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Hotel was very isolated but food and service was excellent. Staff very friendly. Food was first class with a vast selection in main restaurant. Several smaller restaurants specialising in Asian, Fish etc. Weather was just right with the ever present wind being most welcome. Hotel met our request for a ground floor room. There are no lifts so bear this in mind if stairs are a problem to you. Buildings are three storeys high.
Rooms are air conditioned but they were having problems and some nights were uncomfortable
All in all good value for moneyMore
John E, 227124
Definitely not 5* probably a good 3
This hotel is definitely not a 5*, I'm unsure how its managed to get that rating as I've stayed in a couple of Riu's before (as well as other 5*s) and it doesn't match up at all. There are some good points to the place though so its not somewhere I would immediately write off, I just think its being missold.
We stayed in January 2016 and travelled through Thomson.
The resort is big with a decent amount of activities like a beginners scuba class, aqua aerobics, kids discos and a tennis court. There seemed to be some kind of activity poolside for most of the day.
The restaurant staff are quick to reset tables and clear plates, and the food is replenished at a reasonable rate. There is plenty of fresh fruit and salad as well as being enough tables to comfortably fit everyone. (but more of that in a minute)
There are several bars and 24 hours access points to soft drinks and basic alcohol.
The rooms are ok, no great luxuries, more premiere inn than Riu. They are cleaned daily and if you're lucky enough to get a suite (the rooms with no view are compensated with a separate living room) you will have plenty of space and every room has a balcony.
There is always someone on reception to answer questions (again, more on this in a moment)
The numerous animals around the resort seem to be well fed by the staff and have a specific area, the cat cafe, where they are fed.
The pool is a good size with a swim up bar.
It is just a 5 minute bus ride from the airport but the sounds of planes really doesn't bother you.
The Cape Verdian restaurant is ok, the food is the best we found on the whole resort (3/5) you are given a glass or two of champagne and you can tell there is a little extra pride in this eatery than the others.
Around half the staff are friendly, smiling and helpful and not pushy at all as you can find from some animation teams.
The other half of the staff act like you are an annoyance and ignore you, shuffle about and generally look like they hate their jobs.
There are too many animals, both dogs and cats, I'm an animal lover but it got to be a bit much after a while with them in the dining room and begging for food. Some of them are pregnant, contrary to the signs saying they are all spayed. It could be intimidating for people who dislike dogs or cats.
The food is just plain awful. Anything but the salad is cheap, over cooked and unvaried. You get the same foods every night and even the specific restaurants that you have to book 3 days in advance are the same food just made to look a bit different. I lost count of how many ways you can present an over cooked sprout. I am a vegetarian and there was barely nothing for me other than the plain vegetables, my partner eats meat but found it was processed, dry and grissley. There is a small 'vegetarian corner' that has a few dishes of over cooked veg in the same watery tomato sauce or slimey cheese sauce every night. All the restaurants are casual dress so I wouldn't bother taking anything dressy as you'll look out of place, its all buffet and serve yourself.
There is no room service or food available to take to rooms either which is unusual for a 'luxury' hotel. The desserts are all tasteless and cheap synthetic creams with cake mixes. We basically lived on the melon, salad and rice.
The pool is a good size but its unheated and this was a little unpleasant in 26 degrees with wind. Its also has a lot of tiles missing and two of my party had numerous cuts on their feet and knees. The bar at the pool has limited drinks, the cocktails are all premixed sugary slushy type drinks and there is only one type of beer available throughout the resort.
The rooms we had (we had to move half way through our holiday as we had been put on the opposite end of the resort, about a 10 minute walk away, from the rest of our party) were ok but the lock on our balcony was broken, there was a large damp patch on the bathroom ceiling, the light fitting was hanging down and the second room had a strong mouldy smell. The tv's are old fashioned box sets with a few crackley channels and maybe 3 in English, there is no usb points for charging or ipod docks which I have come to expect in 5* resorts, there was also only one plug point we could use to charge everything.
The hairdryers are pretty useless so I'd take your own if you like to do your hair. The beds are hard, which I dislike and started to get back ache but I'm aware some people prefer that. We had a situation where we had locked our key in our room and it took 3 hours, a workman being called in from his home and a new lock being fitted for us to gain access again. The staff in reception left us sitting waiting for an hour more than necessary saying they didn't know where we were but we were literally sitting right in front on the reception.
The excursions are very over priced for what they are, the safari we went on saw a few cows and some goats, we stopped a couple of times next to some random trees and a random beach (that was no better than the one next to the resort) to take photos, but no idea why. The beach meal we had at the end was very nice though, but didn't make up for the â¬55 it cost per person.
Overall I would not recommend this hotel to a friend, it lacks a great deal in the food department, the finishing touches you'd expect from a 5* hotel and general repair of the rooms and pool. There is very little to do on the island and if you want to do more than sit by the pool you will be disappointed but this is not the hotels fault so I wouldn't use that to downgrade their rating.More
very good beachside hotel
Hotel is a club resort and so very big but well set out into blocks - we had a lovely quiet room on the edge of the resort. There were plenty of sunbeds available both on the beach and at the pool. The pool water was still a little cold but OK for a quick dip.
