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“Very rude staff, especially on night duty!!!”
Review of VOI Vila do Farol

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VOI Vila do Farol
Ranked #6 of 20 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 18, 2013

I would have rated this hotel a tad bit higher, BUT for the entirely awful experience I had with the staff on duty upon returning to my hotel room one night!

I found it highly offensive and discriminatory that this man followed me all the way to my hotel room, in order to stop me and find out what my business was in the hotel!!!

I was literally at my door and although my wrist band was not visible, he should have waited to see if I actually had a KEY to get into my room to verify I was an actual guest, out of respect for guests or ANYONE for that matter.

I had stayed at this hotel for two days already, and even if he did not immediately recognize me, due process should have been CUSTOMER FIRST, rather than trying to harass me as a young female.

The next morning they didn't even have the courtesy to offer a proper apology, the manager included! The offending member of staff continued to be insolent, and when my boyfriend stepped into the matter they were rude to him too!

It was a shame that we had already paid for our full stay in advance as my first instinct was to move to a different hotel. Looking back we should have done so - it would have made the overall trip a much better experience.

I am really sorry to give this hotel such a poor rating as the food and the theatre presentation were really good, but I am sorry to say that the horrible staff service has warranted this poor review.

Don't let this turn you down from Sal, it is a beautiful island with lovely people, and alot to do. We rented bicycles and rode around the island, as well as had a tour on quad bikes.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank SamanthaWaters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daniele C, Direttore generale at VOI Vila do Farol, responded to this reviewResponded February 23, 2013

For us, thanks to the guests who have entrusted us with the success of their holiday also means accepting their criticism carefully.

We are sincerely sorry for what happened during your stay and that only now, after a year, you have reported the problem.
But I hope you understand that since our club is an all inclusive one, barrier-free and completely open, the only way for our staff to recognize and avoid external guests from entering illegally inside, is the bracelet that we give you the day of your arrival.
For this reason, our security, if has some doubts, makes its controls.
This does not mean that it can be rude and, in that case, it is legitimate to complain and report it to the local representative of the tour operator competence, or, if not possible, directly to the management.
Since I was for many years the director of the hotel and being present during your stay, I guarantee I have not received information about what happened, because in that case, I would have personally made my excuses and tried in every way to make us forgive.

Sincerely.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 31, 2012

We came here to spend the Xmas time of 2012, stayed 11 days in total.
The Vila Do Farol is a hotel of bungalows located close to the center of town (20 minutes walk on the streets or 30 mins on the beach) on a huge parcel. It is directly located on the beach and offers all inclusive service from 8 am to 12 pm.
Meals are served 3 times a day in the restaurant and during lunchtime in the Snack Bar (directly on the beach). It also has a great swimming pool plus a Pool Bar offering drinks from 9 am to 6 pm. The Lobby Bar in the main building is open from 8 am to 12 pm with live music each night.
The meals are offered on buffet basis, you are eating as much as you require. For each meal fruits and several types of sweets are served. As the hotel is owned by Italians, you can always find different types pasta and pizza in the menu. Each Saturday night Cape Verdean dishes are served and the dinner is followed by a performance of Cape Verdean dances in the theatre.
Within the all inclusive basis you are getting the non-alcoholic and local alcoholic drinks included. They serve Cape Verdean beer (Strela), good quality wine (better than anywhere else), Cape Verdean rums and grog, plus many types of alcoholic beverages mainly from the Canary Islands. All the alcoholic drinks are quality ones, nobody ever complained about headaches caused by bad quality alcohol. The most popular drink is the gin-tonic made of Canarian gin, which is really good (and runs out almost every night in the lobby bar) :-)))
Although we were really satisfied with the place (except the thin walls....), there're two things I will never understand with regard to this hotel. First is that you are getting water upon your arrival which is never refilled. Water is always provided in the rooms in all inclusive hotels.
The other thing is: why other nationalities than Italians are allowed to stay here! The people of animation take only care of the Italians, other nationalities are not even informed about the details of the Xmas party! They are simply ignoring the people who are not Italians, which is more than strange. This statement is confirmed by the fact that consumer surveys exist only in Italian, so other nationalities are not being heard! :-(((
Except this behaviour, the quality of the hotel is very good and I would go back at any time to the Cape Verdean paradise.

