Friday, 8 April 2011

Reviewing the Reviews

It has been suggested to this blog to ask Mark Warner on what were/are the eating arrangements at the Ocean Club.

We decided to take the suggestion one further degree up: we “asked” those that have used it.
These are reviews covering about 4 years. Before, during and after Maddie disappeared.

As nothing has changed there is NO evidence that the Tapas Bar was ever included as an alternative to the Mill.
I'm sure someone would be sharp enough to find that out if it was available, even those not complaining about poor standard of food at the Mill if only for a change of scenery.
On these kind of holidays (spread out facilities) it's standard practice to feed everyone at the same place. Meals are cooked in bulk for economy of scale.
As the Tapas Bar Sheets don't show a full Tapas Bar in any of the nights (not even Quiz Night!).... where were those people who didn't want to trudge to the Mill?
You be the judge on where the meals were supposed to be, what was included, what were the various alternatives to Mill, etc. Let's read what people had to say:
Review # 01
Date of review: 25 Jul 2006
“were on a half board basis and I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to buffets but the food was superb. The millennium restaurant had a great selection of food which changed every night. You got good quality wine included in the price and the staff were very helpful and friendly. We did eat at the a la carte Tapas restaurant but preferred the selection and quality of food in the millennium. ”

Review # 02
Date of review: 21 Jul 2006
“We had opted for the Half Board option and dined in the Millenium Club. We cannot express how impressed we were . We had imagined queing up for our food like we have at other buffet style meals. We never had to q for a table or for the food which was lovely and very varied, the dining room staff are very friendly and very efficient and the meal times are managed extremely well.
If you are not staying for lunch there are certain areas that you can’t sit in as the poolside area is mainly reserved for guests that are dining there, however we soon realised that you don’t have to pre book. Compared to the cafes on the beach front it was very expensive to eat there.”

Review # 03
Date of review: 19 May 2006
“We stayed for one week in early May 2006 and although the weather was sunny all week, it did get cold at night, so you might want to consider taking a jumper or coat for evenings out.
Our party went half-board and we found there was a nice selection of buffet style food provided to suit most tastes.
Morning breakfasts are served until 10am and consist of a selection of fresh fruits, tea and coffee, cereal, fresh juices, toast and spreads and a traditional English breakfast option. We had to walk 5 minutes from our apartment to the restaurant, (The Ocean Club Resort is that big) which was fine for most of our party, but anyone with walking difficulties might not be so happy about It. ”
At evening meals, the food had a different theme each night e.g. Mediteranean, Seafood, Portuguese, BBQ night etc. This usually consisted of soup, a selection of salads, sauces, bread and warm food, including meat dishes, vegetable dishes, and the usual rice, chips, or potatoes. Even if you are a fussy eater, or vegetarian, you should find something you enjoy. ”
The desserts didn't change much, but even so, there was a nice selection of chocolate mouse, chocolate cake, fruit salad and other sweet dishes. Some evenings had a little entertainment put on too. One night we had a magician entertain us and on barbeque night, we had a large group of traditional Portuguese dancers visit (who were very good). But generally, it was fairly low-key.”

Review # 04
Date of review: 24 Aug 2007
“we did use the Millennium pool (the nearest to us) and ate at the snack bar during the day on a few occasions because you cannot take your own food in, but found it to be very expensive

Review # 05
Date of review: 29 Sep 2007
Mark Warner do Half Board including watersport. Thomas Cook do Self Catering. We can compare MW and TC bookings.
My only snag about this brilliant resort is that depending on your room and board basis, you may have to walk quite far to breakfast and dinner

Review # 06
Date of review: 15 Sep 2007
“We had a marvellous holiday despite our concerns over the awfully sad Maddie situation. The Millenium was alright but certainly not as good as some of the local restaurants especially the two opposite the church

Review # 07
Date of review: 9 Sep 2007
“The Millenium restaurant where breakfast is served is a 5-10 minute walk away but the road has a pavement and I did not feel unsafe at any time walking along it. The breakfasts are the same every morning as they are in most establishments and whilst this is the case, they have a great selection of fruit, cereal, toast, pastries, cooked breakfast and continental style breakfasts which never disappoint. The evening meals which are served in the same restaurant can be quite samey but whilst we were there they had an italian night, a BBQ night and a Portuguese night so there is a lot of effort made and in the deal which we went on you can swap dinner for lunch giving you the opportunity to try the local restaurants for a change.”

