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Alfagar Alto da Colina 3.5

Algarve, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • 10-minute walk to popular Santa Eulalia Beach
  • Spacious, clean apartments with well-equipped kitchenettes and terraces
  • All apartments have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and safes
  • Solid buffet restaurant, and a sports bar with snacks and drinks
  • Four outdoor pools, heated indoor pool, and kiddy splash park
  • Seasonal entertainment program, complete with evening shows
  • Gym, tennis and basketball courts, soccer field, and running track
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property
  • Laundry room and mini-market with all the basics
  • Massages and airport transfers available on request (for a fee)

Cons

  • Fee for use of the kids’ club
  • Drinks not included in half-board rate (common in Algarve)
  • Bathrooms are clean but a tad old-fashioned
  • Lots of steps to the beach

Bottom Line

Located a short walk from sandy Santa Eulalia Beach, the 189-room Alfagar Alto da Colina is an upper-middle-range property with plenty of family-friendly amenities, including five pools (one of them indoors and heated), a seasonal entertainment program, fun splash park for children, playground, and small game room with arcade machines. Use of the kids’ club, though, is an extra charge. Apartments are simple but clean, sunny, and well-equipped, featuring kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and furnished terraces -- some with pretty sea views. Self-catering, breakfast-only, and half-board rates are available, and food gets good reviews both for variety and taste. The vibe here is casual and relaxed, so those wanting a bustling vacation with nonstop entertainment and music may want to look at the Grand Muthu Oura View Beach Club

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Scene

Family-friendly apartment complex with simple interiors and a relaxed atmosphere

Set atop a hill a quick drive from the main strip in Santa Eulalia, Alfagar Alto da Colina caters to families who prioritize comfort and fun over style and luxury. While the property is well-maintained, the design is from the early 2000s, and interiors are simple and functional rather than chic. The lobby is perhaps the most uninspired of all common spaces, with basic floor tiles, a plain blond-wood front desk, and simple white seating. Other public areas, however, have a few touches that keep them from looking bland, including cheerful palettes on walls, wainscoting in the tavern, and a wooden deck with garden views in the bar.

Grounds are pleasant and lush, with stone paths, manicured lawns dotted by patches of trees, shrubs, and flowers, and colorful sail shades throughout. The atmosphere is laid-back but lively, with several pools ringed by dozens of loungers, a seasonal entertainment team, and lots of kids playing in the water and gardens. 

Though not one of the cheapest properties in the area, rates at the Alto da Colina are reasonable for what it offers. Those wanting a more bustling all-inclusive vacation, however, may want to consider the Grand Muthu Oura View Beach Club, which is also a tad cheaper. Travelers seeking something a bit more stylish may prefer the Belmar Spa & Beach Resort, while the EPIC SANA Algarve is a great upscale pick.  

Location

Quiet hilltop location overlooking Santa Eulalia Beach

Alfagar Alto da Colina is located atop a small hill near the eastern end of popular Santa Eulalia Beach. There are some restaurants, bars, and shops about a 20-minute walk (or three-minute drive) away, but the hotel’s location is rather secluded, with only just a handful of hotels in the immediate area. Balaia Golf Club is about a 10-minute walk away, as is the beach, though guests with mobility issues or strollers may want to know that the trek requires lots of steps. It takes about 12 minutes to reach Albufeira’s historic center by car. The nearest airport is in Faro, located a 40-minute drive from the hotel. Airport transfers are available at the hotel for a fee.

Rooms

Clean, sunny apartments with fully equipped kitchenettes, terraces, and free Wi-Fi

The hotel has a total of 189 rooms and apartments, each featuring a spacious terrace furnished with a table and two chairs. Apartments are decorated in a simple style that combines generic elements such as beige floor tiles, striped curtains in blue and yellow hues, and run-of the-mill wooden furniture with cheerful accents in teal, red, yellow, or green that make them cute and contemporary. Big windows let in lots of light, and units on the top floors offer pretty sea views. Hotel rooms are smaller and plainer, with none of the colorful touches, and generally views of the grounds.

Apartments have either one or two bedrooms, plus a living room with a sofa bed, and a kitchenette outfitted with cooktop, mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, electric kettle, coffeemaker, and lots of storage space. Flat-screen TVs, safes, and air-conditioning come standard, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. Bathrooms are spotless but older, with small white and painted tiles, stone-like counters with sunken basins, bidets, and shower/tub combos. Hairdryers are provided, but the only toiletries available are small bars of hand soap. 

Features

Indoor and outdoor pools, kids’ club, restaurants, and sports facilities

Alfagar Alto da Colina has five pools, including a large outdoor one and a heated indoor pool that comes in handy when the days are cold. Children can choose from a big kiddy pool on the main deck or a fun splash park with lots of water features and waterslides. As a family-friendly hotel, there are a number of other kid-friendly amenities, such as a playground, babysitting services (for a fee), small arcade, and a kids’ club -- though there is a fee for use of the latter. Additionally, there is also a seasonal entertainment program that can be fun for teens and adults alike. 

Though many guests choose the self-catering option, the hotel also features a solid buffet restaurant that's open for breakfast and dinner daily. Lunch can be ordered at the snack bar or at the sports bar, which is also a popular spot for evening drinks. Note that drinks are not part of the half-board plan. Those without a meal plan can stock their fridges with items from the on-site supermarket. The hotel also houses a small gym, tennis and basketball courts, an outdoor running track, a bike rental shop, and coin-operated laundry machines.

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Address

Balaia, Algarve, Portugal

Also Known As

  • Holiday Village Algarve Balaia

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