9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Just had to contribute having read some of the reviews. We have recently stayed at Monte do Casal for the fouth time and would thoroughly recommend those who have not been for a year or two for a return visit. it is obvious that a large investment has been made into the botanical gardens, waterfalls, lake (which I discovered you can swim in!) and sunbathe in the middle of it on a beautiful decked almost Japanese style wooden pergola. If you are in to yoga like I am, this is a heaven place to do this in utter tranquility and surrounded by a lake. wanted to add some comments as have just read some harsh reviews on your website and have to disagree with so much of what has been said. It looks like those who have contributed were either there when the work was being undertaken for the waterfalls and lakes or when the pool was closed in the Villa, which you can use even if you are staying at the hotel. This work is now completed and all is peace and calm. We stayed in the Villa at Monte do Casal for a change which really is wonderful for a completely relaxed and casual holiday. Being vegetarian, I found different meals each day to choose from which were extremely tasty and light."
- Travel date: 20th May 2007
Disappointed in the Monte do Casal
"I was disappointed by our stay here at a "Small Luxury Hotel of the World". While the setting of the hotel was beautiful and idyllic - the service that we received was less than stellar. The breakfast, which was supposed to have been set up on our terrace at an appointed time was actually just a version of room service - the server tromped through our room while one of us was sleeping and carried the many accoutrements for the breakfast THROUGH our room to the terrace - making for a very unpleasant morning for the one of us still sleeping. There was apparently access to the terrace not through our room - after we were finished with breakfast, the dishes were magically cleared without coming through our room. Additionally, the sheets in our hotel room were sandy feeling and gritty - something so basic as clean/quality sheets should be a non-issue in a hotel of this caliber. The meals at the hotel that we had were good (an a la carte dinner and the degustation dinner), but nothing warranting the extremely high price tag that accompanied them. I would not come back here again should my travels take me back to the Algarve."
- Travel date: 10th April 2007
An oasis of calm (despite the bulldozers!)
"We found Monte do Casal via the Small Luxury Hotels website and booked a 4 night stay. It's a lovely place, and is peaceful and quiet - despite the substantial landscaping work going on. They are creating a spa and some lakes etc, so it's fair to say you should expect some noise of bulldozers etc. However, our experience was that weekends were quiet and peaceful, and on the Monday morning there was some construction noise from around 8.30am - but it wasn't really intrusive most of the time. Certainly not enough to complain about (although the hotel really ought to point out these works are going on when/before you book). Breakfast is (despite previous reviews) excellent, with a good range including fabulous home-made muesli with cream, yoghurts, pastries, cake, cheese and meat, bread, honey, jam etc etc. The maids deliver it to the balcony for about 9am - but they could be a bit quieter about it! There's also the option of smoked salmon and champagne - champagne on the balcony at 9 is a must at least once! The pool in the villa was out of action when we stayed, so we spent our time around the main pool. It was well-kept and peaceful, and well arranged to catch the sun. Drinks and food could also be had at the pool - although it would have been good if this had been a bit more 'ad-hoc' - the staff rarely turned up on their own accord to ask if we wanted any drinks, necessitating a wander up to the bar. Staff were polite and friendly, especially the restaurant managers. One of the younger waiters was a bit surly, but was never impolite (despite various disasters involving falling over with food, bringing the wrong dish etc). Food was disappointing in terms of range. The chefs have clearly been trained in classic French cuisine, which is great if you're a huge fan of foie gras, which seemed to be in every course of every meal - duck layered with foie gras, veal with foie gras, fillet steak with foie gras - but gets a bit much after the first night or two. Not the greatest menu for the animal rights brigade either! My partner was even served a foie gras "amuse bouche", despite having ordered from the vegetarian menu. There needs to be more variation in the food from night to night and some "lighter" meals - after a couple of days of rich, heavy food and sunbathing in 30 degrees plus, we started to feel like Sunday roasts. As a counterpoint to this, the wines were excellent and well selected, and Josef the restaurant manager is clearly enthusiastic about Portuguese wine and communicates this enthusiasm well. All in all, it was an excellent stay despite the small shortcomings, and the staff were attentive and friendly. We would definately stay there again."
