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Vila Galé Albacora 3.5

Tavira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Secluded location in Ria Formosa Natural Park
  • Hotel boat runs to nearby Tavira Island and beach (fee)
  • Housed in a restored former fisherman's village, grounds with gardens and history
  • Sharp, modern rooms with balconies or terraces
  • All rooms have minibars, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs
  • Large outdoor pool and children's pool, plus entertainment in high season
  • Indoor pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna, and massages
  • Scuba diving shop, simple fitness center, and kids' club
  • Portuguese restaurant, tapas, and cocktail bar; all-inclusive rates available
  • Free shuttle into central Tavira several times daily
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property

Cons

  • Cannot walk to central Tavira's shops and restaurants
  • Some complaints about uncomfortable plastic covers on mattresses
  • No coffeemakers in rooms (available upon request)
  • Occasional issues with mosquitoes

Bottom Line

Vila Gale Albacora is a three-and-a-half-pearl hotel in the Ria Formosa Natural Park overlooking Tavira Island. It's a little off the beaten path, and a 10-minute drive into Tavira's old town, but the atmosphere here is quiet and secluded. The top-notch leisure facilities include a large freeform outdoor pool, children's pool, indoor pool, fitness center, kids' club, scuba diving center, and kayak rental. A free shuttle runs to Tavira center and a boat (for a fee) goes to Tavira Island beach. The 162 simple, modern rooms come with balconies or terraces, some overlooking the river. All include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. Alternatively, the hotel's sister property, Vila Gale Tavira, is located right in Tavira, though is far more dated. 

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Scene

Peaceful former fisherman's village setting in Ria Formosa Natural Park

Vila Gale Albacora is in a serene spot inside the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a coastal lagoon area known for its birds like herons, storks, and flamingos. This fact alone will tell you much about the vibe here, and while families are frequent guests, the hotel is a mostly quiet escape outside lively Tavira. The hotel is housed in a series of low-slung buildings of a vivid mustard yellow color, and situated on well-landscaped grounds with gardens, trees, flowers, and shrubs. In the 1940s, this property served as the houses, workshops, and warehouses of a tuna fisherman's village. The fisherman's chapel now hosts weddings at the hotel, and an old school serves as the hotel's kids' club. A free museum chronicles the village inhabitants and their way of life. Guests gather around the outdoor and indoor pools and take boat trips to Tavira Island and its beach. Families with kids are drawn to the hotel's wealth of children's activities, while mature couples like the hotel's romantic, secluded setting. 

Location

 Secluded Ria Formosa Natural Park location overlooking Tavira Island 

Vila Gale Albacora is in Ria Formosa Natural Park, southeast of Tavira city center. Tavira Island is a short boat ride away. The Forte do Rato is a little under a 10-minute walk from the hotel, but otherwise guests will want a car to explore (or avail themselves of the hotel's shuttle). Tavira's picturesque historic district is about a 10-minute drive away and features Ribeira Market, medieval Tavira Castle, and Camera Obscura (Tavira Tower) with its 360-degree city views through a periscope with magnifying mirrors. The hotel has a free thrice-daily shuttle to Tavira center. Pedras del Rei has a miniature tourist train to Barril Beach -- it's a 15-minute drive from the hotel. It's 10 minutes by car to both Porta Nova and Tavira train stations, and a 35-minute drive from Faro Airport. 

Rooms

Simple modern rooms with balconies or terraces, all with free Wi-Fi and mini-bars

Rooms and suites at Vila Gale Albacora have a simple, modern look, with wood furniture and plain all-white bedding with a decorative throw. The white-beige-brown color palette is brightened by dashes of yellow in the wall art. All are in good condition, but guests have grumbled about some not being ready for check-in on time. In addition, there are a few complaints of hard mattresses. Balconies or terraces are in each room, and some have river views. Standard features include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minibars (bottled water only) with room for cold storage. Rooms do not have electric kettles, but they can be requested from the hotel (supplies limited). Bathrooms sport colorful yellow-and-white checkerboard tiled walls, and all come with bidets, telephones, bathtubs, and showers. Rooms are non-smoking, but the hotel has designated outdoor areas for smoking. The hotel is in a natural area near bodies of water, so there are occasional issues with mosquitoes. 

Features

Large outdoor pool and children's pool, plenty to do for kids and adults, and Portuguese restaurant

Vila Gale Albacora has a number of features, which is helpful as it's far from anything else. A large outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by a deck, lawns, and palm trees. A small children's pool is adjacent, and a poolside bar serves drinks and light fare in high season. There's also a small indoor pool and hot tub. The wellness club provides massages and treatments (all for a fee), a sauna, Turkish bath, Vichy shower, and basic fitness center. Kids are well cared for here, as the hotel has an outdoor playground and colorful indoor kids' club with toys and games. An animation team performs live music and leads activities like water aerobics and Zumba dance, as well as activities for kids. 

The hotel serves an ample breakfast buffet with a good range of hot and cold items. The restaurant also serves Portuguese cuisine for lunch and dinner, with an emphasis on Algarve regional fare and tuna and other seafood. The second restaurant specializes in tapas and grilled items, and the bar has a billiards table. There's even an organic garden on-site. The Vila Gale also features a fishing village museum, scuba diving center, kayak and bicycle rental, a free shuttle to Tavira city center, and boat to Tavira Island (for a fee). A business center, meeting rooms, wedding services, concierge service, and free parking are also on-site. 

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Things You Should Know About Vila Galé Albacora

Address

Quatro Aguas, Vale do Olival, Tavira 8800-901, Portugal

Also Known As

  • Vila Gale Albacora