“ Address: Cerro Da Piedale / Albufeira / Algarve / 8200-320 / Portugal „
WHERE IS THIS RESORT: The Jardim 1 is an older resort in Albufiera near the old part of town in the Algarve in Portugal. A BIT OF HISTORY BEHIND OUR HOLIDAY: We booked this break through a 'bargain' special arrangement through a company called Resort point Services and had had a few problems with the so this was a sort of ' Let's do this or lose our money' sort of decision. We had no choice of accommodation and we going to go where they put us. Two days before our departure they phoned to say our accommodation was being changed from the Bahia Plaza to the Jardim 1 in Albufiera. I looked up Jardim 1 and there were mixed comments but that is often the case so I packed extra shampoo, conditioner, soap etc and I gathered there would not be freebies. We also put in our beach towels and we suspected that there would not be pool towels. (I did not pack my hairdryer, travel iron, or travel kettle and now wish I had.) OFF WE GO, FINGERS CROSSED: We booked with easy jet from east midlands to Faro. Absolutely no complaints here; A discount airline but plenty of legroom, a pleasant flight generally was the experience we had on the way to Faro. Faro airport again was efficient and the car hire worked fine and we found our little Sear Ibiza with no problem. We set up our Satnav for our destination and set off. About 35minutes later we arrived at Jardim 1 in Albufiera and I went to see if they were ready for our arrival bearing in mind it was only 11am and check in was not until 4pm normally. They were expecting us but our room would not be ready for another hour. They offered me the option of leaving our luggage in a luggage storage room but we had the car so we chose to leave the case in the car and go and explore for a while. SUNSHINE MAKES EVERYTHING LOOK GOOD: We made our way up to the pool area and were pleasantly surprised by a couple of big pools, lots of sun loungers and umbrellas, a couple of quiet bars and a restaurant. It all looked quiet, sunny and inviting. We sat down and enjoyed an iced tea and toasted sandwiches. We had been up since 2am and I had only had a cup of coffee and water so I was quite hungry by now. The waiter was lovely and the food was fine. We were getting quite positive vibes and when we went back to reception they said our apartment was ready we were almost on a high. MAYBE I SPOKE TOO SOON: We drove around to near our apartment and went up to the top floor, no lift but we are quite fit so that is not a great problem. We struggled with the old key in the lock and eventually got in. It was like stepping back into the 70s in decor and furnishing style. The place was huge with 2 bedrooms, a big living area with two settee couch things that are sleeping accommodation for two people. The main bedroom has two beds pushed together (two of the same settee/couch things actually) a chair and a fitted wardrobe. There is also a shelf with a mirror above that serves as a dressing table and two shelves either side of the bed with lights either side two so you can read in bed. There is NOTHING else in the room. The second bedroom has the same only the beds are not pushed together, although they could easily be pushed together if you chose. There is a nice big balcony with a sun lounger and also a table with 4 chairs all in white plastic - not flash but functional. The view is also quite nice over Albufiera and towards the sea. I've certainly had worse views in hotels I've paid more money for. The kitchen is ancient and pretty grotty. The stove has 3 rings only one works. There is a microwave oven but we haven't investigated using that. There is no kettle, no toaster (also no grill so we made toast under the oven element. We have boiled water for tea and coffee in saucepans and it takes AGES. The crockery of okay but the cutlery drawer looks really tatty; I washed the cutlery before I used it. The cupboards and dark and tatty looking and it looks like the sort of kitchen you see in these TV programme about house that won't sell. Suffice to say we won't be cooking in there. There is no washing up liquid or sponge/scrubber either so it makes you wonder how clean the dishes are. I bought washing up liquid and washed all the items BEFORE I used them and again after we used them each day when we have warmed our bread slices in the oven and enjoyed our pan heated cup of tea or coffee. The lounge has the two settee/couches, a coffee table in the same dark wood, a rattan chair and a very strange sort of box like table that opens. There is also a low cupboard unit with the smallest TV you have ever seen ( I've given better ones away on Free cycle ) and to add insult to injury you have to pay twenty Euros a week or 4 Euros a day plus a refundable deposit of 10 Euros to receive any signal on this ancient beast . We did not bother as it was probably not worth watching anyway. There is a safety deposit box in the main bedroom but you have to pay2 Euros a day, 10 Euros per week and also a refundable deposit of 15 Euros. This annoyed us so we didn't bother and carried anything of value with us. The glass sliding doors onto the balcony did not lock - they had no lock and the slatted shutter doors beyond these did not close as they had sort of fallen off their hinges and scraped across the floor so we were quite pleased to be on the third floor from a security point of view. I did go and ask if there was a chance that there might be a better apartment as it was quite tatty. The hot water boiler was leaking and every time I turned on the taps in the bathroom I got shot with a violent spray of water before it flowed properly, in fact when I went to clean my teeth the first night the cold water tap shop me with orange water for the first few minutes. Unfortunately they said there was no better apartment available which lead me to think that there are better apartments in the complex but these had already been booked. The smell in the bathroom after we have had a bath or shower is absolutely awful. The drains pong. They smell worse than a roomful of teenage boys having a farting contest. I can't describe it any better but suffice to say we keep the doors firmly closed to both the bathroom and toilet otherwise the pong pervades throughout the apartment. It seems to go off a bit during the day while we are out but once we use the facilities again it get bad and the doors have to be shut or the smell wafts into the bedroom and I can't stand it. GOOD PARTS: Having said all this the staff at reception and the bar and restaurant are delightful. They have been pleasant and done all they could to be helpful. Happy hour in the bar goes from 5pm to 7pm and during this time you get 2 drinks for the price of one for beer, wine, local spirits and soft drinks which was quite good value and we did take advantage of that on a few evenings. ANOTHER CHARGE: The sun beds around the pool also came at a price if you wanted a mattress it was 1.50 euro per mattress so that could start to become expensive if you went to the pool on a daily basis with a family of four it would be 6 Euros a day just to lie around the pool. Our towels have been changed daily except Sunday and the beds made with the same linen, but apparently if you stay 2 weeks you get a bed linen change after one week. SUMMARY: I wouldn't rush back to this resort as it is very basic but if you are aware of this and are prepared to take your own hair dryer, iron and kettle then it is not all bad. The units were clean and the linen on the beds clean, mattresses and pillows were clean looking and did not smell at all. The beds were basic, not really comfortable but okay. I would say that a group of young people sharing would get value for money from this place. A family wanting a cheap holiday would probably not be unhappy. We were promised 5* accommodation and this was far from it. It is graded 3* but I would say the units were 2* and the rest of the resort half a star more. Everyone at the resort was efficient and very pleasant and their English was also very good. You could not ask for better personal service at the bar, restaurant and reception. I will leave you to make you own decision as to whether this place is for you or not. Thank you for reading my opinions about this resort. This resort may be posted on other sites under my name. © Catsholiday
Just a 20 minute walk from the beach and centre of the old town.