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“No Stress!!!! Paradise Beach”

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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo Verde
Ranked #3 of 20 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“No Stress!!!! Paradise Beach”
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Just got back from 2 weeks here brilliant stay.
We went to the welcome meeting hosted by Claire and Stacey from Thomson's also inc the Hotel staff and a short traditional dance show not the normal boaring meetings this was entertaining from start to finish.
Hotel is right on the beach and WOW what a beach!!!!!!!!!!!! there a few tour guides on the entrance to the beach, I highly recommend the tour and go with Ola and Daniel (brothers) fantastic tour guides and saw more than we expected all for 25euros each, leaving at 9.15 and back to Hotel at 5pm best tour of the island and fantastic events in the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hotel is more than I expected having staying in all inclusive in various countries this exceeded my expectations.
Food in main buffet was really nice and the 4 restaurants highly recommended but you need to book these 3 days in advance, so much choice so you will not go hungry.
Staff all friendly and nothing too much trouble, rooms are cleaned daily with clean towels and a fresh beach towel every day, so don't jam your case taking beach towels when Hotel provides them.
Live shows every night fab and even Night club in the hotel which opens at 11 if you want to dance the night away!!!! but doesn't effect those wanting a quiet night which there are quiet bars too.
Various cocktails served and Champaign each evening on entrance to restaurant and many morning champagne was offered heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I highly recommend this place if you want holiday that's not commercialized and taste of part of the world different to what you can do at home, great place to relax ,chill and more.
Weather was Hot but be careful you don't realize with the winds still burns you even with factor 30, the sea is so inviting and not too cold its aqua blue like the pictures but current can be strong.
Fabulous in all theses areas!!!!!!!!!!!
Hotel, Food, Drink, Island, Beach, Service, People, Families,couples, solo

Room Tip: Sea view Front Block 4 / 5
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank HJ89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Manchester, Uk
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Stayed here for a week late June- early July and I cannot fault the hotel. Our room was spotless, cleaned everyday and the maids personalised the room for us each day, was a wonderful surprise! All the staff were friendly and welcoming and the pool area a great size, not too busy so we always found a sun bed even late afternoon.

Food was 'nice' to put it simply. Good standard however everyday was pretty much the same with 'not so' traditional foods such as pizza, chips, pasta. Felt very unhealthy and got rather boring but as we only went for a week it was ok. Booked one of the 'restaurants' thinking it would be a waited upon type thing however this is buffet style again so just make sure you know.

Beach was beautiful, clean, open, I can't fault it. It's was just breathtaking.

Went on a tour round the island and did I boat trip from the marine harbour however me and my partner felt very uncomfortable going through the towns that were there as it is very poor, we definitely wouldn't have gone on our own!

Overall, a fantastic hotel, clean rooms, stunning beach however repetitive dining and uncomfortable surroundings.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Steph267
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Really liked this hotel. In my opinion, not quite worthy of a 5* rating, but a lovely hotel all the same.

My girlfriend and I visited in July 2014 through a Thomson package deal.
First thing to note, is that this hotel and the Riu Garopa are essentially the same hotel - they have different reception areas, but all facilities, restaurants etc are shared. The Funana is slightly closer to the beach than the Garopa, and if you're lucky, you'll get a room with a sea view (we weren't lucky though!).

Location:
Location is the one factor which I felt let this hotel down. Although it is located just down the road from Santa Maria (3/4€ in a taxi), it is still quite secluded and there isn't much to see or do outside of the hotel walls apart from on a planned excursion. The transfer time from the hotel is only 20 minutes or so and, obviously, it's situated right on the beach (but I'll come on to that...).

Food:
Good mix! It's an all inclusive hotel, so as you might expect, it's a buffet deal.
Breakfast was my favourite meal with a mix of cooked breakfast, cereal, fruit, pancakes, pastries, muffins and doughnuts.
Lunch and dinner were good. For your evening meal you can book into one of the four themed restaurants; I'd definitely advise this as it stops the food becoming repetitive and it's a much nicer dining experience - the African cuisine option was our favourite!
Snack bars also serve late breakfast and lunch near the pool areas.

Pool(s):
Four of them in total (plus a kids pool). Two pools on the Garopa side and two on the Funana side - both identical. One pool on each side of the hotel has a swim up bar too - so no complaints there!
Always plenty of sun beds around the pools, and from my experience, they were kept clean too. My only issue is that the water was bloody freezing.

