A Gem of Hilton Worldwide: The Conrad Algarve - The best hotel I have ever stayed in!

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Hands down this was the best hotel that I have ever stayed in, and I have been to a lot. I have been a Hilton guy for a very long time and have seen the ups and downs of the hotels across all the brands under Hilton Worldwide. My stay at the Conrad Algarve was a new high across the board, I never expected any hotel to be so well run, every little thing was thought of before I even knew I wanted it. 

Service and the people of this Conrad is what just puts this hotel over the top. I look for problems at hotels, and I can say I could not even come close to finding anything wrong with the service, the food, the room, the lobby, the hotel grounds, even the parking lot. This place is perfect, flawless, amazing. Officially rated 5 stars, but it is an insult to this hotel to be classed in with other 5 star hotels I have been too around the world. The Conrad Algarve could easily have the Waldorf Astoria brand, it could be a Ritz-Carlton or Park Hyatt, it could be a four seasons.

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It is a Conrad and it has to be pointed out as the beacon of the Conrad brand and slogan, “The Luxury of being yourself”. Sure they have very strict brand standards but this hotel makes sure that your stay is about you. To summarize this very long glowing review, Amazing! You have to stay at this hotel! The only bad thing is your expectations will be at a new high and it will be almost impossible to find some other hotel to hit the marks on every point!

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The welcome to the hotel started as we drove in the gates of the hotel and down the impressive driveway flanked with water and fountains. As we approached the front door we were welcomed by a man waving us in to stop at the front doors. This is when the wow factor started, Rui opened the car doors, quickly welcomed us to the hotel, took the car keys and told us not to worry he would take care of the car and the luggage. He informed us it was forbidden to do any work at the Conrad Algarve.

 lobby_01The check in desk are massive desks that guest sit at, we gathered around the desk, we were given some fresh local orange juice. It was just like we entered these peoples home, the staff was all around welcoming us and giving us juice and just making our group feel so welcome. It truly was a welcome you would get from family.

We had a group of four and needed a room with 1 bed and a room with 2 beds. Maria, the hotel GM’s personal assistant contacted me via email the day before we arrive to ask about our room needs, and what room I would be in as the Hilton Diamond, the 1 or 2 bedded room. I told her I was in a room with a friend and needed two beds. I was informed at check in, we were upgraded to a Grand Deluxe pool view suite the other room was listed on the check in sheet as a twin deluxe pool view. We were escorted up to the rooms and it was clear they moved the king bed out of the suite and moved it to the other room, moving the twin beds in the suite for me, WOW they moved beds in and out of rooms so they could give me this grand upgrade! It was not like some hotels that have two twins to make a king, they really moved out a king bed. Amazing! 

Each room had a welcome bottle or fine Port Wine and the famous Pastel de nata, a great portuguese pastry. far_0073

The room and suite were perfectly appointed, and spotless clean. The bathrooms were large with a tub and shower. There is also a TV at the foot of the bath. Conrad hotels also offer a choice of different bath amenities. 

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The Conrad concierge app gives you, the guest, the power to book a range of services before and during your stay, such as an airport transfer, an appointment in the spa as well as the ability to schedule your wake up call and book your breakfast to arrive at a specific time. Set the time for housekeeping to clean or freshen up your room.

 The latest service that’s been added to the concierge app offers you the opportunity to select your bathroom amenities before you arrive. Choose from three designer brands: Aromatherapy Associates, Shanghai Tang and Tara Smith Vegan Hair Care.

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I have used Aromatherapy products before and liked them, they are the default amenity. This time I picked the Shanghai Tang and loved it. 

Here are some photos from our room and suite.

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As a Diamond breakfast was included and it also was the best quality food and service I have had at a hotel for breakfast. It was the off season and the hotel was clearly not full and I arrived at breakfast around 0715 both days to find a welcoming staff. After getting some more freshly made OJ and coffee on the first day we were told about the options we had. There was a large made to order menu with hot and cold items on offer in addition to the menu you could order anything you wanted. I ordered an omelet along with the steak, yes… steak.

