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Old Sep 27, 04, 2:17 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Arrow Sheraton Algarve, Albufeira, Portugal [Master Thread]

Anyone ever been here? It looks great, just wondering about the service, chances of upgrades, etc....

Just booked my first rewards nights after 80K earned points this year.... 2 nights at the Sheraton Algarve, one night at Sheraton Lisboa and two nights at the Sheraton Porto... should be a fun trip!

Safe travels,

T.
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Old Sep 27, 04, 2:57 pm   #2
 
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I was at the Sheraton Algarve a few weeks ago. Absoultely great stay. We stayed at the Pine Cliffs Residences part of the resort. Were greeted with an upgrade from our originally booked 3br/2ba townhouse to a 3br/3ba "golf penthouse." Whilst it didn't have a bbq like our originally booked house did, it did have four separate balconies, a great view of the water from the upstairs, and a central location to the beach and hotel. If you want to save some of your points for somewhere else (you can't book the residences with points AFAIK), I highly recommend this instead of the hotel itself.

As for the property, the resort is set on cliffs, so you need to go down through a canyon to get to the beach, which makes it VERY private and absolutely gorgeous. Night and day from the beaches in Vilamora just up the road which had more public access to them. Great area for sunning, swimming, sailing, etc. There's a small restaurant on the beach as well. Make sure to grab a seat at the cliffside bar after coming up from the beach and have a pimms and lemonade during sunset.

The pools are good. One has a swim-up bar. Golf course looked fantastic, but proved prohibitively expensive after having to rent clubs and shoes. Ate at one of the restaurants in the hotel. It was OK...nothing memorable, but we weren't looking for anything memorable either. There are a couple restaurants and bars just outside the resort entrance (and a good, cheap supermarket) but nothing that would resemble a town or nightlife.

My one downer was that the staff seemed a bit snooty. Not a big deal, but at times it was annoying. Some friends who stayed at the actual hotel that week said it was a bigger problem for them.

Enjoy the stay...a great holiday spot.
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Old Sep 27, 04, 3:31 pm   #3
 
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Sheraton Algarve

I was at the Sheraton Algarve a few weeks ago also. However, I stayed at the hotel itself and was very disappointed. After telling me I received an upgraded room, I found out the only "upgrade" was that I was on the Club level. My room faced trees only, not even the ocean.

The property is very lovely, and it was teaming with Brits on family holiday (including lots and lots of kids). The rooms only have dial up Internet. Since I was there on business, one of my colleagues used the dial up and ran up a bill of nearly $400 for a little over an hour (that included hotel phone and very long distance number). I used the hotel "library" computers and was charged E20 per hour. However, I discovered near the end of my stay that if you sat near the entrance to the library, you could receive wireless and it was free. This fact was not made known to anyone so don't ask - just do it.
You may have to move around a little until you find a strong signal.

As for the staff being snooty, that is putting it very mildly! They were for the most part very arrogant. Only a few of the event staff members were helpful and respectful. In spite of the fact the hotel caters to English speaking British, their command of the English language was very poor (or at least they made you think it was so that they didn't have to speak English).

Needless to say, I was very disappointed and would not recommend it.

As for the Sheraton Lisboa, I was there only for one night, but my room was definitely an upgrade, and the people were much more pleasant.

Last edited by CME Flyer; Sep 27, 04 at 3:34 pm.
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Old Sep 27, 04, 9:44 pm   #4
 
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Stayed at the Sheraton Algarve in July for 5 nights with my wife and two daughters (15 and 2). Wish we could've stayed longer!

Upon arrival, we were upgraded to a two-level suite. Master bedroom, bath and two balconies (one a Romeo/Juliet w/ double doors) upstairs. A bath, living area with pullout couch, small dining area and balcony downstairs. The accommodations were not nearly in the same class as say, The St. Regis Monarch Beach in terms of comfort and luxury. The Algarve was rustic, however it fit well with the surroundings. A little renovation wouldn't be a bad idea, but not totally necessary.

The grounds were beautiful. Two pools, equally used by adults and kids. The resort as a whole was extremely kid friendly, which was great for us. The views over the Atlantic were gorgeous, especially at sunset from the outdoor bar overlooking the cliffs. The beach was excellent. Good thing they have an elevator going down about 5 stories down the cliff.

