I spent Christmas/New Year at the Sabura hotel and overall, it's been a relaxing, peaceful holiday.
As with all hotels, there are good and bad points and I'm going to start with the bad:-
The location of the hotel is not central. It's about a ten - fifteen minute walk into the centre of Santa Maria. It's not too far really but if you're feeling lazy it can be enough to deter you from going out and depending on your holiday preferences, that can be a negative aspect to staying at this hotel.
It's also quite a trek to the beach so again, if you're feeling lazy then you're pretty much confined to the hotel and there's really not a lot going on there.
Most of the guests were there on an all inclusive deal and despite Thompsons pledge that there are "no hidden extras", this hotel doesn't include water or diet drinks in the all inclusive package. You can guzzle full sugar versions of coke, sprite etc to your hearts content but if you want to drink diet coke then be prepared to pay for it. I'm not really sure how water can be classed as a chargeable extra on an 'all inclusive' deal but there you go. Unless you want to risk losing your teeth through drinking too much sugar, I'd have your wallet handy because water and diet drinks are expensive there.
Internet - this is a constant sore point for me. I hear all the people who say that holidays are for escaping the internet blah, blah, but if you're under 90 and you have a job then the chances are you'll want to at least check your emails at least once during your stay and if you work for yourself (as I do) then an internet connection is almost as important a utility as running water these days. Because of this, I ALWAYS ask if there's an internet connection before I book anywhere. The internet connection is more important to me than the pool to be honest, so I checked with Thompson before booking and they confirmed that the internet was available and it was included. Of course, upon arrival I find that the internet is a chargeable extra, it costs a FORTUNE and it's a dreadful service anyway. I ended up wandering into Santa Maria and buying sim cards and dongles. Much easier and cheaper.
The food was not to my taste. That's not to say it was bad food. It's more my personal preference. There is fresh fish in abundance and it looked and smelled delicious but they insisted on covering everything with sauce and I hate sauces. It's pointless asking for dry food because you'd just get sauce anyway. I gave up after a while.
On a more positive note, if you're not too bothered by the points above then this hotel has an abundance of good points to counter balance them:-
The rooms are comfortable, nicely furnished and very, very clean. The bathrooms are reasonably spacious and the shower is powerful enough to blast sand and salt out of long hair and there's constant hot water (you'd be surprised how many hotels I've stayed in where there isn't)
I'd have preferred a buffet style food situation but the menu system they employ seems to work well for everyone else. The menu changes every day and there are always three choices each of starter, main and pud. There's also a snack menu which runs from the morning right through to around 10pm so you can always ask for things from there if the menu doesn't appeal.
The staff don't speak very much English but they are helpful, friendly and very polite. They made a real effort to make sure everyone had a good holiday and I think they were genuinely happy to be at work.
General points to consider:-
The hotel is built around a central courtyard which houses the pool. It was designed to capture the wind which I'm sure is a brilliant idea in the hotter months but I was there over the winter season and that courtyard was FREEZING at times. Take a cardigan, just in case!
All of the rooms have balconies which overlook the pool so at first glance you might think the choice of room doesn't matter but it really does. As you face the pool from reception, the rooms to your left all have sunny balconies for most of the day (101-112 and 201-212). The rooms to your right have very dark balconies, irrespective of the time of day. If you're looking for a sunny balcony then your very best bet is a room from the row that lines the bottom of the pool (121-124 and 221-224) as they get sunshine all day.
Sal has a closed currency system so you can't change money until you get there and you're always left with that worry about how much to change and what you'll do with any that's left over. My advise to you is not to bother at all. Just take euros instead. They're generally accepted along with Escudars and it's not so much of a problem if you bring those back home.
Go on an island tour when you first get there. Sal is tiny - the whole island is only around 15 miles long - but it's only 15-18 euros for a tour and it's an interesting way to get your bearings. The salt mine is good fun. Take your bikini and bob around in salty water for an hour. It's really nice!
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Sabura Ponta Preta Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria