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“Excellent accommodation, wonderful staff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach

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Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Urbanizacao da Cabocan, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde   |  
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Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Santa Maria
London
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Excellent accommodation, wonderful staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

We have just returned from fantastic two week stay at Melia Tortuga. The rooms were of a very high standard and large, with two bathrooms, lounge and a huge sea facing balcony. The hotel grounds were magnificent, the beach beautiful, with hardly anyone on the beach. Slight issue over rocks on the stretch of beach by the hotel but there is a beautiful beach 10 minutes walk away called Ponta Preta. Well worth a walk and a drink at the beach bar here. The staff were very friendly and eager to please, especially the entertainment team - who became best friends with our children!

Cocktails were freshly prepared by the bar staff, therefore quality varied but once you found a talented bar person and you got to know them, you were guaranteed that your mojito will be made to your liking. Sunset cocktails at O Grill is recommended.

The food varied from being okay to excellent, but difficult to maintain a high standard every day for 14 days - though overall, the food was generally good. As an obseravtion, evening meals could be improved. The restaurant needs some soft furnishing as it can get loud during busy times. The trick is to find out less busy times. Lunch at the O Grill bar was our favourite. We did not eat at the Aqua Restaurant as on the days we looked at the menu, they did not have anything for the kids. Ideal for couples, after 9 pm.

I would definitely recommend this Hotel for those wanting a relaxing holiday (use the top pool for some peace and quiet as the bottom pool has loud music and kids!) by the beach, with nothing much to do. There are several trips available and well worth a trip round the island to get a feel for Sal.

Top Tip - Visit the town during the day and at night. A strong friendly No will keep the vendors at bay. Well worth going for drinks to some lovely restaurants on Santa Maria beach with stunning views. There are also several trendy bars for after dinner drinks if you wish to mingle with locals and surfer types. Taxi ride into town is 4 Euros and there are plenty of taxis for the midnight return to the Hotel in time for bed time drinks at the Sway bar!

We will deinitely go back to Tortuga in the future as we were really well looked after by friendly staff.

Room Tip: Top floor of apartments on the edges of the resort so you get a sea view.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 27, 2012
Dear YQP,

We greatly appreciate your preference in choosing to spend your family holidays with us at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort and Spa and for having taken some of your time off to write a review on our hotel.

It is wonderful to know that you and your family have had a wonderful stay with us and that you were happy with the room, the restaurants, the swimming pools and the bars. Our staff always strives to offer our guests a memorable stay.

I’m very pleased that you and your family will return to visit us again, we are already looking forward to that!

Best Regards,

General Manager
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Glasgow/Poznan
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2012

We stayed in this hotel from the 11-18th April 2012 and we found it very pleasant for holidays.
During our stay here Cape Verdian president stayed here too. I walked passed him but I thought it was probably some politician. I would have never guessed that was a President of the country! I only found out the following day. He actually stayed here for 2 or 3 days, so that may also give you an idea that this resort has got a very good reputation in the country already and it's probably the best in Sal.
The hotel has been opened less than a year ago and everything is really new and stylish. There are beautiful gardens, amazing beach, the staff is very nice and they constantly make improvements to make it look at its best. We saw them painting some walls to make it look always fresh, which I have never seen in any other hotel before. That shows they do really care about their guests. When we arrived, we had a very fast check-in. Our room was 509 and was in the main building. The room was very spacious with beautiful bathroom. There was a stylish sliding door/window between bathroom and bedroom. The standard was very high. This room doesn't have sea views so if you want sea views, ask for another room. The fact that it was in the main building was very convenient and close to the reception, lobby, gym, spa, internet room, 2 restaurants (Spices and Aqua) and 2 bars (Sway Bar and Late Bar).


