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On the coast line of the Algarve, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to hotels, but very few sit right on the beautiful, sandy shores of Portugal, at a price that won’t make your eyes water.  So when BSF were invited to stay at the Adriana & Aquamarina Beach Club resort, we were keen to see if it was too good to be true.

The Adriana & Aquamarina Beach Club is a 4 star all inclusive resort set on 12 hectares, located in a remote part of Olhos de Agua, close to the trendy Marina de Vilamoura and just far enough from the tacky Albufeira.  The site used to be two separate hotels up until 2007, when new owners came in and bought the 2 hotels (Hence the long winded name).  The hotel’s main features include 2 luxury swimming pools, gymnasium, spa, 3 restaurants, and most importantly, 2 bars open until 11pm.

Arriving at Faro airport, we were keen to get to the hotel after a 3 hour flight in cattle class.  Luckily, taxi transfers to the Adriana were only 30 minutes, and we arrived just after 11pm, warmly welcomed by Carlos at reception. 

We were shown to our room in style on a golf buggy; although I’m not sure it was entirely necessary as the journey took all of 30 seconds.  The hotel is made up of apartments over 2 levels, which I find much more pleasant than large tower blocks with long corridors.  Arriving in our superior room, I found it a reasonable size for 2 adults, with a flat screen TV, mini fridge, balcony, and complimentary bath robes.  I was shown one of the standard rooms for reference, and although it was noticeably smaller, there was little else different and I certainly wouldn’t have been disappointed if we stayed in a standard room.

We were up nice and early after a good night’s sleep, and headed straight for the pool.  There is one pool at each end of the complex, with a large, vibrant pool with various fun and games on the Adriana side and a quiet, relaxing, smaller pool on the Aquamarina side.  Both pools are enjoyable, no matter your preference & both have bars open from 10.30am until 11pm.  The all inclusive bar includes a choice of soft drinks, six cocktails, port, one beer, local wines & a few local spirits.  The drink selection was sufficient but it would have been nice to have a few more spirits included.

For the children, the Adriana has a lively animation team that have games and activities going on throughout the day and the evening, so parents are free to spend some quality time.  A perfect way to spend some of that time is by visiting the luxury spa.  I would recommend the full body massage, which for 45 minutes, cured all my aches and pains caused by the hustle and bustle of London life.

As well as the pool, the beach is literally 93 steps outside of the hotel complex.  Although there is public access to the beach, only hotel guests used this part of the beach as the popular Praia da Falésia is only 300 metres away.  The Adriana have provided sun loungers for use on the beach, and lying on miles and miles of golden, unspoilt sand was a welcome change to the pool.  However, I found the sea to be deceptively rough, so may not be suitable for children and weak swimmers.

If you fancy taking a stroll along the beach, then the chic Marina de Vilamoura is a 30 minute walk away, where you can book yacht rides, fine dine in exclusive coast side restaurants, and gamble all your holiday money away in the casino.

An important part of an all inclusive package is the food on offer.  The Breakfast buffet is by far the best meal served, with a choice of hot dishes as well as a cold platter, pancakes, and cereals.  Unfortunately it is downhill from then onwards.  The Lunch and Dinner buffets offered a wide choice of meat and fish dishes, but we found many of the dishes bland, and often, overcooked.  There were no dishes that I will remember fondly, but cooking for such a large number of guests on a budget is always going to be a difficult task, and it showed.

Aside from the food, it is hard to fault the Adriana & Aquamarina hotel.  The staff all speak good English and work their hardest to ensure guests are having an enjoyable time.  A special mention goes to Bruno the bartender, who knows how to make a mean Caipirinha.

If you want to go on an active holiday, then the Algarve probably isn’t the ideal choice.  The Adriana & Aquamarina is purposefully set in a remote location, as it is perfect for those who really want to get away from the stresses of home life.  I believe that 7-10 days is long enough to appreciate the Algarve, and you could do a lot worse than choosing the Adriana & Aquamarina.

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