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“Good winter break”

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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo Verde
Ranked #3 of 20 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Stockport
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Good winter break”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Enjoyable winter break (1 week). Sunshine pretty much guaranteed. Nice breeze on the beach so not too hot also. Spotlessly clean hotel and rooms, food OK for all inclusive, buffet style. There are four other separate you can book in the evenings which are slightly nicer, a little more intimate, but still buffet style. The entertainment is good for families. Don't expect much from the local town about 3/4 hour walk away, nothing there really. One visit was enough and you get pestered by the locals wanting you to buy things. However we just wanted a beach holiday and the beach was lovely and clean, soft golden sand, sunbeds and parasols plentiful and free, sea looked great but could't go in as red flags were flying throughout our stay. Bars are plentiful around the hotel, including one on the beach. Drinks ok, wine tasted watered down! Staff very friendly and helpful. Will definitely consider going again as it ticked our boxes.
I'm six feet two and managed the flight OK although a little cramped over six hours.
Only complaint would be the Wi-fi charges, 3 euros for 15 mins and 7 euros for an hour. If you just want to pick up emails it's a rip off!!

Room Tip: It's a large complex with 5 seperate blocks of apartments, Block 5 near the beach and pool, Bloc...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank JohnandAnneStockport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Colchester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Stayed two weeks in March. First visit to Cape Verde.
Flight out was good and comfortable, but took six hours 20 minutes. From the aircraft you are bussed 500 yards to the “terminal”. Took approx. 40 minutes to go through the two passport control desks. You are then faced with one of the smallest luggage carousels I’ve ever seen, which resulted in even more delays since most of the luggage belonged to the people at the back of the passport queues. Eventually your bussed to the hotel in 15/20 minutes.
We did not like the first room we were allocated, and were relocated the following day on the first floor of Block 4. Rooms are more than adequate in size and for storage and are kept exceptionally clean. Free use of safe, but beaded curtain covering wardrobe was a bit of a pain.
Entertainment: Been to quite a few Riu and Grand Bahia Principe hotels and we were expecting the same formula of entertainment, but this was a big improvement. The animation team are fabulous an great fun. The childrens’ entertainment followed the usual patterns, but the adult shows were well thought out and included the African, Portuguese and Brazilian influences which was supplemented by a group of two girl singers, guitarist and keyboard player. There is also a smaller theatre which provided alternative musical acts which was self contained with its own bar.
Food: Excellent breakfasts, hot and cold. Only used the main buffet for lunch once in two weeks and instead used the snack bars located near the pools. Evening meals were good with broad range of food to suit the multi-national customers. Only complaint about the restaurants was the “zombie” customers who seem to have little or no consideration for anyone else. There are four speciality restaurants. We preferred the Santa Maria (grill).
Drinks: Like other reviewers I have to agree the wine is disgusting - don’t even bother. Lager type beer is Ok, G&T and brandy were alright but seems to be watered down in the evening compared with the drinks at the pool bars during the day! Self service of beer and soft drinks in reception areas and the restaurants is a great idea - you could also get wine, but don’t go there.
Weather: We only had one cloudy day in two weeks and on the majority of days did not see a cloud. High 20s and into the 30s with a breeze to take the edge of the temperature. Never felt too hot or clammy. The wind on the beach on one of two days was getting up to gale force, but thats why people come here for the wave sailing and kite boarding.
Service: We found service exceptionally good. Hotel staff appreciate it when people say please and thank you. Vast majority were happy, hard working and friendly.
Pool / beach: We found little or no difficulty in finding sunbeds, either on the beach or poolside.
Santa Maria beach is stunning, and we were surprised that so many people staying in the hotel had not experienced this beautiful expanse of sand and water only a short walk away.
Local bars: We tried four local bars, and there is only one we would recommend and that is Tam Tam (the Irish bar). We would not recommend Baileys.
Telephone and internet: If your mobile phone has a roaming contract you should be Ok using it, if you have a pay-as-you-go type it probably won’t work. You can buy a local SIM card for 3 or 4 Euros, but you will need your phone’s PUK code to make it work, and since you are then logged into a local provider a short course in Portuguese will be required. The alternative is to buy time at the hotel on their internet. 5 Euros buys 30 minutes.
Airport: Chaos again at at the Toytown airport terminal for the return journey. Long queues to check in luggage, then long queue to passport control, then on into a small area containing a few “duty free” shops and a cafe. Some of our friends made the mistake of going through the hand luggage check area into departure area where they had to stand for over 30 minutes before they could even get a seat. There are no screens and no announcements.
Flight time back took just under five hours. Don’t expect to get that longed for bottle of wine on the way back with your meal though, because the customers on the way out have bought the majority of their supply on their way in because they know that will be their last drinkable wine for one or two weeks (and Thomson don’t restock their bars in Cape Verde).
Would we go back? Yes. It is definitely on our winter holiday schedule from now on. Not as far or as expensive as the Caribbean, and almost guaranteed hot sunny weather, good food, great entertainment, well managed hotel - pity about the wine.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank egretclan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Me and my family stayed at this hotel in the summer season. The overall holiday was good, the weather fantastic.. Bit windy somedays which made it cooler however you still burned like a lobster... Don't be fooled!
The rooms were spacious and good facilities including a hair dryer, tv and safe. Plenty of wardrobe sharing space.
The food at the hotel ranged from various themes in the buffet. During our stay we did visit the buffet restaurant for dinner when a power cut went down this was not unusual. The staff came around with candles and made sure everybody had what they wanted.
The breakfast variety was very good some mornings you could be greeted with champagne!! Variety included doughnuts, pastries, full English and a continental selection.

