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"Villa Lara Lima review"
Overall Hotel Rating:
The location of the villa is difficult to find initially. The directions we got from James Villa were useless - impossible to follow (and very out-of-date). The villa is tucked away down a bridleway... taking you straight past the closest neighbours house. First impressions are ";what have I let myself in for?";, but once you see the villa your mind is put at ease - very impressive at first sight.
Villa location is ~2km from 'The Strip' in Albufeira, nearest shop is a 2-minute walk up the bridleway past the neighbour (who owns the shop) and over the main single-lane road. Provides water, snacks, and the usual you would expect from a 'corner shop'. Plenty of supermarkets in Albufeira for BBQ food, wine/beer, and more heavy-duty food. The main road between Branqueira and Albufeira was under renovation as we were on holiday (expanding the main road to a dual-carriageway), but this did not stretch all the way to the villa entrance - it went to the new holiday complex being built ~0.5Km away (no, there was no building noise ever heard!).
Lara Lima Villa is fully enclosed by 10foot wire fence, not imposing in the slightest, and offers a level of security not only for the villa itself, but a peace-of-mind for parents knowing that the kids cannot go anywhere except within the confines of the boundary fence! No watching what other people are doing. No possibility of the family-from-hell smoking, swearing, and being brash nearby. No next-door neighbours over-looking into your personal space... totally secluded from any on-lookers. Just relax on one of the 8 provided sun-loungers and make sure the kids don't play too close to the pool. Single swing kept the kids entertained for hours each day. Grassy play-area on two-sides of the villa, so morning, noon, or evening there was a grassy area to play ball games out of direct sunshine.
Pool is only shallow (1.2m) for ~2m, sloping quickly to full depth of 2.2m for the remaining length. Pool guy came 2x per week and has his own set of keys. Wiped the pool tiles, washed the filters, and added cleaning crystals to the water. Pool water did not taste of chlorine nor did it hurt the eyes. Heated by sun only - so if you are going near to the start of the season expect a 'cool' temperature. One underwater light to illuminate the pool on an evening to enhance the garden view from the sitting room.
The villa itself is very spacious inside. We had a party of four adults and three young kids and never felt like we were treading on each-others toes. Secure cot provided with foam mattress and linen. Beds all had hard mattresses. Plenty of pillows, sheets, and throws in the cupboards. Plenty of wardrobe space for all clothing, and hangers provided. TV did have satellite capability (DVB), but most channels had a signal of below 70% so could not lock (so completely un-watchable). The only English-speaking channel was CNN... some of the local channels ran English movies on an evening / weekend that had Portugese sub-titles. I never checked if the DVD player was region locked - it did play original R2 DVD's with no problems.
Fully equipped kitchen. All the utensils, crockery, plastic plates and cups, cooking equipment, and appliances (kettle, mixer, orange squasher, etc) that you could ever need. No washing-up liquid or dish-cloths provided. Tea-towels provided. 60/40 fridge/freezer kept all food and drinks chilled adequately. BBQ was fully equipped with utensils - just buy your coals, parraffin blocks, lighter, and food and off you go with al fresco dining! Gas rings worked as expected and not air-locked or damaged in the slightest. Kitchen was very well cleaned upon arrival.
The maid came 3x per week and has her own keys. She was very friendly - taking time to chit-chat and speak to the kids. Very efficient in her work, sweeping and mopping floors, taking rubbish away and generally keeping the bathrooms clean. Linen was changed once per week.
Car hire is essential (as stated on James Villa website). An electric gate secured the driveway entrance to the villa - fitted with security cut-off if someone walks thru the gate as it is closing. Neighbour even came down with some oil when one of the rollers started to squeak - lovely gentleman, again taking time to introduce himself and speak with the kids.
One negative is that the dogs in the nearby local house continually barked. This went from ~08:00 until ~midnight. Easy to get to sleep on the evening, [the drink helps!] but guaranteed to wake the kids up in the morning if you leave any of the barred windows ajar for cool fresh air. We were unconcerned during the daytime as the sound of the kids enjoying themselves meant we did not hear the dogs - but I could imagine that if you have a young child taking a nap in the afternoon you may have trouble.
Albufeira restuarants served a good variety of food, from traditional Portugese (piri-piri chicken and soups were fantastic), to Chinese, to more traditional English dishes (even two chippies!). Some restuarants did not open until 18:00 which was too late for our young family - but there was plenty of choice in the restuarants that opened earlier. I can imagine 'The Strip' to get busy later in the evening as the older families finish their later meals and the party-goers hit the bars.
All-in-all an excellent individual villa, well furnished, well maintained, peaceful, close enough to the amenities of Albufeira and yet far enough away to not hear the hustle-bustle. Great central-location near to the well conditioned main dual-carriageway and motorway for easy access to other towns across the Algarve. The very friendly locals, their peaceful way of living, and their extremely courteous service helped to make this holiday a peaceful, relaxing, enjoyable, and safe holiday.
By: PaulH - Newcastle - Submitted 1st June 2007
|Travel Date:||June 2007||Best for:||Not Specified|
|Travelled with:||Not Specified||Recommend to a friend:||Not Specified|