Perhaps the mistake was ours and maybe the fact that it is called "Apartments" should have given us a clue. Our studio's description listed kitchen, toilet and shower and we, stupidly, assumed that that would also include sufficient toilet paper (we had a partial roll and had to ask for more), dish washing soap (only about 1/8th of an inch remained in the bottle) and soap, shampoo or tissues. (We went to a market to purchase toilet paper and those other items). Peter, the owner, was friendly but our room was bare bones. We had to hand over 150 euros as a deposit along with paying for our three nights in advance - the only place where we had to do that. The location was very convenient for the town and the beach and the parking was fine.
Filhas Do Mar – rented apartment in Salema, Algarve, Portugal.
We rented a large apartment on the second floor with a big balcony. It was very close to the village center and the beach. Supposedly spacious and “luxuriously equipped”. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Our expectations of this stay were high due to the nice pictures and great resumés posted online.
I immediately felt uneasy and uncomfortable when we got access to the apartment. Why?
The entrance to the apartment consisted of a steep and poorly lit staircase.
The apartment was clean and tidy, but he layout was strange and the furniture was very dated.
There was a staircase in the middle of the main room leading to an additional floor. This was however shielded off giving a spooky feeling.
The main view from the balcony and apartment was the city's parking and the village road with associated road noise. When sitting on the balcony, we could see everyone getting in and out of their cars. They of course also saw us. We felt like we were sitting in the carpark.
Looking hard right on the balcony, the sea and village center was visible.
Most of the day the balcony lay in deep shade which made it feel cold and dark.
The indoor lighting was minimal. The few lights were low-watt lamps that made the light dim – making it hard to see our cards we played after dinner. There was no lamp above the kitchen table.
The AC that existed throughout the house, did not work in our bedroom.
Some kitchen appliances felt and looked like they were from the 1970 's.
The beds were like soft trampolines.
The TV consisted of a small 24" screen, highly mounted.
When passing to and from the property you passed a garbage and recycling station (with the accompanying stench)
It was quite obvious that this is not a place where someone lives permanently at any time, it is a pure rental property. There was no love in the decorations and furniture. An example of this was the mop and broom that was stuck on the wall clearly visible in the kitchen, as well as the choice of images and photographs in the rooms.
The pictures advertising Filhas Do Mar all bathe in sunlight. The pictures are obviously taken in the morning hours when the sunlight hits the house. The rest of the day, after noon, the apartment rests in shade.
OK, for €150 per night maybe we can't expect more. But on my vacation, I want better.
I left the place three nights in advance, even though I paid for the stay.
The owners of Filhas Do Mar, make a point of them being from Holland. They have both a Dutch flag and a Portuguese flag at the property entrance.
They wanted half the rent paid in advance, which they received with a bank payment, as well as the other half of the rent in cash upon arrival. On top of this a security deposit of €150. It felt strange to have to withdraw €450 in cash from an ATM (which took three withdrawals) and hand out all these bills upon arrival.
Being used to card payments and other electronic payment solutions, this payment method felt old-fashioned.
I asked the elderly owner why he wanted it this way. He told me that he didn't want to pay 6% to the card companies. I asked him: "Why can't you just take out those card fees of 6% on me as a client?". (In my case about €30 of a total of €600). I got no good answer.
I asked him why he wanted €150 in a security deposit? Was it because if we might break things? "No, the stuff that people break is cheap to replace. €1.50 for a glass, for example. The deposit is for those who, for example, choose to leave in the middle of the night without returning the key. "
It was my feeling that the owner's convenience was more important to him than mine as his customer. And that keeping his costs down was most important.
This was not a pleasant place to stay. He must be accustomed to unhappy customers. Hence all the cash up front.
+ Location, in the village center near the beach
+ Good size apartment and balcony
+ Clean and tidy
+ Good wifi
+ Free parking inside gated property
+ AC in bedrooms and living room/seating area
- Odd layout with closed off staircase to third floor
- View from balcony and apartment mainly over village parking and road to village
- Dark inside, no light above kitchen table
- Dated furniture and uncomfortable beds
- AC in one of the bedrooms did not work
- Old kitchen appliances in an otherwise modernized kitchen
- Cash payment only
This was a wonderful apartment- gorgeous marble kitchen, very well equipped! It was great to be so close to the beach. Spacious and clean. Large living room, two big bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a big balcony with a sea view.
Very nice reasonably priced 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment with large balcony owned by very friendly people. Handy for everything you want to do in Salema. Well equipped kitchen. Safe. TV. DVD player. Music centre. Free wi fi. Iron. Air con. BBQ
The only suggestion we have is that a mirror in the bedrooms would be most welcome by ladies.
This is a great location in the Algarve. Salema is a lovely town; beautiful beach, great restaurants. This property is within easy walking distance of the beach. The room itself was fine--the roof was sloped and that made it feel small, but adequate for our needs. The kitchen was well supplied. The owner/manager was friendly and helpful. We appreciated our stay and would recommend this location.