Restaurants and food.
Even when we got back home, we agreed that food was very good in Tortuga.
Our favourite restaurants were O'Grill Bar on the beach and Waterside next to the pool. O'Grill on the beach was where we were eating regularly at lunches and once or twice for a dinner. They served a beautifully grilled tuna steaks with chips and salad. They also had nice salads which you could order separately. These meals were definitely 100% top class cuisine. I also had seafood brochette which was also very good. In the Waterside Restaurant we also had several times delicious meals. I heard this was a new restaurant so it seems to be best kept secret as not many people have been eating there, which surprised us. The food was excellent there and I can highly recommend it.
Spices was the restaurant where we had our breakfasts and we had a few dinners here too. This is a buffet restaurant so lots of choice and some dishes were also very, very good, but for me when there is so much choice, I don't know what to choose and then I end up mixing food that shouldn't be mixed. And for that reason you don't appreciate some meals as much. On one night there was a roasted lamb, beautiful.
Finally, we ate only once at Aqua restaurant. This is a la carte restaurant and you need to reserve it 1-2 days in advance. We enjoyed it, especially beautiful panna cotta they served for dessert.
Cocktails were very good. Best was Mojito at O'Grill Bar and in the pool bar, very fresh. Daiquiri's were also very good. We often had cola and rum. I didn't like Pina Coladas. They didn't use coconut milk apparently, so that's why they weren't as good. I hope they will improve on this and in the future they will be better. Jose was a great bartender in O"Grill and he speaks excellent English, as he lived for many years in the US.

Beach:
Beautiful sandy beach on which you can walk both directions for hours! The sand is really nice and before coming over, I read some reviews from people saying it's difficult to access the sea because of the rocks or coral reef. Only if you walk 2-3 minutes to the left, you would find very easy sandy access so this was not an issue at all for us. If you walk even further, about 15 minutes from the hotel, you will find beautiful sand dunes and that looks like a desert-gorgeous!
Around those places, it is worth snorkelling. We did a bit, but regretted we didn't have more time to snorkel. Apparently there are a few good spots also in Santa Maria town.

Attractions:
Whales watching! On one day we were unlucky as it rained. That day we were sitting in O'Grill Bar. Just for an hour we went for a walk and apparently sometimes around that time, people sitting in this bar saw Whales!!! They saw the fountains and their tails! How amazing! We regretted a lot we missed that!
You can also buy trips to do whales watching and we heard of a place where you can go and walk among the lemon sharks. Apparently it's a nice experience.
There is also a Blue Eye which we haven't seen but I read about it before and heard it's worth the visit.

Salinas. This is a must-do. You go to the volcano's crater which used to be a salt mine. Now it is a tourist attraction, but it's very quiet and you can swim in salty water, so it's like in a Dead Sea. I also put some mud on my face as a mask, as I know it has some good health benefits. How often can you swim in a volcano crater? great experience!

Santa Maria town. There is a free shuttle bus from the hotel several times a day and it takes only 5-7 minutes to get there. By taxi it costs EUR 3 one way (EUR 4 one way at night). Santa Maria is a lovely town and beautiful beaches. You should go and sea at midday a fish market on the pier. Local fishermen sell their fish and this is quite spectacular to see such big fish. The beaches next to the pier are pretty empty and beautiful. There are also some good snorkelling spots. There are many shops where you can get some souvenirs. Try to negotiate the price, but be respectful. At the end, it is not as easy to transport things to the islands as it is to Europe, so things are a bit more expensive here. They have to import everything, even some food, so try to be reasonable. All I can say is that shop with souvenirs in the hotel was much overpriced and they should sell things at more reasonable prices. If they have better prices, people would buy more and they would trade more. I hope they take this feedback and do something about it.

We also played a local Cape Verdian game (made of wood). I don't know its name, but I recommend to buy it from Santa Maria town. They wanted EUR 25, we paid EUR 12. It's really worth the money and it's a smart game for little and big ones. We also found it to be a great souvenir.

Animation and Entertainment:
Hotel has a very good animation team. We played volleyball and water polo which was fun. The staff was great, especially Ronnie and Ivan- they were very nice and funny. In the evening the entertainment was great in the Sway Bar and O'Grille Bar. We saw some great singers and musicians. However, I would like to suggest to the hotel to do a bit more in Late Bar. I think animation staff could teach salsa or other dances there and music could be more Cape Verdian/Latino/Caribbean style and not as loud. That would attract many more people.

Weather:
If you are looking for a hot weather, we were told best hot weather is between May and October, so probably June, July and August are best. January, February, March and April are also warm months but more windy, but April is excellent for kite surfers and wind surfers. This is also recommended to go and see the kite surfers beach which is not far away from the hotel (probably about 20-30 minutes walks across the island from the hotel). Generally, Sal is considered to have all year round summer time, so anytime is great to come here really.

Spa costs EUR 10 per entry, Gym is free and very well equipped. My husband used it twice and like it a lot as they have TechnoGym equipment, the same we use at Virgin Active gyms. Internet costs EUR 3 for 100MB and there is both wifi available as well as internet room where you can use stationary computers.

This place is excellent for couples who are looking for relaxing holidays, for families with children and solo travellers who also want relaxing holidays.

