Many guests complain that food is repetitive (especially for those on longer stays)
No irons in the room, and no cookware or tableware for the kitchens
Kids' disco is short and takes place on the late side for some families
Nightly entertainment limited and quality can be poor
The 402-room, upscale Alvor Baia Hotel Apartamento is in a residential neighborhood with little of interest in the immediate area, and it's a 20-minute walk from the beach -- though the hotel offers a free shuttle. It's especially popular with families, thanks to its expansive grounds with an enormous (if chilly) outdoor pool, playgrounds, kids' club, apartment-style rooms with kitchenettes, and lively animation team. Features include a spa, two buffet restaurants, and a bar with nightly entertainment, though the food gets mixed reviews and lacks variety (especially for those on longer stays). Breakfast is included and all-inclusive rates are also available (somewhat rare for the area), though all the dining options have the ambience of a student cafeteria. Still, rooms are more modern than those at the Pestana Alvor, which also lacks the kids' club and all-inclusive option found here -- but the Pestana Alvor is significantly smaller, with a quieter vibe and fewer crowds. Those who want to be right on the beach and don't need to go all-inclusive should consider the Pestana Dom Joao II.
If not for its sprawling sunbathing lawns and playgrounds, the Alvor Baia Hotel Apartamento could be mistaken for a modern corporate office park. The all white-and-black building cuts an angular silhouette that doesn't scream kid-friendly, yet it is. The minimalist design is even starker on the inside, where a shiny black reception desk juts sharply into a cold white lobby. The few scoop chairs and statement couches are more for looks than functionality, and seating is generally a problem throughout the interiors. Outside, it's a different story on the seemingly endless terraces and lawns.
The Alvor is a large resort where many guests opt for the all-inclusive package, and falls short in several key areas for an all-inclusive experience. The nightly entertainment is poor, and during the day the pool has loud music and (sometimes) an animation team leading activities, which won't please those seeking peace and quiet. The all-inclusive drinks setup isn't ideal: Guests are given exclusively disposable plastic cups, which feels a bit low-rent, and after 11 p.m. the pool bar and Grand Bar shut down and guests have to pay for drinks from the Grand Cafe. The food venues feel like cafeterias and options get repetitive. All of that being said, though, this is still probably the best option in the area for those seeking an all-inclusive vacation -- though the bar isn't especially high.
Walking distance to some dining, and a 20-minute walk or free shuttle ride to the beach
There's little in the immediate area quiet residential neighborhood, though there are a few restaurants and local shops as you head towards the beach; the beach itself is a 20-minute walk. Downtown Alvor is about a 15-minute walk, where there are ancient cobbled streets bustling with tourists, riverfront seafood restaurants, shops, and nightlife. The old fishing town also has historic attractions such as Alvor Castle and the 16thcentury Matriz Church. There are numerous golf courses within a 20-minute drive (two of which belong to the Pestana Hotel Group). The much larger town of Portimao is about a 15-minute drive away, while Faro Airport takes closer to an hour to reach by car.
Apartment-style rooms with kitchenettes and balconies
The hotel refers to its 402 rooms as studios, and while some do have an open floorplan, most are one-bedroom apartment-style units with separate living rooms and kitchenettes. All have large furnished balconies with views of the neighborhood or the pool. They have a spare decor common in many contemporary chains, with plain brown tiled floors and white walls, and simple (mostly wood veneer) furniture. The living rooms have sofa beds, and some upgraded rooms add larger sitting areas with white chairs. Living areas and bedrooms both have wall-mounted flat-screen TVs. Kitchenettes come equipped with electric stovetops, mini-fridges, microwaves, and dining tables. The bathrooms have bidets and shower/tub combos.
Large outdoor pool, spa, playground and sports facilities, nightly entertainment, and buffet restaurants
The large outdoor pool is surrounded by a tiled deck packed with plastic and canvas loungers, and grassy slopes. There's a shallow kiddy pool at one end, and umbrellas dot the perimeter, though shade trees are almost nonexistent. There's a pool bar, and several expansive outdoor terraces with tables and shade umbrellas. Nearby, a large outdoor playground has slides and colorful playsets. Outdoor sports facilities include a volleyball court and lighted paddle tennis courts, complete with stadium seating. The kids' club provides supervised daily activities, and there's also an indoor game room with pool tables and air hockey for older kids. There's a mini disco in the evenings, but it's short (around 30 minutes) and starts on the late side for some younger children (around 8:30 p.m.).
Evening entertainment usually includes a cheesy show from the animation team (it's nothing to write home about) in the Grand Bar downstairs, which can get crowded and noisy, and a singer in the upstairs Grand Cafe (where drinks are always for a fee). Two buffet restaurants -- Blue and Green, named for the colors accenting their walls in otherwise plain, drab dining rooms -- serve seafood focused Mediterranean cuisine. Some guests may not appreciate the emphasis on fish options at lunch and dinner, though there are meat and pasta options, too; quality gets mixed reviews. The free breakfast includes sausage, beans, and eggs, and is more popular overall than lunches and dinners. There are also morning and afternoon snacks; afternoon options may include hot dogs and burgers.
Although the spa itself is not very large, it has a sleek indoor pool, along with a sauna, hot tub, and Turkish bath. There's also a hair salon, but no fitness center here.
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