- Travel date: 29th August 2006
"We have stayed at this hotel 5 times and loved it. This year however we stayed elsewhere for a change but just had to go to the Monte Casal to see if we could book a meal there as the food was always so good. We were so disappointed that we could have cried. This used to be peace and quiet personified but now the ambience and the tranquility of the place is lost. There was a huge TV in the villa lounge. Who wants to listen to that around the pool. The reception area in the main building had been redesigned and also the lounge area but by doing so it has lost its intimicy. Children are allowed in the summer which we had been unaware of. We ordered a pina colada in the bar and when it came it was so bad that we had to return it. We were given a replacement which was even worse. With that we decided that the place was just not the same and we didnt stay for a meal but decided to go elsewhere. This used to be our paradise but not anymore. What a shame."
- Travel date: 22nd July 2006
Monte do Casal - very disappointing
"Certainly not a luxury hotel - either for facilities or service. Pool area unkempt with tired old furntiure - had to ask for bird mess and debris to be wiped from sunbeds before we could sit on them. When we asked for parasols by the pool, this seemed to cause major difficulites. Breakfast on terrace did not deliver the promised relaxation as terrace was dirty with cobwebs on shutters and old, tatty furntiure that looked dirty and uninviting and one day the JCB started on the landscaping project at 8.45. The food at breakfast was also disappointing - especially the minute portions of tired looking ham and cheese. We pointed out some of our observations and problems to the general manager but nothing changed during the remainder of our stay. This hotel believes its own marketing but unfortunately does not deliver what it promises. Only good feature is the restaurant."
- Travel date: 4th June 2006
Not worth your money.
"We stayed in the hotel in August 2005 and we also found that it was not worth for the money. The place is Ok but nothing very special. I'm travelling to Portugal for more than 10 years and there are many other pleasant places. Note as well that there is not much to see around as soon as you leave the hotel. You'll have to take a taxi or rent a car. One of the 2 swimming pools was out of order (in August, high season!) and there were construction works on-going. When we stayed at the pool, nobody came to ask if we wanted to drink/eat something. We took a "suite" which has a large balcony (offering a nice view of the coast, though), nevertheless the furniture was pretty old. There was no mini bar in the room. Every morning, they bring the breakfast on your balcony which is romantic, on the other side, itâs pretty light. I would prefer a large buffet where I can take what I want. The staff is friendly and the restaurant is very good, though some plates (starters) are too expensive. Conclusion: They do not offer the level of standing that I was expecting from a hotel being part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH). For the same price you can stay in the Sofitel Vilalara or Vila Vita Park which are real 5 stars offering outstanding services (and a private beach). It's now up to them to take actions to improve the situation."
- Travel date: 5th September 2005
reviews must be faked - This place is mediocre.
"we stayed here before and felt then that the resort was mediocre at best (breakfast was a joke for the money ) but after reading the other reviews we went back because we had to attend a meeting and everything else was sold out. This place is mediocre. and the breakfast was again, cheep. Qverpriced!"
- Travel date: 3rd July 2005
You must go here!
"Wow. I recommend this hotel with all enthusiasm. I have stayed there many times and have loved it more every time, especially because of the improvements to the hotel that occur. The managing owner is also a chef, and he worked at the Savoy hotel and is an exeptional chef. The staff are brilliant, the service prompt and the breakfasts astounding. A maid will come and lay down a breakfast you choose on your private balcony without waking you up or entering your room! The villa is wonderful, with a waterfall and with one side of the private pool falling to a lower balcony. The views are amazing, the experience is incredible and the services nearby are great. No i am not saying this as a relative, but as a visitor. The best bit about the hotel is that it has been entered into the 100 most luxury hotles in the world, and thouroughly deservedly at that. May I advise you visit this website....you won't regret it. (---)"
- Travel date: 24th April 2005
The most magical place I have ever been
"Monte do Casal is such a magical place, it's amazing. I know this because it is my fathers' hotel and I worked there last year, and the people that stay there ALWAYS come back. It has such a wonderful atmosphere and although you may think I'm only saying it because I am related, it is not true. I love going there, the staff are brilliant, it's a beautiful hotel and definately worth it. If you are thinking of going, look at the website and you should see how it looks. (I personally prefer the Villa which is also let out) What a wonderful place and what a proud daughter of Mr Bill Hawkins I am!"
- Travel date: 4th March 2003
Villa Monte do Casal is also called
- Monte Do Casal Hotel