Tivoli Arade is a comfortable 4 star hotel situated on the Marina. Rooms are big (actually they are studios), comfortable and clean. The rooms have the following facilities: TV, air conditioning, safe, refrigerator.
What pleased me the most in the room was the magnificent balcony: equipped with a table and 2 chairs it faced the marina and on the left it was the River Arade and the castle on the beach. At the end of the afternoon you could enjoy the fabulous golden tones of sunset on the beach and castle.
The room included breakfast, which was served on a different “wing” of the hotel. The breakfast room is situated near the reception desk, meaning that from our room till the restaurant it was short walk of about 5 to 10 minutes. If weather is ok, it is a pleasant walk, if it’s raining, you’d better drive.
Concerning breakfast, there is a great variety of choice, and everything I tried was excellent. There are tables on the esplanade for those who enjoy their breakfast by the sea. We did it a couple of days as the weather was sunny and it was such a great way to begin the day.
The hotel claims to have a private beach, although I may not account to its quality as I didn’t go to the hotel’s beach. The swimming pool is good.
This review refers to March 2005.
Marred by poor service and teeny tiny worms
Our room was clean, and extremely spacious, though the bathroom floor required cleaning upon check in (someone hairy apparently stayed prior to us), and we found an infestation of teeny tiny worms in the bathroom. Our junior suite was equipped with a kitchen area including pots and pans, which was a nice extra, and also had a nice little balcony. We had a good view of the marina, and were about a 5 minute walk around the marina to reception and the restaurant. The small pool was quieter than the large pool, and less crowded.
The staff were, as mentioned by other reviewers, unfriendly and unhelpful, and bordering on rude. No maps were available, and generally, directions were vague. One gentleman, who wore glasses, was the most helpful. The welcome was non-existant.
There are 2 computers in the lobby for use by guests, and a small gym with a nice view of the marina. Breakfast was decent, and the patio has a nice view of the river and a beach on the other side. Unfortunately, the restaurant was usually very busy which made it quite difficult to find a table, and even more difficult to get it cleared and set. Might be better when it's not peak season.
The hotel is a short walk from Praia da Rocha. Avoid Dockside restaurant at all costs - the food was very overpriced (especially for Portugal) and bland and overcooked, and our waiter tried to rip us off. When questioned about our fish, which was 2 times the size and therefore 2 times the price of what we had requested, the waiter developed amnesia. I overheard the table behind us complain of something similar, and I suspect the other reviewer below who thought his overpriced meal was due to a communication problem was a victim of the same approach. We complained to the manager who refunded half the price of the fish without question, which makes me wonder if this happens often. And watch out for overrpriced cover items - racking up an additional 10 euros on a dinner for 2, if you aren't careful. 10 euros will buy you a whole dinner elsewhere. We loved the Churrasqueira da Rocha. What it lacks in atmosphere (essentially, no atmosphere - family-style and perhaps over-bright), it makes up for with value and flavour. The chicken is delicious, as was the tomato salad, and the restaurant actually has a beach view if you get there before sundown. We paid less than 20 euros for a dinner for 2, including house wine. Waitstaff did their job efficiently, and were straight-forward. A great choice if you are going with kids, for groups, or if you aren't going for a romantic dinner.
We thought Praia da Rocha was not much to write home about. Lagos makes a nice day trip and the beaches are better. Don't bother with the town of Portimao.
Overall, the Tivoli Arade was a decent hotel which is probably the most pleasant in the area, and has the benefit of being off the main strip. Unfortunately, the unhelpful and unfriendly staff knocks this place down from a 4 star to a 3 star.
As an aside, if you are going to Lisbon as well, we loved the Olissippo Castelo - well kept, great breakfast with fresh OJ, and the rooms have sizeable patios with 2 deck chairs. Staff were helpful, and the stay was very pleasant. We got a fantastic rate on venere (75 Euros/night). It's a bit of a hike up a hill, but you can easily catch one of the trams.
Think twice before chosing this hotel…
Be careful before choosing this hotel for your holidays. It is very close to a river and we got terrible smells and parasites from it… Lots of hotel rooms are really far from the reception and restaurant.
There was no fresh coffee or orange juice at breakfast - both came from a machine.
No member of staff offered to help us with our luggage at check in. We had to ask directions to the various facilites within the hotel.
There is no room service.
The housekeeper/maid service did not make our room until 4.30pm
If you are travelling by car, you need to get a ticket from reception everytime you leave the hotel (as there is a barrier). This can be a hassle if there is a queue at reception.
Overall, we felt the food and level of service made this hotel more of a three star than 4 star. In fact, the lack of staff presence made it feel more like a motel than a hotel.
This cheap hotel may be your worst nightmare.
My wife and I and another couple stayed here for 6 nights and had a great time. The hotel is wonderfully and beautifully located in the marina area of Portimao. The rooms are large, well equipped with a 2 burner stove and mini fridge. The included brakfast was good. You can order omelets or other special requests simply by asking but they don't volunteer this info. Cab fares to anywhere in Portimao or Praia Da Rocha is 4 euros with a small tip.
The Titanic restaurant is something special at reasonable pricess for the exceptional prices and service. Except for brakfast the restaurant in the hotel is mediocre...not bad but not great.
All in all a great experience.
Portimao is the second largest town (after Faro) in the Algarve region of Portugal.
It stands aside the Arade river. A number of boat trips set out from Portimao, heading out to sea for fishing trips, along the coast to visit the caves or up river to the charming town of Silves.
The town itself is more of a commercial centre than a tourist hot spot, but is a great base for exploring the rest of the coast. The beaches of Praia da Rocha, Alvor and Ferragudo are all within easy reach (5-10 minutes by taxi).
Portimao has a train station which connects the town with most other towns and resorts along the Algarve coast. Faro (and the international airport) can be reached in approximately 1 hour 20 minutes by train, while Lagos is a mere 20 minutes away.
Portimao offers an extensive range of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops and is particularly renowned for the cluster of restaurants located under the bridge, close to the riverside, which specialise in sardines.
There are a number of pleasant parks and squares in the city in which to sit and soak up the sun.