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Hotel Apartamento Balaia Atlantico 3.5

Albufeira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Secluded resort-style hotel surrounded by countryside
  • Apartment units all have kitchenettes, lounges, and balconies
  • Large outdoor pool with poolside snack bar and whirlpool tub
  • Kids' facilities include mini-club, splash pool, and playground
  • Free shuttle service four times daily to Albufeira
  • Bright restaurant with panoramic views
  • Tennis courts and a fitness center available 
  • Free Wi-Fi in the lobby and pool bar

Cons

  • Out-of-the-way location with little in walking distance
  • No Wi-Fi in most apartments; slow connection in general
  • Some parts of complex could use refresh
  • Spa is small and unattractive 

Bottom Line

The Hotel Apartamento Balaia Atlantico is an upper-middle-range, resort-style complex in a secluded setting about 10 minutes' drive inland from the Algarve coast. While its location is great for exploring the surrounding countryside on foot, there are no bars or restaurants within easy walking distance. The 138 spacious apartments have balconies and modern kitchenettes, but are fairly simple. Features such as the sprawling outdoor pool and well-rounded kids' facilities make this hotel popular with families, though dining is limited and quality isn't great. Low rates reflect the location, but those willing to pay a little more should compare with the upscale Balaia Golf Village Resort, located a 15-minute walk from the beach.

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Scene

Bright and modern apartment-style hotel popular with families

Opened in 2006 (originally as the Hotel BlueBay Balaia Atlantico) the hotel sports a stylish, fresh facade. A jazzy portico entrance leads guests through a large, floor-to-ceiling glass entrance and into the lobby -- an airy and colorful space flooded with natural light and chock full of chocolate-brown armchairs and couches, and potted palms. The five-story, all-apartment property is laid out in a V-shape which contains a large, freeform swimming pool and sun terrace, though little in the way of garden or plant life beyond a couple rows of palm trees. Reports suggest that the maintenance can be a little patchy around the grounds. The hotel attracts around an even mix of couples and families with kids -- which can inevitably mean some noise around the pool over school holiday times. But it draws very few groups of rowdy guests that can be an issue at other properties.

Location

Peaceful and secluded rural setting within 10-minute drive of Algarve beaches

The hotel has a quiet and secluded location surrounded by fields and small clusters of residential housing, which travelers can find either peaceful or isolated, depending on perspective. It's about 10 minutes inland from the Algarve coast. A free shuttle bus runs into Albufeira four times a day; the trip takes about 10 minutes. There's also a public bus service a couple minutes' walk from the hotel that connects to Albufeira's Old Town every half hour (taking anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes). There's practically nothing in the way of facilities within walking distance, including bars or restaurants, though the location makes an excellent base for exploring the local countryside on foot. At least three long sandy beaches can be reached within a 10-minute drive. Guests can hire cars or use local taxis. The hotel is about a 35- to 40-minute drive from Faro Airport.

Rooms

Simple one-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and balconies

The hotel has 138 fairly spacious apartment units decorated in a bright style of bold primary colors, but despite this cheery palette, some decor is starting to feel a little dated. Mid-century wood furniture with a retro look is paired with solid red/blue or striped fabrics and modern artworks. Tube-style TVs have some satellite channels, but most rooms lack Wi-Fi (it's only guaranteed in the hotel lobby and pool bar, and connection is slow). All apartments have sliding doors that open to furnished balconies with views over the surrounding countryside or the pool and sea in the distance. Apartments sleep up to four guests and are composed of double or twin bedrooms, and open-plan lounges with dining areas and well-equipped kitchenettes. Each kitchenette has (mostly) modern appliances including a stove/oven, mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker and tea kettle, as well as cookware and utensils. Bathrooms are roomy with shower/tub combos, bidets, and wall-mounted hairdryers, though some could use a refresh -- particularly those tiled in bright orange. Past guests have complained that rooms can pick up noise from the hallways and other apartments.

Features

Restaurant and poolside bar, indoor and outdoor pools, plus a splash pool and kids' club

The Hotel Apartamento Balaia Atlantico offers the features expected of its pearl rating and aims to be a self-contained property. The main outdoor freeform swimming pool is large enough (though can be cold) and surrounded with plenty of loungers plus a good-size kiddy pool and whirlpool tub. Children are generally very well catered for with a playground, mini-golf, kids' club, and games room. A health center includes a small indoor pool, gym, sauna, and whirlpool tub (though there's an entry fee), plus some body treatments in the spa. 

A breakfast buffet of hot and cold items is served each morning in the hotel's bright Panoramico Restaurant, which does indeed feature panoramic views over the surroundings. Breakfast is not included as standard, though various plans from bed-and-breakfast through to all-inclusive rates are available. Reports suggest food quality is adequate though far from outstanding (and there are no other restaurants within walking distance). A poolside snack bar is open for drinks and light meals. Wi-Fi isn't available in most rooms; it's offered for free in the lobby and pool bar, but the connection is sluggish.

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Address

Lote 101 Caminho de Vale Navio, Branqueira, Albufeira 8200-393, Portugal

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