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Estrela da Luz 3.0

Luz, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Quiet location, a 10-minute walk to Luz's boardwalk and beach
  • Massive apartments with pleasant decor and full kitchens
  • Largest apartments can fit up to seven people
  • Two casual restaurants plus a bar and game room
  • Live music and karaoke in high season
  • Small, tranquil spa with sauna and hot tub
  • Proper gym with good selection of equipment and free classes
  • Indoor pool as well as two outdoor pools
  • Wi-Fi and parking are free

Cons

  • Not right near the beach
  • Beach towels aren't free and breakfast not included in rates
  • No kids' club

Bottom Line

Estrela da Luz is a modest three-pearl aparthotel within a 10-minute walk of Luz's boardwalk and the beach. The simple property manages to pack a good bit into a 146-room package, including two casual restaurants, a spa, and three pools. The gym has a good selection of modern equipment and free classes. The apartments range from studios to four-bedroom units, with a basic, modern style, tons of space, and full kitchens. They're all air-conditioned and Wi-Fi is free. All in all, this is a solid and popular bet for a town with lots of aparthotel options. Those who'd prefer to stay closer to the charming old town in Lagos, just up the road, might consider the similar Marina Club Lagos. 

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Scene

Simple apartment-style hotel with quiet vibe and pleasantly modern style

Like many of the aparthotels in Luz, Estrela da Luz blends into its surroundings, which helps give the hotel its summer-home vibe. It's a casual, quiet place, with a good amount of features for a holiday. During the day, families hang out around the pools or in the gym. While we were visiting, there were also a number of tables occupied in the hotel's simple streetside cafe, where couples sipped coffee and beer throughout the day. Luz has a sleepy pace, especially in this mostly residential area, and that atmosphere carries over to the hotel, where most guests are here to spend a week or two in the sun, away from loud entertainment programs or booze-fueled partiers. While it's not cutting-edge contemporary when it comes to style, all of the hotel's common areas are well-kept, clean, and pleasant. At night, don't expect to hear a sound. As such, most guests are families and mature couples or groups of friends on holiday from the U.K., Ireland, Spain, and France.

Location

On the outskirts of central Luz, a 10-minute walk to the boardwalk and beach

Luz is almost entirely packed with vacation rentals and aparthotels, though there are a few pockets of local character left. The hotel's immediate neighbors are other apartment blocks, and there are a mix of local and tourist restaurants a five-minute walk down the hill, heading toward Igreja da Luz and the Fortaleza da Luz (which has been converted into a restaurant). From there, it's a farther five-minute stroll to the beach, which is wide and sandy. Along the beach, vendors rent sun loungers, umbrellas, and various non-motorized water craft for kids and families. Behind the beach is a long string of restaurants, bars, and cafes that buzz day and night. It's a 15-minute drive into Lagos' old town, and around an hour to the airport in Faro. Expect a two-and-a-half-hour drive to reach Lisbon. 

Rooms

Massive apartments with space for up to seven, plus free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and balconies

The town of Luz is laid-back and unfussy, and that humble ethos translates to the apartments at Estrela da Luz. The is generic, but modern enough,and there's a ton of space. Decor does vary a bit, but expect to see plain off-white walls, terra-cotta tile floors, wood-veneer or antiqued furniture, and upholstered seating that matches the drapery (in blue or red). There's little in the way of art, and not much personality, but they are clean and well kept. Configurations range from studios to four-bedroom apartments, and the latter can sleep up to seven, making them ideal for families and groups.

All apartments have electric light-blocking gates as well as at least one large, furnished balcony. Apartments on the higher floors have distant sea views. Other standard features include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs (in living rooms), free Wi-Fi, stereos (not Bluetooth), and full kitchens. The latter include dishwashers, modern appliances, washer/dryers, electric kettles, and both dining and cookware. Bathrooms are clean and basic, with shower/tub combos, decent counter space, and a selection of toiletries. Given the town's quiet nature, there's little in the way of street noise to be heard, and the apartments are fairly quiet.

Features

Great gym and pools, spa with a sauna, and casual restaurants

Despite drawing guests who mostly self cater, the hotel does have a number of features, including some that really stand out for a three-pearl property. The gym, while compact, has a ton of modern weight and cardio equipment, and free classes are available in the studio. There's also an indoor pool and a tranquil spa with treatment rooms, a sauna, and hot tub. Outside, the hotel has two pools: one for families and another for adults only. Both have sun loungers and, in high season, drinks and snacks are available at the adult pool. Don't expect any loud music, partying, or animation teams around the pools, and with the exception of playful kids, they do stay quiet. We would have liked to see a kids' club, given the family-friendly focus, and unfortunately towels for the beach aren't free.

While all three meals are available, breakfast isn't included in room rates. There are two dining options, including a pizza restaurant and a casual cafe. The latter is generally frequented by guests throughout the day and has a small bar. It opens onto the game room, with pool tables and arcade machines. In high season, the hotel does bring in live music and activities like karaoke, but again, it's all quite low key. Parking is free and is available both under the buildings and outside. Wi-Fi is free throughout.

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Address

Rua Manuel Augusto Alves Catarino, Praia da Luz, Luz, Algarve 8600-136, Portugal

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