Modern rooms with balconies, mini-fridges, and air-conditioning
Kids' activities include a club house and playground
Long list of daily scheduled activities for adults and children
Sports areas for tennis, soccer, volleyball, and putting
All-inclusive rates are available; breakfast included in all rates
Free Wi-Fi and parking
No shuttle to old town, and it's too far to walk there
Balconies between rooms only partially separated
With 306 rooms, the Vila Gale Lagos has sleek interiors and a beach-adjacent setting, though this four-pearl hotel will require a 10-minute drive to reach Lagos' charming old town. There's definitely a buzz to the vibe here, and while its posh spa, clubby lounge, and high-end dining are all geared toward adults, there's plenty for kids as well. The real showpiece, though, is the design-conscious pool that has over 400 sunbeds, so there are never fights for space. Rooms are attractively modern, if simple, and all include balconies, air-conditioning, and mini-fridges. The best have views of the ocean. While the atmosphere is upmarket for sure, those seeking something even more adult-oriented may want to consider Sensimar Lagos, where children aren't permitted.
Sleek, fashion-inspired hotel with contemporary interiors and tranquil, yet buzzy, atmosphere
The Vila Gale brand isn't the most consistently upscale one that we've come across, which made our visit to Vila Gale Lagos all the more surprising and impressive. As one of the newest additions to the Portuguese chain, this is a fresh and contemporary outpost, with an emphasis on fashion-conscious design and decor. It's all a bit South Beach by way of Lagos, as the sharp red, black, and white interiors are punctuated here and there by larger-than-life portraits of models. Given that inclination -- and the fact that DJs regularly spin in the hotel's lounge -- it's perhaps a shock to know that the vibe here stays blessedly tranquil. We saw guests lounging about in nearly every corner of the property, but perhaps given the secluded location or the generously proportioned architecture of the hotel, it was calm and refined. Of course, most of the action takes place next to the pool, which would make any Miami hotel jealous, and with 400 sunbeds, there are never any fights for space. In fact, the layout ensures that it all feels quite private no matter where one sunbathes, and the sporting activities are smartly separated from the relaxation areas by groves of fruit trees. All in all, this is a great choice for those wanting a high-end stay, and the hotel sees a mix of families and couples, most from the U.K., U.S., and Canada.
Across the road from Meia Praia, a 10-minute drive to Lagos' old town
The drive out to Vila Gale Lagos makes the hotel feel more secluded than it is, as the development nearby is kept to a minimum. However, that translates into a major asset, as things stay quiet here. Oh -- and the beach is just across the road. Meia Praia is a wide swath of relatively uncrowded golden sand with just a few restaurants and cafes set up along its perimeter. That beachside location, though, means that Lagos' quaint old town is not within walking distance. In fact, there aren't many restaurants and shops nearby, and the closest options are touristy (located along the marina, a 15-minute walk away). Expect a 10-minute drive into the heart of the old town for quaint cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars, and a 15-minute drive to Ponta da Piedade. The closest airport is in Faro, an hour away by car. Lisbon will take about two-and-a-half hours to reach.
Simple and modern, with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges; the best have ocean views
The hotel's sleek and modern decor and design translates into rooms that are modern, but have a spartan look that won't appeal to everyone. That being said, they're a fine step above most of what's on offer in the Lagos area. The restrained color palette of gray, red, black, and white looks fresh, and a bit of bold abstract art hangs on the otherwise plain walls. Furniture comes in dark wood veneer finishes with contemporary lines, and Family Rooms add convertible couch-beds for the little ones. Standard features include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and safes. Suites add a separate living room with an additional TV. Each room also has a balcony, and the best look out over the ocean. However, they are only separated by low, frosted-glass partitions, and the effect isn't entirely private. Bathrooms are as sleek as the rooms, with gray and black stone and tiling. They come with a nice amount of toiletries, hairdryers, a good amount of counter space, plus shower/tub combos.
A great pool, posh spa, solid dining and drinking, and plenty of family activities
While the hotel here doesn't have the ambitious animation program found at other hotels in the Algarve, there's plenty for kids and adults to do on-site. The centerpiece is the pool, and it's a stunner. The angular, multi-wing layout creates lots of space for over 400 lounge chairs, and the wide expanses of lawn mean that it rarely feels crowded. Reserving lounge chairs with towels is strictly prohibited. Beach and pool towels are available at the hotel. In high season, there's poolside service and a bar, as well as low-key activities. The hotel also has a spa with hydrotherapy, plus a modern gym that features a nice selection of weight and cardio equipment.
Optional all-inclusive rates are available, and meals are served as buffets or a la carte. Breakfast is included with all stays. Most menus score positive remarks from previous guests, and Vila Gale's own wines are served in the restaurant and the hotel's buzzy lounge, which is frequented by DJs, dance performances, and live music. There are also pool tables inside and out, plus outdoor terrace seating in nice weather.
The hotel puts on a long list of activities that are free for guests, and cater to both adults and kids. Features for the latter include a club house and playground with a zip line (though no supervision is offered). There are also numerous sports courts, ranging from volleyball to tennis. Unfortunately, the hotel doesn't run a shuttle into old town Lagos, though parking is free. Wi-Fi is also free throughout the hotel and worked well during our visit.