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“An experience”

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Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #9 of 20 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 26, 2014 via mobile

We stayed for 7 nights all inclusive booked with Thomson
The Hotel !! We have stayed in a few Melia Hotels and this one needs to catch up.
It's a purpose built timeshare not really a hotel.
We had a 2 bedroom apartment and it was lovely and spacious.
The restaurants!
We tried 3 out of the four options .
The main one Spices is a buffet we would say the food was of a reasonable standard.
Aqua next to Spices we did not enjoy at all. We found the menu very limited only a choice of two set menus. Not for us.
OGrill down by the beach!
Beautiful setting menu slightly better ! Choice of three set menus. We found this okay.
Waterside! Seafood which my wife doesn't like so we gave it a miss. We did try it for lunch. Again it was okay.
Sal is a very remote island with very little to do. But if relaxing and quiet is what your after the it's the place for you.
All the staff at Melia Tortuga Beach are great they make the hotel.
In our opinion we had a nice experience but won't be going back in the near future!!

  • Stayed: March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
2  Thank FreebsBournemouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2014

Dear FreebsBournemouth,


Thank you for having chosen Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for your holidays and for having taken the time to review our hotel.

It is nice to know that you were happy with your suite and that you also took the opportunity to try out 3 of the 4 restaurants that we have available at the hotel. Our menus are prepared to cater to the different preferences of our international guests.

We also would like to thank you for your kind comments regarding our staff, it is a pity to know that you will not return, I hope that you will change your mind about staying with us should you decide to return to Cabo Verde for another visit.


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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Reviewed March 26, 2014

This is a classed as a Five Star Resort. This rating has little to do with how smiley the staff are: how hot or cold the food is or how tasty it is or how well you think you've been treated. The international star rating systems are based mainly on services provided - 24 hour reception – ‘tick’; all day food availability –‘tick’; portering service – ‘tick’; leisure facilities - tick etc.
The resort is operated by Melia, the Spanish hotel company. It's not one of their ‘Grand Melia’ brand resorts (which are very, very good in our opinion) but is more of a 'middle market' family brand. As such it is very good.
The next thing to note is that you are in a developing African country which is still buildings its tourist industry. There will be some insects, flies and mosquitoes plus the occasional laid back wandering cat that will happily fall asleep on your lap given half a chance!
Air crew stay here, always a good sign!
Although there are other resorts being built nearby there is literally nothing outside of the resort unless you take a 3 or 4 Euro cab into the lovely Santa Maria town a few miles away.
OK so now that your expectations are sorted we can get on and say we found this to be a resort staffed by helpful, friendly people and a management team that were always interested in getting constructive feedback.
The accommodation suites are great, (a result of this originally being built as a timeshare development that never took off) and they are kept spotlessly clean by the maids.
There is a wide range of food on offer at all times of the day until late evening albeit served 'warm' rather than 'hot' as is common in most mainline European countries in our experience. None of the food is however going to win any prizes.
There is a large buffet restaurant ('Spices') plus three bookable restaurants each with very odd and limited fixed menus. Aqua was our favourite of these (but just two fixed menus). We felt Spices offered the best selection of food.
The overall impression of the food offering is that of 'mass catering' but, hey, this is a resort hotel.
The guests are Europeans with about 10% being British. There are also often groups of fit looking young males which puzzled us until we realised that Cape Verde is a world class centre for kite surfing and wind surfing, and, yes, the wind does blow hard and constantly for most of the year!
Overall we like the Melia Tortuga as a nice place to ‘chill out’ for a week. We were however there is March with only a few pre-school children around; it may get noisy in the school holidays.

