Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa
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TravelPod Member ReviewsGrande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa Albufeira
Apparently in Portugal the "Do Not Disturb" sign means: come on in! Don't worry about knocking...yeah it's ok that we are only wrapped in a towel...We call down to the front desk and remind the manager that we do not want maids in our room. We travel with camera gear, computers etc. and do not need people riffling through our shit. Apology accepted and thank you for the welcome chocolates. Then, that same night, we walk into our room only to notice that someone came in to turn down our bed! We call the manager again...ok, another apology. This steals the show though...the next day we walk into our room to a maid on her hands and knees cleaning our bathroom...we said no one in the room! What? And...then, we are missing a few items! We report this to the manager and his only reply is, "you should have used the safe!".
So...this experience, coupled with shitty food choices makes this a zero star in my book.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa Albufeira
For a 5 star hotel, we felt that this hotel was rather disappointing.
Rooms - We booked a suite, however this turned out to be 2 adjoining rooms with a sofa bed and dining table in the other. The decor was quite dull and outdated particularly for a very new hotel. King size bed was good but slightly on the hard side. No tea/coffee making facilities in the room. However, there was wireless internet connection which was a plus.
Restaurants - The buffet restaurant was awful, the food did not look or taste fresh at all. Also the service in the buffet restaurant and at breakfast was terrible. The Santa Eulalia restaurant on the beach front was good and the Pergula restaurant (very posh) was very good. Also all restaurants accomodated children. I must admit having eaten fish/meat with boiled potatoes and vegetables all week, we did start to lose the will to live!
Kids Club - Was OK but not hugely impressive. All they really did was puzzles, play doh and colouring. I have seen much better kids clubs than this in other 5 star hotels. The good thing was that you could pick and drop your children as and when through the day. The staff always looked really bored when you went there.
Hotel in General - Beach was very nice, supermarket nearby for supplies. Hotel did lack atmosphere when it was not full. Pools a bit disappointing, quite small and no pool side staff to help with sunbeds and umbrellas. Overall was mainly disappointed with the service of the staff, from reception staff through to the restaurants the standard was not up to that of a 5 star hotel. I would never come to this hotel again as it was not worth the amount I paid to stay in a suite at a 5 star hotel....in fact it put me off Portugal for good.
Have just returned from an amazing holiday at the Grande Real Santa Eulalia. We travelled out 20 may for 2 weeks (second week half term week).
WEATHER: Fantastic for the whole stay between 24 - 28 degrees with a breeze. Evening you needed a sweater most nights. Air Conditioning not essential for this time of year. Sun very strong most people burnt first few days.
This hotel is one of the cleanest we have ever stayed in - they were continually cleaning everything - the cutlery and glasses were spotless - we have never been to a cleaner hotel and we normally stay at a Four seasons.
POOLS: This was actually the main reason we choose this hotel as they are all heated. The ones by the apartments are heated to 27 degrees which is fine but not the 30 degrees of the main pools at the hotel. You could get in these pools at any time of day or night and they were gorgeous! The pools are not huge (about 12 metres in diameter) they have roman steps in and the edge is 1 metre deep all the way round, the centre of the pool goes to 1.5 metres. This is the most brilliant pool if you have young children wanting to learn to swim!!! Our 5 year old was swimming by day 2 and there were numerous other people with similar age children - all found the pool ideal. Ok for slightly older children but over 12's I would say too small for! Second week the half term the pool was too busy - the adults used the other hotel pool which is seawater as the kids did not seem to like!
BEACH: Wonderful - it is just the right size - about 10 minutes walk from one side to the other not too big for the kids to get lost but not cramped. Either end are amazing rock pools when it is low tide. The Hotel issues a weekly events timetable and they state the low tide times - fantastic digging in the sand - very safe. easy to walk down to not steep steps and not too many! By the beach is a cafe that does 30 flavours of ice cream a scoop in a cone 1 euro brilliant also a little beach shop (we didn;t find till the last day!) but sells all you need and a few sweets. Sand is cleaned daily and is really soft and so pretty. Backed by small cliffs - how it should look!!!
APARTMENTS: We booked a one bedroomed (all of these are on the ground floor) the two bedroomed are all on the top floor. We were 2 adults and 2 children (9 and 5) We had asked for a pool view which we got (see earlier reviews) there was a lovely grass area for the kids to play football etc, the children all seemed to go out there early evening while we showered etc - fantastic. Some of the rooms did have views of the hotel/car park but nothing nasty it really is attractive but pool view would be better! The apartment consisted of a king size bed with own air cond a good bathroom and a hallway then the lounge had a double sofa bed and a further single sofa bed plenty of room for up to 3 kids. There was a dining table and chairs. The kitchen had a bosch fridge, microwave, hob, and kettle. Enough pans pots and plates etc all knives and anything you could possibly need but no oven. Plenty of storage space. We rang for more pillows and more hangers (delivered in 10 minutes) Maid did all the washing up. All in all really nice - mexican theme. Seemed to be soundproof (best sleep we have ever had on a holiday) we did not wake until 9 most mornings really unusual for us!
SERVICE: This hotels staff are fantastic - you only have to ask and it is done for you. Only slight thing is that you have to ask rather than be offered. They never said no. An example was that we liked the Daily Mail every morning but they often sold out early - about the fourth day I said can i not order it and they said "Yes" but they could have offered earlier.
They really do want you to have a great holiday Filipa the Guest Services manager is outstanding. Everyone is smartly dressed and does their job very well.
FOOD: Breakfats in the buffet in the morning you could have anything, pastries, cooked English, champagne, cereals, fruit, pancakes - you name it they had it, if not just ask and they got it, lovely!!!We opted for the Half Board prior to travelling - this seems to be a good option as you then have a choice - you can eat at the "taverna" style restaurant at the beach in the evening (mostly fish) the main buffet restaurant (only open high season - 4 nights during our 2 week stay) A really fancy restaurant which was incredible but you really would only want to eat there once or twice during your stay - the food was very rich- not ideal for children although they would let them in. Or you can have room service which is superb they deliver the food and lay your table properly and it is all served to a 5 star standard. All the food is covered by your half board voucher the kids can order what ever they like - pizza, chips, hamburgers, spaghetti anything you can think of but it is not offered you have to ask! You can also use the voucher for lunch as they seem to offer a barbeque buffet every day by the pool. Other than that there really are no good restaurants in walking distance so you would have to get a taxi into Albufeira or Vilamoura (about 5 euros each way)
Supermarket: There is no hotel supermarket - on arrival you can't see one anywhere near and my husband walked miles to find one! However we soon discovered that turn right our of the hotel and the next door apartments Alfagar have a brilliant one, very reasonable and only 5 minutes walk. There are bigger ones further away but this really had everything - fresh bread, fruit drinks etc
Drinks at the hotel are about 6 euros for a spirit and mixer and about 2.50 euros for a soft drink. Ice Creams eg magnum 2 euros Cornetto 1.50 all quite reasonable. Seating areas are lovely really nice sofas and superb views of the sea.
All in all we have had a super time - we were disappointed that the Buffet restaurant was not open all the time but the other options were very good.
We travelled with Thomas Cook and I must say the rep Kate was outstanding.
CAR HIRE: We booked at Thomas Cook Guildford prior to travel - thank goodness we did we paid £120 for a group c with Air Conditioning for a week with Avis (it was brand new) the same car in resort would have cost 480 euros!!!!!!!! They will also deliver free and collect for free just ring them when you get there (I asked prior to travelling and was told 12 euro charge each way) Again Avis were very good - could not fault them.
GOLF: Thomas Cook organise a competition every week on a wednesday - ideal to meet the other golfers to arrange other games in the resort
I would definately recommend for families with children under 12 with older children I think they may be bored - no real evening entertainment and during the day there may be one or two sporting things arranged but not much. If you want a quiet holiday by the pool and beach in luxury then this is for you. The hotel is really pretty - the pictures in the brochure make it look like a concrete jungle - this is not the case - the layout of the resort hotel is really attractive, the gardens and flowers are stunning and really well kept.
Oh and no bugs at this time of year!! No flies or mosquitos!
