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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo Verde
Ranked #3 of 20 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 8, 2012

The staff are amazing and very attentative. The weather was fantastic. The entertainment is ok but the staff work hard. The hotel itself is looking a little tired and the pool area is not well maintained. the sunbeds looked dirty and the pool water was not very clear and had a scum on it, which was a little disappointing. The food was good but boring after two weeks. We went with Thomson and the flight was appauling, the crew were miserable and not helpful at all. We had a 24hour delay to get home and ended up in Tenerife for the night. The attitude of the air crew was disgusting. There is also no inflight entertainment so take an ipad. The rooms were a good size and always very clean. I marked the clenliness down due to the pool area. The pool could also do with a lot of maintnenance. There was always hot water and the showers were decent. the flies during the day were a little irritating. We did some island trips. I would recommend the quad bike trip and the 4x4 trip with Elvis, he gave us lots of information about the island and we were never rushed. The others who wnet on the Thomson trip complained of being constantly hurried along. The Thomson reps at the hotel were useless. Overall the island is beautiful. Be careful of the waves, they sneek up on you and wipe you out. hope this helps. Cape verde will be the place to go in a few years time. The locals were great and did not pester you in Sante Maria.

Room Tip: Stay at the Goropa it looked better maintained.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Atkins S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 7, 2012

We've been coming here for quite a few years now, the standard gets better every year! The food is great although it does get boring if you're here for two weeks, the staff are so friendly, waiters, waitresses, maids and the entertainment crew. If you're looking for a slob holiday this has to be it. We go every December to warm the bones with a little sunshine. Itinery: Breakfast, pool (swimup bar, well you have to have a little exercise if you're not doing the aqua arobics!), lunch, pool, shower, change for dinner, drink and a show, bed, then start all over again the next day! The entertainment team are amatures but do a really good job and are very friendly The sister hotel The Garopa is joined to The Funana so see which one is the cheapest option when you book, you can use the facilities of both hotels (it's one large hotel split into two). There are 4 A La Carte restaurants (2 for each hotel) that you can book, my favourite is the African bar b que, there is also a good fish one too (no so keen on the Asian). If you have children the kids club is based at The Garopa, the children seem to have a great time. The rooms have always been clean and comfortable. Try it, Caribean weather without the longhaul, by the way we always upgrade to extra legroom as it is over a 5 hour flight. Everything is All Inclusive, last year the only extra thing we paid for was my massage, so it's really good value for money. The very first year we visited a few of the other islands which was great but I think it has become very expensive now. Last year we did the jeep safari (off road sightseeing then a visit to the salt lakes) this was really good fun, try swimming in a salt lake, bet you can't keep horizontall!!! (how do you spell that?) I really feel that this resort is great value for money - have a great time :o)

Room Tip: We tend to book in blocks 2 or 3 as they are midway between the main dining room and the pool
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Jackie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2012

We stayed at the Funana from 10th October till the 24th. We really enjoyed the hotel.

Firstly i'd like to say if you expect a 5* hotel you will be disapointed.

Ill start with the flight, this is terrible and i reccommend you book extra leg room as you are like a sardine in a tin for the 6 hours. really doesnt get your holiday of to a good start.
Airport, make sure you do your your VISA, we weren't told about this from Thompsons so had to que for over a hour to sort this out costing us 50 euros, which you do get back from Thompsons.
Hotel, the rooms are a little tired but for us good as we only slept and shower there. there are plenty spacious enough. The grounds are very very well kept. The pool area was very good. the only thing that annoyed us was that they shut the pool for a whole day to clean this which we thought was out of order. (it would be better if you cleaned it daily rather than shut for a day). The beach is a must, it gorgeous. make sure you go in the sea when the red flags are out BUT BE CAREFUL and play in the waves, great fun.
Food- it was fantastic, great choice everyday. I read reviews saying same thing everyday, this is not the case. also make sure you go to the Grill, Asian aswell. they were fab.
Staff- Room attendants- rooms very clean everyday. Bar staff were great when we used them, i say this because its self service in a lot of places which is great. Restraunt staff- very helpful and polite. pool attendants- very ignorant. Animation team- these guys are awesome, they make you feel very welcome and are always polite to you. there don't nag you to do stuff, in which case you feel more obliged to do stuff with them. the waterpolo was great fun. very competative. make sure you go see the shows aswell, the effort there put in is unbelieveable.
THings to do- there is plenty do to if you want to do things- people say there is nothing. thats a load of rubbish. personnaly we didnt do anything for 2 weeks but that was our choice.
I would recomend to go, i think 10 days will be long enough for you.
this is the 1st time i have ever left a review on a hotel, i only did this as i thought a lot of negative reviews had been left before which were very petty which annoyed me so please ignore them and go see for yourself. it is worth it.

