Passover Program in Algarve, Portugal

Make your Pesach luxurious with Pesach in the Algarve, where you will stay at the 5 star luxury hotel Real Marina, which has been made exclusively available for our guests.
With a privileged view over the Ria Formosa National Park, chosen as one of Portugal’s 7 Natural Wonders and just 15 km away from the city of Faro, the Real Marina Hotel & Spa is the perfect place to relax this Pesach.
With an interior designed by one of the most famous national decorators, Graça Viterbo, all rooms have a privileged view over the superb Ria Formosa, or over green areas, providing a truly natural awakening.
Our divine food will be provided by London’s finest kosher caterer, Rochelle Sassoon, including, all day Tea Room, poolside snacks, drinks and cocktails. Throughout your stay, all services will be delivered to the highest level of satisfaction.
For your Seder,  you can choose between a warm communal dinner, or a more intimate private meal, all whilst enjoying the beautiful ocean views.
Our Pesach menus have been carefully designed and provided by Rochelle Sassoon who is well known for her gourmet food. With over 30 years’ experience in catering, we will provide a banqueting feast using all the freshest and highest quality ingredients for traditional recipes with a modern twist.
There will be an exciting array of dishes and flavours from around the world to please lovers of traditional food, and fans of exotic new tastes.
A generous open snack and soft drinks bar will be available throughout the day.

For those wishing to take a day trip to enjoy the exciting activities, a handmade packed lunch option will be available.

Under the strict supervision of the Manchester Bet Din.

Daily activities will keep everyone busy with ‘Something for all’ as the moto. From yoga sessions, shopping, water sport activities, live music, bike tours, boat trips, and local Islands tours. Some entertainment will be kept as a surprise left in store.
Our spa has an impressive 9 treatment rooms, heated indoor Swimming Pool with an area of bubbling water, Steam room, Massage and Treatment rooms, Sauna, Vichy shower, Gym, among other facilities,
For those with families, there will be a great kids’ club  running activities and entertainment throughout the day, as well as a babysitting service which will be available upon request.
There is a choice of multiple swimming pools including  one looking over the gorgeous Marina.
The option will be available for those wishing to participate in inspirational religious services and daily prayers.
With an interior designed by one of the most famous national decorators, Graça Viterbo, all rooms have a privileged view over the superb Ria Formosa, or over green areas, providing a truly natural awakening.
Standard Rooms:
The room’s distinguishing feature is the superb view over the Ria Formosa, or over the green areas surrounding the Hotel.
Suites: 
The Suites of the Real Marina Hotel & Spa are privileged due to their privacy through the creation of two distinct areas, bedroom and living room, in order to provide exclusivity for your stay.

11 Reviews for Luxury Passover Vacation on the Algarve, Portugal

Anna M

1 Reviews

Wonderful program for families

5/ 5

This was an amazing program that was really well thought out, well communicated and loads of fun. I thought this was ideal for families with kids.

COMMUNICATION – we received a brochure upon our arrival that contained daily schedule, information about the team running & participating in the program, a list of & description of excursions, and miscellaneous information about the program that was helpful. When there were changes to the daily schedule, they were posted in the elevators, by the cafeteria and by the front desk in large print, so you wouldn’t miss it.

FOOD – we thought the food was delicious and plentiful. Reading some of the reviews here, there were some people whose expectations were not met, but for us, there was more than enough food and most importantly, today’s dinner wasn’t recycled into tomorrow’s lunch, as it happens on other programs. All food was made fresh daily and there was always something new and exciting each day. Breakfast was always dairy, with the most amazing quality lox and out of this world cheesecakes, my two personal favorites. On days when there were boiled eggs, they were always perfectly cooked, none of that blue stuff around the yolk or rubbery protein. Lunch and dinner always had a variety of salads, make your own salad bar, and perfectly cooked meat or chicken, as well as sometimes lox and sometimes fish.

