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Vale de Carros 2.0

Albufeira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • A five-minute drive from Falesia Beach, with free shuttle
  • Two outdoor swimming pools and children's pool
  • Spacious apartments with kitchens and balconies or terraces
  • Kids' club, tennis court, and organized games
  • Snack bar with pub grub
  • Bar features TV sports, live music, karaoke, and games
  • Free Wi-Fi in public spaces

Cons

  • Fees for breakfast, in-room Wi-Fi, and kitchen appliances like microwaves 
  • Dated decor and features include small tube TVs
  • Some units don't have air-conditioning
  • Double beds are often two singles pushed together
  • Free shuttle to the beach doesn't run on Sundays
  • Thin walls can mean noise between rooms

Bottom Line

Vale de Carros is a two-pearl apartment hotel about a five-minute drive from Falesia Beach. It's a bit off the beaten path for travelers looking to party in Albufeira, which is 15 minutes from the hotel by car. This property mostly draws budget-oriented families to its spacious apartments, which feature basic kitchens. There's a fee for Wi-Fi and extra appliances, and many units could use sprucing up. However, amenities are fairly good, with two outdoor pools, a children's pool, kids' club, and snack bar with TV sports and nightly live entertainment and games. A free shuttle runs to Falesia Beach, though not on Sundays. As an alternative, travelers wanting apartments closer to the action in Albufeira should check out Cerro Malpique Aparthotel, which has lovely sea views.

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Scene

Simple budget aparthotel for budget-conscious families

There's no shortage of aparthotels in the Algarve, and while we've spotted a few that merit glowing marks in our travels, for the large part they're underwhelming affairs that are best for travelers who plan to spend most of their time outside in the sun. For better or worse, Vale de Carros falls into the latter category. This simple hotel sits on reasonably well-kept grounds, with lawns, trees, and flowers all around. Most of the action predictably takes place outdoors -- it can get lively, but rarely ever loud. Guests gather around the two outdoor pools and in the snack bar, a colorful space with national flags, posters, soccer team scarves, and red vinyl seating. The big-screen TVs are generally tuned to soccer and other sports events. With its self-catering apartments, pools, proximity to the beach, and kids' club, the Vale de Carros draws a lot of families, most from the U.K. and Ireland. 

Location

Quiet residential area, a five-minute drive from Falesia Beach and well outside of Albufeira

Vale de Carros is off the M1289 road in an area that isn't convenient for easy access to dining, shopping, and attractions. Most guests staying here will need a car get anywhere of note. Falesia Beach is a five-minute drive away, and there are some restaurants, shops, and other services near the shoreline. A bus stop is about a five-minute walk from the Vale and the hotel provides a free shuttle to Falesia Beach, though it doesn't run on Sundays. The 16th-century Tower of Medronheira is a little over a five-minute drive from the hotel. Albufeira -- with its pub-and-restaurant packed old town (and a beach) -- is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Faro Airport is about 30 minutes away by car, while Lisbon is just over a two-hour drive.

Rooms

Dated apartments with kitchens, plus fees for everything from Wi-Fi to appliances

The spacious studios, one-, and two-bedroom apartments at Vale de Carros have an outdated look, with cheap wood furnishings, faded upholstery, and bare white walls. The color palette is a fairly dull white and brown, with slate-blue or slate-green upholstery and bed coverings. Many need refurbishment to address wear on walls and floors, in kitchens, and around the bathtubs. Walls are thin, so noise-sensitive guests may notice sounds coming from neighboring units. Kitchens are basic as well, with two-burner stovetops (no ovens), mid-size refrigerators, cookware, and tableware. Toasters, electric kettles, and microwaves are only available for a fee. 

All 79 apartments have small tube TVs with a limited channel selection, living areas, and furnished balconies or terraces (some with pool views). Irons, CD players, safes, and hairdryers are available for rent from reception. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi isn't free in the apartments. Some double beds are two singles pushed together, and not all units have air-conditioning, so check ahead. Bathrooms feature bidets and showers, but some bathrooms we saw lacked shower curtains. There are also occasional issues with leaking showers and faucets. The hotel changes towels every few days, and bed linens every seven days. An extra change of towels or linens incurs an additional fee. Units are all non-smoking, but the hotel has designated outdoor areas for smoking. 

Features

Two outdoor pools, children's pool, kids' club, and snack bar

Features here don't surprise and are on par with what's offered at budget aparthotels throughout the Algarve. The hotel has two outdoor pools, both fairly big, at about 15 meters long. The main pool has a large deck and an adjacent children's pool. With the abundance of kids, this pool area has a fairly lively atmosphere. The second pool is more quiet and relaxed, and gets a bit of shade as well. Pool activities are offered. The kids' club (ages 5-10) features toys, games, parties, shows, sports, and art making. An outdoor tennis court (equipment for rent) is a nice perk, and there are staff-organized games as well. A hot English breakfast is available for a fee and gets solid marks from previous guests. The Vale also has a snack bar with decent-quality, reasonably priced drinks and pub fare for lunch and dinner. The bar features big-screen TV sports, billiards, karaoke, live music, and other events. Bicycles and cars can also be rented from the hotel rental, and parking is free. Basic groceries and sundries are available for purchase at reception. A free shuttle runs to Falesia Beach, though not on Sundays. Staff will help arrange excursions like fishing trips, jeep safaris, and horseback riding. Wi-Fi is free in public spaces. 

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Address

Apartado 6015, Olhos d'Agua, Albufeira 8201-925, Portugal