Beach:
There's a path leading through from the hotel to the beach. It's not exactly 'private' in the sense that it's fenced off, because anyone can walk along it, but it's not a problem.
Loads of sun beds, water activities and a bar. The water is gorgeous, just watch out, because the waves can sometimes take you off your feet (saw it happen to a few people - it was hilarious to watch, but probably not so much for them).
Bare in mind that you might get hassled a bit by people trying to sell you excursions along the path from the hotel to the beach. Generally, if you say "no thank you" they'll leave it at that.
Strangely though, the gate to the beach is locked at [I think] 6pm each night, so you'll have to go out the front of the hotel and walk around that way if you fancy an evening stroll along the beach.
There are also a lot of dogs which I thought were strays, but my girlfriend noticed that most of them had collars on. They weren't a problem though, they just lay in the shade and I didn't see a single poop!

Room:
Bigger than expected. We didn't have a double bed, but had two HUGE singles which were pushed together. Room was very clean and if we were lucky, we ended up with a towel animal left by the maids.
If you want to watch TV though it'll probably help if you speak Spanish or German. There are only a small number of English speaking channels (a nightmare for trying to watch the World Cup final!) and you can't retune the channels because it's locked. Small tip though - some channels allow you to change the language by going into the channel settings.

Other:
- There's (randomly) a Pacha nightclub in the hotel. We were going to try it out one night, but it looked completely dead so we didn't bother.
- Water. The reception will provide you with free bottles of drinking water (tap water is undrinkable) - just ask.
- Activities. When you arrive you're handed a sheet of paper with all of the activities they offer. However, (perhaps we were being stupid) we couldn't find where most of them were taking place. There is a board outside of each main dining room, and they display the activities for the day (but most of the ones from the sheet of paper weren't listed at all).
- Entertainment. We tried it two nights and found it terribly boring - it just wasn't our sort of thing. Bear in mind that we're in our early 20's, so it might be more suitable to a different age bracket.
- Excursions. We did the Thomson 4x4 Island Tour thingy and it was amazing - best part of the holiday. We saw practically everything worth seeing on the island within half a day.
- Weather. The weather can be quite cloudy, but still nice and warm; it's worth taking some trousers for the evenings though.


I've tried to be really thorough here, but I'm sure there's plenty that I've missed. Hopefully you found this useful. Overall, the hotel itself was excellent - if it wasn't for the location I'd definitely stay again, however the fact that there wasn't much to 'explore' outside of the hotel means that I won't be going back.
(Final note - the airport is boring as hell. So take something to keep you occupied while you wait for your flight home because there are only about two shops).

Room Tip: Funana has the potential for a sea view. If you book on the Garopa side you could end up with a view...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Returned a few weeks ago from Riu Funana and I'm still missing the beautiful beach! Overall had a brilliant time but this isn't the Caribbean, it's Africa so don't expect the same standard of food as Riu Dom Rep or Cuba like I did! Booking the a la carte restaurants as soon as you get there is a must! It is unlimited reservations and by the second week we couldn't hack the same thing for lunch and dinner at buffet anymore so ate out quite a few times in Santa Maria. The standard of the a la carte restaurants although they are still buffets even down to the cucumber, is so much better! African was the best as food was actually seasoned!

We had a courtyard/beach entrance view in block 5, which was a walk from reception but I preferred it as much closer to the pool and beach. Rooms a bit dated but nice with African theme. No idea why Garopa and Funana are separate hotels as all same facilities and they are literally a mirror image of each other but beach is on Funana side. Spa was nice and had lovely massage, different special offer on each day. Gutted only discovered the jacuzzi on the last day as it's inside the spa courtyard in the sun.

Please take MOSQUITO REPELLENT, never have I been bitten in the day time before but soon as I used Deet 100 with my sun cream and after sun I didn't get one bite after that. We only did one excursion, the island tour which has to be done! We didn't book anything through thomson though as too expensive..all the guys down the beach are really nice and you don't pay them until you get back from the tour.

The entertainment team were brilliant and so talented..I don't know how they keep going all day and night! The few shows I saw were good but more enjoyable if you're aged 40+ I'm sure! The nightclub 'pacha' doesn't open until about 11 pm and was pretty dead but I'm sure it will start to get busier now. We went to a club in town called 'Calema' which was way better and only EUR4 in a taxi each way - fine if there's a few of you.