Review # 08
Date of review: 27 Aug 2007
“Yep, this is the same resort where Madeleine McCann was abducted. The streets are NOT good for a buggy because you have to hug the walls as you walk about 10 mins to the Millennium Restaurant. The food at the Millennium was okay, you'll find something to eat but it is Britishfied meaning you'll find sausages and chips on the dinner menu. Breakfasts are boring and that's when you have to make the trek to the Millennium! Foodwise, I HIGHLY suggest going to some of the restaurants near the Church and along the beachside.”

Review # 09
Date of review: 9 May 2008
Mark Warner Ocean Village: set up on 3 sites, with accommodation doted around the resort, which I believe is privately rented from owners. Far too difficult to get between sites, up and down cobblestone hills and alleys, to get from accommodation/breakfast/kids clubs/tennis/beach/dinner etc....
Food: wasted money booking half board when it is for 5 of your 7 nights stay, only 3 choices of a la carte per evening with no REAL choice ( pasta/risotto or battered calamari anyone?).”

Review # 10
Date of review: 6 May 2008
“Relatively quiet as early season (despite the Maddy McCann papparazi !). TERRIBLE food at the Millenium restaurant. School dinners. If this is included in your price, budget to eat elsewhere. Will def be back to Portugal, and maybe even with MW if we want the childcare, just be prepared to eat out or cook for yourself. ”

Review # 11
Date of review: 2 Oct 2007
“Our half board option with free wine was very good but we decided to eat one evening at the Fortaleza de Luz, which is opposite the church. ”

Review # 12
Date of review: 13 Jul 2008
“Basically restaurant - awful , rest - fantastic. A few tips about the restaurant: Firstly breakfast......
Dinner is worse , in part because despite what it says in the brochure it isn't buffet style , so there is normally a long delay before it makes it to your table, if it gets there at all......and when it does often you wish it hadn't. So by the time you have finished it is too late to go and raid the supermarket. Menus come and go quite quickly because for some bizarre reason they don't have very many. The waiters are very good at bringing extra bread because they appreciate you are hungry. The waiters are all very nice people, they are let down badly by something in the system, and some guests complained quite vocally to them . My advice would be to make sure you have had plenty to eat before you go there. . . or better still go to a proper restaurant. ”

Review # 13
Date of review: 5 Jul 2008
“Unfortunately we were half board! It took us an hour to find the millenium....The waiting staff were running around like headless chickens but not actually doing anything & they cater for 100 but they only have 5 menus! you have to wait your turn.

Review # 14
Date of review: 29 Jun 2008
“Having read previous reviews I was concerned when I arrived at the resort about what to expect, particularly from the half board option. The food was absolutely amazing. Apparently a new chef was brought in very recently, and I can honestly say the food served at the Millennium restaurant was one of the highlights of our holiday. They encourage guests to socialise and by the end of the week lots of families and couples were dining with friends they had made during the week. ”

Review # 15
Date of review: 4 Jun 2008
“I couldn't fault our very well kitted out apartment though was right at the back of the resort, but handy 2min to the restaurant. As other reviewers have said, the Millenium restaurant was serving mediocre school dinners. We were on half board. Bland overcooked/reheated food, no veg, rather like school dinners along with overpriced wine, in the background there were hectic harassed waiting staff even though the dining room wasn't particulary full. we did manage to escape & eat out

Review # 16
Date of review: 20 May 2008
“Our half board option was a waste of money as the food in the millenium restaurant was awful to say the least.
The poor restaurant waiters have to take the flak from complaining clients daily -morning and evening, considering this is an activities based holiday you do need your food but it is awful and reading the reviews on here it has been for some time? Warning - Mark Warner clients and I include anyone going with Thomas Cook don't go to the Millenium restaurant in Praia da Luz for the food try to negotiate not half board!! ”

