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“A bit disappointed”

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Clubhotel Riu Karamboa
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Boa Vista
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 13, 2013

I happened to stay in RIU out of curiosity. Perhaps my review might be useful to someone before they consider booking their stay there. Granted, I have not been a big fan of all inclusive resorts/cruises, it's not my kind of travelling mode but I wanted to get a first hand experience.
First of all, I felt as if I was imprisoned in a large concrete complex. Analogous to a cruise ship but being on a land. It felt like being in an overcrowded amusement park. Not my kind of relaxation. The only opportunity for me to get some space was to get out of the complex so I could breathe. I only lasted there one night and had to get out, I thought I was going to go insane. The beach looks stunning but the only way for me to enjoy it was to walk away from the resort. But if you want to lay on the beach on the provided sunbeds, they were so close to each other that the wafting aromas of all conceivable sunblock lotions was too much to take. Again, I opted out to walk out of the beach. The food was mediocre. Basically, things already prepared from buckets dumped into huge plates, just run of the mill. Wine and local Strela beer was all watered down. Have a draft in a local bar and you will know what I am talking about. If you are adventurous to try local food there are at least 5 very good restaurants in Sal Rei and 1 in Rabil that will not disappoint. Food is made from the freshest catch of the day including the local legumes (vegetables), so at least if you are eco-oriented person you know you are supporting local economy, local produce, local people. The quad drive might sound like a fun thing to do but please consider that the dunes are very fragile ecosystem and are already destroyed by the sheer mass of tourism. Hire yourself a local Aluguer instead and go on established roads. If you are looking for seclusion, the beaches on the East side of the island are like paradise and you might be the only person having them to yourself.
If you think you paid your tour company too much for a ride from the airport to the hotel (which is 2 min from the airport) and the local taxis are only charging £10, just know that you are still getting ripped off. It really only costs £2. The local taxi drivers already figured out that the RIU clients have no idea how much things should cost. In the end, this destroys things for everyone. These drivers are getting spoiled and aggressive if you don't pay that. They know they have a goldmine.

But it could be just me, because I saw 1000s of happy people there. So if you happen to have the same outlook on things as mine, I hope this review is helpful to you.

Room Tip: The mattress was from a 2** hotel. Caving, worn-out mattresses. But that's to be expected for...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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10  Thank kathys641
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RiuHotelsandResorts, Social and Community Relations Manager at Clubhotel Riu Karamboa, responded to this reviewResponded September 6, 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback and for expressing your concerns.

We are committed to provide excellent quality of our products and services to our guests. We regret to read that you have left our hotel with an opposite idea in your mind. I have sent your comments to the respective heads of departments involved and actions would be taken to address all your concerns.

We hope you will choose to visit us again, and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of Guest Service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 12, 2013

From Portugal the trip takes about 3h30 and from the airport to the hotel about 5min. As soon as we left the Boa Vista airport (about 1km), between the sand dunes appeared this fantastic hotel. It's architecture is very beautiful and the green spaces are in exceptional good condition, specially if you consider you are in the middle of a desert (like most of the Boa Vista island).

All the staff is very polite, friendly and hardworking, notably the buffet restaurant employees and animation team that worked with adults and children from early morning until late night. If you are searching for an hotel with activities to maintain you occupied there's always something happening by the pool or the beach. Dancing Funaná or Coladeira, hydrogymnastic, step classes, darts, volley, diving, etc. If you prefer a more calm kind of vacations you can stay by the beach feeling the calm breeze while laying down on a chaise long (the right place for a nap of some book reading). The problem of the beach is that you don't have a bar in it. If you want some drink you have to walk a bit on the hot sun to get it on the pool bar.

The beach is very beautiful, particularly because of it's wild nature. After walking about 500m on the beach you'll find some dunes of thin sand giving a cinematic look. Despite it's beauty, the beach it's not advisable for children, because of the waves and strong sea current. The water is warm (obviously not as warm as in the caribean) and translucent.

The pools are big enough for all the people in the hotel but the chaise longs are not because most of the people reserve them early (even on the beach), leaving you only one solution: do the same to get your space.

The rooms are like the typical Riu rooms. The beds are comfortable, the pillows a bit low (at least for me) and the room has a balcony with a table and two chairs, which gives a nice place to look at the landscape.

