The hotel is really big - but because it's so spread out you rarely feel that there are tons of other people there. It is very clean - absolutely everywhere. There are lots of staff, who are all very friendly and give the impression of being happy to work there. We had a room on the beach and it was cleaned beautifully every day, crisp white sheets and fluffy white towels replaced every day. Yes, there is the odd spot of mould between the bathroom wall tiles, but you have to remember you're in Africa! Remember to take mozzie repellent with you, it costs 25 euros in hotel shop - everything is very expensive. We didn't take any with us and we endured a fair few bites. Lots of people whinge about having to pay for bottled water at the hotel, but you can drink as much water at the bars and in the restaurants as you like, as part of the all inclusive, so there is not really any need to complain about this. The reason they charge for bottled water is because people leave them lying out in the sun, they get thrown away half-full, and the waste is shameful, given that the local people don't have running water!
Unless you are a kitesurfer...BE PREPARED FOR THE WIND!! It is relentless!! My husband is a kitesurfer and he loved it - the conditions out front of the hotel are permanently side-off shore, and most days the shorebreak was over 10 foot, so unless you are experienced you would probably go to the next beach (taxi from reception) called Morabeza - the wind there is straight off-shore but they have a rescue boat and there are tons of kiters there and flat water. If you have a family, they can easily spend the day at Morabeza as there is a lovely shady restaurant and the Wi-Fi is cheaper for a whole day than for 1 hour in the hotel! (E7 per hour in hotel, E5 for whole day at Morabeza) Morabeza is worth a visit anyway as it's quite unique - and something a bit different from the hotel.
Something we wish we had known....there is almost always a red flag at the beach in front of the hotel, meaning you can't swim there! We did allow our kids to paddle there, but the surf is HUGE (not surfable, in case you are a surfer - as it just closes out, but it's MASSIVE.) If you are an experienced kitesurfer, you can kite out front but be aware that there is no rescue and no lifeguards. The wind is very gusty, take a 9m and 12m. If you are there for the sun, be prepared to put up with the wind - it adds a chill factor so that I didn't even swim in the two weeks! If you choose to sunbathe on the beach, your ears literally will fill up with the sand blowing against you! The most sheltered spot I found was by the baby pool at the hotel, next to the sign with the pool rules on it. Book your sunbeds early - by 8am there are none left!
Right - now for the really serious advice. One of our children was taken very ill one evening, it became an emergency situation and was potentially life-and-death. Without going into all the details, we called reception twice screaming for an ambulance, but none came. We ran with a non-responsive child to reception, but there was nobody on the staff with any medical training, reception STILL hadn't rang the ambulance, and shockingly, the hotel had no oxygen. We leapt into a taxi and endured a desperate race to the hospital, still not knowing if our child was even breathing, but on arrival at the hospital found that there was no doctor, and only 1 nurse staffing the entire place. We spent the worst night of our lives in the hospital and nobody even checked on us once. The doctor arrived 12 HOURS LATER. Parents....travel with EVERYTHING you think you might need, not just Calpol/Nurofen but Piriton, and even antibiotics. When we did finally see the doctor, she was pretty useless, didn't speak much English, we don't speak Portuguese, and when she gave us a portuguese prescription we walked to the pharmacy, only to find she'd prescribed him a bottle of VITAMINS.
DON'T BE FOOLED into thinking that because there is a hospital that it will have any resources - it doesn't. You can see the doctor at the hotel between 3 and 4pm each afternoon, and this is pretty reliable - but in an emergency situation you cannot rely on ANYTHING. No doctor, no ambulance, no medicine, NOTHING. We were charged for our night in hospital although our child was not even checked on once, and had no meds, despite us calling the nurse 3 times and begging her to at least give him some pain relief. She refused. The hospital was clean, but there were a lot of cockroaches, and a donkey braying all night outside the window! Our holiday rep came to bring us blankets, pillows, water and toilet paper as the hospital doesn't have any of that. The pools at the hotel have no life guards - an emergency or near drowning incident could so easily happen, please learn from our terrible scary experience that you have to be self-reliant -nobody at the hotel can help in an emergency and there is no equipment. THIS INFO COULD SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE, in particular if you have children. You never think it could happen to you....but it happened to us and we realised how isolated we were, in an island hospital with NOTHING to help save our child's life if need be. The reality is that it's very undeveloped.
If you need to buy meds, unless you speak Portuguese (or French, lots of locals speak French, and the majority of hotel guests are French) you will probably end up with some vitamins! Take it all with you! There is a shop called Bos Compras in Sal Rei which is a supermarket - you will never find it on your own so ask a taxi driver to take you there and wait for you while you shop. You can get coffee/nappies - pretty much anything at this store. The locals all shop here and it is the biggest shop. A taxi from the hotel to Sal Rei costs E10 each way. You can only draw escudos from the machine at the hotel so take enough euros with you as escudos cannot be changed back at the end of your hols! We tipped the luggage delivery man, the cleaning lady, the barman at the beach bar, and our favourite waiter at the end of our holiday - E10 each.
The best rooms are in the second row up from the beach, area called "Zona Boa Vista" - we...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.