More about Vilanova Resort Albufeira
portugals finest hotel
i went to portugal five times and enjoyed it everytime then the las time i went there on my honeymoon for ten days and we love nice and hot and the people are lovely willing to help all the time and the cleaners was round every day with no dought to clean your apartment and there was a swimmingpool on site andbar next to the pool so you can get a drink when you need to the whole time we was there it was fantastic. it was great pools and facilities
very basic expected better of thomson 3 star
When we arrived we were told we were upgraded to a one bed villa. It more resembled a Butlins chalet than a villa. Not very clean - very dusty and ants crawling up the side of the bath. Complained to reception about the ants and waited for a response. No response after 2 hours so went to supermarket to buy ant killer.
The bedroom is accessed by climbing a steep staircase that resembled those found on a small boat - no access to bathroom from upstairs so had to negotiate the staircase at night if needed.
The main advantage of the villa was the location giving direct access to the poolside. The pool is very large with very nice garden areas surrounding it and great if you enjoy diving .If it was not for the lack of cleanliness and layout of the villa it would have been ideal.
Considered moving to an apartment in one of the main blocks on the second day but it overlooked the square and would have proved noisy so decided to stay in the villa - be prepared to have do some sweeping of your own as the maid quickly mops the dust around but does not pick up the dust - very rarely ventured up the stairs to the mezzanine bedroom with mop.
If you are unstable on your feet this area may be unsuitable as there are cobbles everywhere - avoid wearing stiletto heels. Also be prepared to be approached by people selling watches,cigarettes - was also offered hashish and charlie! I hasten to add we declined all offers.Also, beggars can be a nuisance but best to ignore them-I was told it is illegal to give them money.
Lots of great live bands to see on the strip - great for those seeking entertainment - suitable for all ages.
If you are thinking of using the phone boxes it is best to buy a phone card for either 5 or 10 euros as it is easy to lose cash in the slots -rarely gives it back .
Lots to do and enjoyed the holiday overall even though the weather rained for most of the fortnight we were there. Would not go back to the Vilanova as the accommodation did not impress us but would definitely go back to this area
i stayed at the vilanova for 14 nights with three other females, in a studio type room, we were in block 3 i think.
the room was of a good size, there was no air conditioning in the room but we just left the window open at night and it was fine. the bathroom was clean, no mould or insects and the size was acceptable. the room had a kitchen, dining table, etc. the room wasnt elegant but it was what i expected, it was clean, tidy spacious and out only complaint was the water when we wanted to have a shower. as there were four of us when we all wanted to have a shower we found that when the third person went in, it went cold. so we would have to wait about an hour before the fourth person went in. i thought this type of water system was a bit outdated.
the only other minor complaints were that one day some of the lights stopped working but they sent someone up straight away to fix it, and when the cleaners didnt come one day and we ran out of towels we went to reception to complain who gave us the keys to another empty room to get towels from. so they dealt with our complaints staright away.
the pool was of a good size and was clean. there are thre diving boards there but i didnt use them as im not that brave!
the location was very good, its central on the strip. the bars are good, dont bother going on the excursion for the pirate ship as it was overdrowded and the boat capsized and the food was digusting. overall it was a very good hotel.
Not as good as we expected....
We have just got back from a week at the Vilanova apartments and to be honest we are glad to be home!
On arrivial we expected to get our room straight away but was delayed for about an hour as the management had lost our allocated room key! The rep quickly sorted this out and demanded another room for us straight away so we managed to sort it out fairly easily, however where the reps were fantastic the hotel management were very disorganised.
The studio we was allocated was lovely and clean, and alot more spacious than other studios we've stayed in, however we didn't get a balcony as requested and the room was incredibly dark, lacking in natural light (we needed to keep the lights turned on even in the day). The beds consisted of two mattresses on two seperate concrete blocks and a further sofa-bed, which we were a little disappointed with. However, the Thomson reps were very helpful and after complaining about the lack of proper beds we came back to the studio to find a double bed made up for us! However the beds were not comfortable and neither me, my husband or our two year old could sleep properly. There was, however, no noise but I'm guessing that was down to our position and the time of year we went, as the hotel is directly on the strip so I can imagine it getting a bit hectic during peak season!
The swimming pool and surrounding gardens are maintained really well, and our daughter loved the little playgrounds on site! The pool bar was a little expensive for drinks compared to the restaurants and cafes on the strip (we paid 4.20 euros for two small cokes!!).