We decided to try out the Santa Eulalia after really enjoying its sister hotel the Bellavista for a number of years. Overall impressions of it are that it is clearly aimed at the top end of the market, corporate clients and so on and it seems very impressive on arrival. However, under the gloss we found it disappointing in its lack of warmth and friendliness as a family hotel - something much more evident at the Bellavista which is simply less pretentious all round. Also its sheer size makes it less cosy and a bit like being in a huge resort, not an exclusive hotel. As for specific problems - we were told that we didnt need to book for dinner on the first night and as we were too tired to go out searching for food we looked forward to dining in. On arrival at the restaurant we were told that they were expecting a large party and no tables were available. The maitre d wasn't even apologetic and my two children were visibly hungry and tired and it was already late. I complained and she eventually agreed to find space if we waited 30 mins. Awful service for a hotel of this standard in my opinion. Secondly, I had been led to believe when I booked the hotel on the web that breakfast was included (it always is at the Bellavista) but after we had eaten our first breakfast I was presented a bill for over £50! This is absurdly expensive and again when I complained they were very reluctant to remove the charge. Awful customer relations for a 5 star! We won't be going back as the Bellavista is better all round and far far better value.
The luxury is amazing
travelled here for a short break after admiring this hotel being built. It was absolutely first class. Lovely outdoor pools and decking. surrounding areas have been decorated to a five star standard. Hotel rooms very modern but traditional portugese. Free liquers and sweets on arrival. Stayed in apartment which was excellent and immaculately clean. Would stay here again as it deserves its five stars. Might prove a bit expensive during the summer months though as i travelled in winter when rooms were available for £67 per night. The bar areas and restaurants were very good quality and reasonably priced for a hotel of this standard
5 star deluxe!!
We wanted something a bit special to celebrate our wedding anniversary. So booked the portugese suite at this hotel. Although expensive. Worth every penny. You get treated like royalty and lots of little extras. Wine, room service sending you cakes, smoked salmon, champagne. No extra charges. 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 4 balconies, kitchen, huges lounge, & dining tablet. 2 huge TV's. Staff that cannot do enough for you. Excellent food. Hot! swimming pools! Lovely beach bar/cafe. Nice beach next to hotel. Not overpriced bars or food. I would recommend booking this for a special occasion, lovely. Small bar/taverna just outside hotel. Courtesy bus from hotel to bars and shops. Everything you could wish for at this hotel for a real 5 star stay. I can't thing of one negative point to make, except I want to go back!
Hotel Staff second to none
We stayed at this hotel during the peak holiday period but the hotel was quite quiet, I assume this is because it is still new and has yet to build up a reputation. We were originally booked into one of the apartments which would have been overlooking the pool and gardens, however we opted to upgrade to a suite within the hotel which more than adequately catered for two adults and two children. The room overlooked the sea, had two balconies and two bathrooms one with jacuzzi bath. The maid service was very good.
I thought the hotel was lovely, bright, spacious, exceptionally clean but lacked a little in atmosphere.
I would describe the hotel as chic and sophisticated but at times a little too cool. The childrens club had the right idea as you were able to drop them off at any time between 10am and 10pm so you could come and go as you pleased however, my children were bored as the activities generally consisted of colouring, puzzles, building blocks etc with hardly any organised activities. Therefore, they opted to sit around the pools with us which put my plans for a peaceful holiday out of the window!
The most outstanding thing about the hotel were the staff. They were the best staff I have ever encountered at a hotel. They were so helpful, polite and courteous. My daughter was sick during our stay, they called the doctor, picked up the prescription and even rang a little later to enquire after her.
In all we had a nice holiday, the hotel is very much a 5* hotel but lacks the atmosphere that perhaps other more established resorts have.
Sophisticated chic is good but sometimes when you are on holiday you do want to be able to let your hair down a bit without worrying about looking cool!
Stayed in 1 bed apt - 2 adults and 1 x 3 yr old in Sept 05. Great hotel with extremely helpful staff. Hotel was very quiet, however all the facilities were available - even the kids club which on some days had only my son playing in.
Breakfast was good and although we heard negative comments about the evening buffet, this turned out to also be good, although quite expensve. Excellent fish restaurant right next door on the beach which was reasonably priced and had nice outlook over sea.
Any requests we made, i.e. to have room on low floor or etc were sorted without question. Suggest that if you are going with small children ask for lower floor with terrace, also if you are staying in apts, ask for somewhere numbered 459-469 you will be looking out over the quiet hotel pool and not the car park as previous review mentioned.
With the exception of the beach area which is nicely maintained the surrounding area is not picturesque, although you are 10 mins walk to 'the strip' which has numerous bars and restaurants, the road to get to this is very busy and windy and the cars rarely seem to stick to the speed limit.
Spa is very relaxing with some good treatments, however expect to pay more than back home.
New is not necessarily best...
We spent 9 days at this hotel in August 2005. Every year we normally go to the Sheraton Algarve but last year felt their town houses were looking tired and we weren't very comfortable.
