Firstly - the no smoking areas should be more prominently marked and the hotel staff should ensure they are observed. I spoke to other guests on more than one occasion to point out they were smoking in the wrong area but this should not have been down to me.
Secondly - the speciality restaurants are not particularly restful as the tables are too close together and I would prefer that the later sitting of 9pm was adult only as the babies and children in at that time were obviously tired and grumpy! Not conducive to a relaxing meal - the main restaurant was calmer!
Thirdly - this is the only Riu hotel I have visited where if you ever saw a manager they seemed to be deliberately avoiding the guests.
All that said - the hotel was clean, the rooms comfortable and the staff fantastic. We could not fault the food - more than enough choice for anyone and I never queued for more than a minute at the bar.
We will return after another visit to Sal.
Travel operator: Thomson
The room was lovely too and always clean and tidy (even if we hadn’t left it that way. There is plenty to do around the complex, with regular entertainment, diving, quad bikes just up the beach and a fantastic pool area and bar. I think we lived on pina coladas all week!!! If you’re feeling energetic Sal Rei is a few km up the beach and walked there a couple of times stopping at an oasis bar on the way there and back to enjoy a few grogues (the local fire water) and to buy a few souvenirs.
The food in the hotel was out of this world. The main restaurant is fab but do take advantage of the other themed restaurants as they are all part of the all-inclusive, you just need to book in advance, but as I said, all superb. No problems getting a sun lounger around the pool at any time of day as it is all so big!
I really would return to this hotel it was the best holiday ever!
The food was fantastic, the main restaurant offered so many varieties of food there was absolutely no way you could get bored with it. Wine and beer on tap were good as well as soft drinks, it was great to be able to get what you wanted when you wanted it. The only thing I didn't like was that we went into the African restaurant and there was a cooked whole rabbit (with teeth) that freaked me out, my hubby wasn't too concerned though. I guess though that it's just the way things are done in some parts of the world and that's what you expect when you visit them. Other than that the food was lovely in there. The other speciality restaurants were amazing. The manager introduced herself at our welcome meeting and told us we should gain about 6lbs being there and the food was that good that we did. The cakes and bread are all baked fresh daily and taste delicious.
The hotel staff are really helpful, happy and polite and will always try to help. Please bear in mind that although most do speak quite good english you might find that sometimes it is a little broken or they don't understand certain phrases. They will try their best though to make sure the meet your requirements.
The location is brilliant, 5 minutes from the airport and situated right on the beach. We didn't go into Sal Rei on our own we went with the day trip Thomson organised so we didn't use the taxis from the hotel.
Entertainment was good, there seemed to be plenty for the kids to do even though that didn't affect us and there was always something going off so you could do as little or as much as you wanted to. We chose to spend most of the time relaxing on the beach or by the pool.
We enjoyed seeing the dogs and cats that contrary to popular belief actually seem to belong to the hotel and you are not allowed to feed them as the hotel feed them etc. We also managed to see some whales because of the time of year we went. We would definitely visit again, there is still so much we could do.
This is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday to recharge yourself. The islands truly are a paradise in their current state and we had the most amazing honeymoon. Thank you to Riu and Thomson for making it perfect.
Travel operator: Thomson
spares were a problem due to everything being imported
All in all total value for money and excellent standards. The hotel public areas were largely open plan with areas where it was open to the skies. This caused problems occasionally with the heat because there was no air conditioning and very little breeze.
overall I would give it an excellent rating.
Travel operator: PORTLAND DIRECT
The room was nice and spacious, we had a lovely sea view too. We had 2 large beds pushed together so plenty of room. The shower was large and lovely. The only thing we didn't like was the wardrobe doors were actually large hanging beads. These were a major pain and hubby had to sort of twist them together to get them out of the way. Plenty of room on the balcony however we didn't spend any time there. We probably would have if the room had a mini bar, but it didn't unfortunately. There was also a little clothes rail on the balcony so you could dry your clothes.
The pool was wonderful however an adults only pool would have been nice too. Pool bar opened at 10.30am. The pool was huge however the kids always seemed to be playing and splashing around the pool bar when you were trying to chat and have a nice drink. In my opinion the sunbeds weren't the best either. As soon as you sat on one the backs used to flip up so you had to re-assemble it every time. Not a major though. You aren't supposed to leave towels on the sunbeds before 9pm however everybody did. If you wanted shade then you had to be up early.
The beach was great, lovely and clean however apart from 3 days a red flag was displayed every day. This meant they were advising you not to swim, which meant they wouldn't give you access to any of the watersports either. This was extremely frustrating for my hubby as he didn't want to use a canoe on a green flag, as he wanted to ride the waves. I would air on the side of caution if you wanted to go into the sea on a red or yellow flag day. If it wasn't for hubby I think I would have been dragged out to sea (serious), the waves were huge! I would never take kids in on a red flag day!!
I must say the entertainment team worked hard, they tried to encourage you into participating but didn't pester. Regularly you could hear them shouting "want to play pinky ponk". The also played waterpolo, volleyball, daily aqua aerobics, rifle shooting, and poolside dancing.
There was a show put on every night too, comedy shows and songs from Greece e.t.c. Couple of times a week a local band would play too. Dancing for the kids before the shows, and the giving out of certificates for that day's game winners!
The karaoke was managed by one of the entertainments team. It didn't start until after the main show though, usually around 22.15pm but it finished at midnight so not much scope really. The place was heaving on a regular basis at that time but this still shut. After the karaoke we either used to go back up to the lobby bar which is 24hrs, or we used to head into the hotels nightclub (pacha), great music here and it was open until 2am. It usually was full of youngsters though which we expected. All the bars had a self-service place with a beer and fizzy drink pump so you didn't have to queue at the bar.
You had to pre-book your place here 2 days in advance. They had 2 sittings 7pm or 9pm. We went there twice! They had everything from Sushi to spring rolls!
African speciality restaurant.
We went to the African restaurant once but found it much the same as the main restaurant so didn't bother to go again. It is smaller and quieter than the main restaurant though so that's something.
The food here was mainly the same every night (plenty to choose from though), apart from one or two differences like they'd have a giant fish that a chef would slice for you, and a chef that would be carving anything from a chicken, turkey, pork or beef. You could have anything from pasta, to roast dinner to pizza, to cape verdian dishes. There was always plenty of salad choices, breads, cheeses and desserts! Main problem is if your not up having a drink in the lobby bar where the toilets are, it's quite a treck to get to them from the karaoke bar and main restaurant!
Very expensive, I fancied a nice straw hat and it was 35 euros, the hat is still in the shop! I did pay 2euros 50 for a chocolate bar one day though as I was desperate. They also had a photo shop as a photographer used to come around the poolside and down the beach in daytime taking random photos, you go to the shop then and buy it if you want. You can also access the internet at a charge.
In the first week we both had a hot stone massage which was truly amazing. The cost was 104 euros for 50 minutes for the two of us. In the second week we had a full body massage for two, and that was 95 euros for 50 minutes. Well worth it!. There was also a small gym and jacuzzi however we didn't utilize these facilities.
Travel operator: First choice
Our trip was certainly eventful with a false start (and a dramatic conclusion) when we arrived at Boa Vista along with 4 other couples we were told there were no rooms for us at the Karamboa and we would be transferred for 2 nights to the Venta Club. We were certainly not happy but as we were there for a fortnight we decided to make the best of it and were happy with the compensation package. The Venta Club was not the same class only 3 stars at best but it did have some plusses. Worse bit damage to cases during transfers.
We eventually arrived at the hotel Riu Karamboa and were not disappointed it resembles a giant sandcastle directly on a fantastic beach and does not seem out of place although it appears to have been designed by someone on an LSD trip.
HOTEL & STAFF
The hotel and rooms are spotless with loads of staff constantly cleaning and always have a smile on their faces As a Club Hotel you don
Travel operator: TUI (Thomson)
North easterly wind but see only early morning or sunset sun. Most have a sea view or part sea view. They are on three floors and there are no lifts.
Rooms were excellent, spacious, clean, well equipped and ours had a huge comfortable bed made up of two large beds pushed together. As previously mentioned in reviews, the wash area is open plan with the bedroom with a clear view of the shower from the balcony, but there is a door on the loo. Plenty of 220v sockets, a 50 channel TV, 45 of them non-English speaking (mainly German). BBC world service, CNBC, TCM, Fox and a couple of film channels are mainly English speaking. There is a mini-fridge (not mini-bar), you fill it with water from reception. Just to clarify, there are no tea/coffee making facilities. Even if there were, you'd have to borrow some sterilised milk from the buffet. Calls to the UK from the room phone will cost you
Travel operator: Thompson
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