Please note our writer visited the Algarve prior to the coronavirus pandemic
With its dazzlingly bright sunshine, award-winning golf courses, and golden beaches framed by beautifully wrought limestone rocks, the Algarve is a smorgasbord of activity and adventure. Making the most of this setting is a vast array of hotels and resorts that golfers, spa-goers and families return to time and time again. Here’s our pick of the best all-inclusive options, including the top places to stay for plentiful buffets, rooms with beautiful views, a family holiday, and a host of facilities and activities that entertain for hours.
Pestana Blue Alvor, Alvor
While obviously catering to a mass-market, the whole hotel has a 21st-century style that puts the other all-inclusive Algarve offerings in the shade. It sits on the edge of Alvor, a pretty whitewashed town which still bears traces of the fishing village it once was, and offers 491 rooms spread over 13 low-lying buildings, encircling six swimming pools, a Kid’s Club and innovative entertainment from the Chapito animation team. Each day is different and packed with activities including a circus on Saturdays. There’s also a vast Concert Hall with for evening shows and discos, and the beach is a 10-minute walk away.
Clube Humbria, Olhos De Água
Compared to many all-inclusive offerings, Clube Humbria has character; it is also much smaller than most, allowing for a more personal atmosphere. The family-friendly resort is grouped around the large adult and smaller children’s pool in terracotta-tiled cream-coloured buildings, within a 15-minute walk of Praia de Falesia beach. There is a large range of on-site activities, from quiz nights to discos, plus an impressive aqua park. The apartments are furnished in cheerful colours with big windows overlooking the swimming pool or gardens. All have a separate sitting room and a kitchenette, and the buffets at the Humbria Restaurant offer a good choice.
Read the full review: Clube Humbria
Be Live Family Palmeiras Village, Alporchinhos
The resort, built in a U-shape with two towers of rooms and a marble-clad lobby, is one of the biggest all-inclusive resorts in the Algarve, with 517 rooms spread over eight floors. Overall there is a ‘no frills’ feeling, with simple décor and tiled surfaces and floors, although it is well maintained. There are six mini kids’ clubs, ranging from a baby club to a ‘maxi club’ for those aged up to 12, along with games rooms, painting, football, bouncy castles and a mini-cinema. For adults and older children, there is a programme of activities from zumba to crossfit, water polo to yoga, or even Portuguese lessons.
Alvor Bahia, Alvor
Alvor Bahia is a big, no-frills operation with facilities that impress; expect everything from a 100-metre swimming pool to nightly entertainment for children and adults, a kids’ club, games room, spa, hairdressers, football pitch and even a pétanque pitch. For the adults, there are dance clubs, darts, bingo, quiz nights, aquazumba and aerobic stretching classes. All suites have balconies of varying sizes; the largest are found as part of the Suite Deluxe rooms and are big enough to eat on comfortably. Elsewhere, the all-day buffets provide a wide range of options, and at dinner time there are often regular themes such as Brazilian or Portuguese.
Read the full review: Alvor Bahia
Adriana Beach Club Resort, Foros de Quarteira
This hotel is situated within the more built-up part of the Algarve but is surrounded by palm-filled greenery. A series of steps take eager bathers to the attractive Falesia Beach, and a shuttle bus runs four times a day between Vilamoura and Albufeira. The low-lying resort’s architecture is in keeping with the Moorish-influenced buildings on the Algarve and interiors draw on marble and tiles to create a clean, cool feel. The Al-Gharb Restaurant is the main place to eat and offers a buffet at lunch and dinner, serving a mixture of Portuguese regional food as well as other international dishes. A varied choice of activities is on offer with its all-inclusive packages.
Hotel Riu Guarana, Olhos De Água
This large all-inclusive hotel is in the middle of a small town in the centre of the Algarve, a 15-minute walk away from attractive Falesia Beach. It offers a variety of activities and entertainment for adults and children alike, three swimming pools, a health and beauty salon and a kids’ club. The 500 rooms overlook the large swimming pools, which are surrounded by palm trees, and the restaurants are bright and cheerful. A wide variety of buffet dishes with international and Portuguese favourites are on offer in the main restaurant, and there are also two other restaurants that serve Asian-inspired and grilled food.
Read the full review: Hotel Riu Guarana
From £76 pp/pn
Dom Pedro Vilamoura, Vilamoura
Vilamoura, with its variety of excellent courses, is one of Europe’s best golf destinations, and Dom Pedro is a few minutes’ walk from the golden sands of Vilamoura Beach and within walking distance of the Marina and nightlife. The Dom Pedro group owns five 18-hole championship golf courses in the immediate vicinity, with Old Course and Victoria particularly drawing the crowd. There is a free shuttle between all the golf courses and guests staying at the hotel have discounted green fees. Aside from this, Don Pedro has 266 rooms, a good wellness centre, an indoor and outdoor pool and an abundance of facilities for children.
Yellow Alvor Garden, Alvor
This all-inclusive hotel is all about the outside rather than the inside as it closes in winter and its guests come for the sun and pool experience. While interiors are pretty basic and provide the minimum in comfort, the gardens and facilities make up for it. It’s well placed within a few minutes (by free minibus) from the pretty whitewashed town of Alvor and its lovely beach, and has great facilities to keep families happy, from extensive gardens and a large pool to animated entertainment and live music in the evening. An international buffet is provided at lunch and dinner every day with a salad bar, choice of soups, main dishes and a variety of regional pastries and cakes.
Read the full review: Yellow Alvor Garden
Contributions by Mary Lussiana