Secluded, tranquil location a 15-minute drive to Carvoeiro
Lovely landscaped grounds with plenty of space to spread out
Free shuttle to Carvoeiro and Praia da Marina
Kids' amenities include a shallow pool, kids' club, and playground
Spa with hot tub and sauna plus fitness center with modern equipment
Tennis courts and bike rentals available
Pleasantly modern rooms with air-conditioning, minibars, and flat-screen TVs
Villas have multiple bedrooms and full kitchens
Casual restaurant plus two bars
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Nothing to see or do within walking distance
No entertainment (a pro for some)
Shuttle requires advanced notice and is only seasonal
For travelers not planning on leaving their resort too frequently, Vale D'El Rei is a fine three-and-a-half-pearl option in a secluded, quiet spot in the countryside. It's a 15-minute drive into Carvoeiro for dining, the beach, or nightlife, and the hotel runs a free shuttle into town. The 76 rooms and villas have a simple, mostly modern look, and come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and air-conditioning. This is a tranquil place, with lovely gardens strewn with sun loungers. There are pools and a playground for the kids, as well as low-key bars and a casual restaurant. A spa, tennis courts, gym, and game room round things out. For something with direct beach access and similar prices, check out Hotel Baia Cristal, though it has less style and features.
Tranquil, secluded resort with plenty of space for sunbathing and relaxing
During our trip to the Algarve we learned that despite stunning beaches and local culture in spades, lots of travelers to the region wind up spending most of their time at their hotels. Vale D'El Rei might be one of the better spots to do this, as the resort has a tranquil and secluded setting away from the touristy buzz closer to shore. Interiors are pleasantly modern, but most of the activity takes place outside. The grounds are a gem, with a gentle slope, wide green lawns, and a mix of fruit and pine trees. Pathways wind through the gardens, and almost everywhere, guests are laying in sun loungers taking in the area's 300 days of sunshine. Don't come here expecting loud entertainment or booze-fueled benders -- all we heard when we visited was the breeze and birds, and occasional splashes in the pools. In high season, expect more families, and kids will add a more lively element.
In the Algarve countryside, a 15-minute drive to Carvoeiro and the beach
Travelers here will need a car, as there's nothing to see or do within walking distance. Of course, that's part of the draw for many of the hotel's guests, and most stay on-site for the duration of their visit. For those who want to explore, a free shuttle runs to the beach and to the town of Carvoeiro in high season. The latter is about 15 minutes away by car and has tons of tourist-friendly restaurants and bars, as well as its own beach. For travelers with kids, the Slide & Splash is a 10-minute drive away, along the road to Portimao and the charming town of Ferragudo. The closest airport is in Faro, a 40-minute drive away, and Lisbon's airport will take about two-and-a-half hours to reach by car.
Simple rooms and sharp suites, plus Townhouses that can fit up to six
There are a range of rooms to choose from here, the largest of which can sleep up to six (a mix of adults and children). The rooms and suites have a reasonably modern style, while the Townhouses are a bit less fresh. Expect to see a mix of bright colors like purple and green alongside a mix of dark wood and light wood furniture in the rooms and suites. White bedding and a few pieces of colorful art keep things bright, and Suites have sharp plush seating and eye-catching wallpapered accent walls. The Townhouses have two floors and multiple bedrooms, though the furniture in the living rooms tends to be a mismatched blend of contemporary and country pieces.
Standard features include air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, electric kettles, safes, and -- in rooms and suites -- minibars. Townhouses don't have minibars, but do have full kitchens with plenty of cooking and dining ware. These also come with balconies and hammocks, which are a nice way to take in the countryside views, which can be exceptionally pretty on a sunny day. Some of the rooms and suites also have balconies, and suites have separate living rooms with sofa beds. There's no noise at night, and rooms are mostly quiet throughout the day as well. Keep in mind that Townhouses are only cleaned thrice weekly.
Plenty of features like pools, tennis, kids' play areas, and a spa
The sprawling, well-landscaped grounds are packed with activities, which is good because there's no action of any kind nearby. Of course, the pools are a centerpiece of the resort, and these include a large zero-entry pool and a smaller shallower pool that's fie for children. There are a number of sun loungers here, which are also spread out over the wide lawns. Thankfully, guests don't have to worry about fights for space (or the dreaded towel-leaving early-risers). Elsewhere, there's a nice playground for kids as well as an indoor kids' club.
Adults have options to keep themselves busy, too, including a nice spa with several treatment rooms, a sauna, and hot tub. There are also astroturf tennis courts and bike rentals. A simple, but bright, gym has a limited selection of cardio and weight equipment that's fine for a basic workout. There's also a game room with pool tables.
Dining is a simple affair here, with a breakfast buffet served daily and included in room rates. The generous buffet features plenty of hot and cold options as well as local items. Dinner includes Portuguese meat and fish dishes, as well as some vegetarian selections. A kids' menu is also available. There's a bar by the pool in high season, and an indoor bar near the lobby at other times. However, don't expect any entertainment (sadly, the piano in the lobby bar mostly goes unused).
The hotel's free shuttle runs to Carvoeiro and Praia da Marina, though you need to book it in advance and it's only offered in high season. Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort, and parking is also free.
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