Cape Verde is a beautiful little island off the west of Africa. I went on holiday here along with 17 family and friends which made for a lot of fun. I had heard mixed reviews about Cape Verde, so I went with low expectations and high hopes.
After arriving at the tiny airport, the 18 of us were taken to our hotel in a bus. The ride took an hour and it was a very bumpy road as it’s just a dirt track. We all had a good laugh at how uncomfortable it was. The majority of the drive was through the desert and along the way we would see a few cows or houses situated in the middle of nowhere. The hotel emerged out of the ibis. In this empty landscape stood a towering miraculous Riu hotel. The entrance was as grand as the exterior with plenty of seating for people waiting to check in and out.
Once checked in, we made our way to the beautiful hotel rooms which all had large balconies so you could overlook the complex and the stunning beach. The room had a large amount of wardrobe space for all the outfits I had packed, (but wouldn’t wear). The shower was large, and there was a lot of space next to the basin to lay out all of the products I brought with me.
As the hotel is located in the middle of a desert, so when you go out of the door there is nothing there at all. No shops, nowhere to walk, just desert. You only really leave the hotel to go to the airport or on a booked excursion. However, the hotel is enormous, so there really is no need to leave. The Riu offers 5 restaurants, 2 swimming pools and is situated right on the beach with constant availability of food and drink. There are a few shops by the entrance, a beautiful spa and multiple activities going on throughout the day and night.
One of the deciding factors that can either put a hotel on my bad or good list is the food. The five restaurants on offer are all really good. The all-inclusive buffet restaurant offers everything from traditional Cape Verdean dishes to English meals, Mexican food and Chinese cuisine. As well as the buffet style restaurant they have a Chinese, a Cape Verdean restaurant which specialises in seafood, an Indian and a Grill.
I can never resist a relax in a Spa, so it wasn’t long after we arrived that I went to check out the spa facilities. This is a lovely place if you want to escape the sun and just quieten the mind.
I started with having a relax in the jacuzzi. This looks out onto the beach and is open, so you can actually walk out onto the beach. Renova Spa offers a good range of treatments from massages, wraps, waxing, facials and manicures & pedicures. The jacuzzi is free for all to use and the gym facilities can also be found here.
The pool bar
Another lovely feature about this hotel is the pool bar so when it’s really hot, you can sit in the water with your cocktail.
The fact the hotel is situated right on the beach is such a treat, so the group I was travelling with and I took full advantage of this and spent most days lying and laughing together on the beach. The beach is only for hotel guests to use, which means it’s really secluded and quiet as most families stay in the hotel by the kid’s pool. The beach has many sun loungers, umbrellas, little tables and wind protection barriers.
The sand is very fine and lovely beneath the feet but can be very hot so when walking to and from the beach, wear your sandals. The sea is ok to swim in if you are a strong swimmer as the waves are very rough. We spent a lot of time standing in the waves, at knee level, laughing at each other get knocked over by the force of the water. We went in July and the red flag was up every day, meaning it was unsafe to enter the sea. Bear in mind, there is not a hospital on the island, so if you have any injuries and require hospital treatment, you have to be flown to one of the other islands.
The hotel had performances every night. We only went to one because we could make our own entertainment, as there was so many of us. From what I heard from other guests I spoke to who had been attending the shows regularly, they were brilliant. The audiences for the shows seemed to be mainly family’s. I guess because the parents could enjoy a well-earned drink, while the children were entertained.
Overall this hotel had everything I could want. This is a family hotel but because the complex is so big it feels like an adults-only hotel in certain areas. You can upgrade and go in the Adults only area. The food was excellent along with the service. My hotel room was beautiful, spacious with a great view of the sea and was very clean. The only thing that would make this hotel better is if the sea was a little calmer so guests could go for a swim, but of course, that isn’t something the hotel can control.