Small apartment complex with homey and peaceful vibe
A few minutes' walk from stretch of sandy beach
10-minute walk from supermarkets and some restaurants
One-bedroom apartments have separate lounges and kitchens
Kitchen facilities include full-size fridges and washing machines
Tidy secluded garden with swimming pool and splash pool
Open-plan breakfast room, lounge, bar, and game room
Some dated furnishings throughout
Away from any nightlife (a pro for some)
No full restaurant or fitness facilities
Wi-Fi signal can be weak
The mid-range Clube Maria Luisa is a small apartment complex set on the outskirts of the Algarve's Olhos de Agua resort. It's a quiet and largely residential setting, away from nightlife, though a short (and fairly steep) stroll from a lovely stretch of sandy beach. The 21 self-contained apartments have separate bedrooms, lounges, and fully equipped kitchens with washing machines. Poor TV and Wi-Fi give an excuse to disconnect and lounge in the secluded garden or splash in the swimming pool. A bar and breakfast room complete fairly limited facilities, so travelers looking for a more to do will prefer the nearby Porto Bay Falesia, which has a spa and additional dining options.
Small, circular apartment complex with central garden and serene atmosphere
What first distinguishes the Clube Maria Luisa from the vast majority of apartment complexes in Albufeira, and most of the Algarve, is its distinctive -- and innovative -- architecture. Although not immediately obvious, initially the low-rise peach facade is rather unremarkable, the building adds floors as it spirals round in a complete circle. Contained in the center is a particularly peaceful and secluded garden with neatly tended lawns, trees, and shrubbery. Inside, the public areas are bright and colorful, albeit a bit dated, with large potted plants, brick-red walls, and a jumble of various decorative objects that combine for a relaxed, homey feel. At just 21 apartments, the property could certainly be described as intimate, lending a quiet atmosphere that some may find a little too sedate. Most guests -- largely older couples -- however, enjoy the peace and seclusion.
Peaceful setting on edge of Olhos de Agua, a quick walk to sandy beach
The complex is located in a largely residential neighborhood on the outskirts of the Algarve town of Olhos de Agua, positioned an equal distance between the busier resorts of Vilamoura and Albufeira. Parts of the surrounds are still in a state of development, though there's a main road dotted with restaurants and a couple supermarkets around 10 minutes away on foot. Just across the road from the hotel, steps lead down to the pretty Praia Maria Luisa beach and a beachfront restaurant -- though some might find the climb back up a challenge. The lively nightlife of the renowned "Strip" is about a 10-minute drive, while Albufeira's charming Old Town is 15 minutes. The nearest airport is outside Faro, around 35 minutes' drive away, while the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, is about two and a half hours.
Bright, clean apartments with rustic touches and fully equipped kitchens
The 21 air-conditioned apartments have one bedroom with separate lounges and kitchens, and sleep up to four adults. Units are clean and decor is a mix of bright, even garish, splashes of color against a background of rustic tiling, wooden floors, and pine furniture. All units open to spacious terraces or balconies, either looking inward to the pool and garden, or out over the surrounding car park and fields beyond. Lounges come with sofa beds, dining areas, and flat-screen TVs (with just one English-speaking news channel). Free Wi-Fi is provided, but the signal is generally very weak. Kitchens are well-equipped, with microwaves, full-size fridges with freezers, coffee machines, kettles, electric hobs, and even washing machines. Bathrooms are a little old-fashioned but functional with shower/tub combos, wall-mounted hairdryers, and simple toiletries.
Kidney-shaped swimming pool, plus separate splash pool for kids
There's not a ton in the way of facilities, as the hotel notably lacks a full restaurant and fitness facilities. One spacious open-plan room acts as a breakfast room, game space, bar, and general lounge. Breakfast is served buffet-style each morning and is not included as standard. The hotel's secluded garden has a kidney-shaped swimming pool -- which can be chilly -- plus a splash pool for kids and plenty of loungers.
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