Review # 17
Date of review: 1 Sep 2008
“Bit of a trek getting to the restaurant / beach (about 10 minutes in each case) but only a small negative. ”

Review # 18
Date of review: 17 Jul 2008
“.........we booked half board with Thomas Cook. The food and service at the Millenium restaurant at Ocean Club was dreadful. We booked 7 nights to eat an evening meal at the restaurant, however, on a Saturday its a welcome buffet for Mark Warner, Sunday its a "bonding dinner" for Mark Warner and Tuesday it's closed ! As said in earlier reviews the staff were only interested in Mark Warner guests. The Portuguese reception staff were very helpful but their English counterparts let them down at the restaurant.”

Review # 19
Date of review: 6 Feb 2009
“ The Ocean Club is a vast spread out complex”

Review # 20
Date of review: 14 Sep 2008
“.....only about a 7 minute walk to the main eating area. The food provided under the Mark Warner package (breakfast daily and 5 evening meals per week) was really delicious - plenty of variety (although perhaps a little less if you are vegetarian) and all food really well cooked. The Portuguese evening (Thursdays) and BBQ (Fridays) are well worth going to. ”

Review # 21
Date of review: 12 Sep 2008
“We were a bit concerned having seen the comments about the Mill Restaurant, and were quite prepared to abandon it and eat at the local restaurants.....In practice we needn't have worried. We enjoyed all the meals at the Mill"

Review # 22
Date of review: 10 Aug 2009
“Only negative thing is the price of food and drinks at the tapas bar

Review # 23
Date of review: 17 Jun 2009
“Our package with MW gave us all breakfasts (good), 5 dinners (also pretty good), but no lunches.”

Review # 24
Date of review: 23 Aug 2010
“Oh and there's a restaurant too, and half board included in the price.
The centre of the whole holiday is the Ocean Club and the 'Mill' restaurant. It has a tough job on its hands. In the morning it is the breakfasting, booking and meeting point for the days activities. From late morning onwards it is the poolside bar for the main pool and light lunch venue. Then, by evening it transforms again to become an a la carte restaurant and bar area
One evening we sat at the Mill eating pork tenderloin listening to two Crooners singing Frank Sinatra songs. It was like sitting in one of those ex-pat colonies in Spain or anywhere where English people retire. It was the start for me of what developed into 'Mill fever". a desire to escape,
We ended up eating elsewhere and coming back to the Mill later to socialise and for the kids to tear around with their mates. We'd be interested in talking to Mark Warner about doing less meals at the Mill and more out and about.”

Review # 25
Date of review: 15 Jul 2010
“We were on half board through Thomas Cook and this apartment was 10-15 mins walk, a lot of that uphill to get to restaurant, not good when the temperatures are in the high 30's, common sense says not to put people on half board that far from restaurant. We complained to Rep at welcome meeting who said nothing could be done until the Monday and she told us to go to Main Reception which we did and they told us to come back at 4pm, this went on for 3 days, we went to see Rep again on the Thursday who said she would contact reception again, I gave her my mobile number to save us going back to reception, I am still waiting for her to contact me, we went back to reception that evening to be told there was nothing unless we paid 150 euros, ”

Review # 26
Date of review: 10 Jul 2010
“We were on half board which was at the Mill restaurant

Review # 27
Date of review: 19 Sep 2010
“The half board is good value as the restaurant was very good. ”

Review # 28
Date of review: 2 Sep 2010
“We went half board and quickly found that they only served food in the millenium restaurant which was about 15 mins walk there and back for breakfast and dinner. When you go for evening dinner, it's only a buffet on Saturdays, the rest is choose one of the four options”

Review # 29
Date of review: 27 Aug 2010
“I would not recommend going for half board, especially if you are on the other side of town from the Mill


  1. Now would you like to provide a link to the site you took these from and reinstate the reviews where people do mention that they were able to eat at either the Millenium or the Tapas - or would you like me to do it for you?

