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Balaia-Sol Holiday Club 3.0

Albufeira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Charming Portuguese decor in common spaces
  • Spacious apartments with kitchenettes 
  • All have balconies or terraces, some with pool views
  • Outdoor pool and a children's pool
  • Snack bar with light fare and drinks
  • Game room with a billiards table, video games, and books
  • Public computer (fee) 
  • Free on-site parking 

Cons

  • Far from Albufeira and the beach
  • Extra charges and deposits for AC and TV remotes 
  • No in-room Wi-Fi
  • Pricey drinks and food, and fee for breakfast

Bottom Line

Balaia-Sol Holiday Club is an affordable three-pearl apartment-style hotel with a rustic Portuguese feel. The location is a bit out of the way, but The Strip and beach are both within a five-minute drive. The hotel's 41 units are a slightly dated, but they're spacious and pleasant, and have kitchenettes with mini-fridges and microwaves, and balconies or terraces. They contain flat-screen TVs, but there's no in-room Wi-Fi. Facilities are sparse here, with just an outdoor pool and snack bar, and there's a fee for breakfast. The chief drawback of the Balaia-Sol is its habit of nickel-and-diming guests with various deposits and fees. Travelers looking for more amenities can check rates at the nearby Albufeira Sol Suite Hotel & Spa. 

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Scene

Pretty landscaped grounds, with an outdoor pool and a quiet atmosphere for couples  

Balaia-Sol Holiday Club is situated on well-landscaped grounds with pine trees and hedges. There's an attractive cobblestone courtyard at the front of the property, with horse carriages and earthenware pots of flowers. The property is housed in a series of white buildings that have pretty terra-cotta roofs, one with a colorful mural depicting the old Albufeira fishing village. A pink bougainvillea-lined pergola walkway leads to a small reception area filled with tourist brochures. The interior public spaces have a distinctive feel, with elements like wood-beamed ceilings, seafaring-themed decor, and typical Portuguese blue azulejo tile. Guests spend most of their time around the outdoor pool, bordered by a deck with yellow sun loungers. The atmosphere is quiet, and some may find it boring, but the hotel tends to attract mature couples looking for a place to relax that doesn't have the noise or bachelor and bachelorette revelers of hotels closer to The Strip. 

Location

Quiet off a major highway, but far from town and the beach 

Balaia-Sol Holiday Club is just east of new town Albufeira, right off the M526, the major east-west road running across the Algarve. There's a strip of restaurants about a five-minute drive away, and a mini-market roughly 10-minutes on foot, but the hotel's location is a little out of the way, and it's far from the beach. 

Old Town Albufeira, with its historic attractions, shopping, and dining is about a 10-minute drive from the Balaia-Sol. Oura Beach and Santa Eulalia Beach are both a little more than a five-minute drive. Albufeira train station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel, and Faro Airport takes about 35 minutes by car to reach. 

Rooms

Traditional and pleasant, with kitchenettes and balconies or terraces, but a bit dated

The spacious studio and one-bedroom apartments have traditional decor and are sparsely decorated with simple, inexpensive furniture. The look is slightly dated, but spaces are still pleasant and homey. Rose-pink bedspreads and red curtains provide a nice dose of color, terra-cotta floors add a rustic touch, and there are a few cheerful prints on walls. 

Each apartment has a terrace or balcony, some with a view of the pool. All units feature kitchenettes with cookware, tableware, sinks, microwaves, mid-size fridges, toasters, and electric kettles. Flat-screen TVs and dining tables are also standard, and one-bedrooms have living areas with sofa beds, but there's no in-room Wi-Fi. 

Bathrooms have mirrors framed in Portuguese tile, but are otherwise basic. There are stall showers, pedestal sinks, and hairdryers, and some have bathtubs, but few toiletries. All guest rooms at the hotel are non-smoking. 

Features

Outdoor swimming pool with poolside bar, but lots of deposits and fees, and pricey food 

Features are limited at this hotel -- and guests should be prepared to shell out money for meals and extras. The large outdoor swimming pool, nearly 50 feet long, is the highlight, with plenty of sun loungers, a small children's pool, and a poolside bar with snacks and cocktails. A continental and English breakfast is offered for a fee, and light fare is served for lunch and dinner, but several past guests have complained about the high drink prices and quality of the food. 

Other amenities include a game room with a billiards table and video games, books to borrow, and a public computer, although guests are charged to use it. There's free on-site parking and Wi-Fi in public spaces, and the hotel runs a shuttle three times a day to Avenida Sa Carneiro, but it costs extra. Also, guests are required to pay a damage deposit at check-in that also covers basics, like towels and remote controls for AC and TVs. 

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Address

Rua do Alfaiate, Albufeira 8200-315, Portugal

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