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Reviewed 11 September 2015

My husband and I stayed here about a month ago for 10 days and I meant to write my review sooner but....!! Last summer we stayed in a fantastic hotel in Corfu (Grand Mediterraneo) and we knew that this year, the hotel had a lot to live up to - unfortunately it didn't!! The hotel has a very corporate feel (everything's dark brown for some reason, which is not a very cheerful colour!) and has quite a confusing lay out - it takes a couple of days at least to work out where you're going!
Unfortunately, even though this is advertised as a 5-star hotel, it's definitely not, especially in terms of service. We have stayed at 5-star hotels in the Far East and North America and the service at this hotel comes nowhere near the level of service you get over there. The staff didn't seem very well trained and seemed more interested in chatting to each other rather than making sure customers were given the right level of attention. They often cleared away plates before we'd finished, or sometimes forgot to lay a table for us after we'd asked a couple of times - overall, I would describe most of the standard of service here as amateurish at best, although there were a few exceptions. One waiter in the restaurant was very professional and on the ball, and the staff on Reception were generally good.
The main gripe was that this hotel was sold to us as an Adults Only hotel (which we had last year and really enjoyed), but this was nothing of the sort!! The tour operator (Jet2 - named and shamed!!) emailed us 2 weeks before the start of our holiday to say that there had been a change to the 'no-child' policy, and now the hotel were accepting a MAXIMUM of one child per room - however this turned out to be a complete lie, as we often saw families with 2, 3, 4 children, sometimes more - of course you can understand we were extremely annoyed, especially as this holiday cost more than the one we had last year which WAS Adults only and a MUCH better hotel in all respects!! THIS IS NOT AN ADULTS ONLY HOTEL - don't believe any tour operator who tries to sell it to you as such!! Needless to say, we will never be using Jet2 again and have complained to them to no avail.
It's a mystery why anyone would want to bring children to this hotel anyway, as there is no entertainment laid on for them, but they did tend to monopolise the pools though! The only entertainment laid on for adults is in the Chill Out bar on the roof, which had a weekly rota of various singers / guitarists, but there was very little atmosphere up there, as even though it was peak season, there were at best 10-12 people up there at the most on any given night and I found it pretty boring. The entertainment was much better, more varied and more fun in our hotel last year!!
As a non-smoker, it really annoyed me how smokers were allowed to smoke wherever they liked at the tables outside, and this seemed to be most people! There were no tables designated for non-smokers / smokers and I found it quite disgusting to be forced to breathe in second hand cigarette smoke when I was eating (especially at breakfast time). I think the hotel should wise up to this and realise that not everyone wants to be subjected to second-hand smoke thank you (not to mention it being a health risk)!!
This was the first hotel I have stayed in on a summer holiday where there was no information about excursions, trips etc. Normally, there is at least a notice board with some information about where you can book these, who to speak to etc, but here NOTHING!!! We always go on at least 2 or 3 trips, so I was disappointed when I asked at Reception about this and they seemed pretty disinterested, handed over a pamphlet and told me that if I wanted to book any trips to go to their sister hotel down the road! Unbelievable! They're normally biting your hand off for you to book trips! On closer inspection, the excursions in the pamphlet were pretty expensive for what they were offering (none included meals or entrance fees into monuments, museums, etc) so I thought they were a bit of a rip off. We ended up hiring a car for a few days and organising our own trips, saved money in the long run and didn't have to get up at ridiculous times of the morning to get a bus! PS Good places to visit are Lagos and Silves, but avoid Albufeira like the plague (unless you like Blackpool!) Slide & Splash waterpark is also definitely worth a visit, but try to avoid it in August if possible as we had to queue for ages - something I've never had to do in a waterpark before!!
One plus point of the hotel was the standard of the room, which was cleaned every day and towels replaced daily even though this wasn't requested. The bed was very comfortable, the hotel and area is quiet so there was never any problems getting to sleep. The only gripes were that they actually charge for replacement tea and coffee if you use them! Crikey! Never seen this before in a 5 star hotel!!! Also, even though we had a nice balcony, the room could have done with some net curtains, as there is no privacy when you open the curtains!! I thought this was rather bizarre especially as we had a view over the car park!!
The location of the hotel is quite good, and the walk down to the beach from the hotel is very pleasant (about 5 minutes). The beach itself is quite small and was always packed when we went (but it was August!). The sand and sea is very clean and nice to swim in, but be careful of the rocks in the water! There is a nice restaurant / bar on the beach, but it's quite pricey. The thing that lets this restaurant down was the standard of the toilets which I can't really go into detail here, but made my stomach churn - enough said!! There is also a shop fairly close by to the hotel and some other bars / restaurants within a 15-20 minute walk, which make a nice change from eating at the hotel all the time!
This was our first trip to Portugal, and this hotel certainly wouldn't make us want to rush back - we will definitely be going back to Greece again next year (and hopefully a REAL Adults only hotel!). We find that Greek people are overall more friendly and the food is better there - that's just my opinion of course! Another word of caution - if you can possibly avoid it, don't go to the Algarve in August, it's mega mega busy!! We actually got caught in traffic jams, which let's face it, it's stuff like that is what you're trying to get away from on holiday!

