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“Oh so disappointing!”

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Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ilheu Das Rolas
Certificate of Excellence
Silver Coast
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Oh so disappointing!”
Reviewed October 13, 2013

I wish I could write something (anything!) positive about this hotel but sadly it's just not possible. This tiny Island is beautiful and the people are lovely but the hotel is dreadful, despite its lovely location. The food in the restaurant was recycled from one meal to the next and worse, from one day to the next. We were there for 4 days and by the end, I had to remove the tablecloth from any table we sat at because the staff were just turning them over. Not one tablecloth went anywhere near a laundry! On our last morning, at breakfast, one of our travelling companions opened a sweet bun and insects cascaded out onto his plate. Needless to say, we all left the table hungry. As the days went by, less and less fresh fruit or desserts were made available. Our room, a suite, was spacious enough but never kept clean and as the days passed the water from the shower diminished to a trickle and was foul-smelling. Definitely hazardous to the health. The pool area was sad and the bar pathetic and usually unattended. The beauty of the Island helped keep our spirits up, especially the wonderful Praia de Café. However, the Pestana group should be ashamed of themselves for keeping this hotel opened.

Room Tip: don't go!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JordanSilverCoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Diretor de vendas at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Dear Guest , we thank you for your evaluation at Pestana Equador and for your time.
We deeply regret not having been able to bring you the best memories during your stay.
All the issues you mention have already been subject of careful analysis with corrective measures to prevent such future anomalies.
We take very seriously your comments and promise to eliminate any negative points quickly.
We will continue to keep up our goals to do everything to ensure comfort and safety to those who visit us.
Kee well and receive our best regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
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Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2013

the location and the scenary are awesome. Quiet you don´t feel crowded and amazing views. The staff is very polite and helpfull ( in spite of being exploited- the average salary is 60 euros a month). The main problem is the food; because you don´t have an alternative the food is really poor ( can you imagine in a tropical country sometimes the fruit runs out).The place needs some renovation but the main things are there and you forget about that because of the location

Room Tip: Ask for the ones facing the sea and the swimming pool (200 and some 3oo)
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ricardo5409
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Diretor de vendas at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, September 12, 2013
Dear guest
We enjoy and appreciate the time you put into sharing your recent stay at Ilheu das Rolas
It is very exciting for the whole team and manager of the Hotel know that somehow our hospitality contributed to a memorable stay amoung us .
Is indeed a privilege to live and work in this scenario blessed by nature and have visitors like you that help to furthering the name of this paradise.
One additional note about your comments: our employees are our greatest asset and are rewarded above the legal values ​​established by government authorities .
Looking forward to welcome you soon ,accept our kind regards .

You need to see what was not seen, see again what has already been seen,
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Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2013

Ilheu das Rolas is a paradise, beautiful, amazing place!
The tree corridor that takes you to the restaurant is stunning!
However...
The hotel has nice rooms in little houses, but bathrooms are not in good conditions.
Restaurant not so good pool chairs are depressing with advertising coca-cola or something like that-it is not admissible for a resort like this-there is no consideration on decoration any more- is totally decadent, almost abandoned- which in the right spirit it can be charming ;)
It has all the potential to be an amazing, fantastic and unforgettable place!
You can walk around the small island-really nice walks!
Go and see turtles in São tomé with Sr. Hipólito Lima from Marapa!

Room Tip: near the pool was nice-had no problem
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rita F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Diretor de vendas at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, July 11, 2013
Dear visitor
We are very grateful for the time you put into sharing your experience with us. We appreciate the compliments and we were proud that we have contributed in some way to take away good memories.
Passed already few months after your visit, we think that is important to inform you and share with the community who use this forum that we continue a deep process of renewals of the public areas , rooms, restaurants and bars, vessels as well additional support services as a new and prestigious nautic center .
We agree that this little paradise has all the potential to be an amazing, fantastic and unforgettable place! Reason why we care .
We hope to see you soon . Saudades desde São Tomé e felicidades
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Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2013

We spent 5 nights after Easter and got 3 sunny days and 2 tropical storms, which were refreshing. The staff did their best in difficult circunstancrs, as everything has to be taken onto the boat by island. Rooms clean and large. Pool great and Praia de Cafe a must , althogh beware of the (harmless) youths trying to sell 'a lunch of freshly cooked fish' ..... overly expensive. What spoilt the stay were the feral dogs roaming through the resort at day and night. Mark C.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark_Lisbon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Diretor de vendas at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Dear Customer
Thank you for your time sharing with the huge community of travelers your experience with us .
You can not imagine how motivating it is to share with our employees your kind words.
We are more committed to doing better every day,trying harder to provide excellent moments to our customers .
We take note of the issue of dogs causing troublesome . We inform that we are the final stage of mooving the dogs to the other side of the island.
Thanks again and please come back soon.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 2, 2013

I had the fantastic privelege of a day visit to the Pestana resort on Rolas Island off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe.
On arrival (by boat) we were greeted by friendly staff with ice cold face towels, a cool welcome to a hot and humid day.
A friendly local guided me to the equatorial line. A breathtaking site and the dilapidated mosaic gave it an old world charm.

After swimming at 3 of the prestine beaches, I set off to the resort for a calming swim in the saltwater pools accompanied by a cold beer from the pool bar.

Lunch, served in the main restaurant was great, especially concidering the remote location and logistics in getting produce.

The resort does need a slight face lift, but the natural surroundings and feeling of a place forgotten by time gives it a Robinson Crusoe feel.

Thank you to all the friendly staff and fantastic management at Pestana!!

