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Review: Crowne Plaza

Accommodation - Hotel

Vilamoura, Portugal

Lovely location but definitely not 5*

  • By SilverTraveller kaytee

    2 reviews

  • Dec 2011
  • Adult family
  • Walking

50 people found this review helpful

My sister and I stayed here for 2 weeks over the Christmas period. The position of this hotel just off the sandy beach, 5 min walk to next town, Quarteria, and 3 mins from bus stop for regular service to Faro and Alburfurie was great. Next door to Casino which, although not very big, only 4 tables but lots of machines, had a show on several times a week. Although these closed after we had been there a few days, which was a disappointment to those who had not seen the show.



The rooms were to die for. Very large comfy beds, which could be singles or double. Bathrooms very large with walk in shower, almost like a wetroom, plus usual washbasin area, toilet and bidet. This bathroom had all glass walls but there is a privacy curtain which can be electrically wound down, otherwise anyone sitting in bedroom can see everything going on in there. Lack of toiletries – soap only supplied. All rooms had balconies, but only one chair on them.



Coffee machine which cost 2 Euro per cup, but there is a kettle so you could take your own. Ironing board and iron, plus nice robes.



The outdoor area was very pleasantly laid out around a large swimming pool. The terrace just adjacent to the lounge/bar area was a good place to sit and chat or read with drinks available nearby. There was a grassed area between the pool area and the sandy beach which normally had tables and chairs etc but at the time of year we went not in use. Although we had clear blue skies and sunny days it was very chilly until late morning and again after about 4pm. So our time by the pool sunbathing was short.



The indoor spa area was also superb. Large round pool and also large jacuzzi which had several different power jets. It was very peaceful to stretch out on the comfy loungers, occasionally swimming or using the jacuzzi once it got too chilly outside. Also available was the gym, sauna and steam room. These indoor facilities cost 10 Euro pppd but worth it. I went with Saga so these were free to us. There are also small children's and teenager's playrooms adjacent to the gym area. Most people who used the inside pool etc changed in their rooms and went down in lift wearing the robes supplied. Otherwise the changing areas are large, and very fit for purpose, with dressing tables with hair dryers etc.



In reception area are 4 Apple Macs for use of guests. Free WiFi etc which is a plus.



The staff were generally very pleasant and obliging throughout.



The downsides to this hotel: The food was not very good. For the first week at dinner the choice for hot food was either fish, port or pasta. The salads were good, but if you don't like fish you may have a problem. The sweets were good too but again, mostly the same every night. The second week when the hotel was a bit busier there was a bit more choice, beef and chicken, but, all the meats were very tough and the vegetables very overcooked. Plus despite having hot plates for use the food was generally just warm. Most of us filled our plates with salads and had cheese and biscuits and sweets.



Breakfasts were the same very day – eggs, bacon, mushrooms. Plus cereals.



Also because it is all buffet service the food is open and children are allowed to run around and help themselves, no hygienic hand sprays here.



The lounge/bar and reception area looked bright and airy but the furniture was the most uncomfortable ever. The seats were only at the most 10" off the ground which is OK for the very young and active but difficult to get up and down out of if you are not., and not very comfortable. Children are also allowed to run around this area in the evening till very late. One corner, nearest the bar, smoking is allowed.



Entertainment consisted of one man playing guitar two nights a week, and he played the same tunes each time. Almost as bad as the hotel which had only two tapes of Christmas songs and played them continuously from early morning until late at night.



In the high season this must be a buzzing place with a great many hotels, apartments etc but at this time of year one hotel could have probably accommodated all the guests. Because of this the local establishments where we could have enjoyed alternative food or entertainment were closed.



The Marina which is 5 min walk from hotel is a beautiful place to walk around, it is surrounded by boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, but most of these were closed.



We put names down for various excursions, but at the last minute the agency would cancel due to there not being enough people to warrant running it.



As a group (Saga) we had extras such as wine with lunch and dinner and free drinks in bar in evening. We also had free use of Spa, gym etc. We also had a Gala dinner with waiter service once a week but that was dreadful. Two on our table had to eat their main course before it got cold and had been finished a long time before anyone else got served. But we had paid full board so didn't feel inclined to go out and pay for extra food and drink too often.



Other guests who were on B & B or half board, were stuck with hotel food on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as even the few places that were open, closed on those days.



I would say only go to this hotel, or even this area, in season and go B & B. There are lots of alternative eating and entertainment places which would be open then, and it is situated close to buses where you can get to most other parts of Portugal and across the border into Spain. Don't go if you will have problems getting down and up off seats only 10" from ground or if you would not be happy wandering around to find other eating or entertainment places. We did use Irish bar about 200 yards from hotel which is small but friendly and The Navy Pub on the Marina which remained open and had a few singers in at night.



One of our party was mugged in broad daylight right outside of the hotel so that put a few people off wandering around on their own. Ok if in a group. Whether they would feel safer in a busier time with lots of people around, I don't know.



In summary, this hotel is in a beautiful setting, has wonderful bedrooms and the area is probably buzzing in Summer, but the food is awful, there is no entertainment, children can run anywhere, smoking is allowed in lounge, and in Winter (Christmas anyway) the area is like a ghost town. Also, incidentally, so was Alburfurie, lots of places closed and restaurateurs coming out to almost drag you in as it was so quiet.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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