Take a look at the best all-inclusive resorts in Portugal.
This huge three-pearl, 327-room resort hotel is located in Canico de Baixo, a traditional Madeiran village on the southeast coast. It's only 10- to 15-minute drive from the airport and Funchal, and has a gorgeous beachfront location with stunning ocean views. Most popular with families and holidaymakers, the property offers all-inclusive and half-board rates. Rooms are dated, though they include modern amenities and furnished balconies; some with sea views. Facilities include three pools, two restaurants, several bars, a full-service spa, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis court, and game room. There's a kids' club with daily activities, plus nightly entertainment. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. Travelers looking for a more romantic atmosphere might like Quinta Splendida, which adds a Thai restaurant and free spa access.
Funchal is known for its steep hills, but this 317-room, upper-middle-range all-inclusive is in a walkable area with access to the oceanfront promenade. The hotel's exterior resembles a cruise liner, and the large outdoor pool, kiddy pool, and massive deck all face the ocean. The spa's saltwater pool has romantic cave-style designs and the spacious gym offers spin classes. The hotel stands out as one of the only all-inclusive options in Funchal (and the best); in addition to the main buffet restaurant with live cooking stations, there are Japanese, Italian, and Madeiran theme restaurants. Bars offer live entertainment. Rooms are modest with simple (but comfy) design and all have full or partial sea views from balconies; some suites have kitchens. The Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa offers more modern rooms, but doesn’t have all-inclusive rates.
The Pestana Colombos Premium Club is an upscale, all-inclusive resort characterized by chic, minimalist design set on the south coast of Porto Santo island. Rooms are fresh and contemporary, with romantic couples-friendly touches as well as larger suites and villas for families and groups. Indoor and outdoor pools provide plenty of water-based relaxation, as does the adjacent sandy beach (though beach beds are pricey). Facilities are shared with the sister Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort, which has better evening entertainment and is home to the kids' club, but rooms are arguably a bit more stylish here.
The 84-room Hotel Oriental is an upper-middle-range option located right on Praia da Rocha. Although it's in a quieter area, it's only a five-minute walk to numerous restaurants, pubs, and shops to the west. Dining gets mixed reviews, and all-inclusive rates are available, but there are plenty of options close at hand. Rooms are a mix of lovely, modern spaces and some that are past their prime. All have furnished balconies or terraces, and some have full views of the beautiful beach or kitchenettes. The pool and lawn provide relaxing places to hang out, and kids get their own pool and a small playground. Travelers looking for lower rates in a beachfront hotel could check out the nearby Hotel da Rocha, although it offers less for families.
Vila Gale Albacora is a three-and-a-half-pearl hotel in the Ria Formosa Natural Park overlooking Tavira Island. It's a little off the beaten path, and a 10-minute drive into Tavira's old town, but the atmosphere here is quiet and secluded. The top-notch leisure facilities include a large freeform outdoor pool, children's pool, indoor pool, fitness center, kids' club, scuba diving center, and kayak rental. A free shuttle runs to Tavira center and a boat (for a fee) goes to Tavira Island beach. The 162 simple, modern rooms come with balconies or terraces, some overlooking the river. All include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. Alternatively, the hotel's sister property, Vila Gale Tavira, is located right in Tavira, though is far more dated.
Vila Gale Santa Cruz is a three-and-a-half-pearl oceanfront resort in the quiet village of Santa Cruz, about a 20-minute drive from Funchal. With no nightlife and little entertainment, the atmosphere here is about relaxation and recreation. A pebble-and-stone beach, large outdoor pool with seasonal poolside bar, children's pool, small kids' club, indoor pool, and spa are highlights. There are buffet and a la carte dining options, and all-inclusive rates are available. The resort also runs a thrice-daily shuttle to Funchal. The 262 clean rooms all have balconies, minibars, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Some have sea or airport runway views, and while plane noise is unavoidable, it's generally not bothersome. Couples who want a similarly relaxed resort that's closer to Funchal might consider Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay) instead.