We will definitely be back to this hotel in the future as we enjoyed our stay a lot.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear azmira1,

I greatly appreciate your preference in choosing to spend your holidays with us and for having taken the time to write your review.

It is always wonderful to know that our guests have thoroughly enjoyed their vacation with us, which was your case, your complete satisfaction is our best reward. I’m glad that you were happy with our rooms and facilities and that you made the most out of your stay, by trying out the different restaurants, the bars, the Gym, the beach walk and the snorkeling.

It was an honor for us to have his Excellency the President of Cape Verde as our guest as well as other members of the state, we value the trust that our guests have in our hotel.

It is a pity that you did not get to see the whales, the warm waters around Cape Verde are favorite spots for whales and their offspring, dolphins are also a common sight on the west side of the island, which is where our hotel is situated, not to mention the turtles that come to nestle on our beach during the summer months. Sharks can easily be sighted on the eastern side of the island especially during the warmest hours of the day.

The local game you played is called “Ouril” it is a very popular game for children and adults in Cape Verde. We will of course take into account your suggestions for future improvements of our services and we once again thank you for your comments.

My staff and I will look forward for your future visit to Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, it will certainly be a pleasure to have you again as our guests.


Best Regards,

General Manager
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Hull
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

My wife and I stayed for a week at the start of April 2012 not quite knowing what to expect. Yes, we found Sal is a treeless, wind swept island, but this is forgotten when we were walking on the beautiful deserted beaches by the clear blue sea. We walked along the beach around to Santa Maria a couple of times during the week for the exercise, and every day managed a shorter beach walk as they were so enjoyable.
The accommodation as others have mentioned was fantastic, having two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge livingroom and kitchen plus terrace . Everything was very clean and couldn't be faulted.
We found all staff very helpful and friendly.The gardens around the complex were stunning and maintained to a high standard. A very enjoyable week was had and we would go back..

Room Tip: If feeling active try the walk along the beach from the Grill Bar to Santa Maria. Take a bottle of...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear bill s,

Thank you for having chosen to spend your holidays with us and for having taken the time to write a review on our hotel.

I’m very pleased that you and your wife have enjoyed your stay at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, that the accommodation was up to your standards, the staff were friendly and that you took the opportunity to take relaxing walks along the beach.

We certainly hope to receive you both again very soon!

Best Regards,

General Manager
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Shropshire
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

We spent a week here at Easter. Our accommodation (a two bedroomed apartment) was first class - the biggest we've ever had. First floor with an enormous terrace. The food is typical all inclusive - very reasonable but just a little monotonous. The staff were absolutely first class and couldn't do enough - we were always greeted with big smiles and cheery greetings (reception perhaps were not so friendly!). Must confess we didn't bother with the swimming pools - we couldn't be bothered with the rush to acquire a sun bed. We spent most of our time lazing on the beach sun beds with the occasional foray to the beach bar for lunch and a cold drink. The local wine, particularly the Cava both pink and white, was more than reasonable (and I like my wine) and the gin and tonic was more than acceptable.
The sea whilst we were there was not really accessible particularfly as I'm not a very brave swimmer. There are rocks on the waters edge by the hotel but if you walk along the beach, in the Santa Maria direction, and you are braver than me you could swim there.
The beach itself is wonderful and we walked for miles past the new developments and saw barely a soul - just us and a few sea birds.
The north easterly trade winds keep the temperature very reasonable although you must realise that you will burn if you don't take precautions.
We tried a half day 4 x 4 excursion which was quite pleasant and cost E40 although we felt we were in one largish group all the time from which we couldn't escape. However, we got to see more of the Island by doing so.I
It's worth taking a visit into Santa Maria and meeting the locals. Taxis are cheap or there is a hotel mini bus. You do get pestered a bit but a firm no thank you means you will be left alone!
Beware of someone approaching you and stating they work at the hotel - they will have seen your all inclusive wrist band - and this is the opportunity to entice you to their stall and sell you "local" goods! All good fun.
If you want a relaxing holiday in the sun, by the pool/sea under an umbrella with "no stress" then this is the place for you. However, if you want scenery and indeed greenery this isn't the place to go unless you're into kite surfing!
I would stress again that the hotel, we thought, was very good and we loved the cat family!

Room Tip: Upstairs, to the left of the development looking towards the sea - suggest rooms 119 - 124 or any ro...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear gnipper,

We greatly appreciate your preference in choosing Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa and your time in writing a review about us.