Themed restaurants need to be booked 3 days in advance - they were all very good but the Asian restaurant is very popular and you need to be very early at reception to obtain a reservation.
There is a good gym but no air conditioning so can get very hot despite the windows being opened and the fans on. we had Spa treatments which were of a very good standard and the jacuzzi area within the wellness centre is free and very relaxing but needs to be booked after 4pm.
We also hired a quad via the beach hire which was slightly cheaper than the tour operator but runs much smaller groups which made for a really pleasant trip and probably the best way to see the remote areas of the island - highly recommended.
The nightly entertainment was the hotel animation team which was typical hotel standard; so the evenings can be very quiet.
Overall this hotel delivers what is says on the tin - a resort hotel with excellent food, weather and service and made for relaxation.More
Cheap sun holiday
This is not a 5* hotel, maximum 3*. It is not the Caribbean in Africa. This is the place to go if you want a very cheap sun holiday in January.
The hotel itself is nice, plenty of space and doesn't feel overcrowded. The rooms are a little dated but if you're only sleeping in them then they are fine. The beach is beautiful with plenty of sun loungers. We never had to reserve or hunt around for a free umbrella and loungers.
If you walk down the beach left out of the hotel for 20 minutes there is a really nice beach bar that is cheap and serves great fresh food. There is another 40 minutes right out of the hotel along the beach which does a great lobster dinner.
Meals times in the main buffet are a little bit like feeding time at the zoo. People are eating like it's their last meal. If you are allergic to cats then you'll have a problem as they are everywhere! The food is fairly average and repetitive. There are 3 speciality restaurants with the Buda Asian being the nicest but they book up very quickly.
The clientele is extremely varied. You have the people like me who are there for a nice relaxed holiday, a few drinks and lovely sunshine. Then you have the British and German louts. It is their main aim to ruin everyone else's holiday. Word of advice: do not go into pool where the bar is as more than one person has been sick in the pool...
Top tips for the ladies:
It gets cold at night with the wind so take a cardigan
Take a hairdryer as the one in the bathroom is rubbish
A tiny shop in reception that is very expensive so take all toiletries with you
Not rated to the hotel but Thompson are dreadful when something goes wrong. Our flight home was cancelled for 3 days because of a sand storm. All the Thompson reps could say was stop complaining and drink some more free booze. Very condescending and not helpful at all. We had to check out everyday and sit at reception/the airport for hours 'just in case'. Total chaos which ruined the holiday. The hotel did their best to make sure there were rooms available so cannot fault them for their effort. Do not book with Thompson if you get a choice. Apparently the sand storms are a regular occurrence so you would think they have a plan but they don't.
Interesting new suntrap
Visited the Karamboa in January with my wife. We been looking at Cape Verde for a couple of year but it always seemed very expensive. We decided to bite the bullet this time though and on the whole were not disappointed.
The Karamboa is a very smart hotel but its huge. There are 750 rooms which were perfectly suitable for what we wanted. The beds were comfortable and once the aircon problem had been sorted (the whole hotel had a problem for about 48hrs), it was perfectly comfortable.
The pool, next to the beach, is quite big and there are loads of sunbeds. I would estimate that the hotel was about 85-90% full and there were still loads of sunbeds free each day. There are hundreds of beds on the beach also, just a short walk away. The water off the beach is rough though and the red flag was up for 5 of the 7 days we stayed there.
The buffet restaurant is huge but the staff are very good. Whilst there is a lot of choice, like a lot of All Inclusives it can be a bit repetative. Quality on the whole is good and there was always something for us to eat.
The one complaint we have is with the A-la-carte restaurant arrangements. We were told that we could only book 3 days ahead and that we had to be in Reception at 0730hrs to join the queue. Nothing we said would change this rigid format so we were unable to sample these restaurants. The hotel chain should look at this arrangement because most people on holiday dont want to have to get up at 0700hrs to join a queue. Totally ridiculous......
One good point about the hotel for which we were very grateful; it was my wifes birthday during our stay and even though I hadn't mentioned it at any time, when we got back to our room at the end of the day, the whole bed was beautifully decorated and they had left some bubbly and a card from the hotel. The only thing we can think of is that somebody noticed from her passport. Very much appreciated.
A couple of negatives though which should be looked at, considering Thomson had this listed as a 5-star hotel which it wasn't; there are no tea/coffee making facilities and the bathroom toiletries were pretty pathetic. Sachets of shampoo and shower gel which were not very good. Could do better we think....
Evening entertainment in the theatre was on the whole very good.
We had booked this holiday with Thomsons and were not dissappointed. The flights were excellent and ontime in both directions.
If you are a sunlover like us, this is a very good place to chill out. Daytime temperatures were around the 30degs level, but could drop to 20degs at nighttime due mainly to the wind off the Atlantic. The one good thing is the lack of mosquitos. Not one bite during the whole week which was just great.
Would we go back - probably, if only for the sun. We may go back to the Karamboa as we now know how to get what we want. We paid about Â£650 each for the week which wasn't bad value for money. If its sun you want in January, I don't think you will find cheaper anywhere. Its an extra hours flying past the Canaries but it makes a difference.
Have a great time..More