The swimming pool was freezing especially first thing in the morning when the sun had not warmed it up. The swim up bar was good so you didn't have to get out of the water to get a drink.
Cocktails were very nice!!

We did not go outside the resort due to there being not a lot to do! It was very much desert like when u went out of the hotel gate ( no vegetation).
The market the hotel run was very lively and it gave u the chance to purchase authentic souvenirs.
The entertainment was average .. Very cheesey but a lot of effort went in from the staff,

One night we found an injured cat on the hotel grounds sitting on one of the chairs outside the buffet, this cat was extremely hurt and needed medical attention we reported this to the staff who then decided it would be good to throw stones at the cat and laugh to shoo it away. We was disgusted by their attitude towards the scared injured cat and this caused distressed. Looking at the hotel manual left in the rooms we spotted that they were part of the hotel to keep away vermin.

Overall probably wouldn't go back due to lack of activities

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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1 Thank Charlotte186273
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pontefract, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Have read some good and not so good reviews about this hotel and can see most points. We booked 2 rooms as travelled as a party of 4 (family), the rooms were interconnecting, which is an excellent feature as there is a secure entrance door which can be locked so that room doors can be left open, this would be great if travelling with children.

The rooms were spotless, with ample storage space, all of which had just been cleaned out before we arrived (the coat hangers and some of the drawers were still wet). The cleaning standard was kept up daily. They did look a little tired, but think this is more to do with the colours and the sun.

Food was excellent in choice and variety. However we always hate buffet type hotels, not for the food but for the lack of manners from others, some of whom must think it will run out and don't like waiting in line. Rather disappointed with the specialist restaurants, as expected these to be waiter service (as we have experienced before in similar complex at other locations), when in fact these were buffet service also.

The walk of the beach to Santa Maria is wonderful, but if you want quicker access then take the road or a taxi. We went into Santa Maria most days, and ate there 4 times, 2 lunches and 2 dinners. Some lovely bars/restaurants, quaint and laid back.

We hired a car and also quads (twice), both great fun, the quads being such an adventure. We did want to hire jet-ski's but time got the better of us.

If travelling the Sal for the first time, the sea is wonderful but still the Atlantic, so can be quite choppy close to the shoreline. Great for wind-surfers and there are plenty of them and also good for divers.

The Spa is worthwhile, some relaxing treatments, and nice friendly staff, which was what we found all the staff to be. Other than this, we did not have time to experience any of the other daytime activities within the complex, but I do believe there was a full programme. Entertainment was available each evening and the area was crowded, with lots looking to enjoy it, although it was not always our choice of entertainment, hence the night visits to Santa Maria, where we could relax over some well cooked fish and chat.

We will certainly go back to Sal, but would not be afraid next time to stay in one of the smaller hotels in Santa Maria as the flexibility of eating out suits us better.

Room Tip: Block 4 & 5 are closer to the beach & pool
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank 24hoursfrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2013

Lovely all inclusive hotel on the beach. Lovely staff, great dancing and games on the beach by the beach bar.

Food good, especially the Cabo verde and Asian restaurants (all included) e e ing entertainment not bad, but since we have been three times before don't always other. But the animation team do a good job. If you like anything like Zumba, the dancing on the beach is similar. They also do keep fit on the beach, aqua fitness and lots more. Although it is just my husband and I that go, it is also good for families, but the sea can be a bit rough, lots of kite surfing and boarding.

We will return again this time next year.

