Registered: September 2005
Review Date: Sun October 12, 2008
||Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes |
Price paid per week?: None indicated
| Rating: 7
Very enthusiastic staff
Repetative - uninteresting food
Riu Guarana - 4th - 11 October 2008
We had 9:30 flight from Coventry Airport - The check in only opens 2 ½ hours before the flight - so we arrived just before 7am. Coventry is a really small airport - actually owned by Tiu - and comprises 3 passenger buildings. The Arrivals shed, the café (diner) and the departures shed.
We were second in the queue when the check in staff arrived and opened up, 10 minutes later we were checked in and rather than go through security - we went to the café to get some breakfast (there being just cold sandwiches and a coffee machine in the departure lounge). Breakfast was really nice - the cook misread my order for a bacon sandwich and made up a full breakfast - I had the choice of accepting it for the sandwich price or they’d have thrown it away and made up my paid order.
We went through security at 8:30 and sat in the departure lounge watching the adverts on TV - we sat a long time because our flight was delayed (I guess the airport was overloaded - they had four flights that day and it was only about 3 hours since the previous flight.
At 10am our 737 drove to the end of the runway - turned around and took off. The plane was - well - plain … no TV screens, 28 inch seat pitch.
Got a couple of pictures of the hotel as we flew along the coast on the approach to Faro airport.
Arrival at Faro airport at 12:30 was straight forward, did passports, luggage claim, customs - and went through to the arrivals hall expecting to see a rep. No one there (poor show TUI!) - After looking for a few minutes we saw the ‘Hotel Beds’ office with loads of pink jacketed staff clustered around it. Now Hotel Beds is part of First Choice and First Choice is now part of TUI - So I went and asked if they knew where the Thomson rep was … It turns out First Choice were there to meet the passengers (Poor show TUI - you need to have staff that do the job they’re paid for).
Anyway - we found the bus, got on it and went on our way - We were the third drop off (staying at a Platinum resort - we should have been first or second - not that it matters to us but if TUI say they’re going to do that - they should stick to their word - poor show TUI).
Resort Check in
Easy, they forgot the welcome drink but had pre-booked us for the grill that night. They gave us a quieter room (508) as requested, but they have no quiet rooms due to the situation of the resort. The room is fine. Two hard double beds pushed together, bathtub with shower over the tub, toilet, bidet, washbasin, electronic safe big enough for a 17” laptop. Fridge - empty, 1 ½ Litre bottled water is available from reception. We do have a view of the sea and ‘Porto Bay Falasia” hotel - was the Riu Falasia until Riu chose not to renew the management contract for this year.
(there are room pictures and safe pictures)
Well you can read most of that stuff from the Riu Website - and I don’t want to type it for the sake of it so I’ll fill you in on the stuff that’s not written there
Food - Good selection, Grill is this steak etc - nothing really special, I went into the Asian too - they have a little sushi, prawn cackers and some spring rolls - otherwise it’s pretty standard fare (since when does and Asian restaurant serve French fries and brussels sprouts ? ).
The staff are ready, willing and pleasant.
Riu Class: you can spend points here - there are no discounts or other benefits.
Shop in the resort: None - but there is one in the (non-AI) Riu Palace next door.
Internet: There are some coin in the slot internet terminals or WIFI in reception (8 euros for 60 minutes, has to be used within 2 days). Sat here on the room balcony I can get Wifi from the Porto Bay hotel next door for 10 euros for 1 hour (200Mb limit) or 17 Euros for 24hours (with a 500Mb limit) - I would guess 17Euros is about $22 (US).
(later: checked out but using laptop in reception… you get more time by not using a voucher on the NovaSpot service used at this Riu…
Pay as you go: (Min 15 minutes)
Price per minute: EUR 0.20
Or purchase on-line pass:
30 minutes EUR 4.00
60 minutes EUR 6.00
2 hours EUR 8.00
5 hours EUR 12.00
24 hours EUR 20.00 )
About the town
Othos de Agua - The eye of the water - Walk out of the hotel, left and left again and you pass some small restaurants (most specialise in the local sardines brought in by the fishermen), Ticket shopsand a few small bars. The road goes down to the beach, lingers as it turns around then comes up by the same route. Quaint!
I don’t think Riu building a huge AI resort will help the local businesses at all - but it does provide local employment.
7th October - we took a tour to Lisbon - its some way away - maybe 250km (160Miles) - we had a very early start so we could be ready for the tour bus for the 6:30 pick up. We then spent about a hour getting people from other hotels before hitting the motorway (interstates to those of you in the US). Due to the length of the day the driver had to be very careful with his hours at the wheel - so after maybe 2 hours we stopped at a roadside diner so the driver could have his mandatory 1/2 hour break and the passengers could use the washrooms anf have a snack. before taking to the roads again and entering Lisbon close to midday over the 'golden gate bridge' - same design, I guess the one in Portugal must be newer - since if it was older the guide would have told us that several times (slowly). The bridge is called "Ponte 25 de Abril" - something to do with the establishment of a democracy. There is also a statue of Jesus there like the one in Rio de Janario and overlooking Puerto Plata - I don't know if the one in Lisbon is newer or the one in Rio.
Had a look at a few monuments by the Rio Tejo int the district of Belum - Torre de Belum, A replica of a plane that first flew transatlantic between Lisbon an Rio de Janario. (it was a seaplane - so it's possible that the flight was assisted by meeting ships on the way for fuel, etc).
Next stop was the Monastario dos Jeronimos (hey - was that before or after big horn?) ... then a 19th century coffee shop "Pasteis de Belém" - still trading ... lovely coffee & pastries ... before heading into town for some lunch and more sight seeing.
A word of warning - Lisbon has a serious infestation of talented dippers (pick pockets) - If you are ever there, be very careful!
Found a street restaurant an had some lunch before catching the no 12 tram / streetcar to the cathedral. The wooden tram dated back to the 1950s and could only have a capacity for 18 people seated. So our group more than filled it. ... but there was still room for five dippers to get on later (they wasted their fare trying our group!).
OK we went into the cathedral - took some more pictures of tombs, lit some incendiaries, before walking back to town to get the bus back to the resort. Leaving Lisbon over the Ponto vasco de Gama (east bridge)
Had another half hour mandatory stop 50km before getting back to the resort area abd arrive back at the Riu just after 8pm.
A long day - would have been better if it hadn't rained the whole time we were in the city.
Oh - I had to change the batteries in the GPS data logger half way through the day - and it didn’t record where we’d been in the afternoon … That will make location tagging the photos harder.
Dull overcast day today - great for travelling but I’d be dissed if I was in the resort today. Yesterday was dull too and they didn’t open the pool bar, towel hut etc - even though it brightened up later.
At the airport was told our flight is delayed and going back to Birmingham – The pilot says this is due to fog in Jersey caused a delay for the plane – we're just suffering a knock on. Others say it's due to runway maintenance at Coventry – and they've been bussing people for three weeks now between airports.
I'll post up some pics and will try to link them into here