As for dining, the aforementioned bar and the beach club afforded outstanding views. The food could have been better- especially for the price. For cheaper dining alternatives, check out the restaurants and cafes just outside the resort. If you want to go into Albufiera, that's another option. Basically anywhere is cheaper than the resort, but resort dining is certainly convenient.

My wife and daughter got good use of the business center to check emails, etc. Overall a great stay, wish I knew then what I know now... I would've stayed a few more nights. I'd like to go back, but there are too many other places to go in the forseeable future.

My ratings: Scale of 1-10 w/ 10 being best:

Room: 7
Service: 8
Food: 7
Location: 9
Activities: 8
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Old Sep 28, 04, 8:31 am   #5
 
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[quote=CME Flyer] After telling me I received an upgraded room, I found out the only "upgrade" was that I was on the Club level. My room faced trees only, not even the ocean.

My wife and I stayed at the resort for three nights in April and were very satisfied for the most part. The negatives for us were a small mix up at check-in and the staff disappeared without any explanation for about ten minutes..Also the so called Concierge staff (they are really there to book you for a timeshare presentation) were very inexperienced and not very knowledgable.
We were upgraded to a junior suite as the resort was sold out due to Easter holidays. We found the food to be of very good quality but as one would expect, more expensive than that found outside the resort.
I did NOT know they had a CLUB level!

We also found the Sheraton Algarve to be EXCELLENT. We were upgraded to a Tower Suite and the staff couldn't be more friendlier and helpful.
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Old Sep 28, 04, 10:17 am   #6
SST
 
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Anyone been to this hotel in the off-season? We were thinking about swinging through the Algarve in February, and I'm wondering whether it's worth it....... I assume it's too cold to use the beach, but what other activities were in the area, and how much fun were the towns nearby?
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Old Sep 28, 04, 12:53 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisTravel
Anyone ever been here? It looks great, just wondering about the service, chances of upgrades, etc....

Just booked my first rewards nights after 80K earned points this year.... 2 nights at the Sheraton Algarve, one night at Sheraton Lisboa and two nights at the Sheraton Porto... should be a fun trip!

Safe travels,

T.

I am intrested in a trip like the above. How far are the Lisbon hotel from the Sheraton Algarve and what is the best way to get between thw two ??? Hire a car, Train or Cab ( I take it a cab would be out of the question as I guess it is quite a long way),


Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old Sep 28, 04, 1:08 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchand
I am intrested in a trip like the above. How far are the Lisbon hotel from the Sheraton Algarve and what is the best way to get between thw two ??? Hire a car, Train or Cab ( I take it a cab would be out of the question as I guess it is quite a long way),


Thanks in advance for any advice.
They are actually quite a distance... about a 3 hour train ride to be exact! We are doing a few week trip, so we are starting off in the Algarve at the Sheraton, then traveling up the coast to Lisboa over 3-4 days. Spending a few nights at the Sheraton, then going up to Porto and staying at the new Sheraton Porto, which looks lovely.

Algarve to Lisboa - 3-4 hours
Lisboa to Porto - 3-4 hours

T.
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Old Sep 28, 04, 7:31 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchand
I am intrested in a trip like the above. How far are the Lisbon hotel from the Sheraton Algarve and what is the best way to get between thw two ??? Hire a car, Train or Cab ( I take it a cab would be out of the question as I guess it is quite a long way),


Thanks in advance for any advice.
I took the trip last April to Lisboa and to Algarve. IN Lisboa, you do not need a car as the public transport and the taxis are very cheap and much safer than driving. Having said that I had my wallet stolen as I was trying to get on a public bus ( there are professional thieves who will crowd behing you in a group and push you in the bus/train pretending to get on the bus in a hurry and then pick your pocket. it happened to me in Paris also, but I caught the guy in Paris) so make sure to protect your wallet.