The Casanova bar was closed for most of our trip and opened the day before we had to leave so that was a little disappointing. In terms of night time entertainment suitable for a family there was nothing at all. If you want entertainment, creches etc that is advertised in the brochures for this hotel DO NOT GO OUT OF SEASON....you wont get any of it else. The day we left happened to be the start of summer season and it was packed with kids clubs, activities etc and the night time entertainment programme looked fantastic. It's a shame we missed it. The 'Strip' does have some lovely restaurants (we can highly recommend the hotels own Paella Restaurant - fantastic food, fantastic service and value for money) but it's packed out with lots of bars too mostly suited to singles or couples and not really for families, so the hotel's own entertainment really is a must - without it you would get bored - we did!
As for weather - it was rubbish! End of april/beginning of May we expected it to be nice but it was windy and a tad chilly, definitely not sunbathing weather. We spent most of our holiday going from one cafe to the next as there simply was nothing else to do! Hiring our car was an absolute must as Sao Joao doesn't offer you the real Algarve so we really enjoyed getting out and about to discover other stuff - Loule market was great and Zoomarine was entertaining for all of us, as was Slide and Splash (if only the weather was a little better).
Overall, these apartments were ok, the reps were helpful, but if you want to make the most of it go in the high season. I'd also strongly recommend doing the excursions or do it alone by hiring a car as The Algarve as so much more to offer!!!
Just back from a great two weeks holiday. The vilanova is a family orientated resort with lots of children club activities. As it was just my fiancé and I we weren't too excited about pool games and giant jenga! The kids seemed to be having a great time though! There are lovely grassy areas around the pool so we always favoured these spots rather than round the noisy pool's edge
We were in a studio apartment - two single bed/sofas on concrete beds on opposite sides of the room - not very romantic! At first I was unhappy with the room (I was opening cupboard doors hoping a bedroom might lurk behind them!). But really we only needed somewhere to rest our weary heads and although basic it was clean and tidy. Also we had a nice balcony overlooking the complex and a television with lots of channels.
There was a lot of noise at night from the nearby strip but this would quiet down about 1am and as we were always out past this hour we didn't really notice it much!. Unfortunately, I can see that this would cause problems with light sleepers or those who favoured an earlier bedtime. We were told that Portugal is now implementing strict regulations regarding the level of noise from pubs and clubs so this may improve in the near future.
Loved the strip - lots of great restaurants and different bars to try. We favoured the Portofino where we were made to feel most welcome. The beach is quite a walk (about 25 mins) but don't go to the beach down Cardiac Hill. Instead walk to the beach closer to the old town at Albufeira which is bigger and quieter. There is lots of work going on to the old town at the moment so would not want to have accommodation near there as its quite a building site. Rather a shame as its all getting so modernised that it can hardly be called the 'old town' anymore. Would recommend catching the little train into the old town - only a couple of euros each for a day ticket.
Booked the trip via Thomson but rather than a package deal just booked the flights and apartments separately through them. Would definitely recommend this – got the holiday much cheaper (just over £600 for flights and accommodation for two weeks for two people) and also had the security of having their reps on hand and 24 hour helpline which thankfully I did not have to use. The only thing for us to arrange was the transfers. On arriving, it was easy to get a taxi from the airport – cost around 40 euros. On the strip there any many places offering good rates for mini-buses for your return journey – booked that for around 18 euros for us both.
All in all had a fabulous holiday and would definitely go back. Had lovely relaxing days then great food and drink in the evening.
OK, so the apartments are pretty basic but hey- a holidays what you make it!
Excellent location & facilities
My husband and I booked a late deal to stay at the Vilanova Apartments from 1st – 8th March 07.
It was slightly cooler than I thought and I wish I’d taken some more jeans and long-sleeved tops for the daytime, it certainly wasn’t sunbathing weather but it was certainly pleasant! You need a jacket for the evening at this time of year though.
The location was perfect, in the middle of the strip amongst all the bars and restaurants, so no need to get any transport unless you want to go to the old town. We booked a studio apartment and the self-catering facilities were excellent – oven, hob, microwave, fridge, kettle, toaster plus a TV showing all the English channels. The cleaners visited every day and were very thorough – they never harassed you when you are asleep – but that’s easily fixed anyway, there is a do not disturb sign and chain on the door! The balcony was almost as large as the apartment itself.
