The Algarve in Portugal is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. It’s a beautiful area that has lots to offer such as beautiful beaches, historic sites, and even wineries. When you visit the Algarve you want to find a place to stay that is in a good location and has a lot to offer. The Holiday Inn Algarve may suit your needs. It’s been rated as the best value hotel in Armação de Pêra by Tripadvisor. Keep reading for my detailed review to understand why we think it’s one of the best places to stay in the Algarve.
The Holiday Inn Algarve opened in 1962 and was one of the first hotels in the area. It was called the Garbe Hotel and owned by a local family. In the 80s, they sold the hotel to the Crimson Hotel Group. In 2010, the hotel joined the Holiday Inn brand. While the hotel follows Holiday Inn standards, it is still independently operated.
The Holiday Inn Algarve has been renovated several times over the years most recently in 2015. You would never know the hotel is almost 60 years old!
Location, Location, Location!
The Holiday Inn Algarve is located in the town of Armação de Pêra, which is on the coast between Albufeira and Portimao. I think this is the best area to stay in the Algarve because it is centrally located. Albufeira is one of the most popular towns in the Algarve and you can easily drive to the western or eastern edges of the region.
The hotel itself is located on the promenade and the beach. You have stunning beaches on one side of the hotel and the lovely town of Armação de Pêra on the other. It’s a beautiful area to walk around and explore. The beach extends the length of the town. You will find plenty of restaurants, a local market, and a 17th-century fort within walking distance.
Given the perfect location, you do not need a rental car during your visit if you stay at the Holiday Inn since there is plenty within walking distance. Keep in mind that it is a 40-minute drive from the Faro airport and there are other places in the Algarve you might want to visit (i.e. Tavira, Lagos, Sagres, etc). You can get a taxi from the Faro airport and then relax in the Armacao de Pera area or rent a car and have the flexibility to see more of the Algarve.
When we arrived, Hasan was there to check us in. He told us that we had been upgraded to a suite, which was a pleasant surprise. We completed the paperwork and got our keys.
Rooms at the Holiday Inn Algarve
We were impressed with our executive suite at the Holiday Inn Algarve. It featured a large lounge area and balcony. In the lounge area, there was a sofa that can pull out into a bed plus two chairs. It also had a tv.
The balcony had a table and two chairs so perfect to enjoy a glass of wine or even a meal from the room service menu. From our balcony, we had a clear view of the beach. I even took my computer out on the balcony to do a little work. On the other side of the lounge area, there is a Juliet balcony. In our room, this faced west so was ideal for catching the sunset.
They also had a large desk in the room, that also had a mini-bar, kettle, and generous tea and coffee selection. Although you can drink the water without any worries, the hotel does also provide complimentary bottled water (both still and sparkling) in the suites. Wifi throughout the hotel is free, you don’t even need a password.
In the bedroom area, we had a double bed and two nightstands. Unlike many other hotels we have stayed in on the European continent that have two twin beds pushed together, we had a real double bed. The closet was one of the biggest I have ever seen in a hotel room. There was an iron and ironing board there too. The safe was a generous size and easy to use. We kept our passports and computers inside.
The Armação de Pêra hotel also has beach and city (land) view standard rooms. All the beach view rooms have balconies. The entire hotel is non-smoking.
The bathroom was spacious! It had a bathtub with a shower with good water pressure. In addition to the Dove and Lux brand soap and shower gel dispensers, they also provided travel-size Design Amenities toiletries and a vanity kit that included a sewing kit, shower cap, and q-tips (cotton buds in the UK). The towels were huge and we also had comfy white bathrobes to wear. There was a hairdryer too. Next, to the toilet, there was a bidet. Note: The hotel does have a few accessible rooms with only showers.
Dining at the Hotel
Breakfast was included in our stay. I am a big believer it is the most important meal of the day, especially when you are going to be doing a wine tasting tour or a long hike! I was impressed with the breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn. Not only did it have a wide selection (eggs, sausage, mushrooms, hash browns, meats, cheeses, pastries, cereal, etc) but everything I tasted was delicious.
The buffet restaurant, Pôr do Sol, has an amazing view of the sea and is also open for lunch and dinner. You can even sit outside on the balcony if you like. In addition to the buffet restaurant, the hotel also has an Indian restaurant, Raj, and a seafood restaurant on the beach, Palm Beach. Unfortunately, we couldn’t try either Raj or Pal Beach as both restaurants were closed at the time of our visit in January since it is low season.
The Bar at the Holiday Inn Algarve
At the bar in the hotel, they have live music twice a week at 9 pm, even in the off-season. During the winter, you can get free tea and coffee. The bar has huge windows with gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Don’t forget your swimsuit for your trip to the Holiday Inn Algarve. They have a pool right next to the beach that they heat to 26 C in the winter. There are also plenty of lounge chairs so you can relax with a book. The pool area also has a bar so you don’t have to go inside the hotel to get another drink. Note: During the winter, the pool bar has limited hours
Other Hotel Amenities
The Holiday Inn Algarve has a few other amenities worth mentioning. First, they do have a small gym. With the nice weather year around, I think most guests will opt to take their workouts outdoors (we chose to do a hike), but it is nice to know you have a treadmill, stationary bike, and some weight equipment as an option.
If you want to pamper yourself, the hotel does have a hairdresser and spa. Both operate by appointment and speak English.
Armação de Pêra Beach
The hotel is located on the Armação de Pêra beach, so you must visit it during your stay. When we visited in January, it was so peaceful and perfect for a morning walk. There are a few different staircases that will take you down to the beach and there is even one ramp that is wheelchair accessible.
Seasonality in the Algarve
The number of visitors in the Algarve varies dramatically between the high season (July – August) and the less busy times. The time we visited in January was very quiet. We loved having places to ourselves – especially beaches and restaurants. On the other hand, some restaurants we would have liked to try were closed. The weather may have been too chilly to swim in the sea, but we would return to the Algarve in the low season.
One other benefit in the offseason is the lower price for hotels. During the winter, you can get rooms at the Holiday Inn Algarve for about a quarter of the price it would be during the peak times.
You know a hotel provides good service when they have guests that keep coming back year after year. At the Holiday Inn Algarve, not only do they have guests that have been returning for years, but they have a guest that wanted to memorialize her husband at the hotel and bought a plaque for one of the benches.
I can see why people keep returning, we loved our room and the location. The service we got at the hotel was excellent too. Our room was cleaned daily while we were away and I thought the staff did a great job working around our stuff. Also, we only brought one adapter, and with all the tech equipment we need to charge that doesn’t cut it. The front desk was happy to provide us with one for use during our stay. We also forgot our sunglasses and the hotel had some fun green ones for us.
Note: In 2017, the hotel won the Tripadvisor Award of Excellence for consistently getting outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.
The Holiday Inn Algarve is part of the IHG Rewards program so you can earn or redeem points for your stay. Other brands that are part of IHG include Intercontinental, Kimpton Hotels, Hualuxe Hotels, Crown Plaza, Voco, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels, Avid Hotels, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites.
Overall Review of the Holiday Inn Algarve
We loved our stay at the Holiday Inn Algarve. Our executive suite had everything we could ask for. I felt like we were staying at a boutique hotel rather than a Holiday Inn. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Even in the off-season, there was plenty to do. It would have been nice to try more of the restaurants, but that’s just one of the reasons we plan on coming back.
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Disclosure: We were guests of the Holiday Inn Algarve. All opinions are our own.