Room Tip: Try to get one in block three or four with a sea view, lovely to hear the sea in the mornings.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank BristolLindaBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barnoldswick, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2013

A week in the sun, just the break we needed from the weather here, and having been to Boa Vista we decided to stay at the Riu Funana, almost identical to the Riu Karamboa. Sal offers a better chance of good weather than the Canary Islands and is less expensive than the Caribbean with shorter (if horribly uncomfortable) flight times. A rather barren island with a lovely African feel, we found it to be safe, totally laid back and the ideal place to chill!

Riu Funana and Riu Garopa are really just one vast hotel, and taking advice from other reviews we just booked the least expensive at the time and used all the facilities. That said, there was a difference, both the reception area and the main restaurant were much nicer in the Riu Garopa.

The grounds of the hotels are immaculate and spacious with 10 blocks of rooms, 1 to 5 at the Riu Funana. Our room was in block 5 on the first floor with a side sea view, in a nice quiet area just where we wanted to be, but for anyone with walking difficulties it was a long way to the main facilities, and for anyone with a poor sense of direction there was potential to get lost! The room itself was beautifully decorated with a warm African theme, roomy with a large comfortable bed and lots of storage space. No charge for the safe which was nice and I can honestly say I have never stayed in a cleaner room, it was spotless.

We did not dine in one of the themed restaurants but ate our meals in the Riu Garopa’s main restaurant except lunch which was available in the Riu Funana. To actually sit and eat inside was rather like having a table on the M60 and not a pleasant experience. We usually waited for a table outside to become available. The food was reasonable and it was always possible to find something to enjoy, but that cannot be said for the drinks! The wine was coloured water with no difference between red, white or rose in flavour or temperature and drinking sparkling water with our meal when we enjoy good wine at home was not acceptable. How can this be classed as a premium hotel with the only palatable drinks being the beer, port and the G&Ts?

The position of the hotel was ideal for us, the furthest away from Santa Maria, so nice and quiet but still within walking distance either on the beach or along the main road. For people who didn’t want to walk taxis were available for 3 euros each way during daylight and 4 euros after dark to pay for the lights!

To summarise:
Positives – Comfortable, Friendly, Exceptionally Clean, Reasonable Food, Spacious, Nice Position, All Staff Polite and Hard Working.
Negatives – Too Big & Busy, Poor Quality Drinks, Expensive Internet Access.

Top Tips:

Buy a wine box or two at the airport to enjoy on your balcony.

Ignore the constant attempts by Thomson to pay to book your seats going home so that you can sit together, we did and got a window seat and the one next to it just where we would have chosen.

Take something warm to wear at night, it was quite cool. Also most people went to dinner wearing fleeces and jeans, no dress code.

The sea is extremely rough and the red flag was flying everyday so no swimming or water sports from the hotel.

The hotel is heaven for cat lovers.

Sort out your wifi before you go – 2 hours connection in a 48 hour period 14 euros, 5 hours connection over a week 30 euros – robbery!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gelly88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gutersloh
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

The room was clean but fairly basic - unfortunately there were a lot of cockroaches(LARGE ones) but they didn't bother us really. The food was tasty and varied, but tended to rotate fairly quickly - saying that the live cook food was amazing and the staff were always very nice. The themed restaurants were sub standard apart from the one that did the local cuisine and the staff were snooty and the service poor.
The pool was impossible to get to, as all the loungers were full really early in the morning and the place was packed. The sea can be very dangerous with a serious rip and there is only lifeguard cover for a small portion of the day - there were two broken thighs (adult men) and a near drowning of a child in the two weeks we stayed as well as broken noses and other injuries - please don't ignore the flags.
It can be hard to get a lounger on the beach, as there aren't enough of them, but the beach itself is vast and you can walk all the way to Santa Maria.
The gardens seem half finished with large sandy areas, but the Garopa next door has lovely landscaped areas and is on the whole a nicer finished hotel with a nicer reception area. It is like the Funana was built second and they ran out of money and enthusiasm.
Bar staff are poor at serving in order and even worse at clearing and cleaning tables. The choice of drinks for an all inclusive was also sadly lacking.
Trips through tour operators are shockingly expensive. While the guys who line the way to the beach offer cheaper tours, they will also rip you off shamelessly, so its worth going the legitimate route. We usually go our own way, but got stiffed here, along with many others, so I would recommend paying the rep and going organised.

Room Tip: Pick one in the Garopa! If you are at the Funana the beach side is a long trot from the restaurants...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank NogbersMummy
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

Property: 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 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Spa Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
#4 Family Hotel in Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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