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“The location is just perfect.”
Review of Odjo d'Agua Hotel

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Odjo d'Agua Hotel
Ranked #11 of 19 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“The location is just perfect.”
Reviewed December 20, 2012

We booked the holiday through Thomson,the description of its location with "stunning sea views" etc gave the impression that most rooms with balconies had sea views,they do not.Our room was in a court yard setting with all the rooms facing each other.We had no view of anything as a huge palm tree was right in front of the balcony(see photo).Our first impression of the restaurant was very good,nice staff,good service and live music.We had gone for the half board deal and very quickly realised it was very overpriced.There was a separate menu for half board which got boring so the last two nights we went to local restaurants. I`m sure if we went B&B we could have saved money.These two issues were our only complaints,the hotel,its location,the staff,the whole atmosphere was great.Having breakfast in the sun on the decking area,with the sea around you was a perfect start to the day.Then sitting on the patio bar with a cold beer, watching the sun go down over the sea was my sort of heaven.Santa Maria is small but has plenty of shops,bars and restaurants.The area can be described as a bit scruffy and old, but nice.Plenty of souvenir shops and stalls but we never had anyone hassling us.You can walk the streets late at night without a care in the world.One thing to remember hardly any restaurant accepts cards,cash only.If your happy just to be a beach bum every day,its perfect.

Room Tip: Only a few rooms have good sea views and they cost more.The ground floor rooms will have people walk...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank 543Shonny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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English first
Torquay, England
Level Contributor
115 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2012

We booked the holiday with Thomsons on a bed and breakfast basis.
We found out about having to pay for sunloungers by looking on Triopadvisor before we went on holiday. After contacting Thomsons, we put a complaint in to Abta without any success.
There were 12 loungers, mostly in shade, around the pool which were free to use. The 30 loungers on the private beach you had to pay for.
The breakfast in the hotel was fine but the coffee from the drinks machine was not very good. We found out towards the end of the holiday that the staff would make you a proper cup of coffee and also prepare you fresh eggs etc if you asked.
We tried the restaurant one evening. The food was good and the views fantastic but we thought it was overpriced compared with some other restaurants we tried.
The room was fine and the staff excellent. You could change Euros or £s into local currency at reception. The hotel is in a great location very close to the centre of Santa Maria.
Santa Maria is only a small town with about a dozen restaurants and bars. As they have to import most things, we thought that prices were expensive compared with other holiday destinations.
We can recommend Tam Tam's, a local bar close to the hotel that serves good food, shows sky sports, and has live music some evenings.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank garryblower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Sussex
Level Contributor
156 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2012

We have just come back from a two week stay at the Odjo d'Aqua Hotel. We selected this hotel because we absolutely HATE large international resort hotels and we prefer to get out and about when we are on holiday and be away from the crowds and the all-inclusive culture. We found all the reviews really helpful and the hotel was pretty well what we expected to find: small, friendly and characterful and able to accommodate different tastes and needs and good value for money. Hotel Odjo d'Agua definitely isn't aiming to be an all round resort hotel for those who stay on the premises for two weeks! It also felt very safe in the hotel and surrounding area without the need for gates and with just one security guard on hand.

We didn't select the hotel for the restaurant which we tried only once for the setting but didn't think the food was that special - I don't even remember what we ate though it was the most expensive dinner we had in Cape Verde. A key advantage of this hotel for us was it's central location in Santa Maria and there are lots of other restaurants to try - we did try lots and would recommend the Hungry Frog which is new and where they will prepare anything you ask for from Cape Verdean specialties (especially grouper) to a jacket potato and salad or spaghetti with tuna sauce. Also try out the Cultural Centre on the town square. We had some great fish while we were in Sal and we also visited Santiago and Sao Vincente - no stomach upsets but were very careful with regard to water at all times. The hotel does a pretty good breakfast with reasonable choice including a good range of fruit.

