Clubhotel Riu Karamboa
17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"This is an open, honest and frank review from two hard working, trustworthy Brits.. please accept this as a sincere review, which has been written in the hope that nobody ever has to experience what myself and my partner went through earlier this year.
Myself and my boyfriend visited in April 2018 for what we hoped would be a relaxing week celebrating a birthday, but our trip ended abpruptly due to the disgusting and corrupt treatment we received from both this hotel and the Cape Verde ‘justice system’.
4 days in to our stay, after a wonderful night with my other half within the resort, a misunderstanding between us and the hotel security resulted in battery, corruption and what I would class as nothing less than torture by Cape Verde’s police.
Upon diffusing a situation which was purely a misunderstanding within the hotel lobby, we attempted to return to our room, which resulted in my boyfriend being chased and then assaulted by hotel security. At this point I ran back to our room to get my mobile to call home, and then returned to the hotel reception to speak with management. I was greeted by an individual who, in my opinion, should NEVER be responsible for the safety and care of any living being and who I am convinced is lining the pockets of the Cape Verde local police force (if you can even consider them as such an establishment!)
Soon after I arrived back at reception my boyfriend appeared (being manhalndled by security) - we then both tried to reason with all present (with a coffee in my hand may I add!) however the local ‘police’ soon arrived who immediately verbally and physically abused both myself and my boyfriend with neither of us having the chance to speak with them to explain our total and utter bewilderment and distress.
What happened then is almost unbelievable and hard to personally recite. Both distraught and simply wanting to be allowed to go to our rooms to bed, when trying to make our way back we were both manhandled by several policemen to then be picked up and thrown in the BOOT of a truck and driven to the local police station and taken in to ‘custody’ with ZERO explanation or consideration for what was genuinely an innocent situation.
When arriving at the police station (if you can call it that!) we were marched in to separate cells which were cold, dark, dusty, unhygienic and subjected to the most inhumane and unfair treatment. I was alone which was terrifying however my partner was thrust in to a cell with 6 men (far older and locals) who were then instructed by the ‘police’ to ‘BEAT HIM’ - meaning my lovely, harmless boyfriend.
After 4 hours being held we were removed from our cells, made to sign paper work which wasn’t explained to us, then driven back to our hotel - although we were made to get out of the vehicle a fair way from our resort and somehow find our way back by foot.
When getting back to the hotel we spoke to family and booked and immediate flight home... thank god we did as soon after we received a call to our room being told to meet our TUI rep who then told us we were being evicted from the hotel due to our ‘disruptive’ behaviour! It doesn’t bare thinking about, should we have struggled to get a flight home that same day, with very few hotels on the island.
We were treated like criminals when arriving at the airport (we even flew back to the UK to a totally different airport to which we departed just to get back out of desperation!)
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not go to this hotel let alone this country! The pictures speak for themselves!!!"
- Travel date: Sun 1st of April 2018
AMAZING HOLIDAY AT THE RIU KARAMBOA!
"We have just returned from two wonderful weeks at the Riu Karamboa.
Every aspect of the hotel beat our expectations.
Having stayed in many Riu hotels, this one was as good as them all, if not better.
The best thing about the hotel was the staff being so friendly, enthusiastic and offering great service. We didn't find language barrier a problem.
Emerson at the pool bar is really friendly and very helpful. Elizabeth who works in the karaoke bar will love making you her speciality cocktails. She is very sweet natