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Vila Gale Tavira 3.0

Tavira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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  • Central location a two-minute walk from Tavira Island ferry
  • Old Town and Tavira Castle are a five- to 10-minute walk away
  • Housed in a distinctive Moorish-influenced building
  • Courtyard with large outdoor pool and children's pool
  • Indoor pool, hot tub, steam room, and massages
  • Simple fitness center and kids' club
  • Portuguese restaurant and evening bar
  • Simple modern rooms with minibars, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs
  • All rooms have balconies or terraces, some with pool views
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property


  • Rooms and common areas are quite dated
  • Drinks in bar are a bit expensive
  • Outdoor pool can occasionally get noisy with kids
  • Fee for use of safes
  • Some double beds are two singles pushed together

Bottom Line

Vila Gale Tavira is a three-pearl hotel about a two-minute walk from the ferry to Tavira Island, and a five-minute walk from the old town center. The hotel's Moorish-inspired architecture and interiors give the hotel a distinctive flavor, though it's certainly past its prime. The 268 simple rooms come with minibars and flat-screen TVs, and all could use a renovation to address datedness. All have balconies or terraces, some with outdoor pool views. Features excel, though, and include an outdoor pool and children's pool, plus an indoor pool, hot tub, steam room, kids' club, and Portuguese restaurant. Travelers who want a similar-quality hotel in a more secluded setting near Tavira Island might consider the hotel's sister property, the Vila Gale Albacora.  

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Large chain hotel with Moorish influences, slightly dated style, and a busy atmosphere

Vila Gale Tavira is set on lush grounds with lawns, manicured hedges, and palm trees at the quiet southern end of Tavira's old town. It's a distinctive building, and far larger than anything nearby. That fact, coupled with the hotel's recognizable brand name, ensures that its busy almost year round, despite a few flaws. The architecture and interiors are a nod to southern Portugal's Moorish history. The lobby is filled with Moorish tile, rugs, art, furnishings of wood and leather, and bold colors of arabic blue, burgundy, and red. Even with these little flourishes, the overall look -- tan tiling, turquoise pillars, and racks of sundries on display -- all feel a little cheap and dated. Guests gather around the large outdoor swimming pool, set in a courtyard in the middle of the property. With its outdoor pool, children's pool, indoor pool, kids' club, and game room, the hotel tends to draw a lot of families with children. Tourists benefit from the location near historic sights and ferry to Tavira Island. 


In central Tavira, a two-minute walk from Tavira Island ferry, five-minute walk from Tavira Castle

Vila Gale Tavira is in central Tavira, at the quieter south end of the historic district. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the area, but not many nightclubs. The hotel is on the southern side of the Gilao River, and the river and ferry to Tavira Island are about a two-minute walk from the hotel. The Vila Gale is about five minutes on foot from both the Municipal Market and Ribeira Market. The medieval Tavira Castle and Renaissance-era Misericordia Church are both a little over a five-minute walk away. Housed in an old water tower, the Camera Obscura (Tavira Tower) features 360-degree city views through a periscope with magnifying mirrors. It's a little under a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The Roman Bridge is also a little under 10 minutes by foot. Faro Airport will take 30 minutes to reach by car, and Lisbon is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the hotel.


Simple modern rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, some rooms need renovation

Rooms and suites at Vila Gale Tavira have a simple, dated look, with terra-cotta floors, wood furnishings and trim, and largely bare walls with a mirror and a few pieces of art. Infusions of vivid blue liven the beige-and-tan color palette, though lattice paneling and color-stained furniture (some of which is worn) all contribute to the less-than-fresh overall effect. All rooms have balconies or terraces, and some overlook the outdoor pool and courtyard. Beds are a particular concern: many mattresses are hard and thin, and some double beds are two singles pushed together. All 268 rooms and suites come with limited minibars with room for cold storage, plus free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. Safes are available for a fee, and electric kettles are available upon request (though there sometimes aren't enough). Suites have living rooms. Bathrooms feature distinctive blue-and-white checkerboard tiles, and come with make-up mirrors, bidets, showers, and bathtubs. The hotel is entirely non-smoking. 


Outdoor swimming pool, indoor pool and hot tub, kids' club, and Portuguese restaurant

Vila Gale Tavira features an outdoor swimming pool situated in the hotel's central courtyard. At over 20 meters in length, it's fairly big. A children's pool is adjacent and there's a poolside bar open in high season that serves light fare. There are occasional issues with noise and rowdiness from kids, but it's generally quiet around the pool and there are plenty of lounge chairs. The indoor pool is situated in a rotunda with a dark-blue dome and ample natural light coming in through the big windows. An elevated hot tub is adjacent. The health club also has a Turkish bath and massages (for a fee). The small fitness center has a few cardio machines, a weight machine, free weights, and plyometric balls, and there's a kids' club with a small selection of toys and games. The decent breakfast buffet has a cooked-to-order egg station and a range of hot and cold items. The restaurant also serves Portuguese fare for lunch and dinner, with buffet and a la carte dining. Room service is available 24/7. A bar is open in the evenings, but drink prices are a bit expensive, and cheaper bars can be found nearby. The Vila Gale also has regular evening entertainment, a game room, gift shop, meeting rooms, business center, concierge service, and parking (for a fee). Wi-Fi is free throughout.

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Rua 4 de Outubro, Tavira 8800-362, Portugal

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