Tips
Whilst the free cava is ok, the local wine that is served as part of the all inclusive package is pretty dreadful. Load up with some decent duty free stuff on your way out of your home country or treat yourself to a bottle or two from the hotels (fairly expensive) wine list.
Most cocktails on the all Inclusive package are pre-mix and truly dreadful; you have been warned!
The tap water is treated and fine for brushing teeth but stick to bottled water (free everywhere in the resort) for drinking as the composition of tap water will be different from back home.
The main pool is noisy most of the day with water activities and amplified music. (Which piece of market research was it that determined guests want loud music by the main pool in all worldwide resorts!?). The 'quiet' pool is much quieter and there never seemed to be any pressure on getting a sun bed.
Sun beds - The sun beds do not have pads on them :-(.We took a self-inflating ‘Thermarest’ camping mattress that folded up very small to in our suitcase and was brilliant on the sun beds.
Go say 'hi' to the security guards who must have the dullest jobs at the resort.
The average wage in hotels in Cape Verde is 10-15 Euros per day. The maid who services your room so well each day is never likely to earn enough to travel like you do so help make her day by giving her a large tip on your last morning!

Room Tip: As lots of other posts identify, the rooms/suites near the Plaza have the evening entertainment outs...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Travlintone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2014

Dear Travlintone,


Thank you for having chosen Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for your holidays and for having set aside some of your precious time in sharing your experience at our hotel with other travelers.

As you have mentioned, we always welcome the feedback from our guests and these are taken very seriously as your satisfaction is very important for us. I am very pleased to read from your description that you have fully enjoyed your stay at our hotel, indeed it is important to inform oneself about the island prior to visiting so as to avoid wrong expectations.

We would like to thank you for sharing your tips as well as your suggestions, we do our best to try to cater to all different preferences of our guests and we sincerely appreciate your kind comments regarding our staff who work very hard each day to ensure that our guests are well looked after.

Lastly, I hope that you will give us the pleasure of having you as our guests again hopefully in the not so distant future.


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2014

Stayed here for 2 weeks last August and had an amazing time, booked it for my Husbands 50th Birthday and couldn't fault it.
Staff couldn't do enough for you and went out of their way to ensure you had a great stay, left wine and cake in our villa on arrival and also arranged a cake and sparkling wine at dinner on his birthday.
We were really fortunate to have a villa with our own pool which really made the holiday for us as like everywhere you go you have to compete with the towels on loungers from early morning, so nice not having to worry about this.
Went on a night time Turtle trip and saw a turtle laying eggs, this was amazing and well worth doing, walked to the hatchery the next day and saw eggs hatching, brilliant experience.
Really liked the fact that it was safe to go off on your own unlike some countries we have visited.
Look forward to returning soon.

Room Tip: I think all rooms are similar in layout but a villa is a real treat as you have your own pool and ca...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank debbie23Warwick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear debbie23Warwick,


Thank you for having chosen Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for your holidays and for having taken some of your time to review our hotel.

I am very pleased to read that you and your family have had a fantastic two weeks stay at our resort in August, we feel very privileged each time a guest decides to allow the hotel to be part of very special occasions in their lives. It is wonderful to know that you have enjoyed your villa and took the opportunity to also visit the turtle laying eggs on the beach.

Lastly, I am very pleased that you are looking forward to returning as we are already eager to welcome you back again to our hotel very soon.


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

We had a wonderful holiday at melia hotel stayed for 2 weeks in beautiful accommodation food and staff was fantastic all of the staff were so friendly and always smiling the hotel was so clean and the gardens were kept beautifully the beach was so quite perfect for relaxing. Would recommend highly. And cAnnot believe that there are people on hear complaining about the food my husband is a very fussy eater and he always found something from the wide selection. Our room was cleaned everyday the bed sheets and towels changed whenever you requested everyday if wanted. Thanks to everyone at melia for making our holiday so wonderful. Lorraine finch essex

Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank Lorraine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear Lorraine F,


Thank you for having chosen Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for your holidays and for having taken the time to tell us about your holiday experience.

I am very pleased to know that you have enjoyed your two weeks stay with us and that you were happy with the accommodation, the food and the staff service. Thank you for your kind comments about our staff, we are pleased to have them as part of our team, they work very hard to make sure that everyone feels at home and well taken care of.

We hope that with such a good memory of your stay we can look forward to another visit from you both, hopefully in the not so distant future.


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

We booked through Thompson and got a great deal on an all in one flight and resort package to stay at Melia Tortuga flying from Gatwick. I'll summarise the bits that I think are important to save waffling on:

Flight is about 4 hours.

