17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Best Holiday Ever
"Just returned from the Riu palace which proved to be our best ever holiday experience. The hotel itself is fabulous, the rooms simply great and the staff simply couldn't do enough for you. The food was first class, the bar service excellent and the cleaning staff exceptional. We simply couldn't find fault with this hotel and will definately be returning.
One thing that travellers should note. If you intend to take travellers cheques, take STERLING cheques and not Euro cheques. The hotel, like many in Portugal is restricted by Government legislation in accepting Euro cheques. The hotel will charge over 8% commision for such cheques and will only allow a maximum transaction of 150 Euro. They are extremely apologetic and find the situation embarassing. There is a local exchange some ten minutes from the hotel which will exchange at a 3% commision rate, which seems to be the going rate at exchanges throughout the Algarve. However, the hotel will gladly accept Sterling cheques at a 2% commision rate."
- Travel date: Mon 9th of July 2007
CAr hire good idea
"Just had a lovely week in this hotel.Booked direct with hotel cheaper than brochures.used airmiles for hotel at Gatwick ,Avis car rental and Insurance.Could fault nothing in hotel very friendly and humerous staff,felt safe,pool very clean, food plentiful nicely displayed loved show cooking and they did requests ie I dont eat cheese the Italian bar chef cooked me garlic bread with none and used wholemeal bread when asked.Also smoothie bar made up requests.Entertainment every night varied.Not a good choice of hotel if you are not prepared to use car hire, taxi ,bus or rep trips to get out and about-unless laying round the pool all day is what you enjoy.Would recommend Vilamoura and Lagos as nice places to visit but best of all for us wasThe World of Sand at Pera Fiesa2007 ,Its a huge inland exibition 40 famous sculptors 30,000 tons of sand open day and night until Oct ,,7 euros."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of July 2007
as good as we expected
"Having studied previous reviews of this hotel we were expecting something good & weren't dissappointed.Would give this hotel 5* grading.
Excellent staff, reception, waiting & domestic, All very friendly & helpful, nothing too much trouble.Hotel is very clean.
Rooms are a good size, nice chairs on the balcony which although they are plastic, have cushions on them & they recline.
Beds are a little on the hard side, but are huge. Pillows are a little strange, one long narrow one & a big square one!
Dining... plenty of choice, breakfast & dinner, in fact at times an overwhelming choice. Beware though, we had wine most nights, & asked for a copy of our bill the day before we were leaving to see how much it was, only to find on three nights we had been charged for red wine instead of the same make but white, which was an extra 3 euros a bottle, therefore would advise to ask for print out of your bill to check before you go to pay.
Pool area.. we thought we would be able to see the sea from the pool, but it is obscured by the cliff top. There seemed to be just enough loungers around the pool when we were there, but if the hotel was full & everyone wanted one I don't think there would be enough. There were some selfish people who resereved loungers, & took more than one mattress even though there are notices asking you not to do this, & couples who would take the middle two loungers out of a block of four.
One niggle is that there is nowhere you can get a simple snack like a sandwich if you are around the pool, only food available from snack bar, ( which is used as grill restaurant in the evening), which we felt was a little too formal, as it was sit down waiter service, & food provided was more than you would want. We used the indoor pool, sauna, steam room & jacuzzi everyday, yes there are naked Germans in the sauna male & female, however they are not flaunting themselves & cannot be seen from the pool area as there is a door, & there is a notice up saying swimwear not to be worn, only towels.
Location.. about a 10 minute walk to shops, restaurants, bus stops, past the new Riu hotel which is being built.
We used buses to go to Viilamoura & Albufeira, although if you want to go to the old town in Albufeira you have to walk from bus terminal, (not too bad as downhill, but quite a trek), otherwise get the Giro bus on red route (are green, red or blue) from bus termnal, which costs a euro, which takes you down to the edge of the old town. We did get a taxi on a Sunday when buses are fewer, hotel booked it & it cost 10 euro (see previous reviews). Also worth visit is Loule market on Saturday, both market in the town & gypsy market, nice shops in Loule too.