Our kids, ages 7 and 4 never went hungry (and we didn’t bring a single snack from home with us). There were plenty of snacks around, the kids’ dinners were always fries and a choice of either really delicious shnitzels or sausages. There were always usually either sausages or shnitzels at adult meal times, so kids always had food and always had something that they would eat. I realize that if you’re young and single or have kids out of the house and are a “foodie”, this was a negative, but for the majority of us who had kids, this was a well thought out and well planned part of the program.

The meal times on non chag days were as follows: 7:30-10:30 breakfast; 12-2:30pm lunch; 5pm kids dinner; 7-9pm adult dinner; Also on non chag/shabbat days, there was a pool side shwarma bar from 12-5pm; Tea room was 10:30am-midnight and was stocked w/ crackers, matza, tuna salad, cake, cookies, tea, juice, alcoholic beverages, chocolate bars and potato chips. They had fruit in bowls scattered all over the lobby through out the day and loads of bottled water was always available in the lobby. So in my opinion, even if you wanted to go hungry, meal times were every few hours and there was plenty of food in between.

KIDS CLUB – it was run by Northwest London’s Dancing with Louise, a very well run and experienced kids’ activities operator in London. My kids came to the program hating the idea that they would be going to kids’ club, but from the first day, they couldn’t wait until the next scheduled program would begin. They begged to go and kept asking us what time it was and how long until they could go back. Kids club was run by very fun madrichim, who had loads of energy and excitement and had super fun games and programs that they were doing with the kids. Kids club hours were also fantastic. They were as follows: 10-12pm; 2:30-5pm; in the evening they had activities & shows, which i’ll mention in a little bit and on shabbat & chag days, also kids club around 7-9ish approximately. They had a garden with inflatables and outside games, the madrichim always had water on standby & made sure that kids drank, the rooms where kids were playing were always tidied up after activities, and kids were fed snacks and other delicious goodies such as ice pops from time to time.

ENTERTAINMENT – every single day there was something. For kids, they brought in outside companies to run the following programs: silent disco, superhero’s show, carnival (where they brought in outside jugglers and after the show, let the kids play with the juggling equipment), a magician and a reptile show! One night they also had a PJs & movie night. For adults, there was a disco night, a karaoke night, and a super fun mimouna party, complete with a photo booth. During dinner, several nights there was a band playing. There were several shiurim during the day, for men, women and both and also shiurim at night. The subjects were fascinating and very diverse.

HOTEL – hotel was very nice, and staff were very friendly and super helpful. We really enjoyed both the accommodations and the level of service we received.