Room Tip: Try to choose a bungalow far from the main building (live music every night in the lobby bar) and fr...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank Krisztina V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2011

We spent a week at Club Bravo and enjoyed the casual and relaxed atmosphere..
This is an Italian resort and there were very few other nationalities present.
The food was good very fresh and while not of goumet quality was never the less very well presented and quite varied. The fresh fruit was particularly good.
The staff is friendly and produce very entertaining animation.
An understanding of Italian is necessary to be able to enjoy the evening entertainment.
Reception was cordial and most spoke english.
The island is in the midst of a gigantic building program and the infrastructure is primative..
We stayed at the resort most of the time and were oblivious to the islands growing problems.There is massive construction projects everywhere, many incomplete.
There is little nite life other than the resort. The nearest town, Santa Maria is quite limited. So forget shopping, there isnt any.
The hotel itself is somewhat dated and some features could be updated, however all in all, we enjoyed the stay and considered that the Bravo Club organization was preferable to some of the more formal hotels we have visited.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jrdu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2009

Cape Verde is a fantastic place for relax and sunbath... Bravo Club Vila do Farol is good but NOT at the level of the other Bravo Clubs I've seen before (Zanzibar, Maldives, Marsa Alam).
I've been there with a group of 61 people, all of us from a Salsa school. The animation staff turned against us from the 1st day, probably thinking we wanted to steal their scene?!? To note that the animation agency was MOVIDA and not SAMARCANDA (that is fantastic) as other Bravo Clubs. It rained continuosly for 2 days and the animation staff completely disappeared!!!!!
The bungalow are nice with independent air conditioned and with TV with channels in Italian, English, German and Portuguese.
We had a very bad thunderstorm that last for 2 days and after 10 hrs of rain water started to drop in most of the rooms of me and my friends and the resort was practically flooded.
The restaurant is amasing (both for food and service), the bar near the raception has a very good espresso that wasn't so good in the pool bar. The bar that serve breakfast/lunch was good too but full of black flyes.
The town of Santa Maria was 5 minutes away by cab and the transfer costs only 3€!!!!

  • Stayed: September 2009
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5  Thank gigand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2009

I stayed here with my wife and two daughters (10 and 7) on an all-inclusive basis. We were transferred from the Djadsal (where we originally booked) due to overunning building works on the pool there (please see my review of the Djadsal for more details).

We have travelled quite a lot and usually organise our holidays independently so our expectations of Cape Verde and the hotels there were not high. This hotel is 4 stars by European standards but probably 3 stars when compared to English hotels, we were not disappointed.

We are English and speak very little Italian so when we arrived at Vila do Farol we weren't sure what to expect, we need not have worried. We were the only English family for a couple of days (another English couple transferred with us) and we were joined by another English chap with his son (12) after a couple of days, he was also transferred from the Djadsal.

We were included in all the entertainment right from the start. The Italian animation team were fantastic, without exception, and always spoke English to us if they could, we reciprocated with any broken Italian we learned. My daughters both attended the kids club (the ladies running it spoke English quite well) and they both came away with a few Italian phrases they had learned from the other children.

As we showed we were happy to join in and laugh at ourselves we were simply involved more and more, what a bloody laugh. The pool area is one of the best I have seen with plenty of quality sunbeds (and no idiots creeping down at dawn to save them with their towels). The pool is salt water, which is fine once you get used to it with a large shallow area for the children. The pool is very important if you have young children as the sea is simply too dangerous for the little ones, the waves are very strong and the undertow can be deceiving.

There were two sports tournaments each day (boules, football, volleyball, archery, basketball etc) and regular dancing / aerobics / pilates around the pool (which we had a go at, you MUST try the Fundanela, hilarious). Yes there was loud music around the pool, but it wasn't loud all day, and there was no music at all during siesta hours (1pm-3.30pm).

In the evening there was pre-dinner music in the main bar and a show in the theatre at 10pm. The shows were either variety shows or musicals set to backing tracks and were mostly in Italian. I say mostly because once the manager of the entertainment staff realised he had some English guests he gave us an overview of the what was happening and explained everything in English. Most of the comedy is very visual though and my girls loved it.

The hotel is lovely, right on the edge of town and close to the beach. There is a walk to the sea but hey, it's a bloody big beach. The rooms were basic but kept very clean and the gardens are excellent, considering the lack of water available.

The restaurant was mostly Italian food with a couple of gala nights with Cape Verdean cuisine. We found there was always something we liked on the buffet. In addition the snack bar served breakfast until noon followed by pizza, salad, etc. Pizzas were cooked to order at lunchtime and burgers/hot dogs fried to order until 6pm. Sometimes some of the dishes were cold and the little birds which scavenge the leftover crumbs are lovely to watch but may worry your average Heath & Safety Inspector (not sure if that's a good or a bad thing).

The hotel staff were all really friendly and spoke the local Creole but once we had learned the basics (please, thank you, beer, wine, water, good morning, good afternoon) we were fine.

Finally I have to mention our fellow guests. Word soon went round that there was an English family staying in the hotel and many of the Italian guests went out of their way to be friendly and, where they could, speak to us. Once we had played Boules (Bocce) or danced, or joined in a guest talent show together we immediately had a bond which was sometimes simply expressed with a simple "caio" a smile and a nod of recognition, or more often we were joined for drinks around one of the bars or helped with the Italian version of Bingo.