    You also know as well as I do that including reviews from the last couple of years is completely pointless as the tapas had gone by then.

    You can't try to support your argument with lies, Textusa. You will always get found out.

  2. This type of holiday usually has a main place for all inclusive diners as you say Tex they cook in bulk as the majority of holiday makers go there. Places like Tapas bar usually cater for snacks and pizza's when the main restaurant is closed,Tapas is nothing more than a expensive snack bar.

  3. Brilliant site Tex xx

  4. On my quick search regarding restaurants/bars in PDL, I find very little changes since 2007 till now. Nobody mention the Tapas for anything(food, drinks or night events). There is a big highlight advising how sazonal is the opening of many restaurants/bars, special in a low season. The Chaplins which I believe is one of the 'on the other side of the church' is the main destination for British tourists and the one they strongly recommended.
    On your search Textusa, I noticed that most reviews fall on the high season(July, Aug, Sept), when the Algarve is almost full with tourists. Even at that time of the year, the Tapas still not a destination for evening meals or night shows. The half board with dinners included in the Millennium seems to be mandatory for MW and TC holidaymakers, since one reported how hard was to change their holiday package and the issue end up with them having to pay 150 Euros. In most of the resorts, to low the price, the half board is proposed with brochures that were far from the real food. Instead of a restaurant there is a kind of school cantina. The Millennium looks like that and transform the Mccann's and their friends on the last jokes of the century- A queue for booking with O'Brien having to book their seats at the Tapas, at the beginning of their holidays. A queue for a restaurant/ bar that was not part of the options of any holidaymakers. not even in the summer. Laughable- the Millennium, which was at more risk of being full, had few mennus and guests had to waite for their turn with menu. All that because most of the guests were with half board ( buffet included). Then the mennu is useless.
    Conclusion for me:
    - The Tapas 9 dinner never happened at the Tapas on May 3, 2007.
    - If the tapas was openned in April/May, was to serve the lunch for guests around the pool and closed when the pool closed.
    - The Tapas never could allocate such amount of employees reported on the statements from waiters and tapas 9, for May 3. A bar was a place to make money, not to waste it, no matter the agenda and convenniencies of the Mccann's. The bar was 'fictional/fake' openned on May 3 night, only in the papers /sheets they provided to the police after May 4, to support their negligence fairy tale which was the only oportunnity to invente the abduction scenary. No matter if for that, the abductor had less then 5 minutes to deal with 3 children, snatch one and disappear in an uneasy street( various people reported how hard was to walk on the streets) without been spoted by any of the Tapas 8 or any of their witnesses. And without having to let Madeleine down, for a rest. If the streets were hard for buggys, imagine for a guy carrying a child on the way JT dreamed.

    The Mccann's did not went to PDL for a cheap holiday... They went for a very fictional and very rentable adventure, since the all week was full of exceptions. They even manage to hide a child and call it...missing.
    The spread of the resort gave many possibilities to hide the child in one of the empty flats available in a very quite corner, special when at low season. What seems to be impossible, could be very easy if they had the support of who manage the resort. The lies delivered by the Tapas waiters on their statements to the police, show that the Mccann's had the help of the resort to do whatever they need to hide Madeleine.
    The dogs, with their version of the events, were the stones on Mccann's shoes. They open the door for 'thinking' and 'questionning' the Mccann's and their friends CREDIBILITY.

  5. Anon
    Apr 9, 2011 12:07:00 AM

    All you have to do is google it. As you can sse, Anon Apr 10, 2011 7:11:00 AM did it without any help. The reviews are from

    We'll be waiting for your link. Not anxiously though, because, as experience has shown, you demand much but offer very little.

    I published your comment for one simple reason, and that is because you let your tongue trip over your teeth, and allowed some VERY truthful words to come out:

    "You can't try to support your argument with lies. You will always get found out."

    Thank you. I'll certainly will use them to remind you people that from time to time... (as if you didn't know that already).

  6. anon april 9, 12:07.

