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Hotel Vila Vita Parc - Portugal

30 replies

Ems · 07/12/2001 09:59

Has anyone been?

I see it did really well in the Mumsnet summer holidays review, but whilst it had high scores, it only got 3.5 for beaches/countryside.

Could anyone shed any light as to why this is?

OP posts:
Ems · 07/12/2001 09:59
OP posts:
berries · 10/12/2001 10:15

Ems, not been, but it was in the Ties travel section this weekend as one of 10 family friendly hotels. Will check what it said about beaches.

berries · 10/12/2001 10:16

Sorry, should have previewed - it was the Times of course.

Ems · 10/12/2001 15:59

Thanks Berries, would be grateful.

Where are all the Mums who voted for it?!

OP posts:
KatyW · 11/12/2001 15:11

It's on as property of the week on

Ems · 11/12/2001 16:12

Thanks KatyW

OP posts:
rachel1 · 11/12/2001 17:36

Hi Ems, hate to admit it, but you've spotted a glaring typo in the review. Have checked back to the data and spread-sheets and, sure enough, the beaches of the Algarve are not really that bad and the figure should have read 8.5, not 3.5. So sorry to anyone who has read this and been put off and thanks Ems, for spotting the error.

Ems · 11/12/2001 18:22

Thankyou Rachel!! It did seem such a low score, thanks for taking the time to check.

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MalmoMum · 12/12/2001 08:49

I am looking at the Vita Parc too at the moment for winter sun holiday in April. The girl from babygoes2, who has been in contact with me, has said that she has had a lot of good feedback from people that holidayed there this year. Glad to see the beach update.

I am expecting again and over the past two months I have been looking for something which will allow both adults to be lazy for sometime each day. And let our then 20 month old to have a good mess around with some other kids.

Does anyone else have anyidea about how warm it might be in April. In May this year, my mother, my son and myself went to a place near Athens for a week. While our summer wardrobes got a good outing, our swimsuits did not get very wet. The swimming pools and the sea were quite nippy (and I used to dinghy sail in Wales in the winter).

My son is awake, time to go

MotherofOne · 31/12/2001 11:42

OK everyone - perhaps I can answer your questions!
We (dh, me & ds (then 21 months)went to Vila Vita Parc in Sept this year for a week. We chose it precisely because I'd seen it on Mumsnet and trusted what I'd read.
We booked late and there was no availability through elegant resorts, but we managed to book directly with the hotel and used Air Miles for the flights (so there are some advantages to dh's business trips!)
We had a lovely, lovely time, marred only by the sad fact that our last full day was Sept 11th, and that obviously cast a black cloud over everyone there.

I'm more than happy to answer any specific questions posted here, but here are some of my top line thoughts:

  • the Kids Play area is excellent (and full of Dads with toddlers... way to go Mums)
  • we made the mistake of not booking the creche early enough and then only managed one day for our son. He seemed happy enough in there after some initial tears, and being a paranoid mother I went back during the day and secretly watched him out in the play area - he was having a whale of a time!
  • we booked a family suite in the Oasis Parc, which meant that ds could do to bed in one room, and we could watch TV/have room service etc in the other; I think just having a single room might have been difficult?
  • we booked a babysitter at least one night and she was great (she worked in the complex leisure centre)
    The staff were UNBELIEVEABLY helpful (but I guess that's what you pay for in a 5* hotel!)
    The two family restaurants did a great buffet breakfast where you could fill the kids up, and also snaffle fruit, cheese & bread for them later etc
    I guess if I had one slight niggle it was just that there were no informal snack/ eating options really and I don't think there are any self-catering rooms/ apartments?
    We ended up ordering room service chicken nuggets & chips for our son one day and it came on a silver salver with napkin & flower (and cost about £8 !)
    But all said, I would definitely, definitely recommend it - the facilities were fantastic & uncrowded (in Sept), the beach was fine (a little shingly, and steep steps down - not with puchchairs - but everyone just left them at the top!) and the 'adult' restaurants tooks me back to romantic pre-motherhood days!
    Definitely book into the Spa for a facial/ massage too!
    Anyone what to know anything specific?
Ems · 31/12/2001 13:12

Thanks Motherofone. We've decided to give it a miss this year - money. It would have been our big big treat of a holiday.

