Five-minute walk to numerous restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops
All rooms have flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and balconies or terraces
Some rooms have a fresh, modern look -- these are worth the money
Outdoor pool with bar and kids' pool
Playground for kids and low-key entertainment for adults
Restaurant and bar with room service
All-inclusive rates are available
Small fitness center for a basic workout
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Some rooms are past due for a refresh
Food at restaurant gets mixed reviews
Breakfast not included in standard rates
Limited parking on-site
The 84-room Hotel Oriental is an upper-middle-range option located right on Praia da Rocha. Although it's in a quieter area, it's only a five-minute walk to numerous restaurants, pubs, and shops to the west. Dining gets mixed reviews, and all-inclusive rates are available, but there are plenty of options close at hand. Rooms are a mix of lovely, modern spaces and some that are past their prime. All have furnished balconies or terraces, and some have full views of the beautiful beach or kitchenettes. The pool and lawn provide relaxing places to hang out, and kids get their own pool and a small playground. Travelers looking for lower rates in a beachfront hotel could check out the nearby Hotel da Rocha, although it offers less for families.
Moorish-style beachfront hotel with relaxed atmosphere and mix of modern and dated spaces
This hotel is housed in a yellow and white Moorish-style five-story building with white minarets on top. This characterful choice immediately sets a tone that puts this hotel in a different category from its competition, mostly for the better. Inside, a unique water feature flows through the first floor with a colorful Moorish lighting fixture above. More Moorish lighting hangs above the small golden front desk that is just to the right of the front door. Architectural details throughout feature typical Moorish elements such as arches, decorative tiles, and geometric designs. In the lobby and hallways, loveseats and upholstered ottomans and chairs provide seating where guests can hang out. In back of the hotel and across from the beach, a grassy lawn shaded by palm trees is a peaceful spot for relaxing on lounge chairs. The hotel has a relaxed atmosphere, though some interiors are a mix of dated and modern spaces. It's most popular with couples, but families and groups looking for a quiet beach vacation also make their way here.
Directly on Praia da Rocha, a five-minute walk to restaurants, bars, and shops
For travelers wanting to be right on the beach, it's hard to beat the location of Hotel Oriental. It sits directly on Praia da Rocha, at the quieter eastern end of the the strip of restaurants and bars that make up the hotel zone in Portimao. It's only a five-minute walk to the heart of the action -- filled with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs -- though keep in mind that this part of town is desolate and boring during the off season. There are also plenty of souvenir shops and a casino nearby. The Fort of Santa Catarina is a 10-minute walk away. Downtown Portimao -- which has a scruffy, local character -- is about a seven-minute drive from the hotel, and the popular Slide & Splash water park is about 20 minutes away by car. Those wanting a dose of charming Algarve style can make the 15-minute drive to the town of Farragudo, across the river. Faro Airport is just under an hour's drive east of the hotel, while it's about two-and-a-half hours by car to Lisbon.
Mix of dated and modern rooms, all with balconies or terraces, some with kitchenettes
The hotel offers studios, suites, and rooms, all with balconies or terraces, and some with direct beach views. Decor varies greatly, however, as some are sharp and modern, while others are long past due for a refresh. It's worth checking ahead to make sure that you're getting your money's worth. Dated rooms have old tiling, light wood furniture, old amenities like tube hairdryers, and gaudier details. However, modern rooms -- like the Family and Superior Rooms that we saw during our visit -- feature lovely color schemes of teal and taupe, with clean-lined light or dark wood furniture, wood floors, leather sofa beds in some, and modern light fixtures. We especially liked the carved headboards and handsome patterns in the soft furnishings. These units also have bathrooms that are modern and fresh, with teal mosaic tiling or an accent wall plus shiny fixtures and white countertops. They come with bidets, hairdryers, and upscale toiletries. Some have shower/tub combos, and others just have showers. Standard amenities include flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, mini-fridges, tea/coffee makers, free Wi-Fi, and safes. Kitchenettes are available in some rooms and include cook tops, sinks, microwaves, and mini-fridges, but in the Studio and Suite that we saw, the fixtures were all dated.
Beach access, outdoor pool with children's pool, playground, restaurant and two bars, plus a playground
Without question, the biggest advantage of this hotel is its beachfront location. Free beach towels are provided, and non-affiliated beds are available on the beach for a small fee. The hotel also has a pool and children's pool. These are surrounded by lounge chairs and lawns, and look out onto the beach. Steps lead directly from the hotel down to the sand. For the grown-ups, there's a small fitness center with a few cardio machines and a weight-trainer. For the kids, there's a little outdoor playground on the lawn across from the beach.
A breakfast buffet is served daily in the restaurant, which offers international fare for lunch and dinner as well. There's also a small bar adjacent and one by the pool. Unfortunately, the food doesn't get great marks here, though all-inclusive rates are available. It might be worth booking the room only and heading to the hotel zone strip to eat. Entertainment is limited and low-key, including fado nights -- these usually end early enough to keep things peaceful (though fado is hardly a rowdy form of music).
Two computers are set up in the lobby for guests to use, and Wi-Fi is free throughout. Unfortunately, parking is limited and most guests resort to having to find on-street parking in the neighborhood.