Tuesday, 30 June 2015

ms-havachat Travel Blog 9: Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal - Part I The Hotel.

Hilton Vilamoura - stock photo via Google. Thank you :)
Summer (school) holidays in the northern hemisphere are very long, and for us, even longer.

MissM finished school for the year on May 28, and won't return til last week in August. The majority of schools in Ireland, UK and Europe will finish towards the end of June.

The only advantage is June is less expensive, less crowded and slightly cooler for travelling.

This year we opted for a full on R&R, sit-by-the-pool, do not much else kinda break, with a little bit of cultural sightseeing thrown in to stop me going bonkers.

After much consideration we decided on the Algarve region of Portugal.

The Hilton Vilamoura was great. Not sure of your expectation of the Hilton properties, but we expected excellent service, above average accommodation, elegant surroundings and that's exactly what happened.

We opted for a 2 bedroom apartment, rather than a hotel room for the first time and now we've done it, we will do so as often as possible. It worked so well. Friends have done serviced apartments on holidays for years, and we do it when we visit Sydney, but I was never convinced for a h-o-l-i-d-a-y that it would work, but it did.

The lounge room was a generous size, with a huge TV and storage unit (not sure what holiday makers would put in there. It was low and long with oodles of drawers); the L-shaped lounge was comfy to spread out on. The balcony stretched across this room and the second bedroom and overlooked the golf course. The breeze thru the place once the sun set was divine!

Lounge leading onto balcony overlooking golf course

Once we unpacked and settled in, we walked to the local supermarket and stocked up on the basics for breakfast and lunch. After that, we hit the pool!

We woke at our leisure and had breakfast in our pjs before getting ready for the pool. We took full advantage of the air conditioning at lunch time with a mid-day break from the sun and a light, healthy lunch.  The wine from the supermarket was cheaper than the mini-bar too, which is always a plus.

We had room service a couple of nights, and the trolley fitted nicely in the dining area of the room, while we sat at the table. The meals from room service were delicious and beautifully presented, and the best part was there was no washing up.

Well equipped kitchen.

The bedrooms were good sizes, with built in wardrobes, with LOTS of hangers (this is always a pet hate of mine in hotels, there's never enough hangers), chest of drawers, and full length mirrors. The master bedroom had an ensuite, and the second bedroom had a small bathroom opposite. Each room had a TV (MissM loved having TV to herself), and the stereo worked through out the apartment.

Comfy master bedroom.

The apartment was fully serviced every day.

There are several pools at Hilton Vilamoura; a general pool; a romantic pool (just means no kids allowed), a teenagers pool (slightly deeper than the general pool with waterfalls to muck around under), a baby/toddler pool (well positioned under a permanent hut for shade), and a very clever, full size pool undercover, with the side open to the general pool area which meant swimming under full shade but not in an indoor environment which can be stuffy.

The ground were full of summer flowers and very pretty. There were secluded seating areas if you wanted to still quietly and read, or be in the sun but away from the noise of the pool (which, when were were there wasn't that busy).

The pool staff were very helpful with extra umbrella's when asked.

Each night, from 7pm the hotel provided a courtesy shuttle bus to Vilamoura Marina - the restaurant hub of the area. We ate here most nights, and enjoyed each meal ( leave that for a separate chat)

The concierge helped G organise several games of golf on various courses. He thoroughly enjoyed each game. Apparently the Algarve is known for it's courses.  (I don't play, so I can only repeat what I'm told). He returned each evening with a huge smile, which is all that matters.

We hired a car for the weekend and went to Cape St Vincent, loving the coastal scenery, and a few other places (will chat and post pics separately)

My pic :)

My pic :)

So MissM had her days in the pool. G had his golf and I had my culture - very happy 3-some.

The only thing we thought we'd do, and didn't was drive to Lisbon ....... it was about an 5 hour round trip, which we thought for a day with sightseeing thrown in was too much. Just means we have to go back for a long weekend.

I would thoroughly recommend Hilton Vilamoura for a family holiday based on our experience. We booked the hotel and airfares as a package thru expedia.ie which worked out much cheaper than doing them separately; the hotel kindly organised for pick up from airport (€36)

Where are you going for your summer vacation?
Have you ever done a serviced apartment, what did you think?
How to you ensure everyone's likes and interests are taken care of on holidays?

With friendship

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