Prime location just off harbor, a 10-minute walk to old town
Hotel layout includes courtyard gardens and intimate lounges
Rooms include air-conditioning and balconies
Charming grill restaurant plus a lively bar and occasional entertainment
Outdoor pool with pool bar in high season
Free shuttle to hotel's beach club in summer months
Indoor pool, spa, and fitness room
Ping-pong tables, billiards, and nooks for reading
Computer station with free printing
Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel
Free outdoor parking (paid garage parking also available)
Designated indoor smoking areas and rooms (a con for many)
Interiors are dated and rooms may have old amenities
Smell of cigarette smoke in some common areas
Dirt parking lot is rutted in spots and not exactly orderly
Equipment in fitness room is limited and old
Fees for safes
The Tivoli Lagos is an aged three-pearl hotel with one of Lagos' best locations. It's a two-minute walk to the harbor promenade and 10 minutes from Lagos' historic old town. However, an overhaul is needed, and planned for late 2017. While some of the 350 rooms have modern furniture, many are outdated and have amenities like tube TVs. The hotel's common spaces suffer the same fate, and include outdoor and indoor pools, a lively bar, and a charming grill restaurant. A large free breakfast buffet is included, and the hotel offers a free shuttle to its beach club in high season. For a fresh and contemporary alternative, rates at Vila Gale Lagos are a bit higher, but may be worth it -- it's closer to the beach, but farther from town
Old hotel in need of an overhaul with a prime location and lively vibe
There's no hiding the fact that this hotel is aged, and interiors almost unanimously need an overhaul. That's scheduled for sometime in late 2017, but in the meantime, the hotel's prime location and brand name seem to be enough to keep it busy. Expect to see worn and faded carpets, lots of pastel hues, polished chrome, and sagging upholstery throughout the hotel's extensive common areas. It's easy to imagine this being a great place to bed down for several nights once it's brought into the 21st century, as there are a number of nooks, lounges, and courtyard gardens that make it feel intimate and cozy despite its size. For now, though, the hotel is thoroughly vintage, and not in a good way.
Despite its well-worn appearance, the hotel remains a popular Lagos option year-round. Even during our shoulder-season visit, the hotel was booked full with retirees from northern Europe. At night, the hotel's mezzanine bar comes to life with live music on occasion, while guests tap their feet to the band's music and chat with one another. The hotel draws tour groups of mature vacationers in low season, and families pass through during the warmer months. However, there are a number of more stylish options in the area, and it's worth investigating other Lagos hotels before shelling out the money for a stay here.
Quieter residential area, near Lagos' harbor and a 10-minute walk to old town
It's common wisdom among hotel industry insiders in Lagos that the Tivoli has one of the most enviable spots of any hotel in town. It's just removed enough from the town center to stay quiet, yet within an easy walk of almost anything guests might want to see or do. A cluster of casual bars and cafes sit just at the end of the hotel's driveway, and there are plenty more along the harbor, which is just a two-minute walk from the property. It will take 10 minutes to reach the main plazas of Lagos' charming old town. The narrow, pedestrianized, cobblestone lanes are lined with international restaurants, bakeries, local cafes, and all manner of boutiques and shops. The town's beaches are a bit far to reach on foot, and it will take about five minutes in a cab to reach Meia Praia or Praia Dona Ana. The hotel also runs a free shuttle to its Meia Praia beach club in high season. Expect a 10-minute drive to the stunning clifftop vistas overlooking the sea caves of Ponta da Piedade. It's a hour-long drive to the airport in Faro, which is the hub for the Algarve, and about three hours by car to Lisbon.
A few modernized rooms, though most are dated and worn
There is no hiding the fact that most of the rooms at this hotel could use a major overhaul. While a handful have been given a modernizing touch -- with sharp dark-wood furniture, low-slung ottomans, and attractively patterned throw pillows -- most are outdated. Expect to see threadbare carpets, old blue and green hues, blond wood furniture, salmon-colored accents, and gilt-framed Impressionistic prints on the walls. All have some sort of balcony, some of which look onto the nice gardens below. Despite the hotel's city-center location, our room was almost silent at night, though some guests have noted noise from corridors and nearby bars on occasion. It's worth noting that smoking is allowed in some rooms -- while some guests appreciate this, the smell will linger.
A range of room sizes are available, from compact Classic Rooms (15 square meters, or 161 square feet) to Classic Suites (35 square meters, or 377 square feet). The latter have separate living rooms, and all feature either two twin beds or a double bed. Standard features include cable television (flat-screen and tube units), air-conditioning, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there is a fee to use safes, and irons and electric kettles are only available on request. Bathrooms -- perhaps not surprisingly -- are also dated. Decor ranges from bland '90s-era maroon-and-white ceramic tiling to jarring, checkerboard marble patterns. However, they are spacious, and feature shower/tub combos, large vanities, bidets, and a range of toiletries. Many still have old tube hairdryers.
Indoor and outdoor pools, free beach club shuttle, a lively bar, and free breakfast buffet
As one of the larger hotels in the Lagos area, the Tivoli has a number of features to keep most guests entertained. The outdoor pool area has a spacious deck with sun chairs plus a shallow kids' pool. It's served by a pool bar in high season, during which waiters will also ferry drinks and food to guests. It's not too large, given the size of the hotel overall, but most guests are at the beach or exploring town during the day and it's rarely packed. Alternatively, there is a heated indoor pool as well, which is situated next to a small, outdated fitness center and an unmanned spa. Guests must call ahead to arrange massages or use the sauna.
Lagos has some of the Algarve's nicest beaches, and the Tivoli is the only hotel in the area to have its own beach club on Meia Praia. A free shuttle runs there hourly in high season, and beach towels and chairs are free for hotel guests. The club also has a restaurant and two bars, plus a pool surrounded by more chairs for sunning. Keep in mind that there is an extra fee to use the pool and pool chairs.
The hotel's breakfast room is a large space that gets busy, but we didn't spot any queues forming for tables despite the hotel being full during our visit. There are plenty of hot and cold options, from local pastries to granola, yogurt, meats, cheeses, and multiple coffee machines to help alleviate waits. Pateo Velho is a nice change of pace here, with several outdoor terraces lined with tables alongside grills where traditional Portuguese meat and seafood dishes are prepared. The indoor dining room has a charming Portuguese-home atmosphere, with lots of knick-knacks and heavy woodwork. Luna Bar, on the hotel's mezzanine floor, has plenty of chairs where a mature crowd often gathers with glasses of wine and beer for occasional live music.
Additional features include meeting rooms, lounges, a lending library, and a computer station with free printing. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and worked well during our stay. Porters are available to help guests ferry luggage to rooms, but there didn't seem to be enough for all guests when we visited. Parking is free in the hotel's outdoor lot, which is unpaved, has deep ruts, and is prone to being disorderly. Indoor garage parking comes with a fee.
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