The Alfagar II Aparthotel is an upper-middle-range all-apartment property located in the peaceful resort village of Balaia just east of Albufeira. While there's not much in the immediate area, the complex is self-contained and has a beach within walking distance. The 90 apartments are modern and bright, with kitchenettes, dining/lounge areas, and spacious terraces -- most with views of the sea. Water-based facilities are excellent, and include a large outdoor pool, indoor pool, and water park for kids (and some adults). Dining options are a little limited and some guests complain apartments can be noisy, but most find the property excellent value for money -- especially families who don't mind being a bit far from area nightlife. For better sea views at even better rates (though less modern apartments) take a look at the sister property Alfagar Aldeamanto Turistico.
Modern aparthotel set in attractive gardens and popular with families
A driveway lined with potted plants and palm trees leads to the hotel's reception -- where check-in is shared with adjacent sister property, Alfagar Aldeamanto Turistico ("aldeamanto" is Portuguese for "village," and the property is also commonly referred to as Alfagar Village). Lobby decor is a rather incongruous mixture of contemporary clean lines and colorful modern furnishings paired with old-fashioned patterned rugs and polished marble. The building itself is smart and modern, with two "wings," each featuring a bright atrium that passes through five floors to a pyramid-shaped skylight. The grounds are attractive and well-maintained, with cobblestone footpaths lined with tidy lawns dotted with almond and pine trees, and leading to spacious terra-cotta-tile sun terraces. With all-apartment accommodation and plenty of child-friendly facilities, the majority of guests are families with kids, though there are also some vacationing couples.
The sister property Alfagar Village is closer to the sea, and some of the shared facilities are located there -- the tennis courts, supermarket, and the pool bar, for example. Playgrounds and game rooms can be found in both sections, and the indoor pool and water park are at the Aparthotel. The two sections are divided by a road, and it's only about a five-minute walk from one section to the other. The apartments at the Aparthotel are more modern than the units at the Village.
Set in small resort village east of Albufeira, within walking distance of beaches
The hotel is located in the small resort village of Balaia, set just outside the eastern outskirts of Albufeira, which is about a 10-minute drive away. There's little in the way of dining or nightlife in the immediate area, though the lively shopping streets, bars, and restaurants of Areias São João as well as the famous "strip" are about a five-minute drive away. (For those who don't mind getting some exercise, the strip is about a 25-minute walk.) There's also direct access to the beautiful sandy beach of Praia da Balaia through the neighboring Alfagar Village via a 130-step stairway -- there's a less-steep alternative by road (10-minute walk). There are several golf courses within a five-minute drive of the property. Faro Airport is about 30 to 35 minutes by road.
Colorful modern apartments, most with spacious sea-view balconies
The 90 apartments are all one- or two-bedroom units, most of which are bright and modern, with stylish decor and colorful tiles and artworks; one or two however are still awaiting renovation. Open-plan living rooms include dining and lounge areas with flat-screen TVs, as well as modern kitchenettes with ovens, small fridges with freezers, kettles, toasters, and coffee machines. Glass doors slide open to spacious balconies or terraces (furnished with tables, chairs, and loungers), most with panoramic views over the gardens and sea beyond -- though some overlook a football pitch and busy road. Clean and colorful bathrooms include shower/tub combos, bidets, and wall-mounted hairdryers. Superior Apartments tend to have better views and include free Wi-Fi. Some guests have reported issues with noise from the street and other apartments.
Indoor and outdoor pools, plus a mini water park with slides
Featuring a pair of crossed palm trees over the water, the hotel's large main pool has a central aqua-jetted seating area, fountains, and plenty of loungers. It's not heated, however, and can be chilly in cooler months. The hotel also has a mini water park, which is popular with both kids and adults and features waterslides and a water-based playground. There's also a peaceful indoor pool long enough for a proper swim, plus a sauna and steam room.
A breakfast buffet is available every morning in the hotel's Oliveira Restaurant (not included in standard rates); the restaurant is also open for buffet-style dinner and opens to a large alfresco terrace. There's also a poolside snack bar (in the Village section) offering lunch items, while the contemporary Red Bar also extends to outdoor seating. Entertainment is put on every evening in both bars -- usually a singer or other live music performances. All-inclusive rates are available.
Other amenities offered by this hotel include a scheduled shuttle service to Albufeira, as well as bookings for various excursions.
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