Stylish spa, spa pool, and extensive health facilities
Playground and kids' activities are offered in high season
Restaurant serving Mediterranean food, plus room service and themed buffets
Live music and dancing for adults, plus kids' activities and a playground
Free parking and Wi-Fi
Not within walking distance of Lagos' old town and no shuttle
Bedrooms in apartments don't have TVs
Breakfast isn't included and not all apartments can use room service
No proper kids' club
Fresh and modern isn't always the way to describe aparthotels in the Algarve, but the Belmar Spa & Beach Resort deserves both of those adjectives. The 189 contemporary apartments range from studios to three-bedroom units, all with full kitchens and balconies. This four-pearl option is perched on a hill above Praia de Porto de Mos, which is just a five-minute walk away. There's a good amount to like on-site as well, including multiple pools, high-season dancing and live music (plus kids' activities), a stylish spa, extensive fitness facilities that include soccer pitches, and an overall quiet atmosphere. Unfortunately, it's not close enough to walk to Lagos' charming old town, so travelers wanting apartments closer to the action might want to consider the Marina Club Lagos instead.
Attractive, modern aparthotel for self-caterers and those who like a little pampering
During our time in the Algarve, we saw our share of outdated, drab, and downmarket apartment-style hotels. Given those experiences, our visit to the Belmar Spa & Beach Resort was a real pleasure, as the hotel is one of the sharper apathotels that we found in the region. The Belmar has a tranquil vibe that's a nice change of pace for the region. From the moment you walk inside, where the towering Zen-garden inspired atrium bisects the large lobby, the vibe feels a step above its competition. Chic clusters of low seating sit to one side, while a handsome Scandinavian-minimalist lobby bar is to the other. Outside, bright white apartments blocks cluster around nicely tended landscaping and lively, but never raucous, pools. Make no mistake, there's plenty to do here -- from the spa to the nearby beach -- and the live entertainment and dancing in high season guarantees that it doesn't stay completely sedate. Given its massive apartments and self-catering ethos, families unsurprisingly make up the bulk of guests here, though couples from the U.K., Ireland, Spain, and Portugal also pass through, drawn in part by the great spa and proximity to the sea.
On a hill outside old town Lagos, a five-minute walk to Praia de Porto de Mos
Travelers wanting to walk in and out of the charming old town may want to look elsewhere, as it's too far for a stroll, but those who want to be within an easy walk of the beach are in luck. The Belmar sits on a hill above Praia de Porto de Mos, one of Lagos' larger beaches that's a five-minute stroll down the hill. The immediate area is a blend of local residences and vacation condo developments, and stays quiet day and night. The trade-off is that there isn't much to do in the immediate area. It's a five-minute drive into Lagos' old town, and it takes the same amount of time to reach the stunning clifftop vistas at Ponta da Piedade. Meia Praia, the main Lagos beach, is a 10-minute drive across the river. Sagres -- the end-of-the-world-feeling beach town at the west end of the Algarve -- is a 30-minute drive west and makes a nice day trip. It will take about an hour to reach the airport in Faro by car, and Lisbon is nearly three hours away by car.
Spacious studios to three-bedroom apartments, all with contemporary style and full kitchens
As the number of families who stay here might suggest, the size of the apartments are a major draw. They range from studios to three-bedroom units, and all have a sharp, contemporary look. Colors run cool, with beiges, creams, and browns contrasting the white walls, white floors, and dark wood-veneer furniture. Potted plants and complementary abstract wall art add a bit of appeal, and details like plush patterned pillows and upholstered headboards help make these apartments feel more upscale than most of the local competition.
All apartments include full kitchens with microwaves, ovens, stovetops, toasters, blenders, kettles, and all manner of cook- and dishware. Everything is done in handsome stainless steel, further elevating the look. There are dining areas as well. All units except studios have washer/dryers. Other standard features include air-conditioning in every room, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, safes, plenty of storage, electronic blackout screens, and balconies or terraces. Some units have two floors, and others have rooftop balconies with excellent views of the neighborhood and sea. All rooms are quiet, and a few open directly onto the pools (the may pick up some noise during the day). Stocking services for kitchens can be arranged ahead of time.
Multiple pools, sleek spa, great fitness options, plus lobby bar, restaurant, and high-season entertainment
The Belmar again sets itself apart from other aparthotels in the region with its nice range of features. There are multiple pools here, including the handsome main pools that look out to sea. The decks have a number of lounge chairs, and in high season there's everything from poolside bars (with waiter service) to kids' entertainment and activities. Beach and pool towels are free. Those who need more ways to relax might head to the spa, which has a sleek Asian vibe and a swish hydrotherapy pool. There's a playground for kids, as well as a soccer pitch. The fitness center is great, and includes a nice selection of modern cardio and weight-training equipment. Yoga classes are also offered, so check ahead.
Given that most guests self-cater, dining options are limited, though the Mediterranean restaurant is reasonably priced and does a nice breakfast buffet (though it's not included with all rates). There are also themed buffets in high season, and happy hours are offered in the lobby bar. Live music and dancing also take place in high season. Room service is available for apartments in the main building.
Unfortunately, the hotel doesn't have a shuttle to Lagos' old town. There is abundant parking on-site, which is free. Wi-Fi is also free throughout the hotel, and there are even meeting rooms for anyone interested in holding corporate events here.
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