Luna Hotels, The Algarve, Portugal: Part 1 - Luna Miramar

 

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We left freezing cold, hurricane winds and rain in the UK to arrive late morning at a sunny Faro airport in mid-December. I love the chunky white statues on the island at the airport, all gazing up to the sky – you felt obliged to join them in their upward stare. We were driven to Albufeira, about 18 miles, to our first hotel the Luna Miramar.

Luna Miramar lobbyIt has a very welcoming lobby, white marble floors and black marble staircase, clean and bright with a dash of turquoise on the seating and lots of original artworks on the walls. We had a good size apartment with a kitchenette - microwave, hotplate, fridge with crockery and utensils – and can confirm that a group of Hindu guests from Age UK Harrow were able to produce a full spread of fantastic Indian food on their hotplate! You could easily stay here for a week or more. The balcony gets the sun in the afternoon as it overlooks a well maintained pool area. Greeted with fresh fruit, bottled water and a bottle of bubbly, this was certainly a good start to our 3 day stay!

	View from Luna Miramar balcony  Reception is actually on 3rd floor, a comfortable bar with free WiFi on 4th floor, and a health club on floor 1 next to the buffet style dining room. You can book sessions free for any of the facilities, including the Jacuzzi, indoor pool at 29-31?, sauna and a gym. During the season, there is entertainment and games in the gardens, not just for children, although these weren’t available at this time.

	11th December 2014  The Luna Miramar is in a good position near to the old town of Albufeira, within walking distance to the town and the beach. We strolled down to the beach – OK, a bit of a steep stroll but at least it was downhill on the way there. There is now an escalator at one end of the beach and a lift at the other, so accessing it is easy. It is many years since we last visited the Algarve, and the old town of Albufeira has changed. The shops in the centre are the same, of course, and even out of the main tourist season there are restaurants and bars to choose from.

We tried the fish soup at Flavours restaurant, right on the beach front.  Very nice, not chunky, a tomato base but with a definite taste of seafood (it includes crab so check if you have any specific seafood allergies). Served with different types of bread, a glass of wine (of course!) and a small beer, it was a very pleasant afternoon sat in the sunshine next to the sea.

4.	Albufeira beach lift  The town is very hilly, and the footpaths are mainly made up of small blocks so a bit uneven and not easy for wheelchair users. But, there is a small train that trundles around the town, a hop on- hop off tourist bus, and the hotel has a shuttle bus to the beach and town so there are plenty of options if you decide not to walk. Luna Miramar is 10 minute walk from the beach and town and next to a shopping centre with supermarket, a Pizza Hut (of course), and small clothes shops including a really good choice of clothes for men, a bit different from standard V-neck sweaters but definitely wearable.

The town is quiet at this time of year, but the beach is kept clean and tidy. The sand is harsh underfoot with tiny bits of shell so open sandals not ideal, but there are some fascinating rock formations and greenery along the cliff face. Look out for old buildings, some derelict, as basically this is a beautiful area for artists and photographers alike.

Albufeira town square  Luna Hotels are very interested in what Silver Travellers are likely to be looking for, particularly over the winter months when it is much quieter. They have a range of hotel apartments in the Algarve, good quality accommodation 4*, well presented hotels, exceptionally helpful staff, plus pool and spa facilities at the Luna Miramar ideal for 50+ visitors. There are many places to visit in the region including the vineyard owned by Sir Cliff Richard, the Cork Museum, and fruit picking of the Arbutus in November (no, I don’t know what they are either).

Two weeks before Christmas seems a strange time to visit, but it was a welcome break from the harsher British weather, if only for some sunshine.

Temperatures not as high, perhaps, as some of the Mediterranean countries, but it was very pleasant, bright and sunny during our stay, ranging from T-shirt and shorts on the warmest days to cooler cloudier days that still only required an extra sweater or jacket. They would like to offer long-term stays over the winter with some very favourable accommodation rates, so definitely worth considering if you have only ever thought of the Algarve for a summer holiday. There are various flight options to the Algarve, both Ryanair and Monarch, the one we used, flying direct from Birmingham.

For more information, please visit www.lunahoteis.com

•  Read Luna Hotels, The Algarve, Portugal: Part 2 - Luna Alpinus
•  Read Luna Hotels, The Algarve, Portugal: Part 3 - Luna Olympus

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Other Members' Thoughts - 6 Comment(s)

  • SilverTravelUser
    over 2 years ago
    Hi Mary - I can definitely empathise with you. the first time we stayed was in the old town up the hill in a Small & Friendly hotel - it was lovely, not so crowded but still plenty of choice for restaurants and shops in the town, and there was the famous little beach shack well-known for its fish dishes. All gone now sadly. But Still worth visiting the Algarve as well as the rest of Portugal - see my new reports on Our First Cruise where we stopped at Lisbon and Oporto.
  • MaryCanary
    over 2 years ago
    We first visited Montechero/Albufeira 38 years ago, when it was little more than a fishing village. Last month we went back to a different part of the Algarve and decided to visit Albufeira for the day. Lasted 15 minutes. The centre of Albufeira was awful. Lines and lines of restaurants, packed like sardines. It might suit some but we shan't go back. What a shame the effect tourists have on some places
  • Ian-McGillivray
    over 4 years ago
    I stayed in Montechero just outside Albuferia about 25 years ago,my first time away for a winter break,i went in January and reading this makes me think it`s high time i returned,i loved Portugal,the people,food and the weather was great for January,thanks for reminding me what a wonderful place the Algarve is.
  • MickD
    over 4 years ago
    Having recently returned from a wonderful family holiday in Praia Da Luz, the opportunity to go back the Algarve is very appealing. Our first Portuguese holiday was to Cascais in 2013. And, last year we stayed near Peniche. We're now hooked on Portugal.
  • Tony-Troop
    over 4 years ago
    Always wanted to re-visit the Algarve, after being there in the early 70s in the Albufeira/Vilamoura area to see how it has changed.
    Looks and sounds wonderful
  • Hunter
    over 4 years ago
    Sounds great and nice to have inside information as just off to Luna Olympus on 12th Feb. Hope it's a little warmer than here at the moment!
    Will do write up upon return.