Make sure you pay for your visa when booking, this will save you waiting in the long queue with everyone else who forgot to pay ahead of time!

Currency is mainly Euros. They are accepted everywhere but you will get your change in Escudos which are only useable in Cape Verde.

Electrical Sockets are the same as European sockets (such as Spain, Greece etc).

People kept saying there'd be mosquitos but we didn't get bitten, I'm assuming it was because 't was quite windy.
Check with doctor about which jabs you need before going.


If you booked an all inclusive package like we did (which I recommend) then this is what was included:

Coach picks you up from the airport in Cape Verde and takes you to the resort, which is about a 15 minute journey.
Upon arrival to the resort, you are given a drink and a wristband while you queue to check in.
It was only two of us but we got a three bedroom villa with a private swimming pool, we were really impressed! It had a kitchen, dining room, living room, three bedrooms, three balconies and a view of the beach. The fridge had bottled water and the bathrooms and bedrooms were stocked with the usual things that you would expect in a hotel such as shampoo, hairdryers, tvs, safe etc.
Once you're settled in, I suggest you nip to the reception, get a towel card (€20 deposit per person) and then go to the main pool located in the middle of the resort and you will receive beach towels that you can swap for clean ones whenever you like. At the end of your stay just take back the towels and you get your towel card and deposit back.

If you book through Thompson, I recommend going to their meeting on the first day. I know it sounds boring and it's early in the morning but you'll be able to book fun excursions and activities such as quad biking etc through them and ask any questions about the resort that you have.

There are four restaurants in the resort, 3 are buffet for breakfast and set menu dinner restaurants and one is an all round buffet (Spices).
You have to book dinner in the 3 restaurants (so it's not crowded) but Spices is open all the time. Booking is done in the late lounge during lunch times. The food in all of them is amazing, I forgot what it was like to feel hungry during my stay!

Activities:
I recommend the 4x4 tour, the guide is really helpful and informative. You take a tour of the island and stop at various places such as the fishing market and the salt lakes which were fun to swim in.
I also recommend the quad biking especially for people that haven't done it before, they'll love it but expect to get really dusty so take a bandana! We did the neptune (submarine) tour as well but the water was so choppy that I felt rough the whole journey. Even people that don't get sea sick didn't really enjoy it.
There's also a spa at the resort which was really good as well as a gym.

The resort offers a free shuttle to and from Santa Maria (the island's main town). But if you want to go by your own schedule, taxis are only €3 a journey and €4 at night. If you want to buy anything in town, make sure you haggle! It's fun and you save a few quid!

We mostly stayed at the resort as all we wanted to do was relax. The place is amazing, the sand is white and the sea is green. The staff are really friendly and helpful, your glass is never empty and there's never an empty plate left in front of you. You can walk up to any bar in the resort, order a bunch of cocktails (for free!) and take them to the pool, beach or even to sip in front of the tv at the villa!
It's a very windy island which is nice because you stay cool on the hot beaches but the downside is it makes the sea very choppy and the red flag was up the whole time we were there. I wasn't that bothered as there are a load of pools to choose from and if you really want to swim in the sea, you can go around the corner to the east of the island where the sea is less wavy.
Drinks or dinner at O'Grilles during sunsets are highly recommended. Stunning views with chill out music in the background while on the beach... What more do you want!!

All in all, we had an amazing time. We're a young couple but the place caters for families, there are "kid's clubs", children's shows and a kid's pool so mum and dad can escape for a while!

Book it, you'll love it!

Room Tip: We had villa 42 but just ask for anything closer to the beach as they put on shows at night near rec...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank s a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear s a,


Thank you for having chosen Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for your holidays and for allowed us the opportunity to gain an insight into your holiday experience through Tripadvisor.

I appreciate reading your review as the information that you share are very important for future travelers. Thank you for the detailed description of our services, I am glad that you took advantage of all the services that we have to offer. Our hotel caters for all kinds of guests and our main objective is to offer you’re a high quality service during a relaxing holiday with us.

