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Solaqua Apartments 3.0

Albufeira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Walking distance to sandy Praia do Inatel beach
  • Short cab journey (or 20-minute walk) to Albufeira's "Strip" and Old Town
  • Fresh apartments with decent cooking facilities and flat-screen TVs
  • All rooms open to balconies or terraces -- some with distant sea views
  • Large outdoor pool with spacious sun terrace
  • Heated indoor pool with adjacent whirlpool tub
  • Small kids' pool, outdoor playground, and game room
  • Restaurant for buffet breakfast and poolside snack bar
  • Massage room available

Cons

  • Complaints of dirty pool area and not enough loungers
  • No gym or spa
  • Fee for Wi-Fi
  • No proper restaurant
  • Hotel opposite can be noisy

Bottom Line

Solaqua Apartments is a mid-range property set in a largely residential area between Albufeira's Old Town and its lively nightlife hub. The 120 studio and one-bedroom units are clean and modern, outfitted with kitchenettes and balconies or terraces -- some featuring distant sea views. The outdoor pool is big and sunny, but past guests complain of not enough loungers on the dirty deck. An adjacent kids' pool, indoor pool, small playground, and massage room round out the minimal facilities. The hotel lacks a full restaurant but for guests who want their own kitchens and a convenient location, the Solaqua is a decent choice. Families who want traditional hotel rooms with more kid-friendly features might prefer the competitively priced Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa

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Scene

Colorful apartment hotel with spacious, tiered sun terrace

The Solaqua Apartments occupies a simple whitewashed building with a central mirrored window, below which a purple fish ushers guests towards the entrance. Inside, the lobby is a slightly jarring combination of modern silver coffee tables and bright red couches alongside more dated wood paneling and polished stone. In general, public areas are bright and well-maintained with splashes of color. The most appealing area is the spacious tiered terrace that extends across the length of the complex, though the pool deck could use new loungers and past guests complain of trash. Although lacking plant life, it does overlook the green of a neighboring park. Clientele consist of a mixture of couples, families, and the odd vacationing group, though far less so the boisterous kind that can sometimes be heard from the pool of the Varandas de Albufeira opposite.

Location

Walking distance to beach and short drive from Albufeira's Old Town

The hotel is located at the end of a no-through road, in a nondescript neighborhood in the center of the Algarve resort of Albufeira. There are a few bars and restaurants, a grocery store, as well as a shopping mall within a short five- to 10-minute stroll, and the long stretch of sandy beach of Praia do Inatel is about 15 minutes on foot. The nightlife hub of the famous "Strip" is about five minutes away by cab (or 20 minutes on foot), while the more sedate and picturesque Old Town is five to 10 minutes' drive (15 to 20 minutes on foot). Faro Airport is around 30 to 40 minutes by car.

Rooms

Clean and modern apartments with up-to-date cooking facilities

The hotel's 120 apartments are split between studios and one-bedroom units, all of which are bright and modern with simple, unembellished wood furnishings and tiled floors. Gentle pops of orange and green come by way of artwork, curtains, and bedspreads against an otherwise white and cream palette. All units include mostly up-to-date kitchenettes with microwaves, electric hobs, toasters, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges, plus dining areas. Pots and pans, utensils, and tea facilities are also provided. One-bedroom apartments add separate lounges. 

In all units, glass doors slide open to balconies or terraces with plastic seating, half overlooking the street (and noisy neighboring hotel) and half with pool, park, and sometimes even sea views. Beige bathrooms are well-maintained, and come with wall-mounted hairdryers, simple toiletries, and shower/tub combos (with good water pressure). Other amenities include small flat-screen TVs with some English-speaking channels and safes. However, Wi-Fi is not free, and guests don't recommend paying for the shaky service.

Features

Indoor and outdoor pools plus separate splash pool for kids

A breakfast buffet includes a simple spread of hot and cold items served in the hotel's colorful but windowless dining room; breakfast is not included as standard. Drinks and bites are available throughout the day in the bright poolside snack bar, which opens to a large poolside terrace. The outdoor swimming pool is certainly big enough for everyone, though sometimes there's a lack of enough loungers, and a separate kids' pool. Guests have noted that the pool could also use better cleaning. A heated indoor pool provides a warmer alternative, and next to it is a whirlpool tub. As well as the outdoor splash pool, child-friendly facilities include a game room and playground, though these areas feel a bit gloomy. There's no gym or spa, but the hotel has a simple massage room. A business center with two desktop computers is available for a fee. 

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Address

Rua do Mediterraneo, Albufeira 8200-156, Portugal