Following advice from other reviewers we choose a garden facing room on the upper floor which was quiet most of the time and our balcony had plenty of afternoon sun. The only noise came from staff who could be noisy from time to time and one or two other (English) guests who insisted on having loud personal conversations below our window late at night. Some of the sea view rooms don't have much privacy so thanks to the reviewers who were clear about the choices. The rooms are big and air conditioning was effective and quiet. There is a good sea breeze so we were able to sleep with the balcony door open and the air-con off, which we prefer. Our bathroom was a bit tired looking but we had good large towels and hot water most of the time (they provided soap and shampoo which we didn't get in other Cape Verde hotels we stayed in). The mini bar was well stocked but we thought over priced - but there is a very well stocked corner shop near by if you want to do your own thing. There is no tea and coffee making kit in the room - which you wouldn't expect - we took our own and the hotel seemed happy with this. They provided some fruit everyday in the room as well.

We loved the beach and gladly paid for the loungers and parasol - it's a bit of a Ryan Air approach to pricing but in return they look after their section of beach really well and at weekends they discreetly managed any rowdiness of outside visitors. Although there was a rule that sunbeds by the pool couldn't be reserved, this was ignored and most days we were there the 12 beds were 'reserved' with towels by 10 am. The beach bar was one of the best services for us and the staff there were really attentive and efficient. We also valued the efficiency of the reception team who were very helpful about most things, including when we needed a doctor for a dislocated toe (and the doctor and hospital were also excellent). Overall we didn't find speed of service a problem in the restaurant or anywhere else in the hotel.

I think the hotel deserves a high rating and I would definitely recommend it. If I have any niggles they are that there don't seem to have double beds and push twins together - which means the sheets don't fit; and the mini-bar and Internet access was very expensive. But these are minor points and really didn't affect the holiday at all.

Room Tip: Garden facing rooms numbers 417-420 are a good choice for sun and privacy
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank RandDtravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
133 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012 via mobile

Travellers to Cape Verde may find choosing between the Odjo and other well-rated non-all-inclusive options tricky as they all garner similar scores. In terms of location the Odjo is miles ahead of, for example, the Morabeza. This is not just for the picture postcard setting, picturesque buildings and lovely beach, which are indeed spectacular, but also for the shelter against the prevailing North Westerly wind. Customers at the Riu, for example, are subjected to what feels like a 40mph gust most of the day whereas at the Odjo this is no more than a gentle breeze, in part due to the shape of the Santa Maria headland but also thanks to the fact that the beach is to the west of the hotel and therefore enjoys its shelter. This is a small, romantic and 'boutiquey' feeling hotel, so it lacks the vast facilities of the all-inclusives, but makes up for it in charm.

The beach at the Odjo is small but perfectly formed, and we usually entered the sea from the other side of the small separating wall as it is less rocky. The waves are great fun for adults but too large for small children. The sea is crystal-clear and warm, the sand spotless. Beach loungers on the beach are 2€ a day each which I found a bitter pill to swallow after paying hotel card rates for a week but the beds around the pool are free and overlook the beach. There is a beach bar that serves drinks as well as cold and cooked lunch all day right next to the hotel beach. The pool area itself is stunning, with blossom trees and calabash surrounding the patio. It really is a lovely place to read or chat the day away. There is a massage and wellness area between the pool and beach area.

Food at the Odjo is first rate, if you like fish and seafood. If you don't I would recommend skipping half board and venturing into town for your evening meal. The steak was good but other meaty options were average at best. Chips, rice and other accompaniments were superb, and the menu is fairly priced. I was glad to have half board, but then I love fish. Beware of the Barnacles (Cracas) - this is not a mistranslation!  Staff at the restaurant are mostly great but some seem to work twice as hard as others. Special thanks to Carlos who was brilliant. Breakfast is quite well appointed by European standards as there is a mixture of hot and cold options. Interestingly a lot of the restaurant's custom comes from other hotel's guests, so clearly it is well recommended.

The Morabeza comparison 

We found the Morabeza to be barren and neglected looking from the outside and the view from the pool side bar and loungers is of the back of the beach club, not of the sea. The Morabeza does however have more water sports facilities, some of the rooms are larger and there is more space on the beach. Food at the Morabeza is significantly pricier than at the Odjo. The Morabeza pool area is larger and there is a lot more space, but the hotel is perhaps ten times the size of the Odjo. Both are very well located for the 'nice' part of town. Overall I would certainly recommend the Odjo over the Morabeza for those looking to relax rather than surf.

