Hotel Vila Gale Albacora Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
Quatro Aguas s/n Tavira, Portugal -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

One of two Vila Galé hotels in Tavira, the Albacora Hotel is situated outside the village on a sand bank lining the river Formosa that crosses Tavira just steps away from the ferry that takes guests to the various islands in the area. The area looks extremely quiet and calm - an ideal retreat for those in need of some quality r and r, however, from end of May till September, the area is seething with tourists. The Albacora ('Albacora' meaning tuna fish in English) used to be a fishing settlement, which was converted into a hotel. Out of the way and close to the beach, the hotel is ideal for families needing the convenience of onsite facilities while remaining in remote natural surroundings.

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  • Rest
  • Nature
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    • Hotel Vila Gale Albacora

      Vila Gale Albacora   -   © Julien Ferret / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Vila Gale Albacora

      Vila Gale Albacora   -   © Julien Ferret / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 1.0 /10

    The hotel is located close to the small fishing village of Tavira, right at Quatro Aguas, on the other side of the bridge, which is the meeting point for ferries travelling between the mainland and the Algarve's various islands. The village has a rich history as an important fishing port; the village was also an important Moorish city in the 1700s and ruins of forts and settlements are still visible all over the village. The hotel is an hour's drive east on the N-125 from Faro, the capital of the Algarve. Tavira, the main village, is about 20 minutes' walk from the hotel and this is where you will find the second Vila Galé hotel, Vila Galé Tavira.

    Accommodation 5.70 /10

    With 162 rooms, including five suites, the hotel doesn't feel as busy as it should for a hotel of this size in mid-season mainly due to there being lots of different areas to explore within the hotel as well as just outside along the river.

    The rooms are extremely basic, but clean. All white, with touches of beige in the bed covers and blinds hanging at the windows, they all have a double bed (two twin beds pushed together), air-conditioning, safe, television (old-generation), a working fridge (that can be used as a mini-bar upon request) and 24-hour room service. All rooms have own-brand Vila Galé bathroom products and all have a bath tub. There isn't much to write home about with regards to the décor, but most guests spend most of their time outside, exploring the surrounding natural park or relaxing by the pool.

    Some rooms have a small terrace looking out onto the surrounding fields or river, really plunging guests into the area's tranquil ambience.

    Overview 7.70 /10

    Before it was converted into a hotel in the year 2000, the site was used as a fishing settlement. In fact, if you walk to the back of the hotel, through the gate leading to the beach, you will notice the name of the former village painted on the building facade Arraial Ferreira Neto.The original structure has actually been kept, with typical long single floor buildings painted bright yellow and the original school, chapel and watchtower. The overall atmosphere is one of peace and calm, and the well-planted gardens of Bougainvillea and various other flora, contribute to the effect.

    The hotel has all the usual facilities onsite, like a car park for guests arriving by car, a kids' club/playground, a restaurant and bar with indoor and oudoor seating. There is also the main restaurant, pool bar and indoor bar, where evening entertainment takes place everyday, including live bird and reptile shows! Something else the kids are bound to like is a nature tour of the park surrounding the hotel; team leaders show children around the coastline, teaching them about the various fauna and flora, giving children another dimension to explore on holiday (not included in the room rate).

    The hotel doesn't have a spa as such, but it does have a 'Satsanga' health club with a couple of massage rooms - treatments are done on request, so guests must make sure to book at least 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, there is a steam room and sauna, a gym and an indoor pool for cooler days - day passes costing 11 euro are available as the facilities are not included in the room rate here.

    The outdoor pool is by far the most popular attraction despite the beach being only seconds away. If you are staying here with young children and you are apprehensive about letting them out of your sight, there are rooms that lead directly to the pool area, meaning that the children are never too far!

    Alternatively, for a little saunter into town, there is a complimentary shuttle bus that goes between Tavira and the hotel five times a day - although the village isn't far, it can be a hard feat, especially in the hard sun.

    The highlight of the hotel apart from its original structure, is its proximity to the beach. Through the back gate to the side of the watch tower, where you will find the well-equipped diving club, the sparkling waters of the sea and its fine sandy beach.

    Food and drink 6.70 /10

    The hotel has two spaces just off the pool area - a restaurant and bar, where evening entertainment takes place. The hotel organises various quizzes, games and karaoke after dinner to keep the guests entertained. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the restaurant and always as a buffet. The dining hall itself is light and bright due to the bay windows running down its side. Like most resorts, it gets very busy in the mornings and evenings, especially in high season. The pool bar and barbecue area are open during the summer months (end May-end September). For something a little more intimate, the hotel has 24-hour room service.

    Beach 9.70 /10

    The hotel sits right next to the river's beach. The mesmerizing blue waters of the Ria Formosa, encased in powdery fine white sand, makes Formosa one of the best beach spots in the area. Outside of high season, this is the place to come for a swim as well as to relax. The area is protected and has been left in its wild state, giving it a countryside aspect. Boats also ferry visitors to the islands in the area. If however, you value your peace and quiet, this beach and the islands are to be avoided at all costs from June to August.

    The beach and water are clean. There are no sun loungers for hire here.

    To know

    The hotel is part of the Portuguese hotel chain, Vila Galé. There are 17 hotels in Portugal, of which nine are in the Algarve. Vila Galé also has six hotels in Brazil.

    NB: the hotel closes over the winter in November-March. Exact closure dates must be checked with the hotel directly as the dates tend to vary from year to year.

    The hotel does insist on guests recylcing, sorting of rubbish (you will notice the colour-coded bins all over the site) and saving on water as much as possible, which has earned it its Green Key.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, beauty salon, sauna, hammam, keep fit, spa, Turkish bath

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, water skiing, gym, beach volley, horse riding, golf, kayak, paddle boats, water-polo, windsurfing, fitness, sports

    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Solarium
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • The original place, a former fishery, classified building.
    • Location - seconds from the beach of Ria Formosa (the river) in natural surroundings and not far from the quaint village of Tavira.
    • Proximity of Ria Formosa natural park and Tavira island.
    • Quiet and peaceful (outside of peak season).

    disadvantages

    • Humidity
    • The area can a bit hectic in peak season, with crowded beaches and ferry crossings.
    • Cold welcome.
    • The walk to the village can be deemed as a bit long for some guests (especially in the sun).
    • No beach.

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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