Myself and a friend stayed at Odjo d'Agua at the end of May '11 for a week. My idea of hell is an all inclusive resort and so we were looking for something with a bit of character and charm even if it meant not having 5* luxury. The Odjo d'Agua Hotel was perfect. Set on the each of a cove with its own private beach this hotel is small and relaxed offering an escape from the larger, all mod con laden resorts further up the beach. The hotel was very quite when we arrived with only a few people scattered around and this was great. We felt as if we had the whole resort to ourselves. Towards the end of the week a few more couples had arrived but even still most of the time the pool was empty or the beach was quite. People tended to leave the hotel for the day and come back in the evening. This hotel is very couple/adult friendly and that was great for me as I didn't have to worry about screaming children or noisy kids clubs. The hotel has a very relaxed feel and the staff, although very attentive and helpful when asked, don't intrude on that.
The layout of the hotel means most of the bedrooms surround a central courtyard and all of them either have a patio or balcony complete with chairs and a hammock, which was used frequently when all I wanted to do was relax with a beer and a book. The rooms are simple yet comfortable and they were always very clean and well equipped with clean towels etc. The housemaid was great at coming back to clean our room if we had slept in and was always on hand to fill the mini bar. The TV only had one English speaking channel but then who comes on holiday to watch TV anyway.
The hotel itself has a gorgeous pool area with sun loungers overlooking the beach and there was nothing more perfect than lying in the sunshine listening to the waves crashing on the shore. The beach is literally down a few steps and there are sunloungers available for a couple of euros a day. There is a small shop that serves cold drinks and ice creams and they can charge to the room if you do not have cash on you. There is also a small spa area on the beach where you can book in for massages and treatments through reception.
The hotel restaurant is lovely and has a terrace perched above the sea where you can sit at dusk with a cocktail and watch the sun go down. Perfect. The seafood is truly excellent, caught that day by the fishermen further down the beach. I ate what was described on the menu as "Africa Fish" and I am still not sure what sort of fish it was but it was beautiful. This restaurant is by far one of the most expensive places to eat in Santa Maria, so be warned but it is worth coming to if you can. It is extremely popular so book early. (Also the portions are often very big and tend not to come with sides so ask the staff when ordering.)
There are many good places to eat in Santa Maria. The food is often very simple but extremely tasty and I actually found the smaller cafes and restaurants that served the locals served the best and cheapest food. The is a small open air restaurant on the beach, a short walk from the hotel. It has live music/BBQ during the weekend and is always very popular. The beer is cheaper here than anywhere else we found in Santa Maria. There is also a great cafe further down on the beach which serves pizza and sandwiches and its sister cafe behind it and over the road has an ice cream parlour with Italian style ice cream. Delicious.
We did venture out to one of the 5* resorts for lunch during the week. The Morabeza has a very lovely beach front restaurant and serves a wide range of typically European dishes. This is great if you want to eat somewhere a little bit more upmarket but then you do pay for it.
The pricing in Santa Maria seems to vary from place to place. Often ice cream is more expensive than beer so always look at the prices first. Also in Cape Verde they accept Euros and Cape Verde Escudos (closed currency) Its worth keeping a track of the exchange rate as often vendors will give you change in Escudos even if you have paid with Euros and you may lose out. You can also use US Dollars in Sal too but I am not sure if everywhere takes them or if it's just the airport. Make sure you get some money from the airport on arrival as there are not that many ATMs in Santa Maria.
I spent the week doing little more than reading my book on the beach but if you are interested in water sports then Santa Maria has diving schools and the opportunity to go kite surfing, snorkelling and surfing as well as boat trips to the other islands. Sal is a very dry and arid island and so if you are looking for lush tropical forests or mountainous vistas it isn't the place for you. However what Sal does provide is an escape from the tourist resorts of the med. With its gorgeous sandy beaches, warm blue seas and ideal climate Sal in May was perfect. The temperature was about 28/29 degrees but it was dry with a refreshing light breeze. I imagine later on in the year Sal can get more humid.
I had a wonderful week at the Odjo d'Agua Hotel and if I come back to Santa Maria this is definitely where you'll find me.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built on a small promontory where the Vera Cruz Lighthouse is located, the hotel is partially built over the sea. From the hotel restaurant you can enjoy the stunning overlooking of Santa Maria Bay. We offer a warm welcome to our clientele, who can relax in a quiet, intimate and family atmosphere while enjoying the surrounding beauty of the ocean and Santa Maria beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Odjo D'agua Hotel Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria
- Hotel Odjo d Agua