PHOTOGRAPHER & DOCTOR – there was a photographer on staff who took pictures at the events and ran personal photo sessions at a very reasonable price. We ended up booking a photo session and couldn’t be happier with the results. Thank GD we didn’t need to use a doctor, but it was nice to know that one was available for consultations at scheduled times and on stand by for emergencies in case we needed one. This information was provided in the brochure, so it was good to know how to reach the doctor should we need him. FITNESS – on chol hamoed, there were daily zumba classes and an available personal trainer if you wanted one HICCUPS – there were some issues, and we personally were happy with how they were resolved. For example, on Friday before the chag began, which was the first meal service, kids’ meal was chaotic. They kept running out of food and the parents were kept waiting until new batches of food were made. That took some time as organizers didn’t anticipate the demand it seems. The next day, they came in with pre-plated meals and just handed them out, which was great, but the food got too cold for people who came in late. So the next day, they kept making batches of food at regularly spaced intervals and kept bringing the pre-plated food to the tables where kids were seated, which allowed virtually for no waiting time and warm meals. We personally were very impressed with the organizers’ quickness to respond and iterations to make something run smoothly. The desserts were out of this world. You couldn’t tell that they were not dairy or KLP. They were just amazing. So what happened with the first dessert spread is there was a mob that totally demolished everything that was laid out. So going forward to prevent the mayhem, organizers decided to do plated desserts for the table, but you had to ask for it. Some people really didn’t like that, but we really enjoyed the fact that we were ensured that we’d try the desserts without experiencing the mental & physical anguish of procuring it. One last negative thing that i’ll mention, that really put a damper on things for us, was the controversy surrounding food. As one of the reviewers mentioned here, she was really unhappy and decided to post about it on facebook on the Passover Reviews program group. She, in my opinion, unjustly so, dragged the program through the mud on a public forum because it didn’t meet her expecations. Those of us that were very happy with the program and really enjoyed the food were really angered by the amount of mud slinging that was put out there, unjustly so in our experience, and we expressed our opinion. So those that were unhappy started critisizing us, saying that those that were happy were either familiarly linked to the organizers or worked for them, and for me what was really ridiculous and out of line, was the critisism of my parenting, which was completely uncalled for. Furthermore, those that were unhappy, decided to go around, asking people their opinions and if they were unhappy, urging them to post on facebook. I was approached several times where I as a participant, had to defend my reasoning for really enjoying the program and listening to other people complain about their experience. On top of that, there was a really ugly incident with with unsatisfied customer aforementioned here that I and my little kids witnessed as we were coming out of the cafeteria. It was a physical altercation with name calling and men had to step in to pull women apart. I saw it as it unfolded, and it was UGLY. There was absolutely no need for that, and all parties were equally guilty for this ridiculous incident. My 7 year old had follow up questions as to why there was fighting among jewish people who were in line to make hamotzi…… Overall, I would highly recommend this program. We really enjoyed the location, the food, the programming, and if the organizers were to do it again next year, we wouldn’t hesitate to sign up or to recommend it to other people.

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Skl

1 Reviews

Me and my family had the most fantastic pesach.

5/ 5

This pesach programme was incredible. Food was amazing don’t get me started in the deserts never tasted anything like it can’t believe they were pesach deserts. Hotel was beautiful staff were very helpful kids club was really good as well. My children were begging me to go daily and couldn’t wait to be there. During chol hamoed there was even kids clubs in the evening so me and my husband could have dinner in peace. The entertainment was fabulous the band the dj the reptile show for the kids mimouna party and everything else. I would definitely go again.

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Mben

1 Reviews

Great Passover 2019

5/ 5

Great experience for the whole family. Hotel staff were great, amazing entertainment for the children, food was lovely and people on the trip were great as well. Would definitely go again!

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Dsg

1 Reviews

Great holiday vibe….lots of fun

4.25/ 5

How’s this? This was our first pesach away from home. I have to say that we all had a total blast. We made so many new friends and the children had a ball. The people on the trip were so diverse which was fun and overall were friendly and warm. Hotel: this was amazing and in a perfect location opposite the port. Both inside and outside pools, games room, sunbathing. The rooms were clean and the staff really accommodating. The glass lifts were cool for getting great views out. Entertainment: This was first class. Louise ran the kids clubs and the live music was provided by Paul and Dean from the Pure Showband who had everyone singing. The last night (the big party) was so much fun and particularly moving when they played the slideshow that Elliot (Photograper) had created throughout the trip. Many had a tear in their eye. DJ Ben was also fab and knew exactly what to play. There was even a photo booth for added fun. Food: Seders were good. We were a party of 9 and we enjoyed it as much as we do as home. The rest of the trip we were constantly full. The Breakfast buffet was lovely consisting of smoked salmon, scrambled egg, pesach friendly pancakes, yogurt and all types and cheeses and salads. Lunch and Dinner was sometimes served to the table or self serve buffet where we were really spoilt for choice. People are always going to moan about something and it was comical to watch how people couldn’t wait to get their hands on the delicious desserts. Shul: They catered for both Ashkenazi and Sephardi and both the Rabbis were amazing to keep the services flowing. Staff: Eli, Monty and staff worked so hard throughout and really only wanted to help and make it special for everyone. Alex who was banqueting manager also doubled as chazzan at times (we have booked to go to his restaurant next week) was excellent together with events manager Jade, who couldn’t do enough for you. Yes there were clearly some challenging moments but overall I have to give a big thumbs up. I would definitely recommend anyone to go.