On the whole great hotel, only thing letting it down is location, & for that reason wouldn't go there again as have seen & done all we wanted to."
- Travel date: Sat 30th of June 2007
Jewel in the crown
"Having stayed at other Riu Hotels we were anticipating high standards and we were pleased to find that with a few minor exceptions we were once again more than content with our choice
On arrival we were greeted at reception by a very helpful , attentive and pleasant young lady. On booking we had asked for a room on a high floor that was non-smoking and they duly obliged with a very spacious and well furnished room with a sea view.
For dinner there are two sittings , 6.30 or 8.30 and after your first nights stay you will be required to keep to your appointed choice. We opted for the first sitting , however on one occasion we were late back from a trip to Seville and the same young lady at reception kindly arranged a table for us.
As with all the other Riu hotels the food was of a superb standard , possibly even better than previous Spanish Riu's , with champagne for breakfast and smoked salmon and caviar on the dinner menu !
Riu seem to have invested heavily in Olhos d' Agua and they are near to completion of a large Club Hotel which is sandwiched in the area between the Palace Algarve and the Riu Falesia , making 3 major hotels all within kicking distance of one another
Other than the visual aspect from the 3rd floor there was no building noise or major inconvenience ,with the exception of it being fairly dusty on windy days.
The village of Olhos d'Agua is fairly small but growing, it has the usual assortment of restaurants and bars both near the beach and on the higher level up the hill past the pharmacy,we found the Portuguese bar the "Oasis"to be very friendly and their prices for drinks were unbelievably low.
The beaches along the coastal strip behind the Palace Hotel are
breathtakingly beautiful with white sands and stunning contrasting rock formations. One word of caution , there is a path along the cliff tops behind the Hotel , which has a very steep drop with little or no protection on the paths , they are fairly narrow and in two places terminate without having any warning signs in place -definitely not a place for children.
Previous contributors have mentioned a problem with charges for taxis. Our own experience was the cost of a metered taxi from the airport to the Hotel was 42 Euros. A taxi to Albuferia was 6 to 7 euros. On our return we had a private unmetered car arranged by the hotel to the airport at a cost of 44 Euros ,exactly the amount we were advised by the hotel reception. The driver was very punctual well mannered and a considerate and capable driver.
Finally ,the staff at this hotel from the cleaners to the management are very pleasant and helpful and in the main we found the majority of Portuguese people to be the same , which all in all contributed to a very memorable holiday."
- Travel date: Wed 27th of June 2007
Friendly, peaceful and total chill
"Just returned from a week at this hotel. It was great! I ate in the buffet restaurant each night and am VERY fussy eater.. but didnt struggle at all. Every night you will have a selection of meats, fresh fish, pasta, pizza, salads, fresh fruits, vegetables, carvery, veggie dishes and puddings... MMMmm you just cant have one! For breakfast again the list is endless champagne everyday and smoothies made fresh...and probably everything you can think possible to have to start your day is there.
The cleanliness of this hotel is faultless and the staff are some of the most well mannered and friendliest Ive met in Europe. The hotel is situated high and the beach is a steep walk-but achievable. The town of Olhos D' Aqua is very small with a few tavernas, tourist shops & bars. The outdoor pool I found cold (but my husband says Im a wimp) the indoor pool was warmer and I had it all to myself. The bar staff are generous with the measures of spirits and are so friendly-as are all the restaurant staff.
There doesnt appear to be too much for children and the evening entertainment is tame... but people watching and the friends you make are much better!
This is NOT a lively resort and if you want clubbing go elsewhere. We were tipped off about the cabs at the hotel (however not by the rep who was aware of the scam) and agree for the short walk our cab was 4.50 both ways - so take note - oh and we had a Merc which is what the excuse is for the 10euro price.
We also experienced another European country using the sauna naked - if offended maybe you should stay away.. or maybe just smile to yourself and take no notice.
This is a place to chill, relax and meet some great people-which we did and it made our holiday just perfect. Dave, Ellie, Jill and Pat - hi & thank you! x"
- Travel date: Sun 17th of June 2007