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Agua Hotels Riverside 3.0

Lagoa, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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  • Quiet and secluded location on the east bank of the Arade River
  • Spacious, bright, and contemporary rooms with flat-screen TVs and balconies
  • Suites and Studios with full kitchens and sofa beds
  • Decent-sized infinity pool with river views and adjacent kiddy pool
  • Spa with gym, sauna, whirlpool, indoor pool, and treatment rooms
  • Free breakfast with continental fare plus some hot dishes
  • Buffet restaurant and bar with outdoor seating and river views
  • Outdoor game area with pool table, air hockey, and foosball
  • Business center with printer, computer, and tiny library (fee)
  • Peak-season shuttle bus to the beach and nearby excursions (fee)
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking


  • Limited half- and full-board menu and food gets mixed reviews
  • Complaints of sewage smell across property
  • Rooms have underwhelming decor and lack coffee and tea facilities
  • Some rooms have poor Wi-Fi reception
  • Fee for business center
  • Gym has limited equipment

Bottom Line

The mid-range, 134-room Agua Hotel Riverside is a contemporary, if a bit underwhelming, property on the east bank of the Arade River. There's not much in the immediate area outside of a supermarket, though Portimao and its shops and restaurants are just a five-minute drive across the river. The spacious and bright rooms have mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs, while suites have full kitchens and sofa beds. A river-view infinity pool and a relaxing spa with Turkish bath and sauna are big draws for couples, while a kiddy pool and small playground attract some families. Breakfast is included but food as a whole receives mixed reviews. Guests have also complained of sewage-like smells wafting in from the river. For more walkability and better food options, check out the Tivoli Marina Portimao on the west bank, though it lacks a spa. 

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Contemporary respite from city buzz that can leave an occasional bad smell in your nose

Agua Hotels Riverside is a great option for couples or small families looking for a quiet and intimate setting in a full-featured and contemporary hotel. The hotel's decor feels fresh -- if a bit plain -- with lots of natural light flooding through large windows, frosted glass, and simple IKEA-style wood furniture. There's also a subtle water theme, seen in the hotel's black-and-white wall prints, blue bucket chairs in the lobby, and curvature of the hallways. Some guests find the hotel's out-of-the-way location a nice respite from the city, while others tend to feel they are in the middle of nowhere. Though the immediate surroundings aren't much to look at -- vacant lots and abandoned apartments -- the hotel itself overlooks the Arade River and Portimao, giving guests beautiful sunset views and access to water sports on the river. Unfortunately, the idyllic vibe is sometimes ruined by a sewage smell that wafts up from the river.


Quiet out-of-the-way spot with not much in walking distance

Unless you are looking to spend most of your time in the hotel (or don't mind long walks), you'll definitely want to consider renting a car or setting aside a taxi budget. Even though the hotel's address says it's in Portimao, it's actually across the river, on the east bank. There's not much more than a supermarket within easy walking distance, but you can make it to Portimao's many restautants, shops, and activities within 30 minutes on foot or five minutes by car. Agua Hotel Riverside is also ideally located for anyone looking for a quiet and convenient base for day-tripping; Sagres is 50 minutes away by car, Praia da Rocha beach is 15 minutes away, and the hotel can help organize trips or give directions to the nearby caves and grottos. Faro Airport is a 45-minute drive from the hotel. On-site parking is free.


Contemporary rooms with tons of natural light and balconies; suites with full kitchens

Agua Hotels Riverside's 134 spacious, bright, and contemporary rooms and suites feel fresh thanks to a mix of all-white, maple-wood IKEA-style furniture, and polished white-tile floors. Though pleasant enough, they're a bit underwhelming as walls are left blank with the exception of a wood accent wall that has a low-contrast black-and-white photo behind the bed. The double beds lean on the firm side and are comprised of two singles pushed together, while Junior Suites and Studios add sofa beds. West-facing rooms have great sunset views over Portimao, while corner rooms let in tons of light with two sets of floor-to-ceiling windows. 

All rooms have free Wi-Fi (though the signal is weaker in some), mini-fridges, balconies with table and chairs sets, AC, and lots of natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. There are no coffee- and tea-making facilities. Guests can also expect decent-sized flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and DVD players in all rooms, while bathrooms are polished with walk-in showers, bowl sinks, hairdryers, and basic toiletries. Upgrades from Standard Rooms grab you full modern kitchens with an electric stovetop, oven, dishwasher, and sparse collection of plates, pots, silverware, and glasses; plus bathroom bidets and an expanded set of toiletries. Junior Suites and Studios also both have dining tables, but only the former offer completely separate bedrooms. 


Full range (if small-sized) of features, but mixed reviews on the food

The Agua Hotel Riverside is full of features which is necessary since there's not much for guests to do if they don't have a car. While none seem to particularly stand out over the others, the hotel's mid-sized spa and outdoor pool are well-liked among guests. The spa contains six treatment rooms -- including some for couples' treatments -- large whirlpools, a Turkish bath, sauna, indoor pool with outdoor views, and a large gym that could use another helping of exercise machines and free weights. The outdoor pool has an infinity edge that overlooks the river and Portimao and has a decent number of contemporary loungers along two sides. Off the pool, there's a large grassy area with a small playground and a terrace area with table games like pool, air hockey, and foosball.

The on-site restaurant is a common negative among guests who feel the quality of the buffet and the lack of options aren't up to par, especially considering the hotel's overall remote location. Still there's free breakfast of continental fare and hot dishes plus the option for full- or half-board and indoor and outdoor seating with riverside views. There's no dedicated bar, but guests can grab drinks at the restaurant. 

Other freebies include parking and Wi-Fi, though the signal can be weak in some areas. Travelers have to pay extra for bike rental, use of the business center, and the peak-season river shuttle that takes guests to town, down to the beach, and to the nearby cliffs and grottos. The front desk concierge can help with tours and car rentals, and there's a host of water sports down by the river. 

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