When you are thinking along those lines, it is nice to speak to people who have been, as we were unprepared to spend that amount of money 'cold'.

I will save it away for my rainy day when the lottery comes in. Glad you had a lovely time.

OP posts:
charliesmummy · 12/06/2002 03:03

Motherofone - My best friend and I are going to Villa Vita Parc at the beginning of July, and I have a couple of specific questions!;

We have booked a suite, and I am interested to know if there is is separate bedroom for DS, as I absolutely loathe sleeping in the same room as him. My best friend has done the booking, and she assures me that 'The Man' at the other end says that ds has a separate bedroom to us, in which they will put a cot, however, I have looked at the bookings left on Hotelnet and it appears that the suites are 1 bedroomed and we will end up all in the same room - What do you know/think?.

It is all very late in the planning stages and unfortunately my best friends son is in a single room with his Nanny, so we are planning to use both the babysitting service and the creche in the afternoons which we have pre booked. Any more tips.

How smart is the dress code in the evening?

emmaij · 12/06/2002 11:36

Charlie's mum - Don't know if i can shed any light on this. Planning a trip myself later in the year and so spoke to 'man' at Elegant Resorts who said suites in the main hotel (if in Oasis Parc this might not apply) have seperate living areas with a door to the bedroom. Also, there are two exits from the suite, one from bedroom and one from living area ie: you don't have to tiptoe through the living area -when baby is asleep- to leave the suite for supper. Bottom line - you're in the bedroom, babe's in the living area and there's a door between the two of you so you should sleep well.

Have you heard other reports about this hotel. Will you e-mail me when you get back and give me some feedback. I'd be so grateful.

We're not off till November - couldn't afford any earlier!

have a good trip!

MotherofOne · 12/06/2002 13:46

Charliesmummy - ooh I'm so jealous - I'd love to be going back in July (instead of which I'll be giving birth to No.2!!)

Don't know if I can categorically answer your question as it does probably depend where your suite is? (But Emma's answer may also help?) We stayed in a suite in the Oasis Parc. It had a separate bedroom off the main area (where ds slept) and then there was a living/dining/TV area and a wide arch to a double bed (which is where we slept.) It really wasn't a problem as the bedroom was completely separate and ds wasn't disturbed by TV or anything.

Dress code depended on the different restaurants really. In the 'family'/poolside restaurants almost anything 'goes' especially during the day, then there were the sort of plaza/brasserie type places which didn't seem to require anything particularly smart, but e.g. people didn't seem to wear 'straight from the beach' wear, especially towards early evening. Finally there were the 'proper restaurants' (E.g. Atlantic Bar & Grill, was it called?) where it ranged from open necked shirt and jacket (for dh) to dripping diamante if someone really wanted (No kids in these restaurants) - so definite chance to 'posh frock' it if you wanted to!

Not sure about what other specific advice might be useful - ask more questions by all means!
Perhaps 2 things:

  • you can borrow buckets & spades & beach toys from the Information centre in the Plaza No need to buy them in the shop
  • the shop had a very limited supply of the disposable aqua nappies and no new stock after the original had gone, so take enough of your own if you are planning to use these.
  • Lunchtime food and service seemed best in the pool /bar next to the leisure club, and the water there was warmer (probably not an issue in July anyway!)
  • don't know how old your ds is, but one of the best things we bought for him while there was a mini plastic golf club set which he adored using while we played mini golf, and has continued playing with at home ever since!

    Let us know how you found it - especially in more of peak season
emmaij · 12/06/2002 16:56

helpful motherofone -nearly two- As you were staying in the family suite in oasis parc did you tend to all eat dinner early, or did you need to get a baby sitter to look after ds whilst you and dh went out to dinner?

if you're in the main hotel d'you think you can can just use a baby listening device?

