20-minute drive to Albufeira; not much within walking distance
Mandatory half-board packages do not include drinks
Only one pool is heated
Opened in 2013, the Vidamar Resort Algarve is a 250-room upscale resort featuring fresh minimalist design. The resort sits between picturesque Salgados Beach and an 18-hole golf course, about 20 minutes from Albufeira by road. It's peaceful and secluded, though there's little within walking distance. Rooms are spacious and smart, with air-conditioning, minibars, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi -- many offer sea views from balconies or terraces. There are three saltwater pools, plus another inside a stylish health center. Four restaurants serve everything from Asian to Italian and seafood, and half-board plans are mandatory. Family-friendly amenities include a kids' club, kids' menus, and entertainment. Travelers might want to also check out Salgados Dunas Suites next door, which has similar style but fewer restaurants and higher rates.
Sharp upscale hotel with cool, minimalist styling and laid-back social vibe
An unassuming cobbled driveway lined with ancient-looking olive trees splits off from the main road and winds its way to the grand, yet understated, entrance of the Vidamar Resort Algarve. Inside, the lobby is a cavernous wash of muted tones, flooded with sunlight from large floor-to-ceiling windows and dotted with potted cactuses. Opened in 2013, the hotel is tastefully modern and minimalist. Its symmetrical architecture comprises one main central building and two four-story blocks of rooms. Some might find the minimalist design too stark for a beach resort, though we find it sleek and sophisticated, especially when compared to much of the hotel stock in the Algarve. The streamlined look extends to the grounds, which comprise of a large swath of dark-wood decking surrounded by manicured lawns and uniform rows of palm tree. This all converges on an elliptical swimming pool. With its kid-friendly amenities, the hotel draws lots of families, especially during the peak summer months and over school holidays, but couples also vacation here, especially in the off-season.
Overlooks peaceful Salgados Beach dunes; a 20-minute drive to Albufeira
The hotel is situated right on the dunes of Salgados Beach and is part of an extensive development midway between the Algarve tourist resorts of Armacao de Pera and Albufeira. The lovely long stretch of beach is a few minutes' walk via a footpath that runs directly from the hotel across the dunes. There are a cluster of restaurants within a five-minute drive of the hotel, at the end of the nearby Praia da Gale. The property practically overlooks part of the 18-hole Quinta dos Salgados Golf Course, while the Salgados Lagoon Nature Reserve is a short walk away. For those looking for nightlife, the center of Albufeira is a 20-minute drive. Faro Airport is about 40 minutes away by car from the resort.
Bright, spacious rooms with open-plan bathrooms with walk-in double showers
The Vidamar Resort Algarve's 250 rooms are sleek and spacious, decorated in muted tones and a minimalist style. Expect to see understated details, like slotted headboards, brass lamps, and textured beige throw pillows that match the drapes and walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide plenty of natural light, and they slide open onto balconies or terraces -- many offer pool, dune, or ocean views; others overlook the car park and golf course. Although all rooms have sofa beds, guests have complained about a lack of chairs and drawers. Bathrooms are open plan though separated from the bedroom areas, and include roomy walk-in rainfall showers, bidets, and vessel sinks. Toiletries, hairdryers, robes, and slippers are provided. All rooms include minibars, flat-screen HD TVs with international and satellite channels, coffeemakers (coffee and tea are restocked daily), and free Wi-Fi.
Indoor and outdoor pools plus whirlpool tub and separate splash pool
The resort has four on-site restaurants, which include breakfast and dinner but no drinks at the Ocean Buffet Restaurant, which includes a poolside terrace, and at the Italian Mamma Mia restaurant. The Portuguese Sabor a Mar restaurant, which serves fresh seafood, and the Japanese Koi Sushi, offer a la carte options, and half-board guests (including children) can receive food credits at these at these a la carte restaurants. Guests generally rate the quality of the food as high, though half-board rates are mandatory. There are also three bars -- a gin bar, snack bar, and swim-up bar -- but some guests have complained about the lack of poolside waiter service.
The three outdoor pools, which include a kids' pool, are saltwater, and only one is heated, which results in overcrowding in the cooler months. A deluxe health club has an indoor pool with mood lighting, as well as whirlpool tub, sauna, steam bath, and massage treatments. There's also a large fitness center, with a wide range of modern cardio and weight equipment. The kids' club, which has an extensive program of organized activities and entertainment, is for children age 4 to 11. There are several meeting rooms and a limited business center on offer at the hotel, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
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