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Real Marina Hotel & Spa 3.5

Olhao, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Across from Olhao Marina, overlooking Ria Formosa Natural Park 
  • Five- to 10-minute walk to numerous restaurants and bars
  • Spacious, modern rooms with furnished balconies plus marina or village views
  • All rooms are air-conditioned and have flat-screen TVs
  • Two restaurants and a bar, plus room service
  • Indoor and outdoor pools, plus kids' pool and kids' club
  • Full-service spa features sauna, special showers, and steam room
  • Fitness center and exercise classes
  • Business center and large events spaces
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Free parking

Cons

  • Breakfast is not included in most rates
  • No electric kettles for coffee or tea in rooms
  • Lack of evening entertainment (a pro for some)

Bottom Line

The 144-room Real Marina Hotel & Spa is a quiet three-and-a-half-pearl property across the street from the marina in the fishing village of Olhao. Plenty of restaurants and bars are within walking distance, as is the train station. Rooms are spacious and modern, and all have furnished balconies with views of the marina or village. Dining is offered in two restaurants and a bar, and half-board rates are available. The outdoor pool and terrace overlooking the marina is a popular spot for hanging out, and the kids have their own pool and a kids' club. There is also a a fitness center, indoor pool, and spa. Travelers who'd like the option of preparing some of their own meals could check out the next-door Real Marina Residence, where apartments have kitchens. 

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Scene

Modern hotel with a quiet atmosphere that's most appealing to couples

This modern hotel is housed in a four-story white building with blue and orange accents and balconies across the facade. It's a sharp first impression, and the modern vibe extends throughout the property, making this one of the better options that we have seen in the Algarve in this category. The lobby is large and open, with a long reception desk and big windows letting in plenty of that Portuguese sun. Small tables and chairs with retro silhouettes are dotted about, providing seating for guests. The most popular place for hanging out is the outdoor pool and terrace overlooking the marina, though with a distinct lack of nighttime entertainment on most evenings, the atmosphere is low key. It's a quiet, relaxed setting, drawing mostly couples, but also families and groups looking for an affordable, laid-back vacation. Its events spaces also draw business guests for meetings, as well as leisure guests for weddings. 

Location

Across the street from the marina, a five- to 10-minute walk to restaurants and bars

This hotel is situated across the street from the Olhao Marina, overlooking the Ria Formosa Natural Park (one of Portugal's Seven Natural Wonders). The hotel itself does not have a beach, but guests can walk across the street to the marina for boats to the islands of Farol, Culatra, and Armona to access beaches. The Olhao Market is nearby and is a picturesque place to visit and observe local culture. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes within a five- to 10-minute walk. Olhao's railway station is about a mile away, and Faro Airport is about a 15-minute drive from the hotel. It will take just a bit longer by car to reach the center of Faro's historic district.

Rooms

Spacious, modern rooms and suites with furnished balconies overlooking marina or the village

The hotel's modern rooms and suites are a nice step up from many of the three-and-a-half-pearl hotels that we've seen throughout the Algarve. Decor features striped carpeting, crisp color schemes of white and blue (or slightly less attractive orange and brown), and clean-lined white wood furniture. Latticework beside the tall headboards is typical of the Arab architectural influences found throughout the Algarve, and adds a welcome bit of local personality. Standard Rooms start at 25 square meters (269 square feet), so all rooms are relatively spacious. Amenities include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, and safes. Unfortunately, there are no electric kettles for coffee or tea. Bathrooms are modern and swish, with white marble countertops, bidets, tiled shower/tub combos, hairdryers, and upscale toiletries from Porto, in the north of the country. Balconies are furnished with chairs and a small table. Some overlook the city, and some have views of the marina. Suites add extra space with a separate living and dining areas, plus a sofa bed and dining table and chairs. 

Features

Two restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, kids' pool and club, full-service spa, and fitness center

There are a number of features at this hotel, including two restaurants that serve all meals. Restaurante do Real provides a breakfast buffet, plus traditional Algarvian and Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner in a bright, open space with large windows along one side. In warmer months, guests can dine on the terrace. Ria Lounge Restaurante & Bar also offers casual indoor and outdoor seating by the pool. The Real Bar is a hip space with bright orange light fixtures, though entertainment is relatively infrequent.

The large outdoor pool is suitable for swimming laps. Guests can also lounge poolside, or on the large terrace with plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas. Views are of the lagoon in the distance. Kids have their own little pool, plus a brightly colored kids' club that features games and toys. There's also an indoor pool and whirlpool with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, allowing in lots of natural light. Lounge chairs are lined up along the wall. 

A variety of treatments are available in the bright, modern spa, and there's a sauna, steam room, and special showers for hydrotherapies. The fitness center offers cardio and weight-training equipment in a bright space with windows. Personal trainers are available, as are group classes. An attractive business center offers computers and printers for guests to use. More than 20 event spaces can accommodate up to 600 people for receptions, and planners are available to assist with all the details. Wi-Fi and parking are both free.

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Address

Avenida 5 de Outubro, Olhao 8700, Portugal

Phone

351 289 091 300

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