid. Lets face it; we paid about Â£1300 for a 10 day stay - you won't pay that anywhere else in the algarve for 5 star!
Enjoy! Lee & Kaz. xx"
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of August 2010
cannot be faulted . relax and enjoy
"just returned from this hotel.
staff are very helpfull and friendly. rooms are exceptional and so is the rest of the hotel.
food is very good especially the mediteranean resturant, glad we picked this hotel went in to albuferia and was not impressed preferred to be around the hotel.
just the place to relax and de stress.
- Travel date: Thu 29th of July 2010
Relaxing - if you want action, go elsewhere
"We stayed in a Garden room at the CS Atlantic Hotel in July for five nights, and we very much enjoyed it.
We chose the hotel because other reviews had mentioned that it was relaxing and quiet, and that was correct. Great breakfasts - one of the best selections I've ever seen in a hotel. Unlike a previous reviewer, I found the bed very comfy and slept well.
Responding to some of the things mentioned in previous reviews: yes, the hotel is a bit isolated if you don't have a car. This wasn't a problem for us, but I can see how it might be if you were on B&B-only because the choices for eating out in the near vicinity are relatively small. [We went half board and were pretty happy with the food we were presented with in the restaurant - a set menu choice most nights.] And yes, the hotel does seem a bit characterless at the moment, because it's still quite new, but in time this will improve.
All of the staff were fantastic from check-in onwards, and were very clear and helpful.
A couple of hints: there is a convenience store just up the road, near the CS Suite Hotel, very good for snacks and water (not open on Sundays). There are beaches on both sides of the hotel, Sao Rafael (pretty, quite large) and Arrifes (pretty, quite small). Both have cafe/restaurants on them, with Sao Rafael being pricey and Arrifes slightly less so. Loungers and umbrellas are charged for on both beaches. Use the hotel's shuttle bus to Albufeira if you don't have transport - this was a convenient extra."
- Travel date: Thu 15th of July 2010
Peaceful hotel, great rooms & service, outskirts of Albufeira
"We stayed at CS Atlantic hotel for 5 nights in late June and chose this hotel even though some reviews were average. I am glad we stayed there as its a new hotel, large and spacious and it was very relaxing which is what we wanted as we just wanted to laze by the pool everyday. It is a 7-8 min drive into Albufeira town and a car is recommended though we got taxis which were 7 euro each way.
The hotel itself has fantastic big rooms with huge beds which were very comfy. I loved the blackout curtains! There is also free internet if you ask for a cable. Breakfast was a fantastic buffet with lots of choice but we did not eat lunch or dinner in the hotel as it was a bit pricey! We did eat at the beach restaurant one night which was nice and went into town a couple of nights. Theres a nice beach bar a 5 min walk away where we had lunch most days. Its over to the left of the hotel if you are looking out to see and you walk over to it through the back gardens of the hotel.
The hotel has 3 pools which at first glance we were surprised at as they are not blue! but actually very refreshing! The hotel seems to have a 'brown' theme going on! You'll see what we mean if you visit!
There is a spa and gym. The gym is small with not much air con but is fine! Customer service is very good at the hotel, everyone very friendly. The only thing i would say about the hotel is that is lacks a bit of ambience but with time that will probably come. They also need to open the buffet restaurant in earlier months as there wasnt much choice for dinner at all. Id recommend the hotel for a quiet break but would suggest a car."
- Travel date: Wed 30th of June 2010
Lovely hotel just needs a few finishing touches
"Great hotel for luxury beach holiday ,location just 5 mins from 2 wonderful beaches ,cliff walks & lovely beach bar /restaurant-great seafood
Hotels rooms great standard we had a few issues with air con & noise from kitchen but reception staff sorted things out quickly & we were upgraded
Hotel facilities -not quite there yet to live up to 5 star rating -outdoor pools and indoor spa lovely very relaxing (although did cost extra ). But bar areas minimal in character , sea view bar not open until high season - we looked up enviously as other bars had no view . Also-food good in restauarant but spoilt slightly by slow service at times .
Overall good holiday but expected extra ."
- Travel date: Wed 30th of June 2010
Relaxation in quality
"Last minute booking and great choice made
Excellent service and staff
Great meals (expensive if not half board deal)
Pools and spa fantastic
Near to the well kept and scenic beach"
- Travel date: Wed 30th of June 2010
Characterless brown lump with no soul - poor layout & too many rules
"Just built in 2009, rooms are v large, great shower but no bath, huge TV but v limited english channels (basically Fox & various news). Breakfast is excellent, you can see the sea in the distance. Poor concierge service is under manned & slow. Lunch and dinner v expensive, plenty of restaurants around though. Spa impressive & free but you need to pay 5 euro for a swim cap! Hotel design is poor with 3 different lifts to get to the spa (where you get your towels), the restaurant,access to rooms and reception. Large expanses of area everywhere just empty - v little decoration. Feels like a business hotel but isn't. Piano bar shut. Pools are freezing, no waiter service. Short walk down to lovely beach (sea is freezing!), costs 12 euros for sunbeds and shade. Restaurant on the beach is average, cafe is better but queue is long. Best avoided."
- Travel date: Thu 10th of June 2010
Very modern but be aware of the mattress quality!!
"The hotel is very close to the beach; just a couple of minutes walk and the service is very good. The breakfast is quite good and apart from the wait of 10 minutes to be into the room was just fine.
The hotel decoration is minimalist. The room is very spacious and very large plasma is just in front of the bed. Wireless internet is available free of charge in rooms.
The only bad thing is the mattress! Iâm still taking anti-inflammatory due to the poor quality of the mattress. They have those very modern mattresses with no springs (Ikea type) witch is not recommended for persons with back problems. Apart from that all was fine."
- Travel date: Sun 30th of May 2010