Room Tip: we stayed in the 2000 block and found it central to all our needs
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Ian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

The first 2 things I look for when I book a holiday are good food and a clean room. I was not disappointed.

Rooms are spotless, plenty of storage, good air con and a decent shower. We were in block 1 which was great for us as only a few steps to 24hr drinks and not far to walk to pools/beach etc. There are no carpets or rugs so you do hear people walking and doors closing, we didn't really notice it after the first night. I would recommend a 1st floor room, I think they are a bit quieter and more secure. Sadly we heard of people having things stolen from their ground floor rooms while the cleaners left the patio doors open, make sure you lock everything in your safe.

The food was perfect for me, so much fresh seafood. For those worried about choice, there are at least 4 choices of meat/fish on the main hot plates + pasta and a veggie option, a good variety of salads and loads of beautiful fresh veg, even a full roast about twice a week, the lamb was delicious. A pretty decent full English breckie every day (with champagne on a Sunday if you want it) + cereal, omelettes, continental, lovely fresh yoghurt and fruit. As much choice at lunch time as evening meal. Deserts do get samey and the meat can be a bit tough, not a problem for me because there was always fresh fish! There is also the pool snack bar serving pizza/toasties/main dishes etc at lunch time. I'd recommend the 4 other restaurants, book through reception, my favourite was the African. The only one we didn't get to was the Grill, we heard it's really good.

The hotel provides pool towels, we never had trouble finding sunbeds even at 10am, the best shade does tend to go quite early but we found that there were so many beds to choose from, you could just move to more shade when you needed to. The pool brings me to my biggest negative comment - FLIES. They do not leave you alone and they do get annoying, they seem to be worse near the banana trees so the far end of the pool is not the best place to sit. I usually get bitten a lot, but I was prepared. I recommend a good bug repellent with Deet as I did see some people with nasty bites, not sure if these were flies or mosquitoes.

Cape Verde itself is unremarkable, just a brown island really! We only went into town once, it was a night, which I wouldn't recommend. We were bothered, most of it just fun banter but it does wear you down, if they left you in peace they'd get a lot more customers. There's not a lot to buy either, we picked up a few trinkets but ended up bringing quite a lot of money home. We didn't do any trips, people we spoke to recommended the island tour. Go with the beach guys (Elvis) as they're much cheaper than First Choice. The sea is dangerous, it really pulls you in and we saw and heard of a lot of injuries, don't ignore the flags - they are for your safety.

We SCUBA dive, the dive centre is on the beach, reasonable prices and all equipment except wet suits in good condition. The currents are really strong, which means they won't let you wear full foot fins, I don't get on with open heel fins and I have very small feet which meant the ones they hired me didn't fit and caused me problems finning in strong currents. I didn't enjoy 2 of 5 dives as much as I should have because I was desperately trying to keep up with people. Thankfully the next day the sites were more sheltered and the currents were weaker. Be warned that there is a boat swap (not too difficult) between the beach and the dive boat, the dive boat is very small (kit is set up for you as no room to do it on the boat), the ladder is so weak that you have to remove your full kit before you get back on the boat, quite an art - for me at least. Perhaps I'm spoiled by big, well equipped Red Sea boats! There's a good variety of the usual reef fish, new things for me were lobsters, black and white eels and large hermit crabs. Sadly I didn't get to see a turtle. Be warned, they expect full payment before you dive, as my husband wasn't sure if he wanted to dive in such strong currents etc. it was a bit of a palaver getting them to agree to the one dive before he signed up for a package, they did let us pay after the 1st dive in the end but they didn't seem too keen.

We're not really into entertainment but the Animators work so hard you had to be impressed. They involve you if you want it, but don't pressurise you. We found the coolest place to sit at night was to the back of the stage area, otherwise we would have just stayed at the lobby bar. We enjoyed some of the daytime animation, shuffleboard is fun and of course aquagym. We went to the RUI Art and painted a canvas each, I'd recommend it, Seida is so lovely and encouraging.

Most staff are not over-friendly but do appreciate a smile and some manners! I think RIU discourage too much chat in case people think they're begging for tips. Spa is expensive and I found the treatments I had be be a bit brisk and unfriendly, my husband enjoyed his massage.

We had a great holiday but wouldn't rush to go back unless the price was right, because there's not much to the island. The climate is lovely, slightly humid, it's always windy and the flies are a pain. Far more positives than negatives though, enjoy your holiday.

Room Tip: Ask for first floor, don't leave valuables out of your safe.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Nanadom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

We stayed at The Riu Funana hotel in September 2012. We travelled as two couples and stayed in rooms next door to each other. The rooms are spacious with more then enough room for our clothes to be put away. The rooms are cleaned on a daily basis and beds were changed more than enough times during our two week holiday. On our arrival there were two bottles of water waiting for us and one had been put in the fridge which was a bonus. Water can be collected from the reception anytime of day.