The Riu

We visited the Riu out of morbid curiosity after hearing the locals refer to it as 'the prison'. How accurate this is. The hotel is protected by a 15ft steel and concrete fence all around and is surrounded by dereliction - much of which stems from dreadful post-construction site management. To the east of the Riu is a truly vile monstrosity of a half-finished derelict building site, to the west is a vast area of wasteland, polluted by construction materials probably left over from the Prison's initial construction. The part of Santa Maria to greet Riu guests brave enough to escape is frankly awful. Dereliction, half finished buildings and empty units are the norm here - a far cry from the pleasent and charming eastern quarter near the Odjo which is much older and more characterful. The beach at the Riu is beautiful with lovely views over the sleeping lion rocks and dunes, but the experience is somewhat undermined by the howling wind which blows here. They release baby turtles here from the beach which is no-doubt charming. Reviews from guests we met on our travels were mixed, some said that it was great, others that the food was cold, the beach uninhabitable and that they could not wait to leave - a mixed bag I guess. Either way this hotel is truly gigantic, and I am sure caters for almost any activity. For us, The hotel inside could be a 5* deluxe Ritz Carlton yet we would not stay there because of the inmate like atmosphere and the vile surroundings.

Santa Maria

The town itself has a good selection of nice bars (tam tam, the beach club, the upstairs reggae bar, Banditas, the ocean cafe and Angulo are all great) and restaurants. There are plenty of souvenir shops. Locals will relentlessly try and coax you to buy their stuff usually employing the "my friend, where you from?" tactic. I usually politely say "no thanks, I don't want to buy anything" and they leave you be. Others may be more persistent. At no point did I feel threatened or under pressure. Don't believe the bull of some reviewers here making Santa Maria out to be some kind of shanty town, it isn't, it's typical of a developing world coastal town with touristic facilities. There is a charming square and church to see, and a lovely boulevard for a stroll. Anyone who has been to St Lucia or Greneda in the Carribean will feel a strong sense of familiarity. Move west to the newer devopments and things move downhill fast, with far too many derelict developments that have run out of money and soulless shop units similar to those in the 'little England' resorts of Spain. Fortunately there is no need to venture this far. Venture further East past the Odjio instead and you will be rewarded by a fabulous surf bar with great beer and true Italian style pizzas.

Blinky

Those not travelling with a tour operator, and indeed those who are, should check out Blinky. She gave us a free walked tour around town, a great value island tour and an evening guide to the bars. She greatly improved our knowledge and confidence of the town. She has a page on this site.

Overall

I loved Sal and would recommend it for those seeking true winter sun for November/December. The Odjo hotel is by far the best place to stay and I couldn't be happier with our choice having scoped out the competition for the purposes of this review.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank benmilesbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012

Just to reply to the chap below. Food everywhere in Cape Verde is dire, it's a remote and poor group of islands with a huge import tax. Fresh fish is your best hope. But hopefully you're not going for the food.

Upset stomachs are inevitable but it's not dodgy food it's just bacteria your stomachs not used to. In the same way Cape Verdeans would likely get an upset stomach if they ate out in London. It's never more than mild travellers diarrhoea.

Odjo d'Agua is the finest hotel in Sal, in fact it's the nicest hotel we stayed in on any of the five islands we visited bar perhaps Pedracin Village in Sao Antao. Didn't experience slow service in our four night stay there.

Would recommend it in a heart beat. Morabezza's also not bad.

Room Tip: All the 'sea view' rooms are amazing.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GarethIwanJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
87 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2012 via mobile

My husband and I like to stay in small family run places with good food and a scenic view. On paper and in reality the odjo lived up to this. The food was simple but delicious. Service was slow but we had nothing else that we wanted to do - we could savour the view and live music for longer. The rooms were clean and well laid out. During our stay we took the opportunity to cost the Morzeba which appeared to be quite barren, no where near as charming as the odjo and not in as good a location for the beach. The Riu was also affectionately called the prison by locals and inmates and we regularly saw many wristband wearing escapees. I like to visit different places so I'm not sure whether we will be back to Sal, but we will definitely be recommending the odjo for our friends and family. I just hope that more plane operators start coming to Cape Verde - currently there is only Thomson direct.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TinyEm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed November 17, 2012 via mobile

This is a funny one because I agree the best reviews, and in some ways also the worst, and I think it depends on your outlook!