So we hunted around on the web for a 5 * equivalent. We stayed in a two bedroom apartment in the grounds of the hotel.
Regretably we spent the whole of the break wishing we were up the road at the Sheraton!
Here's a list of the reasons:
Our view was over looking the car park. other apartments either backed on to the main road or looked across at other apartments in lines. (bit like streets).
The beds were extremely hard. I was sore and stiff every day. The pillows too were like balloons.
The beach is a public one and the hotel does not own the concession on the sunbeds. Most of the pairs of sunbeds and umbrellas had Reservado stamped on them. This was not as we thought for the hotel but for other Portuguese. They were empty most of the time. It cost 15 euros a day to hire a pair of beds. (free at the Sheraton).
The food was dire except for the breakfasts. Grilled meat and fish is really the only thing portuguese offer on their menus anywhere but this certainly wasn't of high standard and on one of their buffets some of it was raw.
We found bits of broken glass close to one of the pool areas and reported it on several occasions. It was still there when we left.
The apartment itself was basic but functional. Painted in gawdy colours and lacking in home comforts. As with the Sheraton the only sofa to sit on in the lounge area was a two seater bed settee and very uncomfortable.
To expand on my title of this review it is worth remembering that brand new hotels will lack in their maturity with regard to landscaping. Any planting that had been done here was only a year old so it all felt rather barren, not lush like the 15 yr old + Sheraton. If you like to see different flora abroad then this won't appeal.
There appeared to be only one restaurant within the hotel complex itself (there could have been another which didn't accept children) and there was another one through the security gates that did the usual mediocre fayre and was pretty ordinary.
Highlights: The rock pools on the beach were rich in interesting things for the children to find and we all enjoyed that. Jet skiiing was on offer on the beach too, along with other water activities. The kids club was FREE and they could come and go as they pleased till 10 at night. (or you could sign a form saying you would always collect them).
Final note: It would appear that the whole of Portugal take their holidays in August and this makes for very crowded beaches etc so this is worth remembering where ever you stay in Portugal.
p.s. I've heard the Sheraton have refurbished their town houses. Guess where we'll go next time we go to Portugal!
Best Hotel in the Algarve
We have just come back from a week away at the Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort on the outskirts of Alburfiera and could not have wished for a better trip.
We were recommended the Sheraton Pine Cliffs but my wife wanted a heated swimming pool for our one year old daughter so this reort got the nod!
The hotel staff could not have been more accomodating and the rooms were fantastic - we stayed in an apartment as opposed to the hotel itself - but upgraded to go half board. Breakfast was excellent - the only complaint was that the hotel stated it had 5 restaurants yet we could only find four of which three were open this time of year and only two accepted our half board voucher.
There are four main swimming pools (two for the apartments) and two for the hotel (one saltwater, one freshwater) and a kiddies pool and all should have been heated to 27 degrees Celcius - although as the hotel was quiet - the swimming pools for the apartments were not being heated - this wasn't an issue as the poolside area was very quiet - although when the hotel is busy - these pools may not be big enough.
The only other minor complaint is that the hotel states it has its own beach - this is actually a public beach - and so sunbathing under one of the beach umbrellas with deckchairs will set you back 10 Euros for the day.
We visited the Sheraton Pine Cliffs and definately made the right choice as the above complaints are so minor compared to what we saw at the Sheraton. If you want glitz and glamour go for the Sheraton (which is nearly 15 years old and starting to look dated!), if you want a quiet relaxing break, then the Santa Eulalia (opened in 2004) is the place to stay!!
A Hotel to Sigh For...
This is a new 5* hotel located on the beach at Santa Eulalia with superb views across the ocean, four swimming pools, several restaurants and facilities for children. We spent four nights there off season (in January 05) and experienced genuine friendliness in the welcome and throughout our stay. The service was excellent; discreet, with a willingness to please that impressed us. The seaview rooms are large, with a balcony catching the sun all day. (Blackout curtains prevent the sun from waking you early!) Bathrooms are big and luxurious, as you would expect. The public areas are stunning, with comfortable and interesting seating, with a lot of natural building materials being used in the design. The Spa is a treat, with good therapists who know what they are doing. Try the Vichy shower, and the cranial facial. Definitely a great place for a short break or a week or so. We will return....
TripAdvisor Reviews Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa Albufeira
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