I stayed at the three star Hotel Santa Maria in Faro, Portugal for 4 nights in March 2012. It took me around fifteen minutes to walk to the hotel from the railway station. I was pleasantly surprised that I was allocated a twin room when I’d booked a superior single. My request for a quiet room had been heeded, as my second floor room was at the back of the hotel with views over rooftops and what looked like some large fans. However, once the window was shut the room was quiet. The black out curtains were pretty effective.
The bathroom looked as if it’d been recently refurbished. The toiletries were pretty sparse, with two sachets of very watery shampoo and two tiny bars of soap, so you’d need to buy some shampoo etc. The room had a mini bar. There was free WiFi throughout the hotel. The signal in my room was OK, except on my last evening when I kept getting chucked out. I had to go to the lobby to upload photos and videos from my mobile phone. However, I’ve had worse signals in 4 and 5 star hotels, even when they charged for WiFi.
Breakfast is officially served from 7am to 10.30am. However, on my last morning when I had to check out to catch my flight home, everything apart from the pastries was laid out earlier. I was grateful to get some breakfast before leaving for the airport. The breakfast selection was good; there was fresh fruit salad, a selection of fruit juices, yoghurts, cereals, cheeses, ham and salami, plus scrambled egg, tomato, sausage and bacon. The pastries, which are baked on the premises, are very tempting but I found them a bit too sweet for my taste. I’d recommend that you make sure breakfast is included in your room rate.
The reception staff were very helpful and the Do Not Disturb sign was observed. I don’t know why they bother with them in some hotels, as housekeeping staff seem to ignore them. My room was very clean but I didn’t like the plastic mattress cover.
The hotel is a good base. All the Faro sights are within a ten minute walk. There are several cheap restaurants within a couple of minutes walk. The hotel does a set menu at lunch and dinner for under 8 Euros which includes a main course, dessert, bread and a drink.
When I was booking the hotel I noticed that it cost a lot more than another £7 a night for half board, so it may be cheaper to book B&B and pay for dinner at the hotel.
Photo credits: Karen Bryan
Posted : Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 10:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save