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Hotel Marina Rio 3.0

Lagos, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located right on Lagos Marina, a short walk to old town
  • Pleasant rooms with electric kettles, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs
  • All rooms are soundproofed against exterior noise
  • Rooftop plunge pool with hill and town views
  • Spacious sundeck overlooking the marina
  • Free breakfast buffet includes hot options and freshly ground coffee
  • Small bar in the lobby plus a free drink upon check-in
  • Showers available for guests who've checked out and have late flights
  • Assistance with tours and excursions, and a computer corner
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel

Cons

  • Next to a bus station, so immediate area isn't altogether charming
  • Parking is only in a paid adjacent lot or on the street

Bottom Line

The Marina Club Lagos is humble three-pearl hotel with a great spot right on Lagos' bustling marina. It's less than a 10-minute walk to Lagos' charming old town and a 15-minute walk to Meia Praia. Interiors are well kept and sparkling clean. The 36 pleasantly modern rooms are flawlessly soundproofed -- which is a blessing given its bus station-adjacent location -- and everything from the fast, free Wi-Fi to the sparkling plunge pool on the roof add value to a stay here. Features are otherwise limited, but do include a free hot-and-cold breakfast buffet. This is a small and subdued property, and those looking for more a social vibe can consider the Tivoli Lagos, which is a bit cheaper, though far more dated. 

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Scene

Humble mid-range hotel with well-kept, homey interiors and a quiet atmosphere

There aren't a ton of hotels right in the center of Lagos, though what's on offer at Hotel Marina Rio makes it a solid mid-range option by any measure. At first glance, the bus station-adjacent setting won't inspire much hope, but once inside, this hotel is a gem. Interiors are humble and homey, with dark tile floors, subtle nautical accents, and comfy chairs and couches set in a couple seating nooks. What's more? There's no evidence of the busy station or road outside, as the hotel is impeccably soundproofed against noise. As such, the Marina Rio remains a calm and quiet property, and with a staff that's been retained for over a decade in some cases, it's the kind of place where repeat guests are known by name. This isn't a destination hotel, as there's little to it beyond its rooms, small rooftop pool, and a corner bar in the lobby. Despite being nearly full, we spotted almost no activity in the hotel's lobby, beyond a few people soaking up the sun upstairs, or guests checking in and out of the hotel downstairs. Given its simple features and well-kept, sparkling clean interiors, this is a great choice for unfussy travelers wanting to be in central Lagos. We saw mostly mature couples during our visit, many of whom were from the U.K., France, and Germany. 

Location

On the Lagos Marina, less than a 10-minute walk to the old town

Situated right on Lagos' marina, the Marina Rio is in a great spot for those who plan to spend most of their time exploring Lagos on foot. Sure, the immediate area has its drawbacks -- the road out front is busy most of the day (though marina views are great); and the other side of the hotel abuts a bus station. But, with its excellent soundproofing, the area's bustle does little to interrupt a good night's sleep. The payoff is that Lagos' charming old town is less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The city's cobblestone streets are lined with a seemingly limitless supply of traditional Portuguese restaurants, international tourist spots, bakeries, and souvenir shops. It's a 15-minute walk to the historic sights at the town's southern end, which include the Mercado de Escravos, Igreja de Santa Maria, and Igreja de Santo Antonio. Meia Praia -- the wide, sandy beach on the other side of the marina -- is also a 15-minute walk away. Most guests will arrive at the Faro Airport, which is a one-hour drive from the hotel. Otherwise, it's about three hours by car to Lisbon and its airport.  

Rooms

Pleasant, quiet rooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and electric kettles

With their colorful accents, light wood-veneer furniture, and varying floral and striped fabrics, the rooms at Marina Rio are pleasant and cheerful, if not exactly the epitome of high design. The look is homey, and relatively modern, and the firm-yet-yielding beds are made with crisp white linens (extra blankets and pillows are available in the closet). Unlike many of the hotels that we've visited in the Algarve, features here are fairly comprehensive, and include electric kettles with free coffee and tea plus free electronic safes, air-conditioning, fast and free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges. Balconies also come standard, and those on the marina side have great views of the boats across the road. While the other side of the hotel overlooks the bus station, the sunset views over the town and hills are nice. Regardless of the rooms' location, windows provide excellent insulation against exterior noise. Bathrooms were a mixed bag as of our 2016 visit, and about half are a bit dated, with tan marble vanities, shower/tub combos with shower curtains, bidets, and a simple selection of toiletries. All should be modernized by 2017, with sleek shower stalls, modern tiling, and contemporary fixtures. 

Features

Rooftop plunge pool, spacious sundeck overlooking marina, free breakfast buffet, and small bar

There aren't a ton of features on offer at this small hotel, but it has enough to compete against larger properties like the nearby Tivoli Lagos. The rooftop pool is a highlight, and despite being small, it's great for cooling off in the summer months and has views of the town and hills. There are a few lounge chairs around the perimeter and even more on a spacious sundeck that overlooks the marina. The hotel's free breakfast buffet includes a selection of local pastries, fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, and cereals plus individually ground machine coffee and juices. Despite the hotel being full during our visit, the breakfast room never felt overwhelmed. A small lobby bar is handy for a cocktail, and guests receive a voucher for a free drink upon checking in. There's also a computer corner and showers for guests who have checked out but have late flights. There is no free parking, but the small adjacent public lot is available for a fee, and otherwise there are spots on nearby streets. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property and the front desk can help with booking any excursions and tours.

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Address

Av. dos Descobrimentos , Apdo. 388, Lagos 8600, Portugal