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“Refreshing alternative to the all inclusive monstrosities”
Review of Hotel Morabeza

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Hotel Morabeza
Ranked #4 of 20 Hotels in Santa Maria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 November 2013

This was our first trip to Cape Verde and we were quite dismayed to see the huge European all inclusive resorts that line a lot of the coastal area around Santa Maria. The Morabeza is different in that it offers the quality and many of the conveniences you would expect from a 4 star hotel without losing the sense of being in West Africa and the culture that goes with that. The hotel is on the beach in Santa Maria and has private sunbathing areas on the beach as well as a relaxed bar and restaurant. It is the closest beach hotel to the center of Santa Maria and although secure, you don't feel isolated from the town or its people. The hotel offers the opportunity to book on a B&B basis leaving you free to choose to eat in one of its restaurants or to try other local restaurants if you wish (many hotels offer only all inclusive). We had a standard room and had requested in in a quiet part of the hotel. We were allocated a room close to the crazy golf which was quiet and although not classified as a sea view, we could see the ocean from our balcony. The room was not huge but I would say it was ample for our needs,and had a very spacious bathroom with 2 sinks, large shower and a bidet. There was a fridge and TV with international channels in the room and an overhead fan which was great at night if you didn''t want to leave the airconditioning on. The breakfast was excellent - buffet style with lots of choice that was continually replenished. We only ate one dinner in the hotel so can't really comment on the food, though lunch at the beach bar was consistently good and offered good quality meat dishes if you got tired of fish!. The hotel also had several other facilities such as a games room, tennis and a gym. So were there any negatives? not really. We found the staff generally friendly though got the impression that maybe they were cautious about appearing overly friendly. The customer service is maybe not as polished as you would get in similar level hotels in Europe or the US, but I felt it was of a perfectly acceptable standard. All in all I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone who likes a good standard of accomodation and facilities whilst feeling like they are after all in Cape Verde.

Room Tip: I would probably avoid the pool areas - we had room 418 which as a 1st floor room away from any nois...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank mary_b2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 October 2013

We have just returned from a 2 week stay at the Morabeza Hotel in Sal. Our first time is Cape Verde so we took the advice of the many reviewers of this hotel. We were right to do so! It's a beautiful hotel, so relaxed and laid back and the staff are great, very friendly and ready to help with anything. The food in both the Tortuga bar and restaurant and the Palmiers restaurant is very good and drinks are not over expensive, a refreshing change from the likes of Turkey and Greece. It's so close to the beach that a morning walk is essential, dipping your feet in the perfect turquoise water. Breakfast was very good with an excellent selection of just about everything, and frequently replenished so it was always fresh. The rooms were lovely we had one in the block facing the sea but set back so it was nice and quiet, although I doubt any rooms are noisy! As mentioned before, the staff are great and I have to mention Joana who is the Guest Service Manager. I had a situation where I thought I had lost my diamond earrings, and I believed that they had fallen down one of the holes in the bottom of the safe. No problem, Joana herself came and managed to find one of the earrings under the safe (using a screwdriver and the "do not disturb" sign to flick it out) and then Mario from the maintenance team came, removed the safe and we found the other earring stuck in the corner. These were a gift from my husband and so had a lot of sentimental value so you can imagine how pleased I was. As was Joana, who said how much it had made her day! Overall, we can't recommend this hotel enough, it was lovely, a perfect haven for a winter break, or any break as the weather is so consistent, and we will go back again!
And I can't finish this review without mentioning our Cape Verde Experience rep Tracey! What a star, so in touch with anything that went on (she had a big hand in the earring situation) and always so approachable and friendly. She let us know if anything was happening in the town that she thought would be fun or useful and made us feel like old friends. I think the best rep we've ever had!!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled on business
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10  Thank Elspeth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2013

Having spent a lot of time taking a balanced view of this establishment and how it enhanced our holiday, we feel that excellent is the correct rating.

In agreement with Miguel2770, the service, charm, facilities and location of this hotel are very good by the island's standards and the housekeeping was as good as we've experienced anywhere.

