Quiet location less than a 10-minute walk to beach
Simple rooms with kitchenettes, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs
Pool area with separate kids' pool that has water slides
Game room and outdoor playground for kids
Restaurant serves buffet meals, including live cooking stations
Spacious fitness center and an indoor pool
Live entertainment in high season
All-inclusive rates are available; kids' eat free (with restrictions)
Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
Not much to do within walking distance besides the beach
Mostly indoor entertainment doesn't please everyone
No shuttle to Albufeira's old town
Some areas look a little dated, like the gym
The three-pearl Vila Gale Atlantico is a quiet, pleasant property well outside the hustle and bustle in Albufeira, and within eyeshot of the beach. Rooms have been given a subtle overhaul and have a generically modern look (as of 2016). They also include air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and kitchenettes, and some have up to two bedrooms. All-inclusive rates are available and the buffets are well-liked. A popular pool area includes a separate kids' pool with slides, and there's a game room as well. The beach is less than a 10-minute walk away, though many guests simply hang around on-site as there's nothing else nearby. Alternatively, travelers who prize location over style might consider Hotel Rocamar, which overlooks Albufeira's beach and is in the old town. Rates there are also often lower.
Lively family-friendly hotel with pleasantly modern interiors and a quiet setting
To be clear: Travelers wanting to be in the thick of the Albufeira action will want to look elsewhere. But for those wanting to do little more than visit the beach, hang out by the pool, and indulge in all-inclusive food and drinks -- this Vila Gale outpost can make a fine place to vacation. The quiet vibe is apparent right off the bat, as the hotel sits in a secluded residential area. Even at nearly two-thirds full, we didn't hear any ruckus or party-hard guests, so despite having a family-friendly vibe, this is a peaceful hotel. The style is pleasantly modern, if unmemorable, with pops of color in the lobby to offset the dark, clean-lined furniture. Take note, though, that the lobby and bar also serves as the hotel's social hub. It's where nearly all of the entertainment takes place, which doesn't please all guests, many of whom would like their fun to take place in the sun. However, that does mean that the peace and quiet outside is preserved. There's enough on-site to keep most guests happy, and the resort draws a wide swath of travelers. We saw everyone from families with kids, to young groups of adult couples, to mature tourists milling about during our 2016 visit.
In Gale, well outside of Albufeira, but less than a 10-minute walk to the beach
This hotel is in Albufeira's suburbs, in the Gale area, surrounded by other hotels, vacation rentals, and residences. It's not a particularly exciting part of town, and certainly not the place for those wanting lots of bars and restaurants within walking distance. There are two supermarkets within a five-minute walk, as well as a couple of humble cafes. The beach is the main draw for a stay here, and it's less than a 10-minute walk away. There are also a few dining options near the shore. Albufeira's touristy old town is a 15-minute drive away, and is home to another popular beach. The closest airport is in Faro, which takes about 40 minutes to reach by car. Otherwise, it's a two-hour-and-15-minute drive to Lisbon and its airport.
Simple, generic rooms with kitchenettes, balconies, and air-conditioning
The rooms here are simple and generically modern. Despite our pictures, which show dated fabrics and furniture, all rooms have been given an overhaul and as of 2016 we saw more attractive fabrics and clean-lined dark wood furniture. The bright abstract art and muted color palette complement white tile or hardwood floors. There is technically a newer wing, though aside from modestly updated kitchenettes, the look is essentially the same. All kitchenettes include a two-burner stovetop, mini-fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker (kettles can be requested). There's also a small table for dining. Otherwise, standard features include flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and safes, though there are fees to use the latter. Each room also has a furnished balcony, and those on higher floors may have glimpses of the sea in the distance. Suites are available with up to two separate bedrooms, and also include couches that can be converted into beds in living rooms. Bathrooms are pleasant, with tan and white tiling, showers or shower/tub combos, a decent amount of counter space, plus toiletries and hairdryers.
Pool and kids' areas plus buffet restaurant, bars, and indoor entertainment
The hotel does well with features and has something on offer for most guests. Of course, like almost all Albufeira-area hotels, the pool is key, and includes a large main pool and a kids' pool with water slides. There's also an outdoor playground for families who need more options to entertain the little ones. An indoor pool and hot tub round out the aquatic alternatives. Spa treatments can be arranged. The hotel's gym is spacious and has a basic selection of cardio and weight-training equipment, though much of it is looking old.
The hotel's restaurant serves buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and most meals are well-liked by previous guests. Snacks are also available throughout the day and theme nights take place on select evenings. All-inclusive rates are available. Children's meals are free so long as the parents are boarding on the same meal plans (12 and under only). Entertainment takes place in high season and includes aquagym classes, karaoke, and shows, though many previous guests are bummed that evening entertainment takes place exclusively indoors. There are bars in the lobby, by the pool, and in the restaurant.
Parking and Wi-Fi are both free at the hotel. Beach towels are also provided for free. Unfortunately, given the isolated location, the lack of a shuttle to Albufeira is a bit disappointing.
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