Serene location a five-minute drive from the beach
Several golf courses within a 10-minute drive
Spacious studios and apartments with full kitchens and balconies
Pleasant pool with a few loungers and a kiddy section
Seasonal restaurant with good food and poolside seating
Rates are reasonable for the area
Free Wi-Fi in the lobby and the bar area
Dated, no-frills apartments with some maintenance issues
Reception closes during lunchtime and at night
Apartments lack Wi-Fi and air-conditioning
Not enough lounge chairs around the pool
Rio Apartments is a basic, quiet hotel catering to couples and families on a budget. Its 64 studios and apartments have full kitchens and furnished balconies, but in-room amenities are barebones (think: no air-conditioning, no Wi-Fi, and old tube TVs) and decor is dated throughout. One of the most common complaints here is that although the pool is pleasant, there aren’t enough loungers for all guests, and they tend to go fast in the morning. With a restaurant and a bar that close during the winter, and a reception only open a few hours a day, this property is for those seeking a cheap, self-catering vacation a five-minute drive from Vilamoura's beach. Hotel Apartmento do Golfe is a little bit more expensive, but offers more services and amenities.
Barebones apartment-hotel for those seeking an independent holiday
In an area that's packed with internationally recognizable chains, Rio Apartments is a budget alternative that's best for travelers who don't mind a bit of independence. The hotel is housed in a cheerful four-story building with a yellow facade and a porched entrance flanked by two palm trees. Blue shutters, arched windows, and terra-cotta tile roofs add some charm, but interiors are basic and dated, with plain furniture and mostly bare walls. The lobby is small, with a front desk that’s only open a few hours a day (a white blind is rolled down when the staff leaves), and just a couple of mismatched couches in a corner. Outside, however, pleasant gardens are dotted with towering pines and palm trees. The central part of the hotel is taken up by the pool deck, complete with a handful of loungers, a kiddy pool, and a small grass area. Overlooking the pool is the restaurant, which closes during the winter months and has a bar decorated with flags and soccer jerseys. Overall, the property is no-frills and probably a little too barebones for some, but offers a cheap vacation for couples and families on a budget.
Quiet location in a residential area, a five-minute drive from town and beach
Rio Apartments is located on the corner of two quiet streets lined with vacation homes. There is a supermarket as well as a couple of bars within a short walk of the hotel, but the area is mostly residential and there are few other things within easy walking distance. The lively marina, home to restaurants, bars and shops, is a 20-minute walk away, but those with mobility issues or who prefer not to walk can drive there in about five minutes. The town’s main beach is just a little farther away, and several others can be reached by car in about 20 to 25 minutes. Most of Vilamoura’s famous golf courses are just a short drive away -- under 10 minutes in some cases -- including Pinhal and the Old Course, each less than five minutes away. The hotel is a half-hour drive from Faro Airport.
Basic studios and apartments with full kitchens and balconies
The hotel has 64 units ranging from studios with sofa beds to two-bedroom apartments. Decor is dated and basic throughout, with simple wooden furniture, thin bedspreads, and old-fashioned curtains and couches. Expect to see just an odd floral print or two on the walls, and tile floors. Some antiqued wicker pieces of furniture hint at the hotel's proximity to the shores of Vilamoura, but otherwise don't match the rest of the look. All have full kitchens equipped with cooktops, microwaves, electric kettles, sinks, and toasters, and some have ovens. But there have been reports of maintenance issues -- we spotted chipped tilework -- and housekeeping is only available a couple of times a week. Balconies are furnished with a couple of plastic chairs and a table, and offer pleasant views of the gardens or the pool. As for amenities, those low rates translate into a dearth of conveniences. There is no air-conditioning and Wi-Fi isn't available in the rooms.(although there is free Wi-Fi in the lobby and the restaurant area). Additionally, TVs are small tube units with just a few Portuguese channels. Bathrooms are basic but clean, with shower/tub combos, bidets, a bit of space around the sinks, and older fixtures.
A pleasant pool, and a seasonal restaurant and bar
The pool deck is located in the central part of the property, and features a smallish family pool, as well as a kiddy pool with a fence. There are a few loungers around the pool, but not enough for the size of the hotel, and there have been complaints of guests placing towels on loungers in the early morning. Adjacent to the pool is a small, independently managed restaurant and bar with outdoor seating. Food is good and prices aren't much different from those in the city center, but the restaurant is only open in the warmer months, leaving guests with only the self-catering option in the winter. Wi-Fi is free in the lobby and in the bar area, but there is no in-room internet access.