We chose to go bed and breakfast so as to frequent a variety of local eateries and bars in the evenings. We found the breakfast was a good spread compared to normal Mediterranean standards and that of many international four star hotels. The madelines were especially tasty morsels, we like well cooked bacon, and this was available regularly. The only negative was the coffee at breakfast, either self dispensed from a fairly old Douwe Egberts machine that tasted like barley cup, or a jar of instant Nescafe.

However, the hotel operates a pool bar and a beach bar from 9-6, both of which offer a higher grade of coffee for around a euro, which is what we opted for each morning with our madelines. If you are a coffee lover, then there is excellent coffee to be found locally at Le Prive,(eve only) Palm beach or La Villa :) all within 200 yards of the hotel grounds.

We noted some previous comments about the number of pools here and we are pleased to say that the newly refurbished main pool was reopened whilst we were there, bringing the number of pools up to 3. At the time of year that we visited, there are more than enough sun loungers on the beach and poolside, so no 4.30am rise to get a towel down!

Whilst we didn't experience the half/full board fayre, it looked to be predominantly grilled fish, salad and potatoes, rice and bread, we were told by other guests that it was tasty and fresh. There are two a' la carte restaurants within the hotel, however they were closed, due to early season and the fact that the majority of guests were on full board basis. There were a few families with very well behaved and pleasant children, but the clientele was predominately 25-65 year old couples. The Tortue bar upstairs has a modern and sophisticated colonial decor, chilled background and great live music, quality discreet staff and a good range of reasonably priced international spirits.

We opted for an upgrade to an executive room and we felt it was very good value for money. We had a fridge in our room to enable us to stock our own "mini bar" and snacks. We had a view of the sea from our terrace and the pool was a few steps away. The bed was a King size very firm (to our taste) and we slept like babies every night. There is also a ceiling fan and air con unit in your room for your comfort.

Outside the hotel
The Beach - Probably one of the best in the world, clean, safe, tidy, soft white sand with a gentle and occasionally powerful swell in a balmy 28 degrees of clear azure water. The opportunity to see locals working, playing and using the beach and the bay is in perfect harmony with tourism that we feel adds an extra dimension to a beach holiday. There are very few hawkers using this part of the beach.

There are a multitude of local dogs that spend time on the beach, most of whom are adopted and kind of looked after by the hotel and their guests, but if you are not a dog lover, no stress, they won't pester you.

In Town - Having such a close location to the main town, it is easy to get into the main street in a couple of minutes from the room. Whilst there re 40 restaurants listed you do have to try a few to find a good balance between quality and price. Generally, local fish is the best choice in the evenings however, you can get good Italian and continental style snacks in the day. See our separate reviews for these places. In summary, the best places on the beach front that we experienced were 'La Villa' and 'Palm Beach'. In the streets further back from the beach, you can do a lot worse than the locally frequented 'Pensao Relax' and 'Cafe Creoulo'. The international menu at Morabeza's 'Aquarius' (Beach bar) is of a high standard and worth the money (10euro dishes), in our opinion. About 4 streets back from the beach you will find bijou local's bars with 'grelhados' outside grilling lovely tasty, well cooked chicken for around a euro a piece with beers at the same price.

Culture - It is completely safe to walk around Santa Maria seemingly any time (we are night owls) The Cabo Verdeans are friendly, warm and easy going folk, with an understated but proud sense of soul and spirit. It has to be mentioned that there is a large contingent of 'Street Hawkers' of west African origin, who will persistently try to sell you sunglasses and baseball caps or ask you to look in their shops, however they are not as relentless as those experienced in other parts of the world.

We have three tips for managing their commercial zeal. Firstly, use the beach road - by La Villa and Palm Beach as this is quieter that the main streets and the Travessas leading from it, allow you fairly unhindered access into the town. Secondly, we found that acknowledgement and some interaction with firm expression of zero intent to buy, or visit their shop was a diffusion to their enthusiasm.
A final tip is that the longer that you are there (more tan) and the more you uphold tips 1 and 2, the less the concentrate on you, maybe in search of 'greener' folk. In town there are Cabo Verdean shop, easily identified by the fact that the proprietor will not try and entice you in. Of particular note for genuine Cabo Verdean artisan crafts and artifacts, we recommend the Craft shop (blue doors like a boat shed) at the lower end of the high street on the corner near Cafe Creoulo (shop closed on Sunday)

General - Island tour. We booked via the tourist office (Wooden Cabin outside the blue CV Telecom building 50 yards to the right out of the Morabeza) We got an air coned comfy minibus with a friendly and informative driver/guide called Ola, who spoke perfect English. We did a half day and we felt this was more than enough to see and experience the sights. Lunch on the stop off in Espargos was tasty and really good value for money at 7 Euros for 2 toasties, fries, 2 drinks and a coffee!

