Sunning myself in Portugal

So, it’s my first few days back at work after an amazing week away in Portugal! It had been a few years since I’d had a proper holiday so I was looking for some winter’s sun- something warm and relaxing!

After researching on the internet, we decided to go for a week-long holiday to Albufeira, and booked Clube Praia da Oura, owned by MGM Muthu Hotel Group, via lastminute.com.

We headed of early on Saturday 18th, getting the 7.10am Jet 2 flight from Belfast International, arriving in Faro Airport just before 11am. Check-in at the hotel isn’t until 5pm, but we had requested early check in (if possible) at the time of booking- and were delighted that we were able to get into the room at around 1pm.

The first thing that struck me was the views from both our front entrance and the large back balcony- stunning sea views! The hotel is situated right on the beach which is perfect for young families and ol’ romantics wanting a sunset beach stroll! Some of the apartments are ‘sea view’, while the others are ‘pool view’.

Our apartment was a large one bedroom apartment, with a kitchen fully equipped for a self-catering holiday. We had got a great deal on all -inclusive so didn’t use the self-catering facilities, apart from some tea and coffee at night time. The room had amenities such as TV, safe and hairdryer, as well as sun loungers and table and chairs on the balcony.

The first thing we did after dumping our bags was check out the large grounds, which included two swimming pools, sauna, and tropical gardens (complete with lovely touches such as outside ‘beds’ and oversized ‘seats’). Some of the areas are reserved for ‘Infiniti’ members (a kind of membership scheme) but the grounds are that big, that you don’t really feel that you are ‘missing out” as such.

It was soon time for eating and drinking and we headed to Jac’s Restaurant where the all-inclusive buffet is served. Breakfast is available from 07.30am, lunch from 1pm and dinner from 6.30pm. I’ve never had an all-inclusive package before so was hoping the food wouldn’t get too repetitive, but each night has a different ‘theme’ so you don’t get bored of the food. During our week there we had International buffet, Taste of Algarve, Curry night, Chinese, Portuguese, Tex Mex and Italian.  In between meals there was also bar snacks available for those on all-inclusive, which included sandwiches, croissants and pastries. The all-inclusive drinks included local beer and wine, juices, spirits and sangrias. I enjoyed a few sangrias by the pool!

Most days we spent by the pool (as the weather reached a unseasonal 32/33 degrees that week!), but on one of the days we visited the ‘Old Town’. Our hotel was situated at the end of the ‘new town’ or the ‘strip’ but the old town is only about 10 minutes away. It looks completely different to the ‘strip’ (where all the lively bars and nightclubs are), with pretty cobbled streets and stalls selling Portuguese clothes and handbags.  It was lovely to see the different side of Albufeira. There is a free shuttle bus that runs from the hotel a few times a day so we were able to get that there and back without having to spend any money (although I’m sure it’s only a few euros in a taxi if you cannot make the shuttle bus times!)

Back to the ‘strip’, if you’re looking for a good night out pub-crawling and dancing, then the location of our hotel was great. It’s only a 5 minute walk right to the heart of the action. All in all, it was a lovely holiday just spent eating, drinking, sunbathing (under a parasol for me, of course!) and being those ol’ romantics taking sunset strolls along the beach! We loved the hotel and have come back suitably relaxed!

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View from our front door

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Sea View from our balcony

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1 bedroom apartment

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Apartment

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Entrance to the beach

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Barry and I by one of the pools

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Pool

IMG_4164.JPGHotel Grounds- oversized beds and seats

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Old TownIMG_4176.JPG

Sunset along the beach

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Me and Barry

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