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Anonymous

1 Reviews

Never Again

2.25/ 5

While doing some research for this past Pesach, I stumbled upon this program’s website. I thought it sounded great and signed up almost immediately. I was looking forward for months and was excited to be boarding the plane. 48 hours later, my excitement switched to deep disappointment. Before describing the negatives, I would like to focus on some positives. I met some lovely people, the entertainment was decent, and the hotel staff was excellent. There were two staff members from the program who were exceptional. The Algarve is beautiful and I would recommend going for Pesach but on a different program. What went wrong: The first seder was a disaster, the wait staff was disorganized, the food was tasteless, and they ran out of dessert. My table was just getting our starters while the other tables were eating their desert. The Rabbi started to resume the seder but we had to ask him to wait because we were still eating our main course! The second seder was more organized but the food portions were tiny. We later discovered that they were holding food in the back but did not serve it. The food was terrible, produce was not fresh and meals consisted of the exact same food each day. In addition, lunch and dinner were both meat meals. The setup of the buffet was such that people had to storm if they wanted food. If someone came into the dining room an hour into a meal time, half of the food was gone. Dessert was gone within the first five minutes of a meal. They advertised a wonderful tea room that was open from 10:30-midnight. The timing was true but the tea room was sad. They had minimal food and it was only a small amount of cake and cookies, a small bowl of elite chocolate bars, and potato crisps. There were no “healthier” options. Plus, the food was repetitive. I had requested a low floor, because my mother has difficulties with stairs, which we were not given. We were assured that there would be people manning the elevators. However, the elevators were often left unattended. Twice my mother had to walk down the stairs, and a third time I pushed the button because I feared she would fall. When I discussed this eventually with a member of the family, I was told and she “wanted my mother to have the nicest possible room,” rather than to own up to the mistake. On Sunday night, after the first days of yom tov, I contacted the administrator whom I had been in contact with throughout the process. Before the program, she was responsive but this time, she was not. Between myself, my mother, and some friends, we had contacted every member of the family and no one was helpful. I decided to post a negative review on the facebook group as a means of getting their attention. The positive of the review is that the program drastically improved for the second half of the holiday, until the last day when the food reverted to the same tasteless stuff. There were still some issues, such as, we were given desert to “share” but it was not portioned appropriately for “shared” desert. They also ran out of diet soda and some types of wine by day 5. Because they demonstrated improvement, I was planning to write a retraction but an incident occurred on the 7th day that caused me to change my mind (will explain in the next paragraph). After posting my review, the missing administrator (whom I later found out is the boss’s daughter), came over to me and inquired about my review, her body language was oozing with hostility, (arms were crossed and facial expression was hard). When I tried to explain to her my reasoning for posting, she would not allow me to finish and disputed everything that I said. Over the next few days, extended family and family friends were posting reviews online and making rude comments to me for posting. Another daughter of owner falsely accused a guest of threatening physical violence toward her sister. One person, who is a friend of the owner , tagged me in his positive review because he disagreed with me. He also referred to me as a “complainer and a liar.” These constant comments and posting online culminated in a confrontation on the 7th day, when I was verbally assaulted by another friend of the owner and was told multiple times, “go home, we do not want you here.” This incident occurred in front of every member of the Sassoon family and not one of them came to my aide. They sent out a staff member to speak with me, who insinuated that it was my fault because I posted a negative review. This experience left me feeling traumatized, which is why I am posting anonymously. I understand that this program is in its infancy years and there is room to improve. Even though I would not return, I might encourage people to give them a chance because there were some positives to the program and they did demonstrate improvement towards the end of the week. However, I strongly encourage people not to attend any program run by the Sassoon family. I am not in the habit of speaking ill of others in a public forum nor do I want to intentionally ruin a person’s parnosa. In this case, I feel it is my obligation to share this to prevent others from falling victim to this program. In running this program, the Sassoon family did not adhere to Jewish values. The advertising was false, and they promised things via email that were not delivered. When confronted with these issues, they ignored and denied, and when a guest was attacked and humiliated in public, they did nothing. There are enough programs that are run by honest decent people (unfortunately, I have not yet done the research to know which ones), and I would encourage you find them and give your business to them.

