We stayed at this hotel in 2005 when it operated as a Riu Palace. We hold very pleasant memories of this holiday so we decided the Falesia Atlantic should be our first Sensimar experience when looking for a last minute pre-Christmas break.
Upon arrival our initial impression was that little had changed. We were shown to a seat and given the usual registration form to fill out. We were also each given a glass of cava. Check-in was completed efficiently and we were allocated room 1006. We were asked if we needed help with our luggage which we declined as unnecessary before making our way to the lift.
First impressions of our room were extremely favorable. It was equipped with a huge bed and more than adequate storage for clothing and personal items. The colour scheme involved several matching neutrals with one or two brightly coloured accessories and gave a light, airy appearance. The bathroom was equipped with a massive walk in shower. This had a large fixed overhead shower head as well as a hand held one. At the other end of the shower enclosure was a handy shelf on which to place toiletries. The bathroom sink was a large trough like basin which ran almost the full length of the vanity unit and the toilet area was equipped with a bidet.
A sliding door led on to a balcony which overlooked immaculately kept grounds leading to the famous pine cliffs that drop down to Falesia Beach. Indeed, from our balcony we could see the whole way along to Villamoura and could even make out the Praia de Faro in the distance.
There were, however, two major shortcomings with the room.
1 The firmness of the bed
2 The lack of efficient air conditioning.
We realise that in some cases complaints of a bed being too firm or too soft are simply a reflection of personal preference. Not in this case. There was little to no give in the bed and we suspect the use of a mattress topper may have been a largely unsuccessful attempt to make it more comfortable. We did not, however, raise the matter with hotel staff as we presumed all beds would be made up in the same way. We did ask if it was possible to get larger and softer pillows but were told the ones we had were standard to all rooms.
As far as the air conditioning is concerned it may as well have been non-existent. The temperature control was set to zero, the blower set to full power and it made the right noises but failed to lower the temperature. The only way to make the air in the room any cooler was to run the ceiling fan at the same time which at least created some air movement. The rise in temperature when entering the room from the corridor was very noticeable. When we retired in the evenings the only way to keep the temperature bearable was to leave the balcony door open until actually settling down to sleep and then leave the fan running. We stayed at the hotel from Thursday November 2 to Thursday November 9 and on the Sunday (November 5) I raised the issue with a member of staff at the reception desk. Notes were made about it but it appeared no action was taken. Had we been staying another week we would have had to raise the matter again as the inability of the air conditioning to lower the room temperature was becoming a major problem. All we wanted was to be able to emulate the pleasantly cool conditions in the hotel's public areas in our bedroom but this was impossible.
In general, the food offering at breakfast and dinner was of a reasonable standard. Breakfast was the usual selection of cereals, breads, hot food, cold meats and cheeses, yoghurts, fruits and juices. My coffee was served with hot milk and Susan's tea with cold milk. We were both slightly taken aback one morning when there was no cold milk supplied with her tea. I politely asked if some could be brought to the table and the waiter obliged. However, he also took the opportunity to tell me "for future reference" whereabouts it could be found at the furthest corner of the self service buffet. Prior to this and on every subsequent morning it was automatically brought to our table with the tea.
The best dinner selection was undoubtedly supplied on the evening of the gala meal which takes place every Saturday. This involves a champagne cocktail for every guest and a parade of staff in the foyer before the doors to the dining room open for the meal. The idea appears to be to provide guests with an opportunity to applaud the staff in recognition of the service they provide.
By contrast the most disappointing night was the Portuguese themed dinner on our final evening in the hotel. This was the first time in our seven night stay that we encountered the lukewarm to cool food often complained of by people on half board holidays in the European sunspots.
In terms of food quality our best meal was the one we enjoyed in the hotel's Culinarium a la carte restaurant.
If you go to this hotel expecting it to be exactly as it was when operating as a Riu Palace you will feel a little cheated. The food selection is not as wide. The lunchtime buffet in the Culinarium is no longer in operation, although there is a nice lunch menu in the restaurant, and when we were there waiters did not appear to make regular rounds of the sunbeds by the pool to take drinks orders.
However, staff did go out of their way to be helpful and friendly. The guest relations manager was very pleasant and took time to talk to guests. When we realised on our first evening that our shower drain was blocked, the problem was solved within 15 minutes. Now that is good service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 4*TUI BLUE Falesia is a holiday resort located on the seafront, in Albufeira, at the Algarve, Portugal, for adults only. It has 349 rooms surrounded by extensive gardens, 3 restaurants, 1 bar, 3 swimming pools, sauna and gym, WiFi access with a fee. With access to a small cove directly from the hotel. Located only a 15 minutes walk from Falesia Beach away, 10 minutes from Albufeira and 20 minutes from Faro International Airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Palace Algarve Albufeira
- TUI BLUE Falesia Olhos De Agua, Portugal - Albufeira