MotherofOne · 12/06/2002 18:58

Emmaij - to be honest we tried a bit of everything, because nothing seemed absolutely perfect. Although the (family) restaurants did offer kids meals we found they were HUGE portions for an 18m old (e.g. Pizza Express size pizza!). (If you have you & your friend's little boy, you may want to consider them sharing a meal?).
Sometimes we ate lunch together, where ds had pizza/pasta etc (and dh finished it off invariably!) and then gave him 'tea' in our room about 5.30/6 pm which was usually sandwiches we'd bought in advance from pool bars at lunchtime/ crisps/fruit etc (also have to confess we started snaffling yoghurts and other goodies e.g. raisins, fruit from buffet breakfast and storing in our drinks fridge for this purpose too!) We then ate out after babysitter arrived.
Other nights we had an early meal all together in a family restaurant and then dh & I stayed in room/ drank wine on balcony etc/ read.
One of the best 'all together evenings' we had was at one of the themed event buffets held in the central Plaza bar/restaurant (I think?). There was lots of stuff ds liked (meatballs/pasta/bread etc etc) and they had live music from about 8 pm which ds thought was fantastic - so much so, he disappeared from our table and climbed up onto the little raised area in front of the two musicians and started 'dancing'! It started off a bit of a 'toddler disco' I'm afraid and suddenly every child under 8 was up there! But no one minded and everyone (parents etc) ended up dancing up there with their kids to oldie disco music (OK, so I'm 36......!)
I'm not sure that a baby listening device would work in the hotel unless you happened to have a room right near the restaurants? The hotel covers quite a large sprawling area... I don't know if they have a baby-listening service from Reception?

Depending on how old the kids are (?) I would say try a bit of everything - getting a babysitter a lot may become quite expensive? (Incidently, can't you pay the nanny to babysit some nights?)
Have fun!
MotherofOne (and yes, after July I'm going to change my name to MO2.....!)

emmaij · 12/06/2002 22:46

thank you so much for that advice, motherofnearly two!

charlie's mum was the one with the friend and nanny, emmaij just going with the hubbie and 20 month old!

charliesmummy · 13/06/2002 00:31

Thanks for the advice - HOWEVER all change as of 9pm this evening we have been offered - wait for it a 3 bedroom villa, one for each child (mine 18 months bf's 20 weeks) - at villa vita, and the nanny will be in another part of the resort, so she can come to our villa and babysit HOORAY HOORAY HOOOOOO HOOO HOORAY. I am only VERY happy.

Emmaij I will certainly E mail you on my return, I am on the dreaded night shift again as soon as I get back so I will bore the A**E off you if you want.

Motherofnearlytwo - I shall be taking a few frocks and some stupid shoes, so that my bf and I can go posh in the evenings, both children are Gina Forded so will be tucked up by 7pm.

My main concern is food for my ds but the biggest is milk. He loves his morning and evening beaker as soon as he wakes/sleeps, can you buy good whole milk non UHT variety or maybe get room service to deliver it on a silver salva!. Good tip about stashing some sarnies etc, I am thinking of taking a jar of peanut butter/Marmite. However, if we now have this villa then we will need provisions full stop, how well stocked is the resort shop? English Tea, washing up liquid?

Adaptor plugs? do they provide or do we take with us.? I know so many questions!

Thank you x

MotherofOne · 16/06/2002 22:02

Emmaij & CharliesMum - sorry for confusing you two(i.e. who was going with the Nanny etc etc) - pregnancy can be my only excuse!

CharliesMum - If you're now going to be in a villa - I assume this is self-catering - and I can't remember which part of the resort these were in - I think in the northern part, beyond the Spa centre? If so, I'm afraid we didn't really venture up there to check out what there was in the way of shops for basics like bread/ milk/ tea etc, but I assume there must be something, even if you have to go just outside the complex?

As regards within the main hotel complex itself, it was probably my only bugbear that there was NOWHERE to buy these things (unless we didn't find it?) The 'shop' in the central area was very much newspapers/sweets/souvenirs and a few things like cosmetics/nappies etc - but no 'grocery type' items to speak of. That's why we resorted to 'stocking up' at breakfast (reminds me of the Germans on ski holidays?) which included, incidently tea bags (for later in our room) and filling a couple of ds's bottles with fresh milk, which we then stored in our fridge. Of course it is always possible to get tea/ milk/ sandwiches delivered to your room (and the staff are ULTRA helpful about this) but mostly we found it just took too long, or things never arrived quite how we wanted them (e.g. a pot of hot milk)and of course the expense does add up. Incidently, the staff in the family restaurants (we ate in 'The Whale' mostly) will bend over backwards to get you milk/ heat baby food etc.
Final tip - we asked for a kettle in our room "to warm ds's milk" (not wanting to admit that we actually wanted to make tea & coffee really!) and the hotel were so efficient that they actually brought a bottle warmer, so we then had to come clean and admit we DID want a kettle!
Definitely take your own adaptors/ nightlights etc if you want them.
Oh - and befriend your room cleaner - they are responsible for restocking the fruit in your room - and once we got to know ours, she made sure we had a constant supply of bananas for ds (which he was into big time then...).

