Pine Cliffs is one of the most popular resorts in this part of the Algarve, if not the most popular, and that’s where I decided to spend this week, taking advantage of winter prices (we are at the end of February) and a quietness impossible to find in high season.
It should be noted that before becoming a Luxury Collection this hotel was historically a Sheraton. A beautiful Sheraton but “only” a Sheraton. The hotel has been renovated and is now part of one of the most prestigious brands of the Marriott group, alongside the Gritti in Venice and the Prince de Galles in Paris.
Pine Cliffs consists of not one but three properties. First, there is the Pine Cliffs Hotel, the “historic” hotel, which consists of rooms and suites. Then the Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites, a more recent building composed exclusively of suites. Finally the Pine Cliffs Residence where you can find small villas. About this last part, if the hotel keeps a certain number of residences to rent to its clients, a large part is bought by individuals who use it as a vacation home.
It is the Ocean Suites part that I chose for this stay.
As a reminder, here are some articles related to this stay
|Paris Orly-Lisbon on TAP in Business Class
|Lisbonne-Faro on TAP in business Class
|Pine Cliffs Hotel Ocean Suites – Albufeira
|Faro-Lisbon in business on TAP
|Lisbon-Paris Orly in business on TAP
My usual logic is to choose the cheapest room in the hotel and rely on my status in the loyalty program to get an upgrade, which admittedly works 90% of the time.
But this time given the small difference between a room at the Pine Cliffs Hotel and a suite at the Ocean Suites at this season (10 euros), I preferred to secure the suite right away for a little more than 120 euros per night. If you go there in the middle of the summer, you can expect prices around 400 or 500 euros for a standard room… which is why I chose this time of the year when the heat is not there, the sun is, and the tourists are generally absent.
Arrival at the hotel and check-in
It will take me less than 30 minutes by Uber to reach the hotel from Faro airport.
First surprise when I arrived: it is not a hotel but almost a village. The car follows small alleys in the middle of the residences to arrive finally in front of the door of the hotel.
The building is in the purest local style and covered with azulejos but don’t be mistaken, it is a “recent” hotel (about twenty years old I think).
A bellman takes my luggage and I am escorted to the check-in.
The lobby, in the same style, is superb.
The welcome is professional and cordial. The protocol is followed perfectly, I am thanked for my loyalty, I am given a list of benefits to which I am entitled and I am given a long presentation of the hotel and all the possibilities it offers.
The problem is that it offers so much that I am overwhelmed with information when all I want to do is go to my room and take a shower
Once the (brief) formalities are completed (since I did my check-in online), I am given my key and a bellman accompanies me to my room.
But before visiting the room, let’s have a look at the property.
Visit of the Pine Cliffs
The hotel is, as I said, the central point of a much larger complex composed of small villas organized almost like a small village.
It is itself composed of small low buildings, 2 floors maximum.
It is very pleasant to walk around.
The common areas are superb. I do not appreciate in general modern hotels that try to buy a prestige by copying the old but I must admit that in the case of Pine Cliffs it is perfectly achieved.
It is bright, tasteful, in the purest local style but without being “fake old”. I really liked it.
Pine Cliffs is surrounded by green areas where you can take a walk or set up a deck chair.
But in Pine Cliffs there is Cliffs. The hotel is precisely located on top of a cliff, overlooking the sea. And it is superb.
An external elevator allows to go down to the bottom of the cliff. From there starts a small path…
The small path takes you to the hotel’s beach.
If you were wondering why I enjoyed my stay at Pine Cliffs you now know why.
Finally, here is the map of the resort. For the record, the hotel has its own app to help you find your way around.
Now let’s visit my suite…
The suite at Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites
I was escorted to my room. We go through the exterior because it is a new building. The corridors are wide, the setting luxurious but simple.
The door of the room opens on a vestibule.
At the back the bedroom. and to be honest it is a bit disappointing.
Yes there is a lounge part but for me a suite is with a clear separation between the living room and the bedroom. Some hotels consider it enough to have two areas spaced apart, but I find this to be a misnomer. To me this room is a “grand deluxe”, not a suite. Anyway.
The living room area with a fruit basket waiting for me and a message from the hotel manager.
The desk part (let’s not forget that I’m teleworking).
The night area with the bathroom at the back.
The double washbasin, the bathtub and at the bottom the toilet isolated for lack of being separated and the shower.
The room also has a nice balcony.
It is a “pool view” suite therefore with a view on the pool…
The other side of the building is “resort view” but also overlooks a pool, but another one.
Well, once the disappointment with the notion of a suite is over, it’s still a very nice room, pleasant and comfortable. The bedding, in particular, will be excellent.
It will also be very quiet but I doubt it will be the same in high season when the pool is occupied. But at this time of the year it is true that we are less likely to leave the window open and more likely to close it to protect from the heat with the air conditioning.
To finish the traditional video.
The hotel facilities
You can imagine that such a hotel has many facilities for its guests.
First of all, a golf course that I didn’t go to because I didn’t practice.
Then three medium-sized outdoor pools. They are spread out in different places to, in my opinion, keep them user-friendly rather than having a huge one where everyone is crowded.
The first, therefore, that I see from my room.
The second one close to the main building, on the other side of the one where I stay.
The third one is at the other end of the hotel. They took advantage of the low season to do some maintenance.
But it also has a large heated indoor pool next to which is a Jacuzzi.
There is also a beach that I have already shown you.
Pine Cliffs also has a nice gym. On the first floor and very bright, it offers a beautiful view of the park and, beyond, the sea. It is richly equipped, for once.
The hotel also has a spa. While treatments are of course subject to a fee, access to the facilities is free for residents of the Ocean Suites and subject to a fee for others.
There is a bath.
A “herbal sauna” and a “salt sauna“.
A hammam and a rest room.
A terrace also allows you to enjoy the sun outside in the summer.
The facilities are very nice and in perfect condition.
Bars and restaurants
Low season and end of COVID, a large part of the hotel’s restaurants were closed or under construction when I visited.
The hotel bar in a very traditional style is very pleasant and the staff could not be friendlier and with a lot of conversation when they see that you know a bit about cocktails. For once I didn’t find the cocktails too “flat”.
The beach and pool bars were of course closed.
Otherwise there is a gastronomic restaurant which was closing for renovation before the season the evening of my arrival.
One of the flagship restaurants of the property is a “Japanese fusion” restaurant, Yakuza by Olivier, which I would have liked to try to compare after my half-disappointment at Yakuza by Olivier in Paris. Also closed.
A third, more affordable restaurant serves “standard” international cuisine and its terrace also serves as a bar during the day. I ate almost all my meals there.
The dishes are simple but good.
Finally, there is the “Piri Piri”, a grill that will reopen the last night of my stay.
It’s good, the staff is very pleasant but the service is a bit slow.
The staff and the service
Nothing to say about that. Very professional and pleasant staff.
I’ll do my check-out on the Marriott mobile app, saving me a stop at the front desk before heading to the airport.
The Pine Cliffs is an excellent hotel that I recommend both for the service and for its superb natural setting.
I regret, however, that the suites are a bit oversold.
To be done again at the end of the pandemic and in another season. But maybe that’s the point: I don’t see myself paying 400 euros for a standard room in the middle of summer. This is typically the kind of place I keep for winter or mid-seasons, when the climate is more pleasant than in Paris even if it means that the temperatures are too low to enjoy the sea (it was in the 20s and 22s in late February)