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Hotel Riu Karamboa
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Reviews (8,044)
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All reviewsriu karamboacape verdesal reimain restaurantself servicepool barrelaxing holidayplenty of sunbedsplenty of choiceminutes from the airportasian restaurantthomson repsevening entertainmentbe carefulsand dunestwo weeksreception area
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3,870 - 3,875 of 8,044 reviews
Reviewed December 20, 2012

Boa Vista prides itself as the island of "no stress" and this was true throughout the holiday. We went all inclusive with Thomson and spent 2 weeks 5-19 December 2012.

The island is quite literally a desert island, with water from the hotel's de-salinisation plant (not drinking) and free bottled water. All food is shipped in.

The hotel is situated in the middle of sand and the capital town of Boa Vista about 2 miles walk down the beach - completely safe to walk alone during daylight. Don't get excited about the town - it is a third world and don't expect to go for the shopping. If you go to the tourist shops run by street traders - maybe 20 of them in kiosks and in the indoor market (size of a large house), then you will get hassled by the traders. You should barter - we achieved between 50-75% off the original asking price - walk away and they will come after you to accept your final offer most of the time.

The good ...
1. The hotel was immaculately clean and cleaned constantly
2. The staff were friendly and helpful
3. No queues for meals or drinks
4. Food quality was very good, though variety a little tedious (all desserts same every day)
5. The beach and pool are superb
6. The climate with the sun each day at 27c and a breeze was as good as it gets

The not so good ...
1. Our room did not have a safe in it and it took them a day to move us. However, the rooms are really good and absolutely no complaints on this score.
2. Don't expect the watersports promised in the Thomson brochure. We had 1 day of green flag, 2 days of yellow and the rest red. Only managed 1 session of windsurfing when had hoped daily and one go in the kayak (none in the pedaloes). As soon as there were any decent waves, they stopped you using the kayaks - which are surf kayaks. As a windsurf and kayak owner, this was very disappointing. There were probably 3 days when the red flag was justified. It seemed like the "boys" running it didn't want the work. Also the "boys" were tear abouts on the ATVs - they turned one over messing with a friend and produced a head injury as there was no helmet being worn by the girl they were trying to impress.
3. The evening entertainment was pretty much the same every night under a different title - but that didn't worry us.
4. Lots of people we spoke to said they were bored - there is nowhere to really go and see on a desert island - but this was what we had expected so we were quite content with it
5. Whoever said the red wine on tap was very good obviously has little taste of red wine. It is drinkable, but expect 5% ABV - lots of watering down!

The bottom line is that if you want a complete chill out, do nothing, soak up the sun holiday to de-stress, then go for it. The critical reports we read before booking the holiday were not experienced by us. The hotel achieves a huge amount when you consider the logistics of being on a desert island - I think that needs to be appreciated.

We will certainly return to the same hotel next year for a de-stress holiday, though I will be expecting no watersports next time and take more stuff to do in an evening.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank MrUnbiased
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2012

We came in July/August 2009 just after the Hotel opened and did not enjoy it much due to the extreme heat. We decided to go back this year as friends did not want to do a long flight with their 3yr old son.

On arriving it was more efficient than our last visit, we had been allocated a room in the place we had prior emailed for. The room it self on inspection was fine until coming back in to the room later that night. Air con was warm no matter how we set it, I complained for four days from arriving that it was not working and it was too hot in our room. I was told the power cut had put all electric on generators, then I was told it had been fixed, I was then informed I must have the patio door open! Any how after loosing the will to live as our room was warmer than outside I went to the Rep and complained, we went to the reception to speak to a manager where we were informed that the "Air Con" was centrally set at 22'C and it would not go any colder, so why the lies? They did not want to admit it had been capped and that it was set low even though you had it on setting three! I still can not understand this apart from the Hotel saving money and apparently some customers like to warm their room as per the manager. What thats all about Ill never know, I like air con to be freezing its the whole point of it and not to heat the room, if people are cold turn it off. The room was damp and covered in mould spores, we had loads of little beasts in our room and then the adult ones. Maintenance was poor and quality of the fixtures and fittings were poor.

Food had improved slightly since 2009, however the "Canteen" was still wild at evening meal time and breakfast, it was a case of grab a table and hope for the best. Most of the time I had to set the table. Service is generally clearing away as soon as your hand leaves the plate. Meals were poor standard and Pork seemed to be on the menu at all places to eat every day!

The African (by night at pool side) was the best food in the hotel, it was fresh and cooked by far the nicest.

Drinks, poor quality and again not a choice of a five star hotel.

Weather was lovely at this time of year much better than the summer as their was no humidity.

I will not return to Cape Verde or Boa Vista again, I think Thomson should evaluate this hotel as this is not a five star in fact its a long way off and should be graded as a three star. The staff are great don't get me wrong and it has improved from 2009 but it is not and never will be a five star hotel. The general upkeep "Repairs and Maintenance" of the hotel is very poor, the welfare facilities are poor given that most of the toilets were either not working, had covers missing on the flushes, wash hand basins taps not working etc. Doors with water damage and swelling at the bottom resulting in hard to open. Tiles missing from the pool floor making the area very sharp and causing cutting to peoples feet. Pool side walk ways dirty and slippy, should be washed and brushed down every day, as once wet it caused slip hazards.

If you can get a cheap deal for a week, then go but two weeks at full price I would not pay.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank NorthEastLass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

What a fabulous experience we have just had from arrival to departure everything about this place was just great.The staff ,the food ,most of the drinks especially the RED wine in the main restaurant Santiago was some of the best we have tasted.The food is a credit to the chefs well done,nice touch was smoked salmon and champagne on Sunday for breakfast followed by a full monty English .The rooms are not dated they are African themed and spotless(even under the bed cleaned daily )The only downside was the pool area too many beds not enough shade but the beach area more than made up for this so we spent our time there. Overall I agree this is not 5*but more like 4*.I think it is value for money and we will be returning next year for sure.