In Algarve, you will need a car IF you wish to get out of the resort and visit nearby places. We chose to take a luxury bus from Lisboa ato Algrave which took about 2.5 to 3 hours on an excellent highway and we got to enjoy the scenary. Once in Algarve, we took a taxi (again very cheap) to the resort and rented a car at the resort. In hind sight, I should have picked up a car right next to the bus stop and saved myself a few dollars over renting through the resort. Enjoy your trip. Mukesh
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Old Sep 30, 04, 10:56 pm   #10
 
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Algarve to Lisbon

Best way, in my opinion, is to rent a car. Major highway driving directly from Algarve to LIS in about 2- 2.5 hours.
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Old Jul 1, 07, 9:22 pm   #11
 
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Sheraton Algarve and Sheraton Lisboa reviews

Sheraton Algarve Hotel and Resort (2 nights – 4K points + $60/night)
This was my first Starwood property stay on this trip and I had been looking forward to it after reading the posts on the excellent service and beautiful grounds. We arrived at the hotel around 6:30pm after a 25 minute drive from the airport (about €30-€35). The hotel itself it is a relatively large complex and right outside the gates there are a number of restaurants and shops. As other posters have suggested, be sure to visit the grocery store there to buy your food, drink, snacks, etc. as the hotel prices are quite expensive (e.g. a 1L bottle of water at the hotel is €6.50, but at the store it’s €0.41 – a HUGE difference!) Reception wasn’t busy at all but it took a bit for the receptionist to get over to us to begin check-in. Very friendly service and seemed genuine. I had read previously about Platinum members receiving upgrades to the duplex suites with ocean views and hopeful that we would get the same. Desk agent said that we were upgraded to a junior suite with garden view and when I inquired about the duplex suites she said they were all sold out. I pressed her a bit but with no luck. The General manager was walking around the lobby and came over and greeted us (by name) and said that she was very sorry that no rooms were available tonight, but that they would upgrade us tomorrow night after a big convention group left. I received the Platinum amenity choice card, but since there was no points option I chose the in-room movie (which I ended up not using )

The Junior Suite with garden view we had for the first night was very nice, and well decorated. The style at the hotel is elegant but a bit dated, though they have LCD TVs and other modern amenities installed. Disappointing that neither room had hotel wireless in it, but that on the second night I was able to get the Vodafone wireless, but it was a very inconsistent and weak signal. The next morning we got a call about 11:00am from the front desk saying we could switch to the Duplex Suite whenever we were ready and they would move all our bags for us. The duplex suite was very nice – the upper level had a kind bed with a Romeo and Juliet style balcony facing the ocean and the bathroom was at the back; the lower level had a living room with terrace overlooking the ocean complete with chairs and a decent sized W.C. near the entrance. This room had not been redone as recently as the Junior Suite (e.g. lacked an Ethernet cable, no rainforest showerhead, etc.) but did have the nice view and was much larger. All-in-all I think that we would have stayed in the Junior Suite until they upgrade the duplex suites with more modern amenities. When they do upgrade the duplex suites and redo them, they will be definitely be my first choice. In the meantime, I’d be curious to try an Ocean view Junior Suite, though I’m not entirely sure this property has any.

Room service was expensive but the food was pretty good overall – though I would definitely checkout the restaurants outside the property as the quality difference is marginal, but the price difference is quite large. Part of the Platinum recognition was that breakfast was included each day – the buffet was good, but I wouldn’t necessarily pay for it and probably would have just went with ala carte, ate off property, or bought something at the grocery store, had it not been included.

As for the facilities, the hotel grounds are large and there are at least two (maybe three?) pools – outdoor and indoor. The fitness room was decent but not great, though between that and the trails throughout the property you should be able to keep a relatively strong workout routine. The beach is a bit of a trek, down stairs or an elevator and then a meandering boardwalk through the orange cliffs that the property sits on. Unfortunately it rained and was overcast for a good portion of our stay so we didn’t spend that much time at the beach, but from what we saw when we were there it looked pretty decent.

All-in-all the property is pretty nice and the service is great, but it is getting a bit dated. I’d love to see them redo all the rooms (similar to what they did at the Sheraton Kauai) and then I think this property would be top notch – that said, at 10,000 points/night year round, and a pretty consistent points/cash option, it’s a great deal, especially considering that the lowest rate I found during our stay was €205 for a standard room/night.

Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa (2 nights - €125/night)
If there was a problem child property of the trip, the Sheraton Lisboa was it. We arrived by train from Faro at about 5:00pm – and for reference, this hotel is a good distance cab ride from the Lisbon-Oriente train station, so I would suggest getting off at one of the earlier stops in Lisbon closer to the city center. On the plus side, it’s a 5-10 minute cab ride from the airport, which is very nice.

