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Reviewed March 31, 2009

You have to go there and enjoy it as I did. On my professional life I'm used to go and stay on several hotels trough Europe, and Sal Island and this particular hotel surprised me and my family a lot.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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Thank Fclassico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2009

I stayed there in Dec'06, on a beach bungallow and A.I. with a friend, and even though it isn't the best hotel in the world, one needs to keep in mind that it is Cape Verde, with all its pros and cons. It is an archipelago with a lot of poverty, and has to import almost everything; however, their inhabitants are nice, friendly people, the sun is excellent, it is really close to Europe and the sand... is a magnificent white sand, that is literally blown over and carried in the winds from the Sahara desert. The water is tepid (refresing yet warm enough to make you want to stay in it for hours) and transparent, and there is a multitude of watersports possible.
Location wise it is excellent, close enough to the village without being bothersome (Riu is so far away, that if you fancy a walk after dinner you need to either call a taxi or drive yourself), right off the beach and some 500 meters from Santa Maria. The novorizonte is part of the "Oasis Atlantico" duo of hotels, one 4* and the other 3*.
Reception is simple but you get what you need, and should you want to take part in one of the planned excursions of the varied agencies, they all post their suggestions on a board there. A valet will take your bags to the assigned room.
The rooms are more than ok, set right on the sand; simple yet confortable wooden construction with a small veranda, a simple bathroom and a small walk-in closet. They are clean (even with all the sand), and the air conditioning manages to keep (or make) them cool fast. It really is a no-frills bungalow.
Food is ok; always plenty, well made and with a lot of local ingredients such as fruit and fish (no shellfish though, except shrimp sometimes), but it is a limited menu and may get tiresome if you stay there too long. However, it is the best option if you stay long, as restaurants in Santa Maria are usually expensive. The AI option is a valid choice, as for a small extra you get all meals and drinks, including ones served at a beach hut (very practical).
The hotel provides you with beach towels, which you can also use in the pool. Both in the pool (well kept, if maybe a little bit 'naked' in surroundings) and in the beach you'll find free sun loungers to relax.
There is also a kids pool and a care centre.
The island itself hasn't got much to see, but some things are definitely worth seeing - the mirages, the salt lakes, the vulcanic pools of 'biscoito'. The village is a cool, trendy tropical place in which you set the tone yourself; if you get a critical, impatient eye you'll soon be bored, but if you get in the groove, you'll enjoy its relaxation and mood, and even find that the souvenir sellers (most of them coming from Senegal) are friendly people, and might even find yourself in a beach luau under the stars...

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank WingDrill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2009

First I booked the trip and the hotel, then I read the reviews on TripAdvisor and... got scared. Shouldn't have.
The hotel turned out to be really good. We stayed in one of the bungalows, almost at the beach. The bungalow (sleeping room, small bathroom, extra room for storing things) was good enough for two people (however, I cannot imagine more people staying there, even if those were kids). Simple, so don't expect real 4* conditions, it's Capo Verde conditions. The bathroom is very small and rather not well done, but it's very clean. Cleaning ladies do really great job there! The hotel surroundings are great. Lots of green, though it's probably not easy to maintain it there. And they maintain it very well. Every day you can see people working on it.
The beach that is next to the hotel is really great. Spacious, clean.
The food at the hotel is great. We are really no hotel food lovers, we usually don't eat at the hotels. But we were surprised by the food there at the very day we arrived. The grilled tuna.... mmmmm :) After trying some food in the restaurants in Santa Maria, we discovered that really nothing can be compared there with novorizonte's food. Fresh fruit (papayas, water melons, apples, bananas and lots of more) and great fish (every day a choice from at least two types), vegetables...
The staff is kind and always ready to help. Every day they'll bring fresh mineral water to your room.
I can't advise you about any activities at the hotel as we didn't attend them. However, I know that every day you can join beach and water gimnastics, in the evening there's entertainment, kids can go to a kids club (at the belorizonte). The pool is clean, however... who would stay at the hotel if there's the cool beach two steps away :)

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank oryginal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2008

The hotel is officially a 4 star, but I would rate it a 2 plus or maybe a 3. The rating in the Thomson brochure was about right.

Having travelled to over 30 countries ,including some third world, we thought we were prepared for this holiday. However, on the 1st evening, we walked into resort of Santa Maria for dinner. What a mistake. We were pestered and followed all over the place by groups of locals (young lads who weren't selling anything, just following us and shouting things in English). Did not feel safe at all despite what some holiday reps will tell you. After this bad experience we ended up having to stay in the hotel for the whole holiday which we normally hate doing. Santa Maria is a major building site and the centre is like a shanty town with stray dogs, broken glass and rough gravel roads. I would not recommend taking young children there. The beach is long and fairly empty although when we went on it, it was full of broken glass, litter and empty bottles. It does not seem to get cleaned. You are better off using a private section.

We booked one Thomson Jeep excursion which was a good day out because it got us away from being stuck in the hotel. We visited a town called Palmeira. It was better to buy souvenirs there. The locals do not pester there or try and rip you off. Food and drink was cheaper here too.

Hotel food and drink was very expensive and so was Santa Maria town. Expect to pay 2 euros for a tiny coke and water was very expensive too. The hotel rooms were basic, no home comforts here. There were some cockroaches in our room although we got rid of them, so better to ask for a higher floor. We did think the rooms were clean though. There are no English channels on the TV. Food at the dinner buffet was repetitive but breakfast was better. Flies are a big problem here, be careful what you eat, they are absolutely everywhere. The hotel need to get some fly traps or something in the dining room.
Pool was nice and quiet and only annoyance was occasional stray dog. There are 2 main pools (one salt water) and a children's pool. In fact, I had the salt water pool to myself sometimes! There is live music and entertainment at night but we did not use it.
We didn't get any stomach bugs although on our return flight we discovered lots of people had this at the Riu.

Overall, this holiday would be ok if you just want some winter sun and do not mind staying within the hotel but if you like to go out and explore,or enjoy luxuries then I would say it is not for you.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank mo1UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2008

We had booked nine days in RIU GAROPA ,but due to bad reception,awful rooms , and no availability from the hotel to solve the problems we decided to go and find another hotel. And we find OASIS -BELOHORIZONTE a very agreable space with friendly people and near the beach .The hotel has two pools and our rooms were near the large one with a spacious balcony . The hotel is very agreable , the breakfast is good and the service is friendly although a bit slow . The rooms and bathrooms are very clean and and we didn´t see any significant bugs . There are flies but they were careful and eveything was covered .
If you want to go to SAL and are looking for quiet and friendly service go to OASIS .

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank Max_Luca_Porto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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