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Varandas de Albufeira 2.0

Albufeira, Faro District, Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • A 15-minute walk to the beach and nightlife on "the strip"
  • 10-minute cab journey to Albufeira Old Town
  • Rooms all have kitchenettes, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs
  • Balconies or terraces in all rooms, some with distant sea views
  • Decent-size swimming pool with separate splash pool
  • Game room with pool tables plus a simple library
  • All-inclusive option covering meals and drinks
  • Free Wi-Fi in the lobby and game room

Cons

  • Parts of property feel tired and dated we spotted worn bathrooms
  • Bachelor and bachelorette parties make this hotel rowdy
  • Maintenance and housekeeping issues include cracked pool tiles
  • No entertainment and nothing of interest in immediate area
  • Food quality is poor
  • No in-room Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

The Varandas de Albufeira is a budget apartment-style party hotel that's underwhelming in most regards. It's a 15-minute walk to the closest beach and Albufeira's "strip," and a 10-minute car ride to Albufeira's Old Town. The 72 apartments are dated, with worn bathrooms, basic kitchenettes, and balconies or terraces -- some feature glimpses of the sea. An outdoor pool hosts plenty of bachelor and bachelorette parties and has a separate kids' pool and poolside terrace. However, most guests agree the hotel's food is poor, and housekeeping is inconsistent. For an all-inclusive getaway, this won't break the bank, but the neighboring Solaqua Apartments has nicer rooms and mostly similar rates, though reportedly it's still within earshot of Varandas de Albufeira's noisy pool.

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Scene

Basic and occasionally boisterous hotel aimed at groups of budget travelers

Other than a tall, mirrored window topped with colorful signage, very little distinguishes the weathered white facade of the Varandas de Albufeira. That utterly unremarkable welcome is a sign of things to come, and there's nothing about this hotel that lives up to its own upscale claims. Interiors are tired and abused, done up in a mixture of plain and garish decor that's more reminiscent of a hostel than a hotel -- expect mismatched cheap seating, outdated light fixtures, and details like string curtains that would be more at home in a dorm room. 

This hotel is meant for partiers, which in part explains an almost blind attention to details. For instance, a pool stretches almost the width of the property, but there are cracked and dirty tiles, and the atmosphere is hardly ever quiet. In fact, the atmosphere is downright boozy. Despite a deposit taken upon check-in and fines for late-night noise, disturbances can also extend into the sleeping hours. Couples and groups of friends make up the majority of guests here, despite a few kid-friendly features, but most travelers wanting to kick back and relax may want to give this place a pass.

Location

A 15-minute walk to the beach and short drive from Albufeira's famous "strip"

The hotel is located at the end of a no-through road, in a not-overly attractive neighborhood in the Algarve resort town of Albufeira. While there are shops, bars, and restaurants within a short stroll, most guests head to the nightlife hub of the famous "strip," which is about five minutes away by cab (or 15 minutes walking). The more sedate and picturesque Old Town is five to 10 minutes' drive, and the long stretch of sandy beach of Praia do Inatel is about 15 to 20 minutes' walk away. Faro's airport will take 30 to 40 minutes to reach by car.

Rooms

Worn and dated apartments with cooking facilities and flat-screen TVs  

The hotel has 72 studio and one-bedroom apartments, all of which are simply styled with tiled floors, distressed-effect wooden furniture, and plain fabrics. Wall art depicting local seaside scenery lends a bit of color, but the look throughout is entirely dated, despite cheerful blue tiling and a generally nice amount of natural light brightening things up. Most of the units are worn -- we saw stained countertops and beat-up couches in the units that we visited -- and cleanliness can be an issue. Kitchenettes are basic, with mini-fridges, electric ranges and kettles, and microwaves. Some of the cookware shows signs of rust and needs replacing. Other amenities include flat-screen TVs, safes, and air-conditioning, plus all apartments feature balconies or terraces with plastic seating (those on top-floors feature distant sea views). Functional bathrooms are tired and some feel dingy, with shower/tub combos, bidets, wall-mounted hairdryers, and basic toiletries. There were chips in the tubs and stained and dirty grout in the bathrooms that we saw. In-room Wi-Fi is not available, though those close to reception can pick up a signal. As might be expected of a resort packed with bachelor and bachelorette parties, noise is frequently an issue, and rooms are no exception.

Features

Buffet dining, swimming pool with dated loungers and poolside bar terrace

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served buffet-style in the hotel's only restaurant, which is located in the basement -- all are covered by the hotel's an all-inclusive option. Overall, food receives poor reviews from previous guests. A bright, modern bar extends to a poolside terrace and serves all-inclusive drinks one at a time, and so is prone to queuing. There's no entertainment at this property, and yet it manages to stay loud day and night. The outdoor swimming pool is large enough for laps, and includes a small separate splash pool for kids. Sun loungers are available, though not enough when the resort is busy, and like much of the rest of the resort they could use an update. There hotel also has a game room with a pool table, and a library lounge with a collection of books. A small playroom hosts the kids' club (available for a fee), but the room feels a little bare and poorly kept. Free Wi-Fi is only available in the lobby and game room.

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Address

Lote Rua do Indico, Albufeira 8200-139, Portugal

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