Close to a few beautiful, white-sand local beaches
Common areas have beautiful statement ceilings and Gaudí-esque architecture
Rooms on the top floor have great balconies and views
In-room mini-fridges, small flat-screen TVs, AC, and desks
Relaxing pool and gardens with canopy beds and hammocks
All-day eatery serving Mediterranean and international cuisine
Covered parking is available on-site (though at a daily rate)
Guests can rent bicycles and cars at the hotel
Wi-Fi is free and available throughout the property
Lots of hidden fees for amenities and facilities that can add up
Bland rooms are outdated and overdue for a makeover
Food at the restaurant varies in quality, and portions run small
In-room satellite TVs don't offer many English-language channels
The mid-range Alcazar Hotel and Spa has lots of potential -- its location, for example, is excellent and the town itself is charming for a quiet holiday. One beach is just five minutes' walk away, and others are within a short drive. However, the 119 guest rooms are a bit dated and not up to the four-star standard the hotel bills itself as: they're quite drab and uninspiring. Worse, the hotel has hidden feels and small charges for just about anything you might want to do on-site, whether it's racket rental for the tennis courts, a towel for the outdoor pool, or visiting the gym. Travelers wanting a beachside hotel that includes a bit more should look into the Vasco de Gama hotel in town (though be sure to request a modern room).
Simple property has a mix of dated and contemporary interiors and is popular with couples.
The exterior of the hotel -- all glass, brick columns, and balconies -- and contemporary lobby makes promises that much of the rest of the hotel unfortunately can't keep. While the facade and common areas look fairly modern, the rooms underdeliver with their bland and somewhat outdated design in need of a makeover. The lobby, however, has a beautiful cave-like ceiling and Gaudi-like curves in its archways and windows. Furniture here at least is fairly modern, with clean-lined wicker sofas, whitewashed arches, and globe-like lamps. Garden grounds with hammocks and a pool make for a relaxing setting, though many guests, which are primarily couples, head to the nearby beaches.
Close to several local beaches, Monte Gordo is a great place for a quiet holiday.
Although the quiet road the hotel is on isn't much to look at, the town of Monte Gordo is charming and pretty quiet -- most who visit here tend to be older couples or younger ones looking for relaxation instead of a nightlife hotspot. It's a great choice for beach-lovers, since it's just a five-minute walk from the white sand and surf of Monte Gordo beach. Other stretches of sand are close by, too: Cacela Velha and Manta Roja beaches are about 20 minutes by car. Guests can also use the hotel's minibus to get around the area if they want.
There's a shopping mall, La Plaza, about 20 minutes away and across the border into Spain (oddly, hotel website bills it as much closer than it is). However, there's more shopping in the city center, about five minutes from the property, as well as restaurants (many guests choose to eat outside the hotel). Estuario do Rio Guadiana, a beautiful beachside park, is about 10 minutes away by car. Faro International Airport is about a 45-minute drive away.
Rooms are bland, and the small bathrooms are old-fashioned.
Rooms are a bit dated with white walls, honey-toned wood furniture, red bedding, striped curtains, and small artwork in red and/or yellow. On the plus side, everything is well-maintained. All rooms are air-conditioned and have mini-fridges and flat-screen satellite TVs, though they have limited English-language channels. However, there are no tea- and coffee-making facilities and safes cost extra to use
The best views and balconies tend to be with the top-floor units; other rooms come in a family format with two bedrooms and a bathroom. Each unit is cleaned daily, which is a plus for a beach hotel where sand is easily and frequently tracked in. Old-fashioned bathrooms are on the small side and equipped with shower/tub combos. Havana-brand toiletries and hairdryers are included.
The hotel has a great saltwater outdoor pool, though some find the music playing to be an annoyance and pool towels need to be hired from reception. A children's pool and playground are nearby. Guests who want a bit of activity can use the tennis court, though the court isn't the cleanest, and, like the with towels, it's a bit bothersome to have to pay for the rackets. Visitors can rent bikes from the front desk, and there are trails surrounding the property that are great for cycling or jogging.
A wonderful spa is on-site with modern facilities, where visitors can get a massage or hit up the hammam, indoor pool, or sauna, though it'll cost quite a few euro just to use the facilities, and guests need to wear a swim cap (which, again, costs extra). There's a decent gym with a reasonable amount of equipment, but again, there's a charge on a per-visit basis. Guests can kick back in an outdoors relaxation area with really beautiful canopy sunbeds. Inside, there are a game room and billiards for rainy days or teens, and for better or for worse, there's also karaoke.
Guests can also rent cars from the property, and cover parking (a blessing in the hot summer sun) is available on site, though visitors with cars need to book a spot in advance. There's a daily rate, though not an unreasonable one (7.50 euro at the time of our visit in October 2017). Wi-Fi is free and available throughout the property
Restaurant Al-Gharb takes its name from the Arabic name for the Algarves, and serves Mediterranean and international dishes in a dining room inspired by its linguistic roots. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available on the menu, though the food isn't always up to par. Portion sizes tend to run very small for the price, even at lunch, which is disappointing. Food varies in quality, although generally breakfast is a bit better than the evening meals at the restaurant. Some guests choose to walk into town instead.
The bar, Alambique, has live music and inexpensive drinks, though the swooping, intricate ceiling is really the highlight here (a less-impressive, though still pretty, ceiling hangs over the dining room). There's also a small pool bar next to an indoor relaxation area.
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