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Healthy eater

1 Reviews

Lovely olam, nice mix, most terrible food

3.5/ 5

In brief this was my 12th Pessach away and by far the worst ever plus it was the most expensive. People, crowd were a lovely mix. Hotel was huge yet very comfortable and the Portuguese staff were amazing. The food was in a word gross, it was cold, tasteless and for a vegetarian the worse I have ever had to endure. The attitude if the caterers made it worse. Never again. .

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Taylor Brook

1 Reviews

Hopefully this event will never run again

2/ 5

Disgusting appalling event worse I’ve ever attended and I’ve been to a number of them over the years, the food was dire, cold and tasteless, “ finest caterer” I think not, Mr Sassoon senior is a very rude man, and should be appalled at the advertising that was portrayed in advance of this event which had no relation to the service that was then provided to guests, hotel staff were continually complaining about the 5 star hotel that had been brought down to. 2 star establishment from their idea of an event, we as a group paid a huge amount of money that was wasted by an event that as a family ruined our experience of pesach, apologise to your guests is the least the majority of people attending Should expect, omitting obviously your followers i.e family members that were attending

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Bernice Dadoun

1 Reviews

It was a pesach not to be forgotten but not for the right reasons

2.25/ 5

Extremely disappointing, the food left little to be desired, over populated event that the organisers simply could not manage, cold food most night which included the sedarim, complaints were met with silence, we chose to go away this pesach for the first time and it was met with nothing but disappointment

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Lily Black

1 Reviews

A Cautionary Tale-Pesach in the Algarve Olhao

1.75/ 5

Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. This was the worst Pesach program I have ever attended. The hotel was reasonably run. The entertainment was entertaining. But the food situation was horrible and anyone who said that was harassed by family members and friends of the owners. At the first Seder food service was seriously lacking. The rabbi leading the Seder wanted to start the second half before some tables were finished their main course. They ran out of desserts as well. The second Seder was worse. There was not enough charoses and a small chicken breast was considered the main course. When people complained they were told there was another dish but you had to ask for it. This was the motif of the program. There’s food hidden in the kitchen and you had to ask for it even if you did not know what there was!! The food was repeatedly served over and over-and mean the food repeated not the menu. For the amount of money they charged there should have been fresh food at each meal. The Algarve is a major fishing area but the only fish served was some fried fritter like dish. At two meals guests were told to share desserts because there were not enough for everyone to have their own. See my comments above about what guests paid. Breakfast was repetitive and boring. Food was scarce at times and then suddenly on the last day trays of food that had been held back or never served appeared. Guests with physical needs were ignored and the owner accepted no responsibility for guests not having what was needed and requested. Unfortunately one guest broke his ribs falling in the bathroom. I wouldn’t spend my hard earned money on any program by this group. They care only about themselves and guests are on their own. As I said, let the buyer beware of this family group.

