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Monica Isabel Beach Club 2.5

Albufeira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Couple minutes' walk from the beach and short drive from the Old and New Towns
  • Large and bright apartment-style rooms with daily housekeeping
  • All rooms have kitchens with ovens and microwaves, balconies, and AC
  • Outdoor pool with plenty of loungers and shaded area
  • Indoor pool has a whirlpool and kiddy pool
  • Large main buffet restaurant with all-inclusive option
  • Big terrace bar with daytime snacks and beach views, plus a lobby bar
  • Game room, kids' club, and nightly entertainment
  • Free Wi-Fi in the lobby
  • Free parking

Cons

  • Obvious signs of aging and neglect throughout the hotel
  • Outdated furnishings, electronics, and appliances in rooms
  • Food receives mixed reviews
  • Fee for in-room Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

The lower-middle-range Monica Isabel Beach Club is a no-frills hotel with a convenient, walkable location to be beach, and short drives to the Old and New Town. The 261 apartment-style rooms are large and bright, with balconies, air-conditioning, and kitchens, but they lack style, featuring outdated appliances, linens, and TVs. On-site, guests will find an outdoor pool with ocean views, a whirlpool, kids' club, two bars, a buffet restaurant, lunchtime snack bar, nightly entertainment, and free Wi-Fi (but only in the lobby). It's worth paying slightly higher rates at the more modern and nearby Luna Clube Oceano.

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Scene

An aging all-inclusive with low-maintenance guests and lots of space to lounge

Monica Isabel Beach Club was built in 1982, so it's not surprising that the complex is showing visible signs of age and wear. Many spaces could use a facelift or complete makeover: Tile grout in the indoor pool area, dated decor in the dining areas, worn loungers by the pool, and the overlapping rolled-out sheets of fake grass on the Kiosk Bar terrace are good places to start. Overall, the hotel is big and spacious with enough room for guests to avoid being on top of each other, though most guests can be found soaking in the sun as daily fixtures around the hotel's pool and bar scenes. It's best not to expect more than the bare minimum here, but it does provide a convenient setting near the beach. 

Location

Quiet neighborhood setting, a two-minute walk to the beach

Monica Isabel Beach Club is located on the eastern end of Albufeira's Old Town, in an area mostly filled with apartments and close enough to the beach to see the water . Two golden sand beaches and a good selection of bars, shops, and restaurants are all within walking distance of the hotel, giving easy access to guests who aren't looking to explore on their own. 

  • Two-minute walk to Praia dos Alemaes
  • Four-minute walk to the park
  • Four-minute drive to the bars and restaurants on The Strip in New Town
  • 10-minute walk to Praia do Inatel
  • 10-minute drive (or 20-minute walk along the beach) to the Old Town
  • 35-minute drive to Faro Airport

Rooms

Bright but simple apartment-style rooms with dated decor and electronic, balconies, and full kitchens

All 260 apartment-style rooms are big, bright, and outfitted with air-conditioning. They also have balconies -- some with ocean views. The decor is basic and styleless, featuring a ton of white tile, old-fashioned patterned linens, dated appliances, tube-style TVs, and generic wood furniture. Daily cleaning service is a notable perk, however. Additionally, rooms have full kitchens with mini-fridges, microwaves, ovens, and electric stovetops. Bathrooms have generic toiletries, bidets, old hairdryers, and shower/tub combos. Standard One-Bedrooms, Studios, and Studio Apartments all come with two twin beds. Travelers looking to fit more or wanting a bigger bed will have to upgrade to the Superior rooms. Portable Wi-Fi devices can be requested from reception, but they cost extra. 

Features

Basic features that could all use an upgrade in one way or another

The variety of features at the hotel make it easy for lazy vacationers who want a little bit of everything at their fingertips. In fact, despite the hotel's easy beach access, most guests can be found on the fake grass-covered terrace of the Kiosk Bar or on a well-worn lounger at the outdoor pool -- which offers ocean views. There's also an indoor pool area with a whirlpool, (sometimes drained) kiddy pool, and neglected grout. The main restaurant serves three meals a day buffet-style or hot snacks like pizza and chicken dishes can be ordered from the Kiosk Bar. Food as a whole receives mixed reviews. It may not be worth the all-inclusive plan, but those on the plan will get unlimited free local-brand alcohol (name brand requires a fee). There are a kids' club for the little ones and nightly entertainment, usually on stage out by the Lobby Bar. Other onsite features include a game room, small gym, free Wi-Fi in the lobby area, and free parking. 

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Address

Forte Sao Joao , Areias de Sao Joao, Albufeira 8200-325, Portugal

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