The food at the hotel is excellent, there is more than enough to choose from at breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main restaurant. On a sunday morning champagne is served and on random nights cocktails and champagne is served as you enter the main area for food. There is a snack bar next to the pool which you can get croissants, fruit and cereal if your not up for breakfast and serves more then enough at lunch then snacks until around 5pm. It then turns into one of the themed restaurants at night which is the best location as its the only restaurant that is outside and specialises in grilled food.

We ate in 3 of the 4 themed restaurants we missed the 4th as didn't book in time, you have to book 3 nights in advance, thats the hotel policy and you can normally get a place. The 4 restaurants are spread over the 2 hotels but i felt that it is more like a village as you can use the facilities over both venues without any question. We ate in the chinese, cape verdian and grill restaurants, all were very nice and definately worth a visit.

There are shops on site and sell some nice bits. The beach is very nice but windy and the water is very wavey so if not a strong swimmer be careful. There are turtle nests on the beach and they are dug up on a daily basis, well worth a look. They are very cute!

The staff are all really friendly and always polite, the drinks are limited i felt but then i'm not a big cocktail drinker though did enjoy Sangria by the pool during the day. The wine is not the same as back home but drinkable enough. The entertainment in the evening is enjoyable but did get a bit samey by the end of the two weeks. The staff really put alot of effort into their performances though. The main square is in the middle of the two venue and gets very busy most nights.

The pool was the best part of the holiday, the swim up bar was lovely and there was more than enough entertainment on offer. We joined in with "aqua gym" and the boys played water polo on a couple of occasions. On a few occasions the staff served punch which were very nice indeed.

We didnt really explore outside the hotel as there is literally nothing there. We did visit the town and were hounded by lookie lookie men, which annoyed the boys though it is worth a visit. There are some bars and restaurants and we sat and had a drink on the beach front. Taxi's to the town are 3 euros.

The hotel is very nice and were happy with the price we paid, we booked during the January sale so got a discount would have been a bit cheesed off if we had paid full price only because our bed was uncomfortable and the air con in the room is not the best quality though other people did say theirs were working better. Saying the positives outweigh the negatives and we would deifnately consider returning to Cape Verde to see how the developments are coming along! Oh and to add it is very very hot!!! Rained very little.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank love2holiday1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Noisy rooms - revellers trawling back in the early hours - banging door and shouting/speaking out loud. The reverse happened in the mornings from 6am with people leaving their rooms to go out and reserve sunbeds. Staff were particularly miserable even when we tried so hard to engage with them and smile, we just got blanked. Our room was small with no privacy in bathroom as it is 'open plan'. Hotel managed to help us by erecting a curtain (pinning it up) on entrance to bathroom. Food was bland and very samey. Beach-wear acceptable in the main restaurant in the evenings. Smoking everywhere, including restaurants. Sand on beach (which was beautiful) was full of cigarette ends. Would strongly advise not to attempt to drink the wine as it was revolting - all of it!! We paid to get out of this place on day 3 when our 'fresh' linen was badly stained, and went to Melia Tortuga, similarly priced, just around the corner but in a different league in every respect. Would not hesitate to recommend Melia.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank colette1924
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

We stayed for two weeks with 4adults 2 children 6 and 4. Firstly why do people moan you get what you pay for it is very good value for money. We found all the staff friendly from the cleaners,bar staff even the gardeners perhaps some people should try saying hello rather than saying that the hotel staff are unfriendly. We had some great trips the island tour is a must with Elvis do not use Thomson Elvis is cheaper and more relaxed. If you like fishing then go with Carlos who you can find onthe beach we went twice absolutely brilliant what an experience we caught loads of fish and our guide even got a 5 foot shark on a hand line.
One big big bad point is the flight with Thomson getting there was fine coming home a nightmare. As it is not classed as a long haul the cabin crew fly out and back on one shift so this leaves no spare time for delays. We boarded hour and half late and then was told due to crew hours we had to fly to Tenerife and spend a night there. This turned out to be a cluster f**k from start to finish. This left a bad end to a good holiday especially as they had ample time to arrange alternative crew. SO THOMSON SORT IT OUT .

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank ludsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Cabo Verde

Address: Cabocan Lote A2, A3, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde
Phone Number:
Location: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Spa Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Maria
#4 Family Hotel in Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range: $252 - $554 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Cabo Verde 4*
Number of rooms: 500
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Situated on the island of Sal in the Cape Verde Islands * Main building and 2-story annexes * Situated on the beach front together with the ClubHotel Riu Funana * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach * 1.5 Km to Santa Maria * 15 km from the airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Funana Santa Maria
Hotel Riu Palace Cabo Verde Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria

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