Cheap bottled water is widely available and isn't bad, but we recommend taking the time to buy Portuguese or Italian bottled water which is relatively inexpensive.

We noted that the conversion rate that you can achieve by buying the closed currency Cabo Verdean Escudos is £1=130CVE or 1Euro=110CVE. When you consider that most places quote prices in local currency or 100 CVE to the Euro, then there could be a financial advantage to converting your particular currency to CVEs beforehand, or use the ATMs.

Room Tip: Executive rooms near pool with big bed. Quiet worth the 20 Euro upgrade in our opinion.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank monochromexpeditions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2013

Hotel Morabeza is an icon at Ilha do Sal. Located nearby Santa Maria, it is walking distance from the village, and 'on the beach'. Despite not being one of the most modern hotels, its charm, service (when you compare with the average at Cape Verde) and overall facilities more then compensate some lacks versus other more modern options. This is not an all-inclusive, 7 days holidays package hotel... this is more for a relaxing short stay.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Miguel2770
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2013

We stayed here three nights. The hotel was not busy so it was particularly peaceful and relaxing. There is plenty of space in the extensive gardens. The standard rooms are surprisingly spacious. We usually prefer smaller, homely guest houses/smAll hotels but this was absolutely ideal for re-charging our batteries.

The hotel iis very well located. I did find the restaurant/breakfast areas a bit gloomy and unenticing. So we had a drink but did. not eat in the restaurant. internet access is not free.

One small gripe- you are advised against drinking tap water. Normally when this is the case I have found hotels provide drinking water in your room every day. There was only one bottle provided on arrival. The supermarket is in town but is closed on Sunday. This means you could end up paying double for water at the hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Milonga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2013

Morabeza had been mentioned to me as the best hotel in Cabo Verde. I dont know if that is the case but it is surelly a place I would go to again and again for a nice holiday. The location is the best you can expect: on the beach, 3 minute walk away from Santa maria "city" center, 15 min away from the airport. Morabeza is a concept - do NOT go if you are looking from this huge family, all-in oriented hotels where you are recognized by a colourful bracelet. Morabeza is owned by a belgian family for about 50 years, having a responsible attitude. It is not a luxury hotel but if luxury is what you are looking for, maybe Cabo Verde is not the place to go. The food is correct, the prices are fair (Sal is not cheap...) and the all place is very quite. The only thing to regret is the service, not very friendly or helpful. But that is a problem generaly spread in Cabo Verde, to be honest.

Room Tip: ask for block 600
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank TravellerPT1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2013

When we went to Sal ( name of the island where Morabeza is situated) we werent sure if we were going to le it. But we really loved the pace. And the hotel was great! The location is perfect, the beach is next to it. The staff is extremely friendly. Our friends had a child and sent him to Kids Club. The woman who was in charge played hours with him although he was the only one there!
we went to yoga classes.Really great! and show programm on saturday was also good (and bufet was delicious). Tennis is free!
we ate at different restaurants at santa maria and really enjoyed it. but it is not cheap, be aware.
the oly sad thing is cucarachas. be ready to meet one.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank maria_krasa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Morabeza

Address: Ilha Do Sal | Caixa Postal 33, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal 4111, Cape Verde
Region: Cape Verde > Ilha do Sal > Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Santa Maria
#3 Luxury Hotel in Santa Maria
#5 Family Hotel in Santa Maria
Price Range: £108 - £217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Morabeza 4*
Number of rooms: 140
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Morabeza We are located on the beautiful Santa Maria Beach on the southern most part of the island of Sal, Cabo Verde. We are confident that you will find your stay at our hotel to be a most enjoyable and memorable one ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Morabeza Hotel Santa Maria
Hotel Morabeza Cape Verde/Santa Maria, Ilha Do Sal

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