The buffet restaurant food is mostly good and very diversified, specially at breakfast. There's always something for every taste. Some days you'll get some surprises, like shrimps and caviar with champagne. The african restaurant was OK and the Cape Verde restaurant was very good. The drinks at the bars are very good and, if you ask for alcohol, very strong.

As usual at this kind of hotels, at night you have always some kind of show, most of them very entertaining. After the show you can go to the karaoke bar or the disco. It would be pleasant if the hotel used the beach to do some parties.

The hotel Internet access is always paid. In some hotels you have free access at the hotel lobby but here you have to pay about 15€ for 2h you must use in 48h. Very expensive.

The weather in Cape Verde is my kind of weather. The temperature was always (during the day and night) about 24/25º C. Not too hot and not cold.

In conclusion,we loved the time we spent on Riu Karamboa and would return with pleasure.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank jtelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013 via mobile

Just got back from a lovely week's holiday at the karamboa.
The hotel is spotlessly clean and the staff are very friendly and can not do enough for you.
The pool and beach are both lovely, we never had a problem getting sun beds and we got up late most days.
The food was in our opinion to a good standard, obviously some things were better than others but there is so much choice that if you happen to try something you don't think much of then there's plenty more to choose from.
We found the drinks to be excellent. The local beer on offer is 5.6 percent and very refreshing. Most spirits are local brands but once with a mixer you would not know. They do have some brands like jim bean and bacardi. All major branded soft drinks available and fruit juices.
They have entertainment every night which to be honest wasn't really to our taste, normal hotel cabaret stuff but many seemed to enjoy it and there are plenty of places for a quiet drink if it really bothers you.
To sum up I can not see how you can give this hotel any less than five stars. We paid £1600 for two people for a week all inclusive including flights and could not ask for any more. Would definitely return.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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3  Thank uruseiyatsura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013

I'm 25, my fiancee is 27 and we've just stayed at the Karamboa for 2 weeks.
Firstly I've got to say we had an amazing time, the hotel is great and the beach is one of the best we have ever been to!!
I had some reservations about coming beforehand as I had heard there isn't much to do but I shouldn't have worried about that as the hotel animation team always had games to play like beach volleyball and football, and there was always the sea to have fun in!
The room was really good, we got upgraded to a suite on arrival which was great! The room was spotless everyday, the cleaners did a really good job
The main restaurant was OK, although after two weeks the food did get a bit repetitive, but there was still some good food out!
The Asian restaurant was spot on, we ate there twice and wished we'd eaten there more!!
The Cape Verde restaurant was nice too, their main specialty is seafood (which is to be expected), which was quite tasty, and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually eat seafood!!
The pool was great, although we didn't spend too much time there, we went to the beach every day!!
We never had a problem getting any sunbeds, as there are so many to choose from, and the hotel staff enforce the rule of not reserving sun beds before 9am which is good as it means you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get one! I saw a few angry foreigners who seemed to be upset that their towels had been removed, but hey, rules are rules!!!
All of the hotel staff are really friendly ( a special mention to Sule at the pool bar, absolute legend!!).
The entertainment in the evenings was your typical hotel entertainment, not amazing, but ok to sit down and watch with a few drinks!
The thomson reps were really good, especially Chris who was arguably one of the best reps we've had on a holiday. We did the free walk into Sal rei with him and had a great time!
As for excursions, make sure you do the 4 hour quad biking, it's fantastic, although take some clothes you don't mind getting REALLY dirty!! One of the stops is at Santa Monica beach which is beautiful and has some of the biggest waves I've ever seen, which I had plenty of fun jumping around in, felt like I was in a tumble dryer when i'd been caught in an 8ft wave!!!!
The motto on the island is 'No Stress' and they mean this quite literally, everybody is so relaxed and you'll feel that way throughout your holiday!
I really recommend this holiday, you won't regret it, just do it before they ruin the island by building lots more hotels!!
My big tip, especially if you've got younger kids as they'll love it.....walk along the beach towards Sal Rei and about ten metres after the little white shack/tent where the blokes are selling things, have a look in the sea, as everyday at about 9am we saw 7/8 turtles swimming around and eating off of the rocks!!!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank ben k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Made our 2nd visit on June 19th and it was even more enjoyable this year. Hotel is spotless, variety of food excellent and a great selection of drinks in the bars. Yes the restaurants are busy at times, but the rush only lasts for an hour or so and then it's ok. The staff work exceptionally hard and always have a smile on their face.
The pool area is looking tired in places but with this being a year round resort that's understandable. You could always get a sunbed, but we did notice our 2nd week was busier and noisier. The beach is superb, but be aware of the sea. It can be rough with strong currents.
We made use of the Jacuzzi in the Wellness center every afternoon, unlike the majority of people. Most days we had it to ourselves, but it really is a lovely way to spend an hour.
Top tip: take the taxi boat on the beach to the capital. Don't bother walking around but instead stay at the Tortuga bar, with its wonderful beach side location, great food and cold beer. It's worth the expense, as there is nothing else to spend your money on.
Would I recommend the hotel to others........ YES!

