Booking a hotel in the Algarve
When you go on holiday to the Algarve, you have to sleep somewhere. A good hotel can make your holiday, while a bad hotel can break it. Luckily, there are many great hotels in the Algarve. Choosing the right one that suits your needs might be a challenge though. In this article we will help you choose a hotel in the Algarve.
Where are you going?
Are you going somewhere you have been before, or is it your first time? Would you like a beach destination (like Albufeira) or do you prefer to go to the mountains and nature (like Monchique)? This choice is crucial when thinking about booking your hotel. In large towns such as Lagos or Portimão there are much more accommodation options than in rural areas. You can also choose to stay in a smaller, more traditional town, such as Alvor or Sagres.
What type of hotel do you prefer?
From cheap hotels with only a bed to lavish hotels that impress the most seasoned traveller, the Algarve has it all and everything in between. Think about the total budget you are willing to spend on a hotel during your holiday. You probably know for yourself if you prefer a budget hotel, family hotel, luxury hotel or an apartment. Check our recommendations below.
Questions to ask yourself when looking for a hotel
When looking for a hotel in the Algarve, there are many things to take into consideration. Of course the price, but you should not only select on price. Look for hotels that offer the amenities that you require when staying in a hotel. To help you make a choice, you can ask yourself the following questions when looking for a hotel:
- Does the hotel have a good location?
- Is the atmosphere of the hotel right for you? (for example, business hotel, luxurious, family friendly, party vibe or romantic)
- Do you like the photos of the hotel and the room?
- Is the room size good for you?
- How are the reviews?
- Are there any restaurants in the hotel or within walking distance from the hotel?
- Do I require car parking? If so, is it available and what are the costs?
- Is the hotel easily accessible by public transport (if you don’t have a car)?
- Do I require breakfast to be included? If so, is it included?
- Are there any extra amenities? (like a swimming pool, a sauna or a gym)
- Does the hotel have wi-fi?
- At what time is the check-in / check-out? If you arrive late, is there 24 hour reception?
- Can I afford the price?
- Do I want to pay now or pay at the property?
- Is there a chance I want to cancel the booking? What is the cancellation policy?
The Portuguese hotel classification system
Most hotels in Portugal are classified in categories from 1 to 5 stars. However, a couple of years ago, Portugal dropped the requirement for hotels to adopt a star rating. This is why you nowadays see some hotels without a star rating. While the hotel star rating system in itself is used internationally, the criteria of what service level you can expect from a certain star rating, is different per country in the EU. For example, a four star hotel in the Algarve does not necessarily have the same service level as a four star hotel in Spain.
What to expect in Portugal
In Portugal, you can expect at least the following (source):
- 1 star hotel. The hotel has basic equipment, including ventilation in the room. Furthermore, there has to be access to a bathroom and the hotel must accept credit cards as a method of payment.
- 2 star hotel. All of the above, plus a reception service in both Portuguese and English.
- 3 star hotel. All of the above, plus a luggage room and internet service (wi-fi). Also, the reception must be open for at least 16 hours.
- 4 star hotel. All of the above, plus airconditioning in all public areas and a garage for cars (for 20% of the rooms). There is more equipment in the room. For example, all rooms must have shampoo, a hair cap and a TV. Also, towels and bed sheets are changed every day.
- 5 star hotel. All of the above, plus all rooms have a bathrobe, a hairdryer and a safe box. Moreover, 24 hour reception and 24 hour room service are mandatory. Also, there is a baggage transport service and a laundry service.
Of course, also the room size increases with the number of stars. Remember, these are just the legal requirements. It can happen that hotels offer more than they are legally required. For example, 2 star hotels are not legally required to offer wi-fi, but some still offer wi-fi.
What is a pousada?
When browsing for hotels, you might come across the term pousada. A pousada is a hotel that is owned and administered by the Portuguese government. Often they are located in historical buildings that are turned into a hotel, like the Palácio de Estoi.
Booking your hotel
In order to get the best deal possible, we recommend to book your hotel online before your holiday. This also saves you the headache of having to start looking for a hotel once you are there. We recommend to use Booking.com, because it has the largest assortment of hotels in the Algarve and good prices.
After the busy summer season of last year, we recommend to book your hotel now, as it will probably sell out. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in the Algarve. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.