    Why don't you provide the link?
    I really would like to see where is reported the meals( dinners in special) at the millennium and the Tapas?
    My search(independent) of restaurants/bars in PDL, show nothing for the Tapas. Did not exist on the spirit of any tourist or was so crap that was not recommended by anyone.
    Why is you so feared about what Textusa is showing? What have you to loose a part the credibility you lost long ago?

  7. Behave, Textusa. I really don't know why you feel compelled to lie to your readers.

    Anyway, here are a few examples.

    (Incidentally, as you well know, the Tapas bar is no more, which is why it no longer appears as an option on the Mark Warner site. Why don't you just look it up? I am sure you can find the website for the same place in it's new guise........ Just google the address)

    Date of review: 25 Sep 2006
    people found this review helpful
    We stayed at the Ocean Club with Mark Warner. The child care was excellent, and the apartment good, the food however was terrible. Both the Millenium and Tapas restaurants disappointed in terms of choice and quality. Other guests who had previously stayed with Mark Warner in other resorts stated that the food quality was far below that which they normally experienced. Additionally the Millenium was a 10 minute walk from most of the apartments along roads, which was really too far for most people with children to go for ....

    Date of review: 20 Sep 2007
    people found this review helpful
    Just back from spending a lovely two weeks at the Ocean Club. Arrived after a long transfer but it was worth it. Paid for a one bedroom apartment for four but was given a two bedroom three storey house. What a result!......

    .....The staff at the Tapas bar were great and the pool was lovely and clean. We should know the kids spent most of the two weeks we were there in it!. We also had dinner at the Tapas bar which was a great surprise.... really nice food, well presented and the staff were pleasant.

    Date of review: 2 Oct 2007
    people found this review helpful
    We have just returned from a fabulous week a the Ocean Club, booked through Mark Warner. .............
    We were very well placed between the two restaurants, Millenium and the Tapas bar. The whole place was very clean and the swimming pools, of which there were plenty, were very nice.

    Our half board option with free wine was very good but we decided to eat one evening at the Fortelesa de Luz, which is opposite the church. There was a jazz evening going on, so we enjoyed superb food and wonderful entertainment.

    My experience of Maddie's resort in Praia de Luz, the Algarve
    I need to break from the usual financial slant of posts on this blog. I'm sure you'll understand as I thing's it's important to give my views on this...
    My family and I returned last week relaxed from a holiday at the sleepy end of Portugal’s Algarve. We were, however, stunned to wake on Friday morning, days after we returned, to hear news that a girl, three-year-old Madeleine McCann, had gone missing from the same complex, yards from where we stayed.
    These creche facilities were next to the poolside Tapas restaurant where Madeleine’s parents were eating when she disappeared.
    Madeleine and the younger twins Amelie and Sean were sleeping at the McCanns’ apartment overlooking the swimming pool at the main hub of the resort. Around that pool was the Tapas bar which was in high demand every night. Most guests went to the buffet at the Ocean Club’s Millennium restaurant, a 10-minute walk away from the McCanns’ apartment. But eager guests would queue from 9am to book one of the limited number of tables at the Tapas bar, which served barbecued fish and meat dishes to order. Both restaurants were included in the price of the holiday.......
    - Andrew Oxlade, Editor, This is Money

  8. Anon
    Apr 10, 2011 11:22:00 AM

    If you don't understand about lying compulsion, then the world is lost, for you people have almost mastered the thing to a point of art...

    Did we ever say that it wsn't possible to eat at Tapas? What we say, and maintain, is that the MAIN eating facility is the Millenium, not the Tapas. And if you read well ALL the comments, people don't go to Tapas because they're unhappy with the Mill, the natural choice falls on the town restaurants. And the majority of the complaints DO have to do with the Mill. Those, which basically you've identified all, that eat at Tapas, do it as a choice, which they're entitled to, and not as an option. From the 25Sep2006 comment you can, if you really WANT to, stretch it to the point of the person having dined at the Mill, not being happy, trying the Tapas, not being happy there too, and gone elsewhere as the others.

    But of you read, as any unbiased person reads the comments, you will realize that the most food intake at the pool bars are done during lunch, and not dinner.

