Club Med Da Balaia, Portugal – holiday review

If you're looking for an all-inclusive break with extensive childcare facilities and a focus on sport (espeically golf and tennis) - in a stunning setting - Club Med Da Balaia could be for you

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In a nutshell

Club Med De Balaia in Portugal is an all-inclusive, family-friendly hotel on the Algarve. It has lots of activities onsite including mini golf, 3 pools, tennis courts, volleyball courts, table tennis, a spa, adults-only 'zen zone' with a fresh water pool and extensive childcare facilities from 4 months to teens.
Pros: There really is something for everyone, whether you want to do sports or just lounge by the pool. The kids' clubs are exceptional, the food excellent and all the staff friendly and helpful.

If you're looking for a holiday that gives you a bit of free time away from the kids - and gives your children a chance to make new friends - this is a great place to do it.

Cons: It's not cheap - a holiday for a family of 4 in July for a week will set you back around £7,500 - though this does include flights, accommodation, all food and drinks.

Do look out for deals though: if you can go off-peak you might just get a break for less.

What are the facilities like?

Club Med De Balaia has a focus on sport: you can have tennis coaching, try your hand at archery, volleyball and ‘circus’ school activities like trampeze.

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But there are 3 outdoor heated pools too if you just want to chill out and relax on a lounger if that’s more your vibe.

There’s also a spa, where you can get a number of treatments, and a ‘zen zone’ for adults only where you can sunbathe and  swim in a freshwater lake overlooking the Atlantic.

At the heart of the complex are 2 restaurants and a bar, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. For evenings there’s a theatre, and even a night club which was very lively when we visited on a Friday night.

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Balcony view from a Club Med Da Balaia room

What’s the accommodation like?

We stayed in a double room which had a super king bed that could easily have fitted 3 people in. There was a spacious shower, balcony with a table and 2 chairs overlooking a stunning sea view and wonderful full-sized toiletries (yay!). There was also a fridge which was really handy for storing drinks and snacks.

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A suite room at Club Med Da Balaia

We were a bit concerned that the room might be quite noisy at night with the bar/club activities going on, but we were on the 3rd floor and noise wasn’t an issue at all – which we have found to be the case at other similar complexes.

What’s the food like?

Very, very good – and there is a lot of it! Breakfast is served from 7.30am until 10am, lunch from around 12pm to 2pm (with snacks served in between, at around 11.30am) and dinner served from 7pm to around 9.30pm.

There is a buffet style restaurant where you can get everything from fresh fish to burgers, spaghetti, pizza, salads, piri piri chicken, fresh bread and more. There is also a special baby zone where you can pick up purees etc.

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The main restaurant and upstairs restaurant at Club Da Balaia

We spoke to a number of people here who said they felt the quality of food was a lot better than at many all-inclusive hotels they’d visited.

There is an upstairs restaurant too, where you can book and have table service. Food here is from a set menu – but, again, it’s all included in the price and you don’t pay an extra penny.

All drinks are free throughout the day – alcoholic and non-alcoholic, tea and coffee. A few premium spirits do carry an extra charge but you can get pretty much anything  – from rum to Baileys to wine, beer, vodka and more – as part of the all-inclusive deal, so best to stick to those.

What’s the childcare / kids club like?

In a word – superb. The club is divided into groups by age up to teens, and one of its main selling points is that it offers childcare for babies from just 4 months – perfect if you’re a new mum and dad looking for a bit of ‘couple’ time in those early parenting days.

Club starts at 8.45am each morning: after breakfast, just take your child along to the mini club building to get signed in. Then children do various activities around the camp, from mini golf, to swimming, arts and crafts etc.

If they want to they can have lunch with club – and you don’t have to pick your child up until 5pm, meaning you can leave the hotel grounds, to do the boat excursions offered, play golf on one of the many courses nearby or just head to the beach (a short walk down some steps from the hotel) and sunbathe for a few hours.

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Mini Club activities on the lawn

They’ll also look after your children from 7pm to 9pm if you fancy a quiet dinner together, and on Friday night when there’s a club night – they put on a movie and will offer childcare until 11pm.

We were there as a mum and daughter (7 years old) – and having an only child, the club offering was great. Although I actually felt a bit odd not seeing my daughter for much of the day, she loved the club, made lots of friends and didn’t want to leave when I came to pick her up.

The staff at the club went out of their way to make the children feel at home. They always made sure my daughter had an English speaking staff member with her at all times, and when I forgot to put suntan lotion on her – they told me not to worry, they always make sure the children are covered in it before they go out.

On the Friday when we were there they had a family funfair, with face painting, a magician, and the best snacks you have ever seen at a kids party.

All the club children got medals and it was a great chance to hang out with the other parents and meet some of the children and club helpers.

What is there for adults?

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The freshwater lake in the adults-only ‘zen zone’

As well as having a brilliant kids’ club, which means mum and dad can get plenty of couple time, there’s loads on offer to do once you’re there. You can take part in all the activities – archery, golf, tennis, etc – or just lounge by one of the pools (there are plenty of sun chairs).

One of the nicest bits about the hotel is its ‘zen zone’ – across from the main part. This is an adults-only area with sun loungers and a fresh water lake, overlooking the most stunning view. If you’re looking for some serious relaxation time it’s a must-do.

The hotel also offers excursions: there are around 30 golf clubs nearby you can visit. There’s also a boat trip which takes around 3 hours, where you’ll probably get to see a few dolphins, and spy the beautiful coastline. Go alone/as a couple for a nice jaunt out of the hotel.

If you’re up for a boogie, there are club nights – which are surprisingly good. There were plenty of indie hits playing (Nirvana even made the playlist) and they  serve Prosecco.

On a Friday night the club staff will look after kids until 11pm – if you want to stay out later (the club closes at 1.30am) you’ll need to talk to the hotel about babysitting options in your room.

Would you go again?

If we weren’t on a budget – absolutely yes! We know the hotel does offer deals – check out the website for more information. But a week at peak time (summer holidays) would unfortunately be way beyond our usual holiday budget.

That said, I would certainly look at going for a long weekend, with perhaps just my daughter again – I felt it was an amazing break for both of us.

Getting there

We flew from Gatwick to Faro – the flight took around 2.5 hours – then it as a short ride (around 30 minutes) from Faro to the hotel.

When we went

For 3 nights during the Easter holidays.

Find out more

Visit the Club Med Da Balaia website for details on prices, rooms and  availability.

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