My management team and I are also always available at the hotel to listen to or offer any assistance to any of our guests, please do not hesitate to approach any of us whenever it is required.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for having recommended our hotel to future travelers, I also hope that you will give us the pleasure of having you as our guests again in the near future.


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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Reviewed March 24, 2014

We have just returned from the Melia Tortuga after having had a fantastic 2 week stay. If you want a relaxing holiday with plenty of sunshine, the Tortuga is the place for you. Also, it’s only 1 hour time difference from the UK, so no jet lag!

We are very surprised at recent reviews which criticise this hotel. Of course, it's not perfect, nowhere is. But it's pretty good, offers excellent value for money, and we would recommend the Tortuga to anyone interested in going to this island.

Rooms

These are large with air-conditioning. There is a kitchen (which is odd for an all-inclusive) but it is very poorly equipped. However, since I doubt anyone would want to self-cater, I can't see this is a problem.

Although not replaced daily, tea, coffee, sugar and milk can be obtained in the hotel. One reviewer thought this to be poor service, but it's not a problem and you know the milk is fresh (not long-life). The lack of replacement water in the fridge has also been criticised, but again this is easily obtained from any bar in the hotel. Simples!

The rooms are cleaned daily and the bed linen and towels are changed whenever you ask (by placing a card on the bed or the towels in the bath).

There is a large TV which has Discovery Channel and BBC News as well as other non-English channels.


Hotel facilities

The hotel is kept in immaculate condition. There is no litter or anything out of place. At the reps meeting the three managers of the hotel came and introduced themselves to the new arrivals. They were continually present in the hotel throughout the two weeks and we often saw them eating in the same restaurants as the guests. Although we never felt the need to, it was clear that they would be happy to discuss any problems directly with a guest, which in my experience is unusual (and very refreshing).

There are two main pools (plus a couple of shallow children’s pools), one with music (not normally loud other than then ‘Aquagym’ is taking place in the morning) and one without. It’s a pretty quiet hotel, unless you seek out the entertainment. There are plenty of sunbeds and there are large fixed umbrella-type things to provide shade.


There is a self-service restaurant – Spices – which has a very wide selection of food which changes daily. There is supposed to be a theme each night but we didn’t really notice much in the way of a theme, however the food is pretty good. In particular, the quality and choice of salads is excellent. We never struggled to find food to our taste. One reviewer criticised the availability of goat on the menu. If they had tried it they would have found it to be very tasty and tender, rather like lamb. Don’t be put off by the name! There are a few strange items on the menu, but this is Africa! You can’t expect it to be the same food as you might find in Tesco’s (and isn’t that part of the appeal of going somewhere different?)

There are three other restaurants which in the evenings are pre-bookable only. However, we actually preferred Spices. Wine is available, together with beer and soft drinks. The sparkling wine (like a Cava) was especially nice. These are served at the table and this can be slow in Spices, but if you avoid the busy period, it’s not a problem.

If you come to the Tortuga expecting genuine fine dining, you will be disappointed. However, there is plenty of excellent food on offer.

The bars serve a wide range of drinks and the cocktails are excellent. Sure, they vary a little, but this is because they don’t use standard measures, so they can sometimes be a bit on the strong side! A fairly decent cappuccino can be obtained from the bar near reception.

We had a problem with a faulty air-conditioning unit and jammed sink tap. Both were fixed within the morning while we were out sunbathing. Also a slip of paper was put under the door the following day to ask if we were satisfied with the resolution. You can’t say fairer than that!

The surrounding area

The Tortuga is on its own and about 45 minutes’ walk from Santa Maria town. However, there are always taxis waiting outside the hotel and its only 3 Euros (4 at night) into the town, so the distance is not a problem. There are a few nice restaurants and bars in Santa Maria and the beach and harbour area are beautiful.

Trips

4x4 safari – the island of Sal does not have a lot to see and is quite small so the 4x4 jeep safari lasted only about 3 hours. Worth doing bit don’t expect too much.

Catamaran - An enjoyable 3 hours on a catamaran with as much to drink as you like.