Big Tip:
If you go with an open mind, be prepared to laugh at yourself, don't worry if you don't understand everything all the time and enjoy pasta you will have THE BEST TIME, if not you are probably better off going to the Riu.

As my daughter (aged 7) put it as we walked back from the beach party on the last night , "Dad this holiday is in my top 1".

Nuff said!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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6  Thank DaveBuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2009

We were a bit apprehensive before going to Vila do Farol hotel as we had just read the reviews about the language issues with it being an Italian hotel, we should not have worried. The hotel staff speak various languages and hand signals work well. There is 2 English speaking reception staff so if you have any problems or queries they can help.
The entertainment staff or Bravo club members are all Italian and speak limited English but they try very hard to get you to join in with the various sports and activities they put on. If you don’t want to join in they will leave you alone but I recommend trying some of the things as we ended up having a right laugh with them.

Around the pool the music can be quite loud. They play a mixture of pop, Italian hits and cheesy dance along tunes like YMCA……and yes you need to join in for that one!!!!

There are plenty of bars, a beach bar with snacks all day long, a pool bar (doesn’t do cocktails unless you explain what goes into the drink) and a bar that is open all day and into the night (which does do cocktails….Yum). Water is by the glass, if you want a bottle you have to buy this from the bar. It’s quite expensive as the pound to Euro is the same. Everything on the island is imported and water is a luxury (tap water is through a treatment works so do not drink it), so don’t waste it. The beer is very nice and the table wine is included and this is also very good. If you are a lover of wine you can buy bottles at diner times.

There is a main restaurant were buffet breakfast/ lunch and diner are served and the food is fabulous. I have never eaten so much in one week. It’s a mix of Italian pastas and pizzas plus fresh fish, vegetables, cheeses, salads, fruits and salads.

In the evening there is music in the all day bar which finishes at midnight. The nightclub opens at midnight and closes at 2am but the drinks here are not all inclusive and the music is terrible.

At 10pm every night there is a “show” in the theatre. This is the only time you miss out if you don’t understand Italian, so I recommend staying in the bar!!!!

All in all I recommend this hotel as it’s nice to get away from the typical British stereotypes that will be on the plane with you, who thankfully all stay at the RUI Thompson hotel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Betty-Rose-Blossom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2008

My husband and I read all the site reviews after we booked our holiday! Oh my God what are we going too? we tried to change hotels but they were all booked (this was a last min cheapo deal)
so we left the UK with no illusions as to how fab this hotel was not going to be. We had a great time, the food was excellent lots of fresh fish lots of pasta as you would expect from a Italian hotel, yes it was quite noisey but all Italians are they were good fun and very entertaining. Not speaking Italian did have its advantages, nobody bothered you!

There was a bit of a hike to the beach and the water was cold but we have been to the Red Sea at the same time of year and the water is freezing as are the swimming pools.

Cape Verde is not green so when you travel to your hotel be prepared for the barren landascape .

We did have a problem with our Visa your travel agent will get one for you but it costs about £40.00 at the airport it will cost you 15 euros so make sure you have some euros with you( thats 15 each).

Go to the Bravo have some fun. For anyone who is wheelchair bound they have a lift to the bar, ramps around the pool and accomodation is all on one level.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Fiftesomething
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about VOI Vila do Farol

Address: Praia Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal 4111, Cape Verde
Location: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Santa Maria
#5 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range: $142 - $273 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — VOI Vila do Farol 3*
Number of rooms: 236
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on Sal Island, the VOI Vila do Farol resort lies about 1 km away from Santa Maria, the main town, only a 20-minute drive from the international airport. It is immersed in a large garden overlooking the stunning beach. VOI Vila do Farol resort features 236 rooms housed in one-storey bungalows set along lovely lanes in a vast garden. The main meals are buffet served in the restaurant located in the main building, while a snack bar near the beach, a bar by the pool and a lovely bar in the lounge complete the offer. The main building includes a welcoming lounge with a reception desk, a disco, many boutiques, an internet point with wi-fi system, a multi-purpose room and a TV sat lounge. Between the main building and the seafront, a free-form swimming pool lies with a children section, surrounded by ample solarium terraces, and a separate plunge pool. Shady shelters and sun beds free as long as available by the pool and by the beach and towels. The beach is certainly one the main attractions of Sal. A shoreline of dazzling white sand extends for kilometres, lapped by the crystal clear water of sea characterized by unique colours… a true paradise for nature lovers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aw Bravo Vila Do Farol Hotel Santa Maria
VOI Vila Do Farol Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria

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