Sorry - this all sounds so banal and rambling!

sjd · 18/06/2002 21:41

We returned from the Vita Parc ten days ago having had a marvellous time. We had a huge "apartment" on three floors with two large double bedrooms, two bathrooms and a decent kitchen. This was just outside the main hotel compound. There was a small supermarket less than five minutes walk up the road which was great for supplies of water and those nibbles which children always seem to need at the most inconvenient moments! We opted to eat with the kids each evening having persuaded them to have siesta in the afternoon. The service and staff were faultless, they even coped with my special dietary needs. We will definitely being going back again - can`t wait!

aloha · 19/06/2002 11:15

How much is this magnificent place..?

charliesmummy · 19/06/2002 19:15

Thanks for the tips -I AM SO EXCITED, THATS .. I AM SOOOOO EXCITED. Banal rambling are me!. Yes I have two adaptors, good news about bottle warmers, and sod the expense I will order milk from r/s in advance. sjd - how was the weather, did people dress up in the evening? etc, I just need to know how many handbags to take ok !! (SAD - yes).


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sjd · 22/06/2002 21:54

In reply to Charliesmummy the weather was good warm but not too hot which suited us fine. It got a little chilly in the evenings but no doubt it is getting warmer all the time. If you go to the smarter restaurants people do dress up a bit otherwise people seem to change before eating but dress fairly casually. Have a good time.

charliesmummy · 10/07/2002 01:02

Flew in yesterday from Faro and Vila Vita Parc. Fantastic, superb, stressfull. As promised; very helpful staff, fabulous breakfasts at all the restaurants, endless supplies of everything from fruit to brioche, semolina to scrambled eggs etc.

Despite the heat - 33c all the pools were very cold, and the sea even colder (we were told this as we could not get down the steps with buggies and all the extras. When we arrived we were taken to our villa on a buggy ourselves, with VERY helpful staff, the villa was 3 bedroomed all ensuite, so both children had a bathroom for a noisy bathtime (18 months and 18 weeks). Room service was expensive and we were warned but we had to get some essentials immediately. My ds hated the UHT full fat milk, so had water instead, and also as warned chicken nuggets and chips were 9Euros but very much needed the first day until we got our bearings.

We took a trip to Algarve Shopping and stocked up on Gin, Tonic, water, soft drinks, nappies and wipes and the essential bribery items. We had lunch most days in one of the restaurants and that cost about 150 Euros, although we found that if we went to the pool at the top of the resort by the villas past the spa you could get really good pizzas for 6 Euros. Alcohol was very expensive and soft drinks even more so.

I used the creche facilities most afternoons for two hours and that cost 18 Euros, however, my normally happy little boy cried as we approached on the second day and broke my heart, however, they assured me that once I had gone he stopped, of course that did not stop me fretting, and he behaved totally out of character once I picked him up - child from hell. He is still very clingy and crying a lot even today but I am sure after a few days he will be fine, he did enjoy his bathtime at home this evening and drank all of his milk. That could be down to lots of reasons, heat, creche, Daddy not being there, and of course strangers (he is used to his childminder), they had for his age English versions on video of Bob, Tweenies, Tubbies, and they did drawing and sticking things and playing with a good selection of toys. For 6 children there were 5 assistants who spoke good english and seemed to me to genuinely like the children remembering the names and introducing them to each new child.

Do not take, towels, robes, slipppers, hairdryers, cotton wool, tissues, cotton buds (adult variety), shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion etc, all rooms replenished daily and the stuff is very good. Do take food for young children if you can, as the on site store is not very well stocked, however, they can order anything and get it but it may take a day or so. You can buy bikinis etc there but they are ridiculously expensive, they also stock a good supply of sun creams. No money changes hands at all on the whole of the Parc and everything is charged to your room (apart from if you want to buy a paper).

Would I go again - Yes definately but I would make sure that my husband can get the time off nect time as he was very much needed!, as I was clokc watching all the time.

charliesmummy · 10/07/2002 01:04

Typo erros ooops!, very tired and now on nights - I have come into work for a rest!

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