Thomson do a free walk into Santa Maria on a Saturday at 9am which was really worth while. The school really appreciated the couple of boxes of paracetamol I took which cost me 25p each, this costs them about EUR 6 per box to buy out there and considering the hotel bar staff get paid about EUR10 per day it is extortionate!

Santa Maria Bay/pier is possibly the most beautiful scene I've ever seen...go now!

Room Tip: Email hotel in advance to request 1st floor room in block 5
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GemGem391
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nuneaton, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2014

My boyfriend and I have just returned from one week at the Riu Funana (July 2014). The hotel is beautiful and as for the staff - they are all so friendly, don't hassle you for tips (as we have experienced elsewhere) and will go out of their way to make your stay comfortable. I have never stayed in a hotel as clean as this one. Every day we would walk past the Main Stage and there were so many different people constantly cleaning, you could tell they really took pride in their work and the hotel.

The rooms were spotless and huge. My one complaint would be that you could hear everything around and below you. This wasn't too great as my boyfriend got sunstroke whilst we were there and so we stayed in the room so he could try and sleep it off - not easy with everyone shouting and slamming doors. I know that people making noise isn't the fault of the hotel, and they are on holiday after all. It was just a bit frustrating as he wanted to feel better! The television channels seem to be 99% German! We managed to get about 5/6 that we could change the channel to English and could watch when we were struggling for something to do! We didn't really go to any of the entertainment as we could hear it from our room and it didn't sound like our cup of tea! We did go on our final night and were bored. I don't think there is enough going on at night. We found we were back in our room by 10pm every night as we were quite bored. We were also going to go to Pacha on our last night, but nobody went in there so we thought we wouldn't go and be the only 2 people in there! If you want wi-fi, there is free wi-fi in the reception, but it is terrible!

The beach was nice, just a shame about all the cigarette butts all over the sand! You also do get quite a bit of hassle on the walk to the beach as there are people trying to sell excursions. Thankfully, as we had done the 4x4 we just said we had done it every time they asked and they soon left us alone! I thought that because the stretch of beach belonged to the hotel that it would be completely segregated, but others can access it and so you get A LOT of dogs on the beach. We didn't see any dogs mess, and they don't bother you all they want is to lie in the shade, however if you're not keen on dogs this may put you off a bit! The sea is very warm and much warmer than the pools! Once we had been in the sea we decided we wouldn't go in the pools again as we could only stay in them for about 10 minutes! It isn't for weak swimmers though as some of the waves can be huge. One minute you'll be able to stand up flat footed, the next you're having to doggy paddle to stay afloat! The beach is rather noisy due to the animation team trying to get people to take part in activities. At times I did feel like they didn't understand that some people were on holiday to RELAX! They would come up and say what activity was going on and would say things like "don't be lazy!" I don't go on holiday to exercise and so didn't take part in any of the activities, or go to the gym. So if you're worried about keeping fit on holiday, there's plenty to do!

The food was your standard all inclusive really. There was plenty of choice in the buffet restaurants, along with the snack bars by the pool (2 of which doubled up as Speciality restaurants). There are four of these - Cape Verde, Africano, Grill and Mandalay. We did all except for the Cape Verde one as neither of us are overly keen on fish. Loved the African restaurant and the selection available, along with some entertainment too! We loved the theme in the Mandalay restaurant, but didn't feel the food was all that special. If you aren't keen on buffet style though, I'm afraid these restaurants still serve food in this way.

Whilst we were in Sal, we did two excursions - the 4x4 tour of the island and the Sea Turtle Catamaran. We booked these through Thomson before we travelled, however there are people on the way to the beach trying to sell the 4x4 tour. The 4x4 tour is a great way to see the vast majority of the island and what is has to show. We did plenty of stops, including a stop at a Salt Lake, Shark's Bay, Palmeria, Murderia and the Blue Eye which was beautiful (however, with how cloudy Cape Verde can be you aren't guaranteed to see it!) The Catamaran was lovely as it was an adult's only one and just a great time to chill. The staff were constantly bringing round drinks and snacks and again didn't ask for a tip once! They were all very lovely and helpful and left you to get on with what you wanted. We stopped off for about 45 minutes so that people could go and swim in the ocean. However, we decided not to as the sea is quite rough there and we were literally in the middle, not in a cove as we have been on previous trips.

We flew with Thomson and had to endure a 6 hour flight with no entertainment! Also, on the way there we were separated, making the flight even more boring. Meals were included, however if you wanted a drink you had to pay! On the way there we were offered tea and coffee with our meal (at no charge), but on the way home we had to pay if we wanted it.

