Pic: Porto Bay Falesia, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal (Mar 2012)
Pic: Sundeck at Porto Bay Falesia, Algarve, Portugal (Mar 2012)
Since a few weeks, Brussels Airlines is running a promo called Flyday. Every Friday they offer three destinations at €99 for take-off over any of the 4 following weekends. The booking class is b.flex economy (H) which means you can use the premium check-in desks and security fastlane at the airport. B.flex passengers are seated in the front part of the cabin and served complimentary food & drinks. The €99 return trip in B.flex earns 2500 status miles (Miles & More) instead of the usual 250 status miles in B.light economy. A great offer, but availability is very limited. On Feb 24, Faro was one of the three destinations on offer, an opportunity I used to book a trip to the Portuguese Algarve (March 17-20). With the flight booked, I started looking for hotel and immediately noticed how cheap hotels are in the Algarve. The combination of low season and Portuguese economic downturn makes it a very affordable destination. After my excellent stay at Porto Bay Rio de Janeiro in December, Porto Bay Falesia was my preferred option. Possible alternative (but almost twice as expensive) was Sheraton Algarve. With a Tripadvisor rank of 3 out of 160 hotels in Albufeira and a room rate of €46 per night (Garden View – incl. breakfast), making the choice for Porto Bay Falesia was easy.
Tips: Try to get upgraded to a ‘Sea View’ room on a higher floor, use discount codes ‘facebook’ or ‘twitter’ on PortoBay.com to get a 5% discount and sign-up for the Porto Bay Prestige Club card (several benefits starting from your 2nd stay incl. 10% discount on hotel Food&Beverages)
With flight and hotel booked, local transportation was next. You definitely want to have a rental car to cruise along the Algarve coast. My three day rental of a Mazda 2 at Sixt was €38 (via ebookers.be), I declined the €45 damage waiver fee. Consumed fuel (Unleaded 95 * €1,80/L * €49 total) was more expensive than the car rental fee!
Pic: Praia Porto de Mos, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal (Mar 2012)
As you can see in the pictures, I was lucky with the weather. Most memorable experience was the hike from Praia Porto de Mos to Praia da Luz. Incredible views from the top of the cliffs. If you want to see more pictures and details of this trip, check my twitter timeline from March 17 – 20.
Pic: Cliffs near Praia da Luz, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal (Mar 2012)
Also worth to mention, the new Living lounge at Faro airport (FAO). Spacious and clean with a good selection of complimentary drinks. Ideal to escape the holiday makers chaos in the departure terminal. Access for Star Alliance Gold members.
Pic: New ‘Living’ Faro Airport lounge, Portugal (Mar 2012)