    Please do go back to the comments, and do show us where the wine is free at Tapas, or if it was in anyway required to book a meal there. That is what is relevant.

  9. I don't see one single review comment over the period of 4 years that says MW guests could choose whether to have dinner at either the Tapas or The Mill as included in the package deal.

    It's ridiculous to think that a huge number of guests, maybe hundreds of people, would have the option to choose the Tapas which states clearly on the 'reservation' sheets 4 tables for 4 people max.

    There would be uproar if 16 or so people could eat there having a la carte food while the rest had to make do with buffet style meals. Not to mention that all inclusive means they have all paid the same amount of money.

    Is there one single comment to say guests were annoyed that there was a selection and booking process that allowed 16 or people to have better dining facilities? Of course not!

    If anyone chose to dine there it would be at their own expense and certainly no free wine.

    Why is the poster @ 12.07 so concerned about the Tapas being included in a package deal when it obviously isn't?
    One has to guess that this is something of concern because it does harm to the 'abduction' theory. I suppose that theory would look very odd if T9 said they only dined at Tapas once and that happened to be the night Maddie was 'abducted', they could not have used the being observed scenario.

    It seems the more the McCann defenders say gives us insight into how the try to rationalise their abduction nonsense.

  10. TotallyConfused11 Apr 2011, 00:03:00

    Just a little observation.....

    whenever we took our young children on holiday and were half board, we treated the 'breakfast' as a 'brunch' and then the evening meal. In between, we would give them a 'snack'...

    Or have I missed the point completely?

  11. Anon April 10, 11:22,

    BOOORIINNNG, Andrew O. again?

    Your wasting of words and time is not working. The people you reported to, did not say at which time of the day, the Tapas could be a choice- Lunch(day) or Dinner(night)? That small detail make all the difference and is really the most important key in the Maddie May 3, story.
    Before Textusa posted the corrent post I already have done my search looking for restaurants and bars in PDL with night activities ( after all is about the night the all saga, a special night- the third of May 2007). The same search, I did before when on Joana Morais blog the issue was under discussion between some readers. Then and now, I arrive to the same conclusion- The Tapas, as a restaurant works during the day to serve lunches to the users of the swimming pool. At night disappears from the map destination of MW guests and who was holidaying outside the OC did not step in to go to Tapas. At night, the town has a far best offer with bars/ restaurants strongly recommended and I believe who went to PDL for a week holiday with a good childcare and friends, will not spend the nights in a crap bar (the same used during the day in the swimming pool), when best bars are available and very close.
    The first thing people do when they arrive to an holiday is getting information about day and night activities around the place where they are staying. I believe the OC reception recommended, as many other tourists, the Chaplins, the Kellys, the Duke, Fortaleza, etc, FOR NIGHT, and the Tapas, as the coffee- shop, around the pool for day meals.
    Half board, usually means breakfast and dinner and was free at the Mill(included). The lunch, was out of the package, then could be anywhere, but even for lunches, the story of the Mccann's did not pass without delivering some more unconsistencies and off course... Lies. Some close witnesses reported them having lunch around the pool/Tapas, some in the flat. Mccann's statements are also full of contradictions regarding lunch meals and breakfast. It is amazing how those young people manage to suffer from a kind of 'amnesia' in a so short and shocked holidays.
    The Tapas were very convennient for the Mccann's abduction story because by not having been open that night to recieve such special guests, any story pre-agreed with MW manager had strong base to work with police(no witnesses) and adding to the booking/attendance sheets the names of some innocent MW guests will not affect too much the life of those people.... If the case had fade. If the case did not become one of the biggest stories in our days, if the Media did not jumped on it with some spectacular and insolite coverage... If the police did not release some files for public discussion.
    The troubles started with Internet and with people using their brains to question and separate reallity from fiction. After all "You can't try to support your argument with lies. You will always get found out." Isn't it, dear anon?
    Mccann's created and feed the monster. The monster is chasing them. Tomorrow will be another day of lies, raising the monster with a new book.
    April fool changed from one to 12. Poor Madeleine


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