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Vila Gale Ampalius 3.5

Vilamoura, Quarteira, Faro District

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Across the street from the beach, and three blocks from the marina
  • Sunny rooms with flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges; many have ocean views
  • Two pleasant outdoor pools, including one for kids
  • International restaurant, and two bars with outdoor seating
  • Relaxing spa with massages, a hydrotherapy area, and a sauna
  • Small fitness center with three cardio machines and free weights
  • Free use of three tennis courts and a putting green
  • Kids’ club, playground, and games room
  • Two meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment and catering services
  • Free Wi-Fi in public areas
  • Free shuttle service to local golf courses
  • On-site parking (for a fee)

Cons

  • Rooms and bathrooms could use an update
  • Fee for in-room Wi-Fi and safes
  • Not enough parking spaces during peak season

Bottom Line

The 375-room Vila Gale Ampalius is an upper-middle-range hotel with one of the best locations in Vilamoura: right across the street from Vilamoura Beach and adjacent to the bustling marina. The only other hotels with direct access to this particular stretch of sand are the pricier Crowne Plaza Vilamoura - Algarve and Tivoli Marina Vilamoura. The Vila Gale's sunny, clean rooms have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges, and many feature panoramic ocean views, but decor is a little plain and dated, and bathrooms could use an update. The restaurant serves a varied buffet and tasty a la carte options for all three meals, and the indoor and outdoor sports facilities keep active guests of all ages busy. With a golf desk and free shuttle service to several local courses, this Vila Gale is a good pick for golfers, but those who prefer being closer to the courses may want to compare rates at Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel.

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Scene

Large beachfront hotel with pleasant outdoor areas and generic interiors

Standing 11 floors tall on the corner of two busy streets right on the beach, the Ampalius is hard to miss. With a rounded front and a white facade covered in long rows of balconies, the hotel’s building is imposing. Its large entrance lined with flags makes it look like a business property, but the atmosphere here is relaxed, and the outdoor areas feel inviting, with nice manicured lawns, two pools, and many tables for alfresco dining. The lobby is mostly generic, with simple wood furniture and white and Prussian blue couches, but sun pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows, and green accent walls decorated with colorful abstract paintings are cheerful touches. Likewise, the restaurant's white and brown chairs and wooden ceilings are a little plain, though white table runners add some style.

It is a large hotel that can get busy with families in the warmer months, but the vibe is quieter and more relaxed in the off-peak season, when most guests are golfers who spend their days at the local courses, and couples enjoying the winter sun in the gardens. 

Location

Central beachfront location a short walk from the marina

The hotel is located on the corner of two main thoroughfares in central Vilamoura. The area is generally busy with pedestrians and cars on their way to the beach, which is right across the street from the hotel and draws crowds during the warmer months. The marina, home to many dining, nightlife, and shopping options, and one of Vilamoura’s most popular attractions, is less than a five-minute walk away. There are several wonderful golf courses within a 10-minute drive of the hotel, including the Old Course, the Pinhal, and the Millennium, and the hotel provides free shuttle service to many of them. Quarteira, which to some has a more local and family-friendly feel than Vilamoura, can be reached on foot in about 15 minutes. Other beaches, including Praia da Falesia and Praia dos Pescadores, are all within a 30-minute drive of the hotel (Praia da Falesa is on the other is across the marina from Vilamoura Beach, and it's also possible to walk around the marina to get there in about 35 minutes). It is about half an hour to Faro Airport. 

Rooms

Spacious, clean rooms with simple decor and balconies; many have ocean views

The hotel has 375 rooms spread out over 10 floors, most featuring furnished balconies facing the beach and the gardens, but some with smaller windows looking out over the city. All are clean, but decor is plain and dated for an upper-middle-range hotel, with simple blond wood furniture, off-white walls decorated with small generic paintings, and only some color in bed runners and curtains. Flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and individually controlled air-conditioning are nice amenities, but rooms lack electric kettles (available are on request only), and there is a fee for the use of safes. Wi-Fi is available free in public areas, but there is a fee for in-room Internet access (common in Algarve). 

Superior rooms have small seating areas with a couple of armchairs and a table; Junior Suites feature small dining areas, as well as kitchens with hot plates, ovens, sinks, fridges and toasters. Bathrooms typically have white and navy tiles, wall-mounted hairdryers, faux marble details, and shower/tub combos; they're tight on space and showing some wear. 

Features

Two pools, restaurant, spa, fitness center, meeting rooms, and parking

The main pool is pleasant and big enough for laps, and has a spacious deck with many loungers. The pool bar has a number of tables outside, and serves snacks such as ice cream and chips, as well as drinks during the warmer months. In a more secluded spot in the garden, the cute kidney-shaped pool is shallow enough for toddlers and young children. Versatile Restaurant serves a good breakfast buffet for a fee, and buffet and a la carte options for lunch and dinner, including Portuguese specialties and international dishes. Evening entertainment is available at the bar, which has lots of comfy couches and tables by large windows overlooking the grounds. 

The spa is spacious and clean, and offers a freeform indoor pool with neck and back massage jets, along with a small whirlpool, a sauna, and a steam bath. Individual and couples treatment rooms are also available. With only three machines and a few free weights, the fitness center is better for a quick sweat than for a full workout. Additionally, there are a putting green and three tennis courts, and a playground and a games room are convenient perks for families. The hotel also features two meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment, on-site parking for a fee, and free Wi-Fi in public spaces. 

The hotel provides free beach and pool towels, and guests an rent sun loungers for a fee. A beach bar serves food and drinks, and there's a walking path heading toward Quarteira.

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Address

Alameda Praia da Marina, Vilamoura, Quarteira 8125-408, Portugal

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