Beach BBQ - Good food, a fire eater and string trio. A very pleasant evening.

Tour round Santa Maria (free courtesy of Thompson rep) – very worthwhile to get your bearings.

Tips

Take jumpers for the evening. Although hot in the daytime, the evenings get quite chilly.

If you don’t want to be disturbed by the evening entertainment – which can be loud – make sure you get a room away from reception. We couldn’t hear it from our room (361) and it finished around 10pm anyway. We would also recommend asking for an upstairs room as the views are better.

If you go with Thompsons, definitely go on the Saturday morning (free) guided walk around Santa Maria.


Summary

Overall, we found it hard to fault the Tortuga. Don’t forget, Sal is a small African island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, so expect things to be done a little differently than in Europe.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Dear David--Gwen—Cumbria,


Thank you for having elected Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for a two weeks stay and for having set aside some of your time to share your holiday experience with us and with fellow travelers on Tripadvisor. We greatly value the feedback that we receive from our guests as they enable us to gain an insight into their needs and preferences and adapt our services accordingly.

I have enjoyed reading your review and I am delighted to know that you have had such a wonderful stay at our hotel and that our services are according to your expectations. I appreciate your detailed description regarding each of our outlets and our services, as they are quite detailed for which I am glad as it means that you took the opportunity to try out and appreciate each one of the services that we have to offer.

I am also pleased that you also took the time to visit around the island and try out the different tours to get better acquainted with Sal.

I hope that you will give us the pleasure of having you as our guests again at the hotel, hopefully in the not so distant future.


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2014

Dear Jose Luis Cuevas,

We've just returned from a wonderful week of relaxation in Melia, thanks again for the perfect family holiday (we travelled with our 2 young boys). Beautiful and spacious appartment, proper cleaning daily, very helpful and friendly staff in all the restaurants and at the pools the animation team added to a very positive experience at Melia. We'll definitely be back!!

Now I have one huge favour to ask, and I do so through this site because the phone line is bad for some reason... We had family pictures taken at the beach in front of the hotel by the photographer who visits your hotel am and pm and I would have loved to buy those as a memory of our wonderful holiday. Very unfortunate though, we missed each other on the day of departure. Can you please help me to make contact with the photographer as I don't have his number or email address??

Many thanks,
Family Spoelstra

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Spoelstra2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TortugaManager, General Manager at Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2014

Dear Spoelstra2014,


Thank you for having chosen Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa for your family holidays and for having taken the time to tell us about your holiday experience.

I am very pleased to know that you have had a wonderful relaxing week at our resort and that the suite, the restaurant service, the animation team as well as the staff service are all according to your standards.

We will contact the photographer and ask him to contact you directly regarding your family pictures. I am delighted to know that you will be returning for another visit, it will be a pleasure to welcome you as our guests again in the not so distant future .


Kind regards,
Jose Luis Cuevas

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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 Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa

Address: Urbanizacao da Cabocan | ZDTI Ponta Preta, Cape Verde - Sal, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal 4111, Cape Verde
Phone Number:
Location: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Maria
#7 Luxury Hotel in Santa Maria
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
#7 Spa Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range: $169 - $354 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 286
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 5 star Melia Tortuga All-Inclusive Resort is located in the southeast of the island Sal, only a few minutes from the colourful town Santa María and Amilcar Cabral international airport. During your stay you will find relaxation and fun right on the fabulous Algodoeiro beach, with its white sand and turquoise waters. The resort offers spectacular suites and villas with up to 4 bedrooms, private garden and swimming-pool. Set in gardens there are 2 magnificent adult pools and 2 pools for children. Experience Yhi Wellness with sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool, thermal circuit, fitness facilities, massage and beauty treatments. Dining options include a variety of 4 restaurants and bars, offering a selection of international and local cuisine. The Melia Tortuga All-Inclusive is also the perfect destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing or scuba diving. Events for up to 200 people can be organised in 2 meeting rooms with natural daylight. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Prodigios Interactivos SA, Orbitz, Cancelon, Hotwire, HotelQuickly and TripOnline SA so you can book your Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria

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