To confirm the 5 star reviews, this is a smaller, family run hotel in the perfect location on a near perfect beach. It is kept very clean and tidy, is warmly and coherently decorated and the staff are friendly. The pool is small but clean and refreshing, the minibars are well stocked and reasonably priced. The weather is amazing too, so far so good. It is undoubtedly the best hotel on Sal.

I would like to pick up on two issues that I do feel warrant not such a glowing review though. First is the service. Yes, I understand, "no stress, no stress" - but on our first night we waited nearly an hour before being given menus and ordering drinks. That's pushing it by anyone's standards! It's difficult to enjoy a meal when you are waiting a comedic length of time between courses, and the food is not particularly intricate - it really shouldn't take that long, and is down to poor management.
On another night, I had some kind of very unpleasant "gastro" illness; as we hadn't eaten anywhere else I have to attribute this to the food at the restaurant, and I promise you that I generally have a strong constitution! More on the food later, but on that night, I was in no fit state to leave the room so my wife ordered some food to the room for herself. This again took over an hour, and they had also forgotten that we were half board and printed out a bill for this (easily cleared up with the staff later).

I will say that the service improved significantly half way through the week, I think in no small part to the presence of a smiling silver haired lady wandering round who we realised was probably the owner!

Regarding the food; this was someone we were really looking forward go, as other reviews had said "the best restaurant on Sal" and so on. Well, quite possibly, but you need to understand that this is a relative term! Other than fish, which is delicious and fresh (served with salad, chips, potatoes etc) EVERYTHING needs to be imported to Sal. Bear this in mind when ordering because anything other than fish may well cause disappointment. I suspect it was my hamburger that caused the night of misery! I think that due to the rave reviews, we were expecting a little more variety and/or finesse. For instance, I suspect the idea of cooking rare tuna is recent consequence of tourism (they endearingly label it on the menu as "semi-raw"!) - tasty, but even then it should be nicely charred on the outside but rare inside. This had been cooked too slowly and though it was rare, the outside was bit soft and anaemic, more like it had been poached rare!

I don't mean to to sound picky or snobby, I'm just trying to balance some of the other reviews. I think it's important to know that Sal is in some ways still quite poor and undeveloped (this will change soon, if all the hotel building is anything to go by) and you aren't going to go get what you might expect to receive in other more developed locations. This is a boon when it comes to the uncrowded beaches and lazy beach bars, but not so great when it comes to the food. Having said that, the lovely family we shared a jeep tour with said that their large, all inclusive hotel had several a la carte menus, and they had recently eaten sushi - surely an easy thing to make in an area with abundant fresh fish - so I'm not entirely sold on this "best food on Sal" thing!

I'll shut up about food now, and end on a couple of positive notes: the breakfast is good, with tuna carpaccio, sparkling wine, ham and cheese, traditional cachupa (like a corn hash with pieces of fish and meat) and bread/toast/jam/cereal etc. (although the coffee is poor - sorry!). Another thing we liked was the ability to put your half-board budget towards something from the a la carte menu, which meant we had lobster on our last night for about £10 each which was delicious. And to risk repeating other reviews, the restaurant setting is absolutely beautiful, looking out along the beach and out to sea.

Overall, despite 24 unpleasant hours on my part, we had a lovely and relaxing holiday and would really recommend Odjo d'Agua, just be aware that everything is not utter perfection as you might be inclined to think from other reviews!

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Farlsborough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Odjo d'Agua Hotel

Property: Odjo d'Agua Hotel
Address: Zona do Farolinho, CP 71 | Ilha do Sal, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal 4111, Cape Verde
Phone Number:
Location: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
#8 Luxury Hotel in Santa Maria
#9 Spa Hotel in Santa Maria
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Odjo d'Agua Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 49
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

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