The only downside for me was Thomson – they are just rip-off merchants. Please, DO NOT book excursions with them! I spent 24 euros each to go to Loule market, a trip my parents recommended. But it was just a 30 minute bus trip to a market that’s free to get into! We could have got taxi’s for that! We also spent 20 euros each to go to Zoomarine, which is further and includes admission – work that one out! If you want to book excursions, if you come out of the hotel and turn right you will see Liza’s pizza, next to that is a place that offers trips for a fraction of the price – the Loule trip was only 5 euros there and it was buy 2 trips get one free! Obviously I didn’t use them so can’t rate their service but I only wish I had.
Zoomarine was good, but not all of it was open, so I imagine it would be better in summer. The dolphin and sea lion shows were very good though.
With regards to restaurants – if you want pizza, Senhor Frogs is very good (go before 4pm and they do a brilliant lunchtime deal). They have deep pan pizzas like Pizza Hut! There are lots of Chinese restaurants but I highly recommend the Happy House Chinese – they offer an all you can eat buffet for 8.95 euros each from 7-11pm. And the food was wonderful! Turn left out of the apartments, down to the steakhouse at the end and turn left, it’s a few minutes down on the right hand side.
For a good Sunday lunch (even at dinner time), Luigi’s is brilliant. They offer a set menu of 9.95 to include starter, roast dinner (3 meats, roast and boiled potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, 4 veg & stuffing!), dessert, wine and after dinner drink. We were so impressed we went another night but the meal wasn’t so good, but it’s definitely worth it on a Sunday. Turn right out of the apartments, over the crossroads and it’s on the left by Destination Football.
La Bamba is really good at night, excellent cocktails, it gets very busy later on with a DJ, lots of atmosphere. Most other bars were very quiet as it was a quiet time of year.
Please watch out for timeshare. You’ve heard it all before, I thought I had but nearly got done. I was stopped by a man doing a “survey of visitors” as tourism dropped by 35% last year (apparently!). Filled out the questionnaire, didn’t ask any personal details then the stratchcards appeared. Of course I won star prize my husband won a bottle of spirit. To claim the prize you have to go “immediately” back to the new town where we had just come from and they have a bus (very handy!) to take you. They said it’s not timeshare, just a new internet booking company and they just want you to go and collect a brochure – will only take a few minutes. The reps had warned me that the bus in fact takes you miles away and you end up spending all afternoon there. I refused, they got a bit funny saying I had to go straight away, just be firm and tell them to get lost! I honestly thought it was genuine but these guys will try everything!
All in all we were very impressed. It’s a shame it was too cold to sunbathe or use the pool but the location was good, although I would imagine in peak season it is probably very loud at night. I would definitely go back but when it’s warmer but not too busy (maybe May, October).
If you would like any further information, I am only too happy to help!
Loved the complex
stayed at the villanova for 2 weeks at the beginning of september, complex was brilliant to stay on, maid service everyday, apartments clean and bright the only downfall was that we had some clothes go missing off the line and nobody seemed to bother about it, only on talking to other holidaymakers did we find out other things had gone missing too.
Stayed here 5 years ago and although the complex hasn't changed felt that the entertainment was not as good. The reps didn't really seem interested and made it obvious who their favourites were. kids clubs only go upto the age of 12 and my eldest who was 12 felt out of depth as it was full of younger ones.
overall the holiday was fantastic9/10 but the entertainment let it down.
if you chose to go to albefuria and have children don't go as late as we did as the season was beginning to end and there weren't many children there and a lot of shops and bars were closing.
better than i was expecting
After reading some reviews and speaking to people i was a bit worried.
But we got there and all was well. I had read on a review to ask for a room in block 4, because its quieter, so I did this weeks before leaving, this was the block we got and although close to everything was pretty quiet.
The apartment was ideal for us. It was spacious had a all the facilities you need, the bathroom has recently been refurbished and it was all very clean. Although the drains did smell from time to time.
The pool is great, especially for older children as its got three diving boards and Thomson team have activities going on all day.
The apartments are in the centre of everything and if you like it busy it couldn't get any better for you. I've not been to to Albufeira for 5 years and noticed that its busier than ever, you can't walk down the strip without being asked if you want 'hash' which got a bit annoying. After a few days.
we found we enjoyed ourselves more in the old town, it nicer and more relaxing down there with live entertainment in the streets.
When shopping avoid the strip. I went to get some nail clippers 15 euros in chemist on strip! They were on 3 euros in the chemist in the Old Town. Food Nappies etc all a lot cheaper out of the main tourist areas.
