“ Hotel on the Algarve in Portugal. „
My boyfriend and I stayed in this hotel in September 2010 for 10 nights. We booked it as part of a package with Easyjet which consisted of flights & B&B accommodation in the Monte Da Quinta suites. The holiday was discounted by 30% on the Easyjet website which made it good value. The prices vary depending on what time of year you want to go and how far in advance you actually book. As an example if you were to go in September 2012 it would cost roughly Euro179 per night at full price value for two people.
Despite booking through Easyjet I sent the hotel an email a few weeks before our arrival date just to check the booking was in place and they were expecting us. I got a quick email back confirming the booking which put my mind at rest. This was just the start of the very good impression the hotel made on me.
The hotel is located within the Quinta Do Lago complex which is a huge man-made area consisting of hotels, private villas, a beach and a few bars and restaurants. The beach has a special section reserved for Monte Da Quinta guests which entitled guests to free sunbeds. I think some guests might find the resort slightly fake looking but this didn't particularly bother us. I enjoy modern surroundings and would rather stay somewhere like this and travel out to see the 'real Algarve' during the day.
The area appeared to be well guarded by resort security, although I felt this was more a measure to keep unruly guests under control than preventing outsiders from coming in!! Despite this we always found it easy to get in and out of the resort which appeared to be very open. Perhaps if one tried to enter the resort late at night there may have been some questioning. The resort had a central area which comprised a few bars and restaurants, as well as a small supermarket. We shopped here once but found the prices to be outrageous, so from then on bought anything we needed from a cheaper supermarket in nearby town Almancil.
**Hotel & Rooms**
When we entered the hotel we were greeted by a vast spacious lobby area where a helpful receptionist took our details and explained how to locate the room. We had a suite on the ground floor looking out onto the gardens. The suites are beautiful, all furnishings are very modern and new looking and the rooms are well appointed and practical.
The bedroom consisted of a double bed, dressing table with stool, television and separate chair. The bed was comfortable and everything in the room looked modern and stylish. There was an 'in-between' space joining the bedroom and ensuite bathroom. In here was a huge wardrobe with plenty of hangers and a long wall mirror so you could see your entire outfit before going out. There was also an electronic safe in the bedroom which was free to use. This was very reassuring as I usually end up locking passports/money etc in my suitcase which is a bit risky! The safe was easy to use and we never had any problems with it. Because we were on the ground floor we had a terrace rather than a balcony - yet this was still very private and the garden area it looked onto was quiet making it very relaxing. On the terrace there were 2 comfortable modern chairs and a table which was all we needed to sit outside and have a drink and play cards.
The kitchen contained all the features we needed to make basic lunches which were all we required as we ate out in the evening. Having said that the kitchen would be quite sufficient for making evening meals as there was an oven, 4 hobs, microwave and every kitchen accessory you could possibly need, plus plenty of crockery and cutlery. All was of good quality. We also had a small dishwasher and full size fridge which was perfect for storing drinks and sun creams.
There were 2 bathrooms although we only really used the ensuite, the shower was powerful and the water was always hot. There was a bath in the en-suite however we didn't use this. We were impressed by the heated mirror in the bathroom which meant it never steamed up! There was also a host of complimentary toiletries, bathrobes and slippers for us both which was a really nice touch.
We also had a living room area consisting of a dining table with 6 chairs, 2 sofas, coffee table and television. We didn't particularly use this area too much but it was a nice place to chill out if we fancied some chill time indoors. The television was a huge flat screen and although we didn't use it too much we found there were plenty of channels in English and also noticed there was a DVD player attached for anyone who remembers to bring films or cds.
The rooms were air-conditioned with a unit you could control yourself. The air-conditioning worked very well, even leaving us cold on some occasions. The weather was very hot and so air-conditioning was a must and we were pleased that it worked so well. The rooms were cleaned daily and all sheets / towels changed. It was clear that the cleaners were doing a very good job in the rooms and the rest of the hotel as everything was always spotless. The cleaners were also very discrete and only visited when we were out, therefore we never actually saw them! It is a pet hate of mine when cleaners come barging into your room while you are either still in bed / in the shower etc!
The service in the hotel was perfect, there was always a staff presence when required yet it never felt over-crowded with staff so was just right. We only communicated with the reception staff during check in and departure yet found them to be well presented, polite and efficient. All staff members at the poolside, hotel bar, restaurant etc followed suit.
We went for breakfast every morning and I can say it is the best buffet breakfast I have ever had. There was so much choice, I tended to have cereal & toast followed by fruit with yoghurt. But we did also try the cooked English breakfast and some of the delicious pastries! We were always shown immediately to a table and there was never any waiting. The tables were always set and tidy looking when we sat down. Neither of us drink tea or coffee yet we were always offered this by the various staff members.
We spent a couple of afternoons at the hotel pool, we soon noticed the fact that the Suites pool was very busy and most sunbeds were taken very early on. So we ventured out to the Monte da Quinta club pool which was a 10 minute walk away. This pool area was much quieter and became our pool of choice for the holiday! The sunbeds are very comfortable and towels were available from the poolside staff. We mainly drank water so carried bottles with us most days, but on one occasion we fancied a Coke so ordered from the poolside bar - when I was given the bill for Euro10.00 I thought there had been a mistake and asked the waiter to clarify that we hadn't ordered any alcohol with the cokes - it transpired however that a regular coke was Euro5.00 a glass!! I thought this was ridiculous and vowed never to buy a drink from the pool bar again!!
Despite our shock at the poolside drinks prices we often went to the main lobby bar for cocktails. The waiter on this bar was very friendly and the cocktails, although not cheap, were definitely worth it : ) There was a wide variety of cocktail choices and all were well made with decent ingredients and nice glasses (rather than those horrible 'cordial' style cocktails served in plastic cups!!) There was plenty of seating in the bar area both inside and out and it was never particularly busy.
A hire car is a must when staying in this area as there isn't any particular public transport to speak of. However taxis can be booked via the hotel. We hired a car from the airport for the full duration of our stay. We ventured out to most nearby villages and could do so at our own leisure. We also used the hire car to find restaurants, we ate out at various restaurants in the surrounding area & the neighbouring Vale do Lobo resort. On our final night we ate at 'Casa do Lago' which we had heard great things about. It is within the Quinta do Lago resort and certainly didn't disappoint. It was one of the best meals I have ever had and I would definitely recommend it!
We parked our hire car in the hotel car park which is beneath the hotel. This was always straightforward and was also free of charge. We never had a problem finding a space as the car park was large, and the spaces were of a good size. There was a choice of either a lift or staircase to get from the car-park back to the hotel lobby.
The whole hotel is really nicely decorated featuring unique original art works which were labelled showing information of their origin. Therefore going for a stroll down the hotel corridors was actually like looking round an art gallery!
We weren't aware of any evening entertainment, but this didn't bother us as we were out most nights and preferred to relax quietly when in the hotel. Speaking of relaxation we did visit the hotel spa a couple of times. It is amazing and like a proper spa with various features within such as steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and a large indoor pool. I was so impressed that access to the spa was complimentary to hotel guests, as I would probably pay up to £80 for a spa experience day like that here in the UK! There was an option to book spa treatments and a price list for this was located in our room.
We also made use of the hotel gym on one occasion. This was a light airy studio with mirrored walls and roughly 20 cardio machines, a wide selection of free weights and some floor equipment (exercise balls, mats etc) The gym area was well air-conditioned and had a friendly attendant who appeared to be a sports specific staff member as we witnessed him helping other guests use equipment and recommending work out programs.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic hotel and would highly recommend it!