The mid-range Paraiso de Albufeira is a family-friendly hotel comprising 414 apartments set in the center of the popular tourist town of Albufeira. With two lovely beaches and the town's famous "Strip" within walking distance, the location is certainly a highlight. As with much of the hotel, apartments can feel dated, though all have cooking facilities and some offer sea views. Leisure facilities are extensive -- especially for kids -- and include indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, fitness center, and tennis courts. Dining, however, is not the hotel's forte -- especially its buffet offerings. The nearby Alagoamar Hotel Apartamentos offers a better value, but has fewer facilities.
Mid-range aparthotel set on extensive grounds with friendly, relaxed vibe
Built in 2001, the imposing, modern architecture of the Paraiso de Albufeira is hard to miss, especially with a towering, needle-like sign marking it from the roadside. Also easy to spot is a large circular fountain merging into a striking wave-shaped portico that forms an arch over the front entrance. Inside, a vast, bright lobby has cushioned wicker seating, polished steel columns, potted shrubbery, and a sweeping reception desk. There are also an abundance of elevators to transport guests to the apartments spread across eight floors. A large bar area extends to an outdoor terrace overlooking a huge swathe of lawn and a lagoon pool -- though the sprawling layout of the hotel, which has restaurants on different floors, has proved confusing for some guests. The vibe is fun and relaxed, attracting a wide range of clientele that include couples, families with kids, and vacationing groups -- including the odd bachelor/bachelorette party.
Set in central Albufeira, within walking distance of "The Strip" and beaches
The hotel is centrally located in the popular Algarve resort town of Albufeira, with many shops, bars, and restaurants within a short stroll. The Old Town is an eight-minute cab journey away, while the buzz of Albufeira's nightlife -- the bars and clubs of the famous "Strip" -- are a 10-minute walk from the hotel. There are two long picturesque beaches a 15- to 20-minute walk away, plus the lush Jardim da Cachoeira park can be reached in five minutes on foot. Faro Airport is about a 35-minute drive from the property.
Simple apartments with cooking facilities and
Most of the 414 studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments look dated by today's standards, as they have slightly garish striped fabrics and old-fashioned furnishings, but they're spacious. All have kitchenettes (some behind curtains) with mini-fridges, hobs, cookware, and microwaves -- some also have conventional ovens. Apartments open to furnished balconies, many overlooking the pool area with the sea in the distance, though others overlook the parking lot. There also have been reports of balcony doors not locking. The tube-style TVs are small and have minimal channels, plus there's a fee for the remote control. Bathrooms also seem dated, featuring shower/tub combos with plastic showerheads and basic toiletries. In-room Wi-Fi is not available.
Extensive leisure facilities, but dining can be a let down
Facilities at the Paraiso de Albufeira are substantial. The hotel has a large, unheated outdoor pool (which can be cold) surrounded by loungers, as well as a heated indoor pool with whirlpool tub. Other features include a fitness center and spa (for an extra fee), tennis courts, mini-golf, and well-equipped game room. Children are well-catered for with their own pool, playground, kids' club, and even a bouncy castle. The complex also features its own hairdresser, shops, and even a small chapel. Wi-Fi is available in public areas, though it requires a fee.
The large basement MGE Restaurant serves a buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it can feel rather gloomy. A breakfast buffet of hot and cold items is served in the cafe area beside the pool, though it's not included as standard. The EVA restaurant has a grand piano in a brighter, more refined setting. All-inclusive packages are available, but quality of the buffet food has generally received mixed -- though largely negative -- reviews.
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