There was entertainment every night at the Casablanca bar, but to be honest, I thought the Thomson stuff was a bit poor. ( it had a butlins feel to it) not really my thing.!! The kids seem to have a great time though.
We had a nice holiday, and the Thomson Super Family was great for some kids, but my 3 year old was a bit shy for it. I think that older or more confident kids could have a whale of a time.
I don't think I'd go back to the strip again but in a few years, may consider a Super Family trip when the kids are older.
Portugal in general
Here are a few places to see in the Algarve:
Awe inspiring coastal village with huge sweeping vistas, massive rolling seas and waves "queuing up". Wonderful beach and just as beautiful in the winter time when its wet and windy. Be careful surfing as currents are VERY strong.
Old Moorish named town with ruins of Moorish castle there. Wonderful small restaurantes and local cuisine. Try the old road from Aljezur to the Monchiques, its fantastic. I would recommend spending a day at Monte Clerigo then heading to the Monchiques for chicken piri-piri.
Vilanova De Milfontes
Further north of Aljezur lovelly place to visit on the coast.
Caldas De Monchique
Wonderful place to have a wander round and recently has been subject to come beautiful and controlled development for tourism which has simply enhanced the ambience thank goodness.
Monchique springs - Apart from the springs in Caldas, there is another hidden location which used to be Roman baths, and was a tourist site in the 60's. It was visited less and less and eventually was abandoned. If you manage to find it you will need to park up and take a 45min hike down a hill until you reach the place. Its absolutely silent there and there are several great springs some of which are warm, others cold. Very hard to find but well worth it. There was an old pulley car at the top which was abandoned and a small farm building there. The farm owner was an old man who used to be the guide to the springs and kindly gave us a bottle of home made medronho when we got back from our expidition. Only in such a wonderful place with such wonderfully hearted people as the Portuguese can be.
As you come into Silves you will see that there is a river and the town is alongside it. There are a couple of bridges and a road out of town on the other side of the river. If you keep the river on your right and drive along through silves you will reach a roundabout. Take the last exit as though you are heading out of town and then along on the left you will find a restaurant in the bottom floor of a large Portuguese home. Our friends run it and the chicken piri-piri is wonderful. Highly recommended.
If you get on the main road (not the motorway "Via Infante De Sagres") heading from Lagos to Portimao direction you will come past Penina the big golfing complex with evergreen trees each side of the road. As you pass this you will come up a hill and there is an exit there. Don't take this exit, instead go on and the road becomes dual carriageway and bends round to the right then left again. You will then see another exit. Take this exit but go left out of Portimao signposted Sagres. You will immediately come into a small village. On the right hand side in the village is a small restaurant. The food here is so cheap it is ridiculous and the food is authentic Portuguese cuisine. Not to be missed by any means. Costs about £2 per person when we were last there.
Rest of Portugal:
What can I say? I adore and love the whole of Portugal and Spain. I love the atmosphere there, the people, and the culture. Try listening to some fado (I recommend "Dulce Pontes") or Flamenco in your car and travel inland. It brings the whole place alive when you here this kind of music. You suddenly feel the presence of the place and realise why the people express their music in this way.
-Castelo Branco, and go fruther north to the mountains.
-Lisbon (especially Sintra with the wonderful palace)
-Bucaco hotel (which was a hunting palace of the kings of Portugal) near Lisbon.
-Gouveia small beautiful town in the mountains and stay a night there and take a walk around.
My advice is to simply rent a car or take your own and just drive off into the central areas of Portugal for a week or so and ENJOY! Marvellous place.
im off to the algarve with my wife and 2 daughters aged 16 and 18 we are staying in sao joao at the vilanova villas
i would welcome any tips or observations any members may have of this complex and locality
Re: vilanova villas
Do you mean Areias de São João in Albufeira?
Re: Re: vilanova villas
You will find plenty of reviews for that on http://www.holiday-truth.com/holiday_truths/hotel_reviews/448/
Re: Re: vilanova villas
Hi there, I havn't stayed at those apartments, but have stayed in the area. We were at club oceano.
Good eating place is the Tres Palmeras restaurant which is located at the Tres Palmeras roundabout, it is a lovely place, but it gets quite busy, and I would advise booking as the local celebs go there!!
The location is lovely, as it is residential, and is really quiet. Have a great time, and let me know what you think. Hubby and are are going back in September to the same hotel, and we cannot wait!!!
Have a good trip...Vivx
P.S. Get one of the free town maps, they are really useful. A good eating place in the old town is Jo Jo's bar in music street,briliant!!