The 328-room Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort is an upscale, all-inclusive hotel popular with families and package operators set on Porto Santo island's picturesque golden beach. The resort itself, while not particularly stylish, is impeccably well-presented and clean throughout with all the facilities you'd expect from a high-end vacation complex. Rooms -- ranging from pool-view Standard Rooms to spacious villas -- are pleasant and modern, though sometimes lacking key amenities (only some have free Wi-Fi access and all lack tea/coffee facilities). The complex includes large, freeform pools, a spa, outdoor tennis courts, and a kids' club, and playground. A fee for beach loungers irks some guests, as do lines for dining at peak times. The resort is slightly less expensive than nearby sister property Pestana Colombos Premium Club and has a more Mediterranean flavor.
The Savoy Calheta Beach isn't the only hotel in town on the oceanfront, but it's the only one that's right on Calheta Beach. It also has an outdoor pool, a spa with a small indoor pool, and an outdoor playground. Its upper-middle-range rooms have a contemporary beach decor and there's an annex with family-friendly apartments equipped with kitchenettes. All-inclusive rates cover food and limited beverages at two restaurants and three bars. Note that parking, premium beverages, and use of in-room safes cost extra. For couples without kids, it's worth comparing to the more upscale Saccharum Hotel Resort & Spa, which can have even cheaper rates, though it's not an all-inclusive hotel.
The Adriana Beach Club is a sprawling, three-pearl resort just a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Praia do Poco Velho. This all-inclusive resort is a 30-minute drive from Albufeira, although it aims to provide for its guests’ every needs on site. The resort has two big pools -- one indoors and the other set in a sunny outdoor terrace -- three buffet restaurants and two bars, a mini-golf course and a beach volleyball court, and a fun adventure playground for kids. That said, the resort’s 438 rooms have some dated decor, and bathrooms need a revamp. They do, however, have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, AC, and outdoor spaces. Travelers looking for sleeker digs might want to try the Salgados Palm Village Apartments & Suites.
The Luna Falesia Mar is a mid-range apartment complex spread over 15 blocks in its own private clifftop enclave. Set in the peaceful resort town of Olhos de Agua means that there's not a great deal in the immediate surroundings, though lovely beaches are accessible on foot. Its 240 apartments are roomy and equipped with basic cooking facilities, but they have dated furnishings and tube-style TVs. Most guests are on the all-inclusive option that includes decent if a bit limited buffet meals. A major gripe is the small swimming pool, which can get crowded during peak season, though kids do have a small separate pool. Neighboring Porto Bay Falesia has a much bigger pool and better sea views, though it's also more expensive.
The three-pearl Vila Gale Atlantico is a quiet, pleasant property well outside the hustle and bustle in Albufeira, and within eyeshot of the beach. Rooms have been given a subtle overhaul and have a generically modern look (as of 2016). They also include air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and kitchenettes, and some have up to two bedrooms. All-inclusive rates are available and the buffets are well-liked. A popular pool area includes a separate kids' pool with slides, and there's a game room as well. The beach is less than a 10-minute walk away, though many guests simply hang around on-site as there's nothing else nearby. Alternatively, travelers who prize location over style might consider Hotel Rocamar, which overlooks Albufeira's beach and is in the old town. Rates there are also often lower.
The three-and-a-half-pearl Vale da Lapa Resort & SPA has the benefit of wide open landscaping on the edge of Carvoeiro, with pleasant views of the gardens and mountains in the distance. It's too far from attractions in Carvoeiro to walk to anything, but the resort does have plenty to do on-site, including a nine-hole putting green, a full-service spa, and a kids' club. The 85 suites and Villas are modern and sharp, and include full kitchens, making them ideal for those looking for an upscale but affordable stay. All-inclusive rates are available, too. Travelers may want to also consider the nearby Monte Santo Resort, which is a little pricier but has more impressive amenities. Rooms there are a bit jazzier, though have some dated elements.
The 266-room Dom Pedro Golf Resort is an upper-middle-range hotel a short walk from the beach and the lively Vilamoura marina. Rooms are clean and have expansive views, stocked minibars, and flat-screen TVs, but decor is dated, and extra fees for Wi-Fi and safes may be annoying to some. The outdoor pool is large and appealing, and the hotel has a private area on Vilamoura Beach complete with a restaurant, loungers, and umbrellas. There are also a spa with an indoor pool and a gym, several restaurants serving decent food, and kid-friendly amenities such as a kiddy pool, a playground, and a kids’ club. Sister property Dom Pedro Marina has lower rates and a similar location, but its rooms are a little more basic.