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Both days the made to order items were presented like a five star restaurant. The food was amazing! There was also a buffet that had the typical hot staples like eggs and meat items, all were hot and fresh. It was clear they only put a small amount of items out at a time so all items were fresh and warm when you got something. The cold items like meats and cheeses along with veggies and fruits were all presented perfectly! The service was also once again what put it over the top, drinks were always filled, dishes removed from the table. Both mornings we had a conversation with the staff who were clearly proud of the hotel and the local area! It was also impressive that some how they knew what activities we did the day before asking us about it. One other little thing that really sums how this hotel operates is on the second morning there was a new member of staff who was working is first day, I overheard how the very 

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experienced staff was training him, sure there was how to set up the tables before a guest arrives with exact measurements of distance between items on the table, but the most impressive thing was how they were training him on what individual guest liked. A lady walked into the restaurant, the trainer told him that is Mrs. ____ and she is a local regular, that is her table, she likes to have this, this and this. Going into details on what this one lady wants and likes. It was very impressive to see how these servers could recall everything about returning guest. The same happened to us on the second day, would you like Green Tea again today Mr. Little? Just great.

Here are some photos of the breakfast area in "LOURO Resturant".

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Being at this hotel for only two night I sadly did not get a chance to see or experience the spa. From what I understand from other guest, the spa, Gym and indoor pool is also just amazing.

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The grounds of this Conrad Resort are also grand, beautiful and spotless. I did see a man with a small brush cleaning the grout between the tiles and stones around the pool area! The pools are just great to look at. At night they light fire around the pool and the entire resort. The hotel is modeled after an old Arabic palace that once could have been found in modern day Portugal! The hotel offers a kids area, outdoor dining , and many pools. A walk around the hotel grounds would take days to fully enjoy.

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The staff that appeared to be mostly locals, really proved some great restaurant tips for us to get some good local meals. One recommendation was a short 5 min drive away but as my group all wanted to enjoy some drinks with dinner we did not want to drive. I asked for a Taxi and the front desk agent said no need we can drive you; it is very close by. A BMW 7 took us and picked us up, this was a complimentary service by the hotel. Again these little things really made our stay so nice!

As a Diamond member water was provided in the room, the welcome gift as I outlined above a nice bottle or Port wine and some local pastries. A choice of a Cocktail or Tea experience was also offered. We took them up on the Cocktail experience, this was a very cool gift, a personal bar tender gave us lessons on how to make the Conrad Algarve’s signature martini. We were provided all the tools to make the Cucumber and Lime Martini. It was a fun and enjoyable time. Full breakfast and all the other standard Diamond perks were extended. 

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Gusto by Heinz Beck is a Mediterranean restaurant with Scandinavian-inspired design that pays homage to Conrad Hilton`s father Augustus. This is the Conrad Algarve hotel's flagship restaurant, where the finest steak and seafood are delivered in a stylish and sophisticated atmosphere.  

We did not eat at Gusto but did have a drink one night, we were served by a bar tender who is up for the best bar tender in all of Portugal. He was very knowledgeable and fun to chat with. After some time and one of my travel mates telling him he likes smoky wisky, he ran off and came back with a taste of the drink he used to enter the competition, he called his drink the Cigar. Somehow he was able to mix a drink that did in fact taste lie a cigar. It was a great drink and what made it even better was talking to the guy to invented this award winning drink. The bar area and restaurant of Gusto is very chill and nice to hang out in.

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 So to sum it up WOW. I have never been so impressed with a hotel. I can not wait to get back to this hotel, and I will be back! I was in the TAP airport lounge in Lisbon getting ready to fly back home and I booked my next stay for the fall of this year. I can not wait to get back and visit again with my extended family at the Conrad Algarve, because some how they made me and my group feel like guest in their house, or in this case palace!

Credit has to be given were credit is due and the staff of this hotel is it; they are great! So much attention to details, knowing what I want as a guest. Taking the time to chat and get to know you as a guest is the key. I do think there is a great leader at this hotel in the General Manager; Joachim Hartl, this long time Hilton manager in Europe has served at the London Hilton on Park Lane, Hilton Athens, and as the Director of Food & Beverage for Europe. Now he is a very respected GM by his team at the Conrad Algarve. The other thing I love to see is a GM who is out and about in his hotel and he was always around. So a great big thanks to Mr. Hartl and his team or great people at the Conrad Algarve.  See you in November! 

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Here is a great video of the hotel.

 Some photos provided by the hotel 

Comments

#1
Tom February 23, 2014 at 08:08 am

I love this hotel! We have no status and the service was the same. Spot on!

#2
Ed February 24, 2014 at 06:11 pm

I agree! This has to be the best hotel in Europe !! Great setting and the best facilities you could expect anywhere in the world !! The staff here are brilliant and the food excellent !!

#3
Eyecare June 5, 2014 at 07:40 pm

That is a wonderful area of Portugal to visit. I'm glad this Conrad exceeded expectations. Another very nice Hilton to consider staying at in Europe is the Cavaleri in Rome (now part of the Waldorf-Astoria group).