For my stay in Faro on Portugal’s Algarve coast as part of my Iberian Explorer Trip, I selected the Best Western Dom Bernardo hotel. I want to explore Best Western, their rewards program and promotions this year (together with Choice and Wyndham) and this was one of the few options on the Iberian peninsula. Like most Best Western hotels, it’s a budget hotel, so read on to find out what to expect!
Location: The Best Western is located on the edge of the old town of Faro. While it looks on hotel booking sites like it is a little out of the way, it’s only a 10-15 min walk to the heart of the old town, the train or bus station and many restaurants and cafes, putting most of the things you want to see or do in easy walking distance. The Faro airport is about 15 minutes by taxi or bus. A large supermarket is just down the street, as well as several ATMs.
Service/Rewards: The front desk staff was friendly at check-in and got me into my room quickly. He did have a map of town for me and gave me a quick tour of key sites as well as some (excellent!) restaurant recommendations! Housekeeping was thorough throughout my stay and so was the staff at breakfast. Because the Best Western is a small hotel, everybody knows you after the day and makes it feel much more personal!
Despite booking the reservation through the Best Western website, my rewards number was not in the reservation – there seems to be a severe lack of system integration between the corporate and hotel systems. There was no recognition of my Diamond status and no perks and it took follow-up by email for the points to be credited to my account!
Room: I received a non-smoking, double room (as booked) at the end of the hallway at the back of the hotel. That gave me a sliver of an ocean view and made it pretty quiet without street noise. The room is of good size, with basic furniture and held in an old fashioned style. The floor is tiled, keeping it cool. There is a double bed, a small desk, a TV, fridge, A/C and coffee/tea facilities as well as a large, built-in wardrobe. In the wardrobe was a small, ancient safe that wouldn’t hold my DSLR camera or laptop (key available against a deposit). The bathroom is very large, with white sink, toilet and bidet and shower-over-tub with a standard European hand-held-with-wall mount shower fixture and a thin curtain on a straight rod. There was a hairdryer and basic soap and a shampoo dispenser were provided, but no facial tissue.
While I didn’t like the decor, I couldn’t really find fault with anything provided. The hotel is older and hasn’t seen a major renovation, but is very clean and well maintained – everything was in working order. The provided linen, towels and bath amenities were the most basic you’ll find in a hotel, just enough to do the job! The hotel is providing free wifi internet access. It was unavailable from my room or very slow when available and I had to go to the lobby for internet access most of the time – that’s not really acceptable in 2016, even at a budget hotel!
Restaurant/Amenities: The hotel has a stylish lobby and bar that serves snacks and drinks throughout the day, has a PC with printer and a large TV playing local news or sports.
The breakfast restaurant is in the basement and set up cafeteria style, with wooden tables and chairs.
It’s serving continental buffet breakfast for a price of EUR6. The selection was limited, with drip coffee, one kind of bread rolls and some toast, cold cuts and cheese, jam and butter and some cereal and yogurt. It was the smallest selection during my time in Portugal, but ok quality and good value at the price.
Bottomline: The Best Western is a budget hotel and at a price of only $43/night, you get a large, clean room with basic amenities in a convenient location and with friendly, personable service to boot. If you are only spending a night in Faro before or after a flight to see the sights in the city, you’ll be fine. If you are on a budget, you’ll get all the basics and I can recommend it for that. Personally, I’d probably spend a little more for a nicer room and a newer hotel! The Faro hotel in the heart of town was around $100 during my stay and looks fantastic in comparison – if you are willing to spend that much!