Overall, we had a lovely holiday and Sal is a beautiful island. There really isn't a lot to do there though, and for that reason I don't think we will be returning. It was perfect for what we wanted after a stressful few months though. The people on the island are very friendly and don't hassle you too much (apart from the odd one or two). We didn't go into Santa Maria for the reason we knew we would get hassled there! The reps were also very knowledgeable, but we couldn't seem to find them whenever we wanted them.

Room Tip: The Funana is on the beach and so you have a good chance at getting a beach facing room (we didn'...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Olivia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hillingdon, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2014

My Boyfriend and I stayed at the RIU Funana in June 2014 for a weeks holiday. It was our first time in Cape Verde so we did't really know what to expect however I will definitely be returning! The hotel was absolutely beautiful with a superb african themed reception as soon as you walk in. Upon arrival our bags were taken to our rooms for us and we were greeted with a champagne reception, quick easy check in and shown straight to the bar. There were 4 themed restaurants you had to pre book which I would definitely recommend doing as the food was absolutely amazing! The Asian and Mixed Bar and Grill were my favourite 2. Anyone who criticises the food here clearly needs their heads examining as there was so much choice every day! All hotel staff were extremely friendly and helpful and they work very hard. There is a 4X4 island tour which Thompson reps sell however we booked ours with Elvis on the beach, it was half the cost and I'd rather give my money to the locals than the reps. On the tour they take you to the local charity school where you see all the kids - make sure you take plenty of fruit for them as they are so so thankful for it! We gave one little boy a bottle of water and it was like he had just received an xbox for Christmas - they have to walk miles to get there water. The beaches are absolutely stunning however very windy so we didn't really sunbathe there, we spent our tanning time down by the pool where there are plenty of sun beds and always activities going on. Extremely good value for money and I cannot wait to return one day!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Channon T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 July 2014

We stayed in July 2014 on a week holiday booked with First Choice. The flight does feel long, and it can be difficult to get any sleep as there are two drinks runs, a meal run and a duty free run. I would advise on pre-booking your seats as my fiancee and I were separated and she is a nervous flyer. On the way back however, we asked at check-in whether any seats were available on the flight and we were upgraded to the extra leg-room seats, so well worth asking.

On arrival, the transfer was very swift. We were off the plane and at the hotel within 45 minutes. There is quite literally no traffic on this island and it is a noticeable point when you saw another vehicle.

The hotel was the best part about this holiday. We e-mailed in advance and asked for a room in either block 4 or block 5 and we were allocated a sea-view room in block 4 which was fantastic. Don't listen to people saying its too far to walk, whilst it is furthest away from reception, it's also closest to the pool and the beach. Room to restaurant / reception was around 3 minutes.

The room was immaculate. We are very fussy and we could not fault it. The room facilities are all excellent and very clean however the shower is not in a separate room as it is open plan. The room safe is free and is a physical key, rather than a code. The TV was a good size with BBC and Sky news - we also watched some tennis while we were there (if you don't mind the Portuguese commentary).

The food was fantastic, and as particular eaters we are always a bit apprehensive when travelling. All the food was fresh, with a large selection cooked in front of you. Fruit and dessert was also a good selection and there was a nice variety on order. We ate in all of the speciality restaurants and did not leave disappointed. You can book them all together and probably best to do this on your first day there - sittings are at 7pm and 9pm.

Drinks were very good and service was usually very fast. There are also shops available - if you are staying at Funana I recommend you walk over to the Garopa as their shops were better.

The pool area was nice as well as the pool bar. Swimming pool is not heated and was quite cold, especially on the first day were it was quite cloudy.

The beach was very clean and there are hundreds of sunbeds. There was never a problem getting one if you were prepared to walk just a minute further. The dogs and cats are very sweet and friendly and they love attention.

A word of advice - the locals will hassle you, and you must be prepared for this. When we were on the pier where they bring the fish in, a local gave us a 'tour' and shadowed us for about 20 minutes walking with us.

I proposed to my now fiancee on this holiday and the hotel put a bottle of champagne in the room which was very nice. The next morning there was also a champagne breakfast which was lovely.

Overall it was a fantastic holiday and we will be returning.

Room Tip: Block 4 and 5 are best
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Sammi H
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:
Region: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre 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 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Spa Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
#4 Family 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/Santa Maria, Ilha Do Sal

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