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Reviews Views Date of last review
1 4504 Sun March 29, 2009
Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 8.0
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Description: Looking out over endless sparkling seas, the ClubHotels Riu Funana & Riu Garopa proudly sits alongside each other, A match made in heaven – this means you get the best of both worlds, enjoying the tranquil ambience here but you can also share the sister properties facilities whenever you please. You can quite easily while away day after day of blissful relaxation here. If you fancy a change of scene, you’re only steps away from the glittering sands.
The airy lobby, which spills out into the landscaped grounds is filled with North African furnishings and is the perfect spot morning, noon or night to sit on a plump chair with a chilled glass of your favourite tipple.


Bob E
Riu Ambassador

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 617
Review Date: Sun March 29, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great for chilling out and relaxing!
Cons: Not a lot outside the resort presently but let’s wait and see!

Travel dates, 16 – 23 March 2009.
For us Brits and Europeans they say that the Caribbean has just got closer! Well Thomson / Tui might say that but believe me there’s no comparison. Yes the flight is nearly 6 hours from Gatwick and therefore quicker but the flight is very cramped and in my opinion the Boeing 757-200 (G-BYAE) is far too small for such a long flight. The aircraft was configured for just over two hundred passengers in a 3, isle 3 configuration, showed two films on communal overhead LCD screens. The seats were reasonably new, upholstered in leather and appeared to be by Recaro (car rally seats?) but had no seat pockets to hold your book, drink bottles or other small items that may be needed during such a long flight. This was a major inconvenience as you had to constantly rummage around on the floor with your hand luggage which was very difficult with such a small seat pitch.


We landed at Amílcar Cabral International Airport (Sal) to be greeted by the one and only airport coach to be transported to the terminal building. Immigration was a slow process with all 4 desks checking passports and visas. Some people had not pre booked visas and were sent to another desk to pay for the visa service and then had to rejoin the back of the queues for immigration again. It is not very clearly identified by Thomson / Tui that the country requires a visa and the process to obtain; therefore many passengers were inconvenienced by the on airport visa process. The transfer to the hotel is a 20 minute drive by large coach on good and straight roads.


On arrival at the hotels you are either dropped at the Funna or Garopa, the entrances are very close to each other. Outside you are greeted with a person allocating your Riu wristbands and when completed ushered into the reception where the hotel has arranged queues. The check-in process was very fast considering the volume of new guests, while waiting you are greeted with the usual Riu cocktail! It is then quickly realized, when reception are showing you your room location on your Riu location map, that in fact it is one hotel but with two receptions. I see no reason whatsoever that one hotel is any different from the other, therefore book the cheaper of the two hotels in any brochure.


As regular Riu users we were assigned a suite overlooking the sea in a quiet first floor location. The room was very comfortable and equipped with a very modern, electronic Jacuzzi bathtub, large safe suitable for a laptop and fridge with a bottle of water inside. We were greeted with a bottle of sparkling wine and glasses courtesy of the hotel management, very nice.


The hotel was very spacious and spotlessly cleaned daily. The amenities are totally and equally shared between the “two hotels” and guests can roam and use the facilities of each . This gives two large double swimming pools each one containing one heated (supposedly) and one unheated pool. The grounds are immaculate with a gang of gardeners working all the time. The Funana reception area has a "hole in the wall" (ATM) which accepts some but not all credit cards etc. The complex includes two tennis courts an air rifle range, shuffle board court besides all the other activities located on the beach. The animation team worked extremely hard throughout our stay and were very good. At this complex it was left to the animation team to present the shows in the main auditorium of an evening but as an alternative live small bands/groups appeared in the Barracuda Bar. Look out for the 60s, 70,s & 80s disco night on a Saturday at the Barracuda Bar, we had great fun there and then moved on to the Pacha disco to round off the evening!


There are at least 8 bars on the complex which open at various time of the day including one open 24 hours. Four themed restaurants and two “main” restaurants complete your dining requirements. The themed consist of Caboverde, Capverdian specialities including primarily fish and smaller choice of meats, Santa Maria including grill specialities, Mandalay serving Asian / Chinese / Sushi and finally Africano serving spicier meats and fish. All drinks are included but if you require named brands you have to ask for these otherwise you get the locally produced alcohol, i.e. Gordon’s Gin, Johnny Walker whisky and Jim Beam etc.


Sal, Cape Verde is a little different to other places that we have visited and as this was to be a relaxing chill out holiday, that is exactly what we had. The island itself is very flat and therefore is constantly affected by the trade winds. Unfortunately these can be a little chilly of an evening but a light jumper was all that was needed most evenings. The island is punctuated with places of outstanding beauty and interest but you need to go out on a trip to get to the "beauty and interest". We chose a man with a pick-up truck parked on the pathway to the beach. We paid twenty Euros each which was half the price of the "official" trips. We visited the capital of the island Espargos and then went onto the salt flats, “Blue Eye” feature and Santa Maria and other various places. During the day when the wind does drop the sun was extremely hot. Thankfully most of the time the wind is present. You get burnt on a cloudy day here. Many people suffered from over exposure to the sun so be very, very careful and use a high factor sun screen. It’s amazing how many people we saw as red as a cooked lobster or burnt skin peeling off like a snake shedding its skin. The shops of Santa Maria are outrageously overpriced and the excuse is that everything has to be imported. Other guests had the impression that all the shops were out to make as much as possible from the tourists, but is this unusual? Generally the people of Cape Verde are wonderful and welcoming but as any tourist resort in the world they have some petty crime. We heard that a woman was recently mugged on the beach, but this could have happened anywhere in the world. Just be careful of what you take out with you and just take common sense precautions.


On your return home don’t forget that the duty free at Cape Verde (Sal) airport is very small and very expensive. If you need alcohol or cigarettes get them on the plane on the way out as they are much cheaper, but beware, they have no facilities to restock the plane while in Sal so they may not have the stock for the journey home.


The Thomson / Tui representatives were available until about mid morning and from 5pm until 8pm daily. Would I go back? Yes, perhaps in about a further two years time when a little more of the infrastructure and building work have developed further.


Would I recommend to others? A definite yes if you want to lay back and relax, but you can be energetic if you want to and join in the mammoth entertainment programme. For the two of us it was great but as the saying goes, "One mans meat is another mans poison". I can only give you our honest report and let you decide for yourself.


Pictures of this holiday can be found at http://picasaweb.google.com/kentengland/RiuFunanaGaropa#


You can check out the beach and the weather daily by visiting the webcam situated at: http://www.surfcaboverde.com/webcam.html

 


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