Our favourite Vila Galé hotels in the Algarve region, the Vila Galé Praia, unlike its sister hotels, is a small hotel of 40 rooms that welcomes mainly couples due to the quiet atmosphere of the establishment. Modern, clean and comfortable as well as being just a two-minute walk to Praia Galé beach and a couple of beach restaurants serving excellent grilled fish, the hotel is one of our favourites for small budgets.
The hotel is located in a small and quiet enclave called Praia da Galé, after the more touristic town of Albufeira and a two minute walk from Praia da Galé beach. There is a small parade of a handful of shops and bars lining the hotel car park for convenience, although we would recommend hiring a car and exploring the area to find real local hangouts. Faro airport is about 40 minutes away by car along the N-125. Follow signs for Albufeira and then to Praia Galé.
The hotel is not open throughout the year and closes November and December (for exact dates enquire directly with the hotel as these can vary from year to year). There is a wireless internet connection but this comes at an extra fee.
The hotel is part of the Portuguese hotel chain, Vila Galé. There are 17 hotels in Portugal, of which nine are in the Algarve - see our reviews here. Vila Galé also has six hotels in Brazil.
Open since 1990, the Vila Galé Praia was rebuilt in 2005 and decorated in a loosely Asian style with wenge stained furniture and Buddha sculptures and paintings placed throughout the hotel. A glass front runs along the entire hotel letting in plenty of light, making a change from the usual enormous drab concrete structures built along the coast in some areas like Vilamoura.
Upon entering the hotel, the atmosphere was casual and light. The reception desk is to the right of the door, and to the left is the lobby lounge where there is a large flat-screen television, as well as games, a small library, and a pool table, which come in handy when the weather isn't sunny enough to sunbathe around the pool. The area outside is extremely quiet and relaxing.
The glass structure follows throughout the hotel, meaning that although the décor is very plain, the outdoors - blues skies, the well-mowed garden lawns and the turquoise rectangle of pool outside are visible from inside the building, dressing the interiors. Although the décor isn't of the best quality, an effort has been made to give the hotel a cosy yet sleek atmosphere.
In terms of facilities there is an outdoor pool, indoor Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, gym, a restaurant, bar , tennis courts and a living area in the lobby area.
The hotel doesn't have a spa as such, but does have a gym, a large indoor Jacuzzi with windows looking out to the garden, a steam bath and sauna, as well as a yoga space. All activities are included in the room rate. There are a couple of massage rooms, an individual room and one for couples, but treatments must be booked a week in advance.
There are 40 rooms and two types of standard rooms; with garden view or a pool view. The rooms are not adapted for families - for example an extra bed would not fit in the space. >
Ground floor rooms are smoking rooms, so if you require one of these, make sure you place a request when booking. Otherwise all rooms have a balcony - the ground floor rooms have direct access to the pool area. In terms of décor the rooms are fairly plain, they are all equipped with bathrobes, slippers, a safe and an empty fridge, which guests can use and have filled at an extra charge.
The beds are all twin beds pushed together, so if you are not a big fan of that frustrating groove in the middle of the bed, make sure you are aware. The décor in the rooms is extremely basic, with pastel pink wallpaper to match the carpet and bed throws. Apart from a few bits of essential furniture, there are a couple of abstract paintings hanging on the wall to add a little warmth. The rooms are clean and comfortable.
The hotel has one restaurant and an adjoining bar on the ground floor close to the outdoor pool area. The black and white tones are simple and follow throughout the hotel. The unusual photography hanging on the walls seeks to add interesting detail, although may not be to everyone's taste. There is no inclusive formula here; the only available meal plan is bed and breakfast.
Meals are not served as buffets here either, but ŕ la carte for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can opt to either sit inside or out on the patio near the pool. For guests wanting to retreat to the intimacy of their hotel room, there is 24-hour room service for drinks and food is from 8:00am to midnight.
Two hundred meters separate the Praia da Galé, 'praia', meaning beach in English, from the hotel. Here, the beach gets very crowded in peak season (school holidays), but outside of season, the beach is the ideal place to spend the day and to watch the sunset. There are also a couple of beach restaurants, one of which serves fresh grilled fish and is our favourite place to eat in the Algarve (see our review of Restaurant da Galé).
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