We ummed and ahhhed about going abroad this year. We didn't risk it last year and stayed home and enjoyed lots of warm sunny days with our paddling pool out. This year, the weather had other plans and when we saw rain forecast for almost all of the 7 days we had off together, we took the plunge and booked 6 nights in Portugal and flew 4 days later! We do love a last minute bargain after all ;)
Having both been fully vaccinated this year and with the new testing requirements and no need to quarantine, we decided it was would be worth it and it really was! We got our various tests booked in following advice from Money Saving Expert and spent £280 in total on tests for us and the twins. We flew with Easyjet and stayed at the Pestana Blue Hotel in Alvor.
As you can see, we spent most of our time in the various pools but did explore the beach one day too and found some cool caves! (Also the doughnuts on the beach were AMAZING!)
The food at the all inclusive hotel was hit & miss. Some days we found something we loved, others not so much, one evening I just ate cake after seeing them cook chicken which was still clearly raw and oysters & seafood displayed in the middle of the non-air-conditioned and very hot room with just a bed of ice. No thanks! I went for the pork ribs but they were cold. The puddings were usually pretty good, with the exception of the very artificial tasting mousses. They always had a selection of ice-cream and the cakes were lovely as well as lots of fresh fruit.
Breakfasts were also nice once you knew what was good. Breads & pastries, boiled eggs and pancakes were all our favourites. It was a shame they didn't have an omelette stand or someone making eggs to order like I've experienced in many other hotels. I've stayed in all inclusive places before and both have had MUCH nicer food options than Pestana Blue Alvor and were about the same price too.
They did also have 3 a la carte restaurants and as we were there for 6 nights we were allowed to pick one for an evening. If we'd been there for 7 nights we could have eaten in them for 3 nights. As it happened, we had no choice as only one was available which was the newest, Piri Piri which claimed to have traditional Portuguese dishes.
We initially panicked as EVERY SINGLE dish on the menu had the symbol for peanuts so we would have had to leave as we're both allergic! Luckily it turned out this was an error and we were safe to order anything. The grilled meats and fish were delicious, Kalyan loved his sardines and the tomato & onion salad was to die for as were the super fresh, hot chips! It was quite a treat after many cold buffet meals! Starters and desserts were still from the buffet but seemed fresher here.
One of the best things was the evening entertainment! The hotel "activation" guys were all amazing, running the kids' club by day (which annoyingly couldn't be booked so you had to waste ages queuing and often not even get a space) and showing off their various acting/singing/dancing/circus skills by night!
The main thing was just that it was amazing to get away! Enjoy some proper sunshine and being able to relax, drink plenty of mojitos (one bar seemed to make them SO much nicer than the other where we had very watery tasting drinks) and have lots of fun at a resort. No cleaning, no cooking, no work. Bliss!