I hope to return for a longer stay in the near future.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Judikos1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Diretor de vendas at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Dear guest
On behalf of the staff and management, we appreciate the time dedicated to share your recent experience with us.
Besides an irrepressible pride we know that this is very important contribution to future visitors.
We have the privilege of working to provide the best moments to all who visit us..
We look forward to welcome you again in the near future.
thank you very much
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Cabinda, Cabinda, Angola
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2013

After reading the reviews of some patrons, I think perhaps they expect a bit too much from a tiny island in the developing world. A four-star rating in Europe is not the same as a four-star rating in Africa. If traditional western-style luxury and comfort is what people are seeking, I think they are not meant to travel in the developing world. Going to Sao Tome is not about comfort... it's about seeking real adventure and being close to nature.

I recently stayed at Pestana on Ilheu das Rolas with my partner, and we would return in a heart beat, both because of the beauty of the island and because of the excellent service and amenities at the resort. Our Sao Tome vacation took a turn for the worse when I became ill, and the staff at Pestana were nothing short of amazing... please read on below.

Ilheu das Rolas is incredibly beautiful... a truly special place on earth. It was heaven. Walking around the island was a treat. It is a lush paradise with amazing untouched beaches and crystal clear water.

On arrival, the staff greet you off the boat with smiles and fresh coconut water. We made reservations by telephone the night before we went, instead of going through a travel agency. There were plenty of cabins available, we got the best rate, and the front desk staff were incredibly nice when we arrived.

Despite the other reviews, the resort is very nice. I don't understand what people expect, really! There are beautifully constructed cabins, which are clean and well-appointed. The salt water pool is beautiful; there are several bars with all manner of drinks and food. They have fresh fish dishes, great soups and fresh local fruit. The service is typical for island culture... it's not the most prompt, but it is fast enough, for sure. The servers are very friendly and helpful. Overall, I feel that the accommodations were well worth the price we paid.

Unfortunately, on our second night at the resort, I became very ill with an infection in my kidney (this was not in any way related to traveling, being in the developing world or eating bad food... it just happened). I woke up in the middle of the night (about 1:00 am) in excruciating pain. I knew that I would need to go to the hospital in Sao Tome town. My partner notified the front desk, and within minutes, there was a staff member there with pain medication for me. The manager jumped to action and he and the staff readied the boat. They took exceptional care of me and carried me to the boat. The manager accompanied us across to the main island, along with several staff members. Before we had left the resort, they had already called a medical truck to come and take us to the hospital. Without their quick attention, I would not have been able to make it to the hospital for care.

I was admitted to the hospital in Sao Tome, and within minutes of arrival there, there was a representative from Pestana Resorts at the hospital with clean bed linens, toiletry items and food for me and my partner (the hospitals in Sao Tome are terrible, and family members are expected to provide linens, food, etc for patients). Further, after I was released from the hospital, the Pestana Resort in Sao Tome offered us a discounted room and help in the form of the hotel doctor, who checked in on me every day during my recovery. They attended to our every need, drove us from the hospital to the hotel, and gave us room service at no charge. They also helped us obtain a flight back to our home in Angola, and drove us to the airport free of charge.

In short, Pestana resorts went above and beyond their required duties for me during a time of need. We are so impressed with the care and attention offered to us by the staff and management at Pestana resorts. They certainly did not NEED to go to such lengths to help us, but they did so quickly and without question. The staff members are very caring, and in my eyes, they are heroes for helping me.

I would highly recommend Pestana to anyone traveling in Sao Tome or on Ilheu das Rolas. It is worth the money spent, and it is a beautiful place to spend a few relaxing days. And if you happen to need help as I did, they will do everything they can to make sure you find what you need.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Dr_Kelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Director of Sales at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, March 12, 2013
Dear guest,

We are very grateful and humbled by your kind and generous comments.
Thank you for the happiness you have just given us on receipt of your esteemed news, which we have proudly shared with all the team.
When you decide to once again honor us with your preference, we will once more do our best to serve you and, hopefully, be part of a truly memorable moment for you, of enjoyment of this wonderful country, its people and its nature.

All the team (at Pestana Hotels & Resorts in São Tomé and Rolas Island) wishes you a complete recovery and hopes to see you and your partner soon.
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Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
82 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

The sight is perfect but...all the rest is not good at all!
The Hotel is very old and it needs to be...rebuild!
The personnel is very kind but slowwww....
The rooms are big but not (very) clean.....a pity!
I love S.Tomé and Rolas but they deserve a better organization then the one Pestana Hotel offers there! And the tourists certainly deserve far better for what they pay! Just an exemple: during 3 days I had the same beach towel because the Hotel didn't have any clean towels! Absolutely unacceptable in a tropical climate, warm and humid!! After 3 days I finally had a clean towel! And the food is not good at all. They don't know how to cook in this Hotel. Go early to breakfast or you won't get the most significant part of it.
No Spa! No fitness center! Just a big swimming pool. And the beach in front of the Hotel is full of rocks. Be very careful!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Luis F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Equador, Director of Sales at Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Dear traveler
We appreciate your comments about your experience in Ilheu Rolas. We regret that your expectations were not completely met. With the help of our employees we will continue to do everything to provide the best moments to those who visit us with an open mind.
Dailly we try to please our customers , highlighting the best of what we have to offer , as a more traditional foods possible and with what mother nature has endowed this little paradise including excellent beaches, almost exclusive, which does not take much to discover .
Hope to see you soon again
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas

Property: Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas
Address: Avenida Marginal 12 de Julho | Agua Grande, Ilheu Das Rolas 851, Sao Tome and Principe
Location: Sao Tome and Principe > Ilheu Das Rolas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ilheu Das Rolas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Pestana Equador - Ilheu das Rolas 4*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A unique paradise in the centre of the world , crossed by the Equador line is one of the last unsploid ecological sanctuaries , with christal clear waters and luxurious vegetation . ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pestana Equador Island Hotel

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