I’m very pleased to learn that you were happy with our accommodations, the friendliness of our staff and our drinks. It is great that you had the chance to do an excursion around the island, it is indeed a great way to get to know the island better. Please be assured that we do not encourage any of our staff to take any kind of advantage of our guests for personal gain.

I hope to have the pleasure of your visit again in the near future.

Best Regards,

General Manager
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London
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

Venue
We knew when we booked that Sal in Cape Verde is not renowned for its scenery, but we booked a week there to get some much wanted sunshine early in April 2012. What we didn't expect, was the windswept, post-apocalyptic wasteland which is the island of Sal. When reviewers say there is nothing there- believe them!!

We got a taxi from the airport (12 Euros), no problem at all. Don't bother pre-booking through Thompson which is a rip-off.

Weather
Sal is windy, really, really windy. If there's nothing else you remember from your visit, it will be the wind. In the 7 days we were there, we have one day of rain (yes, 1 of the 15 per year), and most days had extended cloudy periods when it was just unpleasant to be outdoors due to the wind-chill. When it was nice, it was very nice. Just don't expect wall to wall sunshine and warmth. You often find yourself lying by the pool, clinging to the hope that the wind will blow the cloud away before you succumb to putting another layer of clothes on or going indoors.

You will need a fleece or something to keep warm in the evenings as the wind really never lets up. Be warned or you'll spend far too much time in the main restaurant which is not good as you'll see below.

Hotel Melia Tortuga
A nice, well-appointed, modern hotel which could be great if it wasn't for staff, cuisine and location. Sunbeds were plentiful in most areas, but the sheltered locations were taken quickly by those in the know.

Staff.
They all do their jobs, and the place is scrupulously clean. However, there wasn't any warmth from any of the staff, and very little interaction. Bar and waiting staff are experts at not catching your eye when you want something. We felt this might be down to a lack of visible management most of the time; there are plenty of them, but they often seemed disorganised, and didn't seem empowered to stop drying glasses to serve customers on their own initiative, not that they showed any inclination to do so. You've also never met anyone grumpier than the egg chef at breakfast in the Waterside Restaurant (we don't do "omelets").

There's also a lack of consistency about the place. It was lovely to have a Mohito in the late afternoon, but why do the staff at the pool bar create a Mohito, whereas the Beach bar just arrange the ingredients in a glass? Again, we put this down to poor management control rather than poor staff.

We came away after a week, without knowing the name of anyone on the staff, which is a first for us. They are all so bland and uncommunicative.

Cuisine
Mostly bland and typically Iberian. Where they attempt some variety like on Italian night, it was as if the chef had never eaten in an Italian restaurant, nor even seen any pictures of how the food should be presented. The main restaurant is well worth avoiding, the food their was poor and uninspiring. The atmosphere like a school canteen rather than a top-end hotel. It would be OK in a 3-star hotel, but even then, the lack of ambiance, not helped by lack of windows, was pretty awful.

The Waterside bar was better, and much nicer for breakfast. The best food however, was consistently served in the Beach Restaurant. Very limited choice, but reasonable quality, and at least they asked how you'd like you steak cooked!!

Location
Well, there's only so much you can do with a windswept wasteland, and generally the hotel has made a good job of it. Diners in the Waterside and beach restaurants are protected by glass screens on the side of the prevailing winds, but lying beside the pool can get very unpleasant as it's quite exposed. There's a trade-off between getting relatively sheltered beds on the north-east side and missing the early morning sun (if there is any), or the south-west side where you will be very exposed.

The beach is nice, but there is a dangerous reef that runs right up to the shore. This means that incoming rollers are massive and it's really impossible to swim safely anywhere on the hotel frontage. You can walk up to the southern end of the beach where there is a break in the reef and you can get in for a swim. Be very careful though, once clear of the small headland, you'll be exposed to a dangerous under-tow to the north. The best you'll see is a yellow flag, and we had a red flag for 4 of our 7 days. This was well justified as the wind and waves combined can get even a strong swimmer into trouble. Don't let kids anywhere near the sea under any circumstances. This is a defining characteristic for a beach hotel, and very disappointing.

It's west-facing so we had a couple of nice sunsets.

Conclusion
We would never go back to either this Hotel, or Cape Verde for the reasons stated. Not a disaster, but also not acceptable.

