from Cardiff, UK
Submitted on 02-06-2016
People say you get what you pay for and this little apartment complex seems to be kept really busy by selling them cheaply through low cost agents to mainly Irish & some British travellers. So you wouldn‚??t expect an indoor pool. The only trouble is, the indoor pools here were caused by the leaking roof after heavy rain. Guests had to be moved out of at least 7 apartments and we‚??d heard this has been a problem for 3 or more years, but the management company, Garvetur, just haven‚??t bother...
People say you get what you pay for and this little apartment complex seems to be kept really busy by selling them cheaply through low cost agents to mainly Irish & some British travellers. So you wouldn‚??t expect an indoor pool. The only trouble is, the indoor pools here were caused by the leaking roof after heavy rain. Guests had to be moved out of at least 7 apartments and we‚??d heard this has been a problem for 3 or more years, but the management company, Garvetur, just haven‚??t bothered to get the place fixed up. Well they might have to after this recent little fiasco because it wasn‚??t a very good advert for these apartments and the water damage is so noticeable in many places, even including lots of floor tiles lifting in the corridor.
So what to say about Rio Apartments themselves apart from the flooding? First of all, let‚??s get it straight, this is not a hotel, nor does it pretend to be. These are just serviced touristic apartments. A tiny bit of internet research will show you that. So don‚??t expect hotel grade services, and it‚??s no use reviewers bleating on about the fact that reception happened by closed when their flights got in. In our opinion, reception hours are actually a lot longer than might be expected for this type of establishment, and because Garvetur only employs one person other than cleaners etc to be on site, it‚??s also understandable that travellers may sometimes find the desk closed even when it should be open because the staff member needs to be elsewhere. When it is open, you‚??ll find the staff that man the desk are great and really helpful. Rio Restaurant on the ground floor is a totally separate business that just happens to rent space here. So it‚??s no use people having a go about spending money in here if they choose to do so because they can‚??t get into their apartment when they arrive. As others have said, the restaurant owner Luis is very helpful and does his best to assist when asked, even though it really has nothing to do with him. Others have also complained about the fact you can‚??t get the free WiFi in the rooms. If that‚??s what you need, pay the money for a proper hotel that provides this and other hotel grade services. What we will say is that the WiFi signal and speed near reception is a lot better than we‚??ve had in quite a few 4 star big name hotels, some of whom have the audacity to charge for their useless service.
There are 64 apartments here, the majority of which are studios that are either south facing towards the pool and road or north facing over heavily shaded gardens out back. You‚??ll gather from this that half the studios get no direct sunlight whatsoever ‚?? perhaps good in the heat of summer but possibly not so good in low season. There are 12 one bedroom apartments in the block above the restaurant. These face east over the road by reception or west over the pool, plus there seem to be 2 more among the south facing studios and these appear to bridge two separate accommodation blocks. There are also 2 extra-large two bedroom apartments, which are directly over the restaurant and face south over the road. Because of the apartment design whereby the kitchens take up half the frontage, the back part of apartment lounge areas tend to be particularly dark.
Yes, these apartments do look old and tired but given the money you‚??ll probably be paying to stay here, apart from the leaking roof and terrible beds, there probably isn‚??t a lot else to criticise. The relatively new kitchen‚??s not very practical with its lack of electrical plugs and dodgy wiring but you‚??ll probably get by. There was excellent hot water with decent over bath shower, and they supply towels that would generally beat many hotels for quality. The beds which are probably 30 years old are the worst thing about the place, and given you spend a third of your time here, that‚??s not good. They‚??ve cut pieces of chipboard and put this poor quality stuff in the frames as support for the horrible hard mattresses. There‚??s no strength in chipboard so it creaks and groans loudly with virtually every movement. If there was better mattress support and perhaps a topper, the beds would probably be fine, as it is, we doubt many people will have a good night‚??s sleep here. Even though these are budget apartments, beds aren‚??t that expensive and we think there‚??s no excuse for anyone making guests pay to sleep on rotten old worn out beds. The in room safe will cost you ‚?¨10 a week to rent, plus a refundable ‚?¨10 key deposit, which has to be all paid in cash. In May there were just 19 sunbeds around the pool, but given the terrible weather they didn‚??t get a lot of use. There were some extra beds stored in the unused carpark under the apartments but you‚??ll probably have to be very lucky or very early if you want one in peak season.
The area‚??s very quiet and you don‚??t get much traffic noise from the road at all. If you‚??re in an apartment next to the lift and stairs you will get vibration, clunking and groaning noises through the wall from the lift but, at least in May anyway, guests didn‚??t use the lift after midnight ‚?? if they do, you‚??ll probably hear it if you‚??re in one of these apartments. What we didn‚??t realise about Vilamoura & Quarteira is their proximity to the flightpath from the airport. Because of the prevailing winds, most flights tend to take off to the west out over the sea, but the majority of these flights are going north and they seem to use Vilamoura/Quarteira as a reference point to turn north. As a result, depending on the actual location of your accommodation, you‚??ll probably notice a lot of aircraft overhead with their engines on thrust as they gain altitude. Faro airport wakes up with a daily flight to Lisbon at 6.05am ‚?? that‚??ll be your early morning call. You can walk from Rio to Old Village with its onsite selection of restaurants in about 12 minutes, and it‚??s less than 25 minutes on foot to the marina. As far as we can tell, Rio Restaurant only opens from April to October, 6 days a week from Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays.
If these apartments didn‚??t leak and had better beds, if you‚??re not paying a lot, we reckon they could easily be worth a TA marking of 3/5 or even 4/5 based on a really cheap price. As they are, we don‚??t think they‚??re worth a score of more than 2/5.