  • Stayed: June 2013
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4  Thank iamzoso60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Just returned from our 2nd visit after a 3 year absence and was not disappointed, this hotel ticks all the boxes for us. Food is plentiful, the bar serves great cocktails, we walked to Sal Rei on a few occasions and had some fantastic meals (it did make a change from the self service buffet) We hired a local taxi driver to take us around the Island and found this to be a lot cheaper than the planned excursions, the quad bikes are a must just remember to take sun glasses and wear old clothes as you get absolutely filthy. The entertainment team work so hard night and day and we had great fun taking part in a lot of the activities throughout the day. We travelled in a party of 6 age range from 45-20. I think it is an amazing place. We all cannot wait to return.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank LyndieJane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

We bagged ourselves a very last minute deal to Cape Verde at The Riu Karamboa hotel for 7 days.

The flight was fine, no there's no entertainment but we read and had downloaded films on to the IPad so no bother. Capri Verde airport is so bizarre but lovely. It's small and open, so do take a hat or sun block as we did have to wait in queues and I almost passed out with the heat.

The transfer was good, it was 5 mins tops!

The reception area was huge and impressive. Checking in was easy and done quickly.

Our room was #26 it was on the ground floor, quite far from the reception but it was a lovely quiet room and had a sea view. Rooms are pretty big, African theme, pretty basic but just fine. The maid often made up little towel displays of swans and bows which I loved!!

Food was good, it's a buffet, so yes it gets a bit repetitive if you choose the same thing! The selection is pretty big and there is always somewhere open with food on the go. We tended to eat a bit later around 9 as when we went down on one occasion at 7.30-8 it was carnage so so busy. We booked for all 3 restaurants the African was the best in my opinion, a guy was playing in the restaurant and it had a lovely atmosphere.

We left a few tips in the restaurant and then for our maid.

Pool area was huge and we didn't have an issue getting a subbed, however, yes there were quite a few of people who had the same spot everyday. On our last day we got up at 9 to drop our towels in and go for breakfast and the pool side was already busy. The grounds and pool are very very clean. Drinks are ok, the wine wasn't good at all, cocktails were fine but a bit samey. They do sometimes have a cocktail station in the reception area, these were the best as they varied from the other list.

There a little shop were you can buy essentials, however it's very very expensive, we treated ourselves to a bottle of bubbles, chocolate and Pringles one night and all I remember was the Pringles being €6

I loved the entertainment! I can see why people say after 2 weeks its annoying it probably would be, but for the 7 days we were there I did love it and even the mini disco songs for the kids, often you will see adults bopping a long. I didn't always understand the man who would be hosting though so I did lose the plot sometimes. But the entertainment crew had a lot of energy and gave it their all.

Overall, we had a lovely time. It was what we wanted from this holiday.

Room Tip: Room 26 ground floor and sea view
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank SFG86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Clubhotel Riu Karamboa

Address: Lote HO 1, Urb. Morrinho de Baguincho | Praia de Boca Salina, Boa Vista 4110, Cape Verde
Phone Number:
Location: Cape Verde > Boa Vista
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Boa Vista
#2 Spa Hotel in Boa Vista
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Boa Vista
#2 Luxury Hotel in Boa Vista
Price Range: $169 - $512 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Clubhotel Riu Karamboa 4*
Number of rooms: 750
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on the island Boavista in the Cape Verde Islands. 2-Storey main building and 3-storey annexes. Situated on the beachfront. Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach. 7 Km to Sal Rei. 1,5 Km from the airport. Credit cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clubhotel Riu Karamboa Hotel Boa Vista
Clubhotel Riu Karamboa Boa Vista
Clubhotel Riu Karamboa Cape Verde/Boa Vista

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