Room Tip: Building work to the north, probably around the quiet pool would be best.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear Lazy_people,

Thank you for having taken the time to write a review on our hotel. It is very important to do some research about the place one is going to visit in order to avoid wrong expectations.
I’m very sorry to learn that our services were not up to your standards. I’m also surprised that you considered our staff to be bland and uncommunicative as most of our guests stated that they are very warm and friendly, as are most of the Cape Verdeans in general.

It’s a pity that the weather wasn’t so cooperative during your stay, its very unusual to rain during this time of year, the last time it occurred was about 15 years ago…and normally it is not so windy in April. Due to the influence of the Saharan desert Cape Verde is generally dry, desert like with beautiful beaches. Sal island is geologically the oldest islands of the archipelago, the continuous erosion due to the weather conditions results in its flat terrain.

Each of our outlets is organized according to its function and the number of its visitors in order to enable us to offer an efficient service and ensure the satisfaction of our guests.

Our restaurants offer a large variety of dishes to cater for all tastes not to mention the different themed nights each evening for different nationalities. There is always a Guest Experience manager available at the hotel all day and during the evening to listen to our guests and offer any assistance should they require it, and of course my management team and I are always available at the hotel for our guests.

Once again thank you for your review, we will take it into account for future improvements.


Best Regards,

General Manager
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Northampton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

We stayed here in February half term and we had the luxury of staying in a bungalow on the beach, which was absoultey stunning with views to die for. However, we were unable to use our own pool as it was absolutely freezing. We ventured to the complex pool and once again found it to be too cold, which was a real shame as it looked amazing. No-on was swimming in any of the pools for the whole week, which is a huge disappointment as you cannot swim in the sea at this resort as it is too rough - so it is difficult to keep children amused through the day when you cannot use the pools.

Also, every day we would walk back into our bungalow and find cockroaches running across the kitchen benches or bedroom floors.......not ideal but we kind of got used to it, luckily our daughter is not too squeamish!

Santa Maria is a lovely unspoilt village however, you do get hassled alot from the Senagals who have descended on the Island in droves and are quite persistent in following you around to get you inside their shops!

I would go back and I would stay at the Tortuga Beach, but only if they did something about the temparature of their pools.

Room Tip: We had a seafront bungalow which had amazing view but freezing plunge pools!
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear helenwright4,

Thank you for having chosen to stay with us at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa and for having taken the time to write this review.

I’m pleased that you were happy with your apartment, I’m very sorry about the insects, we do a regular pest control on our premises, thank you for mentioning this we will investigate at once and resolve it as soon as possible.

During February it can be a bit nippy in the evening and the temperature of the water can drop to 21ºC in the evening but during the day it is generally 24ºC to 25ºC which is still warm enough to swim in. During summer months it is of course much warmer, however, we would like to thank you for your comments we will take them into account for future enhancements.

We hope to have the pleasure of your visit in the near future.

Best Regards,

General Manager
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Chipping Campden, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2012

We booked this as a cheapie rest and respite in the sun for the end of March/early April. Flight and all inclusive amounted to £790 each with Thomson.

After we'd booked we started reading all the windy reviews on here and in all honestly went in trepidation!

In fairness to Thomson all as described was accurate - the resort is just under a year old - it has more soul that the website/brochure images as the gardens have established and there are people there now (!). It was all clean (very clean), the staff there are all wonderful. The only disappointment was the food and the drinks. There are five places to eat - a huge refectory/canteen self service restaurant (Spices) up in the main hotel - great choice and perfect for family but too loud and clattery for us. Aqua the "posh" restaurant with table linen, glasses (utter bliss as most places served in toughened plastic glasses - Cava just doesn't taste right in a plastic version!) but you had to reserve ahead and they only seemed to take 6 table bookings per hour to keep it "posh" and to the a la carte standard which was bit odd sitting in a restaurant that was only ever a quarter full - it was a limited set a la carte menu but a treat nonetheless. The poolside also had a bar as did the Grill on the beach - our only whinge was the food was never piping hot in any aside Aqua which we only got into on 2 of the 7 nights..

