Positioned between two of Vilamoura's 18-hole golf courses
Spacious, upscale apartments can sleep up to 10
All rooms have furnished balconies, jetted tubs, and flat-screen TVs
Modern kitchens include washing machines and dishwashers
Access to six pools, including whirlpool and kids' pool
Free shuttle service to sandy beach and buzzing marina
Kids' club for children between 4 and 12
Six on-site restaurants and several bars
Wi-Fi not free and charged per-device
Little but golf courses within walking distance
Most facilities on Hilton-side of complex
The As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa is an upscale apartment complex sandwiched between two 18-hole golf courses in the Algarve resort of Vilamoura. There's little else within walking distance, though a free shuttle ferries guests to the nearest beach and buzzy marina. Its 69 suites are have up to four bedrooms, and all come with simple decor, fully equipped kitchens, spacious lounges, and deluxe bathrooms -- all with jetted tubs. Adjoined to a Hilton hotel, much of the facilities are shared, including six pools, six eateries, an excellent kids' club, and one of the largest spas in Portugal. It all adds up to an impressive property, though those looking for a beachfront stay should check out the family-friendly Crowne Plaza Vilamoura.
Upscale, understated apartment complex with adjoining Hilton hotel
For what is certainly an upscale resort hotel, arrival at the As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa is a distinctly low-key affair. Guest enter a rather anonymous-looking building and into a functional reception area for an efficient check-in. The property consists of an immaculate and perfectly symmetrical, apartment complex set in manicured gardens lined by cobblestone footpaths flanked by shrubs and tropical plants. With the building never reaching more than three stories, the broad central pool area takes full advantage of the Algarve's sunny climate. The atmosphere is unfussy and relaxed, with an understated sophisticated vibe that attracts mostly families with kids. For a family-friendly hotel, it is also surprisingly peaceful and suitable for vacationing couples who just want to unwind by the pool. The property adjoins the equally upmarket Hilton, and they share many facilities such as restaurants, dining, and one of Portugal's largest spa.
Peaceful neighborhood between two of Vilamoura's renowned golf courses
The hotel is located in a quiet residential neighborhood in the popular golfing resort of Vilamoura. While there's little to explore on foot in the immediate surrounds, the complex is sandwiched between two of the area's best golf courses, the Oceanico Old Course (the second oldest course in the Algarve) and the Pinhal Golf Course. Other renowned courses, including the Laguna and the Millennium, are within a 10-minute drive. The nearest supermarket is about a 15-minute walk away, or five-minute drive. There's also a free shuttle to the resort's lively marina -- home to plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops -- as well as Vilamoura's sandy beach and beach club. Otherwise it's around a 10-minute cab journey. Faro Airport is also less than 30 minutes' drive away.
Spacious suites with full kitchens, sunny terraces, and luxury bathrooms
The hotel's 69 apartment-like suites range from one-bedrooms at a roomy 750 square feet (70 square meters) and sleeping four, up to four-bedrooms at an enormous 2,600 square feet (240 square meters) for groups of up to 10. Interiors are polished though simply furnished, with swish-yet-cozy lounges equipped with flat-screen TVs, DVD/CD players, and sofas, plus dining areas. Lounges open to furnished terraces overlooking the pool or gardens; some upper levels have pleasant views over the neighboring golf courses. Some bedrooms also open to terraces with loungers, while some Four-Bedroom Suites have terraces with whirlpool tubs. All units also include sleek contemporary kitchens that come with ovens, microwaves, full-size fridges, coffee machines, toasters, and even washing machines and dishwashers. A mix of travertine stone and mosaic, bathrooms include dual sinks, jetted tubs with showers, bidets, and upmarket toiletries. Larger units add extra bathrooms. Wi-Fi is available, but it's charged per-device and can get expensive.
Access to six pool and six eateries, plus a huge spa and kids' activities
Including those at the adjoining Hilton, guests have access to six pools, two of which are contained within the hotel's side of the complex and lined with plentiful padded loungers. There's also a kids' pool with grottos and fun water features, plus children aged 4 to 12 are kept entertained at the extensive Paradise Island mini-club (free if parents stay, charged otherwise). In addition to a large outdoor whirlpool tub, adults can relax in the complex's huge 7Seven spa -- one of the largest in Portugal -- with heated hydro-massage pools, aromatic Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, and a relaxing Zen garden, plus an impressive range of massage and beauty treatments.
Dining facilities are also shared with the Hilton, and are rather extensive, offering six restaurants and several bars. Moscada is the main eatery serving buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner indoors and on an alfresco terrace. A more intimate a la carte experience is available at Cilantro, serving a menu of Portuguese and Italian-American dishes. Food quality is generally excellent, though prices, unsurprisingly, can be high; breakfast is also not included as standard. Drivers will find plenty of on-site parking free of charge.
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