  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Gduffs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2015 via mobile

Dropped in here for a quick lunch as non residents and food was pretty good although for what we had, top end prices. However toilets were badly in need of a clean, so for us some attention to detail issues. Would come back for a drink or lunch but would like management to read this and ensure cleaning is reviewed, we did raise this on the day and front of house said they'd take care of it so hopefully . . . . .

Stayed: September 2015, travelled with friends
1  Thank AlanP905
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NAUHotels_Resorts, Gerente at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 24 November 2015

Dear Alan,

First of all, thank you very much for your presence at São Rafael Atlântico hotel.
We feel very happy to know that non residents also look for our hotel and our services.
We appreciate a lot the time you have spent to share your opinion with us.
For sure we will take care of the toilets issue. We have already reforced the cleanliness of it. Those toilets are also used for people that comes from the pool, that is why it is more complicated, but we are here to solve the problem.
Thank you very much once again and will always be a pleasure for us to welcome you!

Yours sincerely,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2015

We spent 5 nights to this hotel and we enjoyed a lot. The bedrooms with the sea view are clean and spacious. We were on halboard pension and the buffet is really good. If you are not going to the buffet restaurant you can also spend this budget to another restaurant of the hotel, which is a great option ! The swimming pools are great. The beach is really nice and the hotel is directly on the beach. I definitely recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Room with seaview
  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Morgane Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NAUHotels_Resorts, Gerente at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2015

Dear Morgane,

We were very pleased to welcome you at São Rafael Atlântico hotel.
Your review made us very happy and we will be proud to welcome you again one day if you have that chance.
There is nothing better than see our guests satisfaction, we will keep working on it.

Thank you!


Yours sincerely,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2015 via mobile

Had a very nice stay at this beautiful, but, somewhat overpriced hotel, no coffee in the room, just thee, we had a very nice suit overlooking the super nice maintained garden, water in the pools was ice ice cold, just 20 degrees, why why is that so cold? It would be such a difference with a warm pool! Pools where empty. Sunbeds where plenty and OK, just put some in the gardens...
Bar expensive. Rooms expensive.everything was well maintained. They had overbooked our room but they gave us a nice solution, so no problem. Just watch the rates please as it is all just a little bit over the top. Food at the bar..... Took a chicken wrap, chicken was cold, wrap cold, no dressing, just salad, so dry and not worth the money, this hotel is OK but they can improve on some things that give a huge difference.

Stayed: September 2015, travelled with friends
Thank Ronny r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NAUHotels_Resorts, Gerente at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2015

Dear Ronny,

Thank you very much for your presence at São Rafael Atlântico hotel.
We appreciate a lot your review and for sure we will give it our best attention in order to improve our services.


With my very best wishes,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2015

We stayed early Seotember 2015 and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The hotel is a genuine 5 star and we would not hesitate to return. The hotel does have a slightly 'businessy' feel, and it does have a business centre and obviously caters to that market. We were thee purely for relaxation and the rooms and facilities were first class. The hotel has a quiet feel and there is not a bustling bar or entertainment scene. The nightly entertainment was a Portuguese singer or band. We were bed and breaks and the buffet breakfast was very good with a wide variety. We ate lunch or had snacks at the hotel on a couple of occasions and the food was nice. We spoke with others who were staying half or full board and the dinner buffet was not highly recommended but I cannot speak to that. For me the biggest attraction of the hotel is the link to the wonderful Sao Rafael beach. Both the beach and the pool areas are immaculate. The staff were great also and I would recommend this hotel without hesitation.

  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Titchsloan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NAUHotels_Resorts, Gerente at Sao Rafael Atlantico, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2015

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for sharing your opinion with us.
It was a pleasure for us to welcome you and we feel very happy to know that you have enjoyed your Holidays.
We appreciate a lot our guest's reviews and we use them to help us to improve and make the necessary changes.
We hope to have the pleasure of your presence again!

Kind regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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