Drinks: The local wine which was free in the all inclusive package was, being honest - totally undrinkable. We were happy to upgrade to the premium wristband each to get the better wines but when we sampled them they honestly were no different - we then decided to opt to pay for a premium bottle of white each evening - for example a bottle of the Pinot Grigio would have gone down a treat the night we ate in Aqua but our starters came, then our pasta course, then our main meal and still the staff were running around the complex trying us a bottle searching all the other bars.... it turned out that none were available, nor were any others we picked which was a shame for us (and them as we were willing (and desperate!) punters!) The Portugease premium bottles we paid for were just about palatable (by the time you hit the bottom of the bottle!) We tended to stick to the free Cava which looking around us was what most people seemed to be drinking.... the mojitos were ok too but that was it - aside water - the orange juice was from concentrate and watered down.... so, being wine drinkers we did miss a decent chilled white on our holidays.... but all this can be remedied as am sure we were not alone - the complex has a heavy Italian and German contingent of holidayers so am sure the wine list will be sorted over time :)

The 5* Thomson description is slightly misleading and by our usual standards it is most certainly not. However, is it the best resort on the island? Probably yes, and for that reason would explain the rating... it is clean, very safe (we met several lone women travellers staying in the resort who came out on trips and ventured to town in a taxi happily on their own) and the staff are tremendous.

In fact tremendous doesn't explain it enough - the staff are phenomenal. All locals - we couldn't fault anything - nothing was too much trouble and they all smiled and laughed and reminded us how miserable us Brits must appear :) Ordering a drink at the bar usually entailed a jiggle to the music or an extra couple of shakes of the cocktail mixer - it was a delight to be there, truly.

Melia Tortuga is based out of the main town which we were pleased about.... it is a €3 taxi trip into town if you miss the hotels courtesy bus. Santa Maria boasts a stunning beach - the jetty where the fish are brought in and the bustle and excitement of a town.

The downside though is as lovely as the beach is where Tortuga is situated its on a different coast and very rocky - the waves were huge and it was red flagged the whole week we were there, so swimming and snorkelling you needed to go to Santa Maria or another beach....

The beach is idyllic though and as per all the photos with loungers and umbrellas but as described by others on here, it was too windy to lie in the sun when we were there... the breeze is just perfect in the complex though, as it's more shielded. But lying on the beach was a no go area for more than 10mins.... but it was fab to walk along and paddle and watch the kite surfers of which there were plenty to sit and while away the hours....

As an aside (and nothing to do with the Turtuga) for what to do when you are on Sal - I would say you can do it all in an hour - but that is not a bad thing.... the island really is a lunar landscape with little to do. We opted for the 4x4 Safari morning excursion. We did all the sights in 3 hours as well as some hair raising off roading through the desert (I never knew 4x4s could hit those speeds!) and swam in the salt lakes as well as visit several villages.... As for island hopping as we had hoped to do alone this was an impossibility - the one ferry no longer runs and staying for a week there is no chance of taking in the rest of the arpeggio which was a shame...

In summery - it is what it is - a cheapie break on an island where the sun shines year round and which never drops below 20degrees and never goes above 30degrees and is only 6hours away from the UK. Don't go expecting the Maldives, there is no comparison - what we concluded was 5* in the Maldives is 3 times the price but it *IS* actually 3 times as nice... but for what it is, it was just what the doctor ordered and the perfect place to take your iPad or a stack of books and relax....

Room Tip: We spent the week in 274 which we felt one of the best situated - off the beaten track, out of earsh...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Dear Little_Soap,

Thank you for having chosen to spend your holidays with us at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa and for having taken the time to write this review on our hotel.

I’m pleased to know that you were happy with the accommodation, the safety and the friendliness of our staff. It’s a pity that the food and drinks were not up to your standards, this really depends on the personal taste of each person. I assure you that we offer our guests only the best quality available, most of our food and drinks are imported from Europe under the highest standards. However, we thank you for your comments and we will note them down for future improvements.

It is quite natural when you plan to visit a place you would look it up at the tripadvisor for some information from other visitors, the poor reviews may worry you, but there are also good reviews, and in our case almost 90% of the reviews are positive.

I hope that you will return to visit us again for some more relaxing holidays.

Best Regards,

General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach

Address: Urbanizacao da Cabocan, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde
Phone Number:
Location: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Santa Maria
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Maria
#2 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Luxury Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach 5*
Number of rooms: 271
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An oasis of tranquility and unmistakably luxurious, MELIÃ Tortuga Beach is in a class of its own on the sun-drenched Island of Sal in Cape Verde. An idyllic location, impeccable service and exquisite resort facilities make it the perfect choice for couples and families looking for an unforgettable Cape Verde holiday experience.Discover an all-inclusive 5-star resort that has everything, including a gourmet selection of fine-dining and buffet restaurants, a distinguished selection of bars and the stunning Beach Bar and Grille where you can enjoy drinks as you watch the best and amazing Cape Verde Sunset. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Melia Tortuga Beach Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria

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