Room Tip: We asked for and got a sea view room 2214 which was on the second floor it was excellent.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Alanball52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

Spent two weeks here at the end of November, beginning of December 2012 and had a lovely time.
The first week was a little cloudy but it was warm and you were still able to get a tan. The second week was very hot with a lovely breeze. The sea was warm but the waves could be very strong. The flag level stayed at yellow. This showed a good concern for safety first. The sand was cool on the feet and a refreshing change from burnt feet in Spain and Teneriffe. The loungers were comfortable and carefully arranged. It was so pleasant to be left in piece to sleep and read and not be hassled by beach traders and massagers who were not allowed on this private beach.
The pool was great for swimming. The water aerobics was super fun. There was also water polo, darts, bouls, keep fit and beach volleyball. The entertainment staff were wonderful. At 63 I felt really fit and the exercise did me good.
Our block was the furthest away but the walk did me good but if you need one nearer I am sure this could be arranged with the hotel. Our room was extremely clean. The best hotel I have known for this. The beds were moved to dust underneath.The beds very comfortable and slept well. The toilet really clean. In fact in all the loos the toilet brush was superb and kept in lovely pink cleaning solution. There was a hand bio-cleaner in every toilet. The young cleaners worked very hard.
The room did lack a kettle and tea facilities. This would have been better than any filled fridge with booze. The towels were always changed when needed and our room always had some lovely fancy towel sculptures!!! And flower arrangements for my friend's 60th.
I really thought the food was great. There was a great deal of variety. The fruit and salad washed clean. The soups were delicious. There was a different type of roast each day.
The beer was fine although the wine on tap was poor. The cocktails were great. The gin and tonics and brandies were fine. The coffee and hot chocolate were great.
I loved all the separate buildings and the water features.
All the staff worked hard and were very friendly. The reception staff were helpful and polite. They put our hotel staff to shame. The young entertainers were lovely and the dancers worked hard every night. The African dance shows were lovely.
The island people are very poor and they were very friendly. The little school classroom we visited, and children in clean,tidy uniforms and full of enthusiasm to learn, put many of our rude and arrogant children to shame. Education was really important to them and they had so very little. As a retired teacher I was full of respect for the work they were doing. A shame some of children and families don't value our schools and the hard work of our teachers.
The 4 x 4 trip around the island was very good. We love the sunshine but the island was dying from lack of rain. If our cloudy few days had brought rain it would have been a blessing.
It is a shame there are negative reviews as this was a good hotel and the holiday was different. It was a place to rest and relax and make friends. And the towel hut was open all the time!!! If you brought your own towels as we did in the past they would have to last 2 weeks!! Also clean sheets once a week is not all that bad if you wash and shower!! And I bet that happens at home!!
We enjoyed our stay. Thank you Karamboa!!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Carol C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2012

Stayed here in October 2012.

This is not a 5* hotel when I questioned the rep about the standard I was told it was a 5* for Cape Verdi- never heard so much rubbish. This hotel is a crappy 3* at best. There is nothing luxurious or special about this hotel.
Let down by Thompson Rui and will not use Thompson again as a result.

This hotel has been built with too many rooms and not enough facilities to accommodate for the rooms. I've stayed in 5* hotels in Mexico and Jamaica where if I don't want to see another guest all day I haven't, here you have no option as you're sat on top of each other at the pool or beach.
There's not enough loungers for everyone as such people will take your towel off your lounger and steel it whilst you're in the pool.

Pool- one large ish pool cut into 3 sections, missing tiles so cut feet, pool area generally dirty.
Pool towels - hut never open so you have no choice but to use your dirty towel from 3 days ago!

The restaurant is a joke - think school canteen rather than restaurant. The so called a la cartes are even worse. However we did use them just so we were guaranteed a seat and a celling fan. These are also get up and serve yourself style- amazed at how Thompson are allowed to call them a la carte, they should be done for false advertising.

There is a fridge in your room but its not stocked. All drinks are on tap so you can only use the fridge for the bottled water which you have to collect yourself from reception. Fancy a night cap on your balcony? No chance as the walk to reception to get your drink will take you at least 5 mins of which you will be eaten alive by the bugs, nothing relaxing or romantic with that!

Rooms are shockingly basic, beds are hard. Bugs in room around fridge and under bed, bed sheets changed once in 2 weeks!

Dirty glasses were stacked in stair wells and left for 10 days, walls are dirty, bins were overflowing.

Don't expect to relax here - if you want to book a restaurant or grab yourself a lounger you must be up and out by 830am.

Drinks are poor quality, you only get orange cordial out of a draft machine with breakfast no fresh orange juice here, in fact all soft drinks are loaded with sugars and colourings.

After 4 days here I begged the rep to put us on an early flight home as I couldn't stand the thought of staying any longer. As per in keeping with the hotel this was not forth coming and we had to endure the place for another 10 days.

Please please do not waste your time or money going here - my advice would be go to somewhere like Mexico or Jamaica. We paid the same price to stay here as we did to stay in a 5* in Mexico which was utter luxury and complete relaxation.

We returned from this nightmare more stressed than when we left the UK.
I am not a snob however if I have paid a 5* price I expect 5* quality, after staying here I felt ripped off and so angry with Thompson don't make the same mistake we did - go some where else.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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10  Thank Debsjt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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