I had booked a Superior double room and had seen that they had upgraded me ahead of time to the Club level room, but according to the website they had suites available as well. At check-in I asked about upgrade to a suite and the desk agent said they had none available. I pressed her on it (since I had checked the website just a few hours before) and she said there were none. I then asked her if I wanted to buy a suite, that there were none – and she said that was true. At that point I told her I was going to call the Platinum concierge and see if there were suites available and she said I was welcome to and if I “needed the number”. I pulled out my cell phone and called the Platinum line and confirmed that there were indeed suites available and then gave the phone to the desk clerk so that she could confirm it as well. The Platinum concierge confirmed it with her and then the agent called her manager; after she got off the phone she the admitted there were suites available, but that I was not allowed to be upgraded to one. I pressed further and then her manager showed up and apologized saying “we don’t normally give suite upgrades to Platinum members, but in this case we will make an exception.” The whole ordeal took 20-25 minutes but the added effort was more than worth it upon seeing the suite – two rooms, recently remodeled with a very modern feel – similar to many newer Westin or Le Meridien properties. The living room had a good sized desk, a love seat, two chairs, and a WC (no shower). The bedroom had two twin beds, plus a chair and small table. The windows in the living room had electronically controlled blackout shades which gave it a very theatre room-like feel, whereas there were electronically controlled blinds on the window separating the bathroom and the bedroom – serving a similar function to the “magic window” at the Princeville.

Unfortunately while the facilities were very nice the service and soft product was definitely lacking. Our room came with a free breakfast, either a full buffet in the restaurant downstairs or a continental service in the lounge upstairs. The full buffet was disappointing, with cold eggs, undercooked meat products, and very poor service. I had to ask twice for coffee to be brought to the table and they still took 10 minutes to get it to me. The executive lounge had good food presentation in the evening, but was relatively limited compared to other properties I visited (only one or two hors d'oeuvres for the food, and only champagne and wine for the alcohol. Room service was also slow and poor; I called down one evening and they said that they would call me back “in a while” – I still hadn’t heard from them 20 minutes later and so I called back, again being told they would call me back immediately.

To top off the problems, one week later I still have only received the points for one night of charges, and no Platinum amenity points, in spite of the fact I asked for and clarified both upon checkout. Overall, I’d say this hotel is a decent value at the rate I paid, but only if you can get upgraded to a suite. The service was consistently pretty poor and had I not received the suite I would have been a lot less forgiving. Next time I will definitely try Le Meridien, which is about a 15-20 minute walk and seemingly a bit more central.

These were the only two Starwoods we stayed at in Portugal, and the reports on the Rome properties to come later.
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Old Sep 14, 08, 6:33 pm   #12
 
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I am planning a trip to Portugal for August 2009 and interested in any recent experiences at this property or other SPG properties in the Algrave area.
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Old Nov 15, 08, 4:59 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by SST View Post
Anyone been to this hotel in the off-season? We were thinking about swinging through the Algarve in February, and I'm wondering whether it's worth it....... I assume it's too cold to use the beach, but what other activities were in the area, and how much fun were the towns nearby?
I would also be interested to know this. Thinking of January or between Christmas and New Year. I know it won't be beach weather or even non-stop sunshine but even a couple of days of bright daylight would be an improvement on London!

Is there anything to be seen in a cab ride or long walk from hotel?
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Old Nov 15, 08, 6:36 am   #14
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Originally Posted by ajamieson View Post
IIs there anything to be seen in a cab ride or long walk from hotel?
The hotel is mid-way between the resorts of Albufeira and Vilamoura, which are each about 15 mins drive away. Within this radius, save for a couple of golf courses, there's noting much to divert the attention of a tourist.

Beyond, however, within say a 30-45 mins drive time, there's loads to see and do : Montchique, Slives castle, some lovely rocky coves west of Albufeira, waterparks, shopping malls.....

Inside the resort compound itself, there's a walking/jogging trail (4km IIRC), and of course there's a lovely, miles-long golden sandy beach for that nice romantic stroll.....
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Old Nov 15, 08, 12:22 pm   #15
 
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Romantic stroll? Nah, as long as there's SPAR up the road selling Stella I'm happy

Thank you
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