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Brad

1 Reviews

It was okay, but they still have work to do to win me back

2.5/ 5

Guests: the people who attended the program were fairly diverse, and mostly really nice people. We made a number of new friends during the week and truly enjoyed spending time together. Not a fancy group of people who cared what you wore or how many different outfits you had. Very relaxed group of participants. Grade: 5/5 Hotel: very lovely hotel overlooking a marina. The rooms were the largest rooms that I have ever stayed at in a European hotel. Nice that it was not a super big hotel (4 floors). There was plenty of space for other activities – multiple davening rooms (sefard minyan and ashkenzi minyan rooms), breakfast dining room, main banquet room, beautiful outdoor pool with large terrace. Grade: 4/5 Location: perfect location. Would have been even better if weather was a bit better (out of our control), but we got to walk to town, go shopping, wander around, go for early morning runs. Easy to visit other areas in S. Portugal which we did every day. 20 minutes from the airport was great! Grade: 5/5 Activities: generally good. Arrangements were made with excursion operator that worked well with us. Spent a day doing a jeep tour in the nearby mountains, seeing the beauty of the Algarve. Spent a day going to Lisbon, but this was not the best thing since the drive was over 3 hours and we didn’t have much of an opportunity to see Lisbon outside of the bus – only got to spend 1-1/2 hours off the bus and the guide was not really very helpful or prepared for what the group wanted to see. I would not recommend this excursion (I will need to go back to Lisbon one day). Drove to other places in the Algarve, and did a hike along the shoreline cliffs about 40 minutes away from hotel. Grade: 3.5/5 Staff: kudos to the Rabbi’s that oversaw the program and ran davening and ran the sedarim – R’ Jonathan Dove and R’ Jonathan Tawil. They gave great shiurim and were really engaging. The organizer staff was generally okay, with a few wonderful standouts overall. They did try to adjust things when it was brought to their attention, but by then most of the problems were probably hard to totally correct. Grade: 4/5 (raised because of the rabbi’s and their wives). Food: unfortunately, this is where the program fell VERY SHORT. The plated seder was significantly disorganized – our mains were served before the soup was out, and then it took forever to get our food. Most of the food was the same from meal to meal, and there was never any milchig meal, and no subtlety in the taste of the food. The desserts were excellent, but it was unfortunate that the main courses did not equal the quality of the desserts. If you were not one of the first to get to the food, there was a chance that they would have run out of it – even ran out of diet coke, coke, apple juice and sweet n’low during the last days. Meal time always became a tense moment for everyone. Room set up could have been better. There were two serving stations that were set up next to each other, so the crowds would just descend on the food like hoards of starving people (kind of like a shabbos kiddush with 300 people all pushing and shoving to get food). Once you got the food, it was generally filling and tasty, but not to the standard that we were expecting from “Rochelle Sassoon, London’s finest Kosher Caterer. With over 30 years’ experience, you can be sure that the food will be divine! ” (this is a quote from their marketing of the program). There were no crudite or relishes or pickles/olives on the table, no choices of wine (one red, one white, one rose of a substandard quality). There was no liquor beyond the wine, other than 3rd level vodka and arak. There was a dearth of green cooked vegetables – plenty of salad, but nothing like broccoli, or cauliflower, or string beans, etc. – lots of potatoes though. The tea room was pretty weak, without much in the way of choice of desserts or snacks. The ambiance of the dining room was very bland, with no flowers on the tables and all food served in chafing dishes or plastic bowls. They did try to improve things once chol hamoed began and they say facebook comments, but unfortunately, most of the problems with the food portion of the program probably arose because of poor pre-planning. The comments on facebook from those who were not associated with the program or the family who ran the program are pretty accurate (although maybe a tad too strong and strident). I don’t think that any of this can’t be corrected and improved upon if they do a program again next year. Grade: 1/5 Overall: Although food is the not the deciding or the most important factor going into selecting a program, it is still one of the key factors. There were a lot of positives with the program and I have no regrets in attending the program this year. It accomplished for my wife, dad and me what we wanted/needed for this Pesach. Things can always be improved and hopefully the organizers of the program will do their own honest assessment of what was good and what was bad, and make improvements if they do this again. However, I don’t think that I would attend this program next year, even if they figure out how to improve. Overall, i would say that except for the food issues, I would grade this program a 4/5, but the food does have to count.

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David joseph

1 Reviews

Was a great experience was our first pessach away .

5/ 5

Food was lots hotel was great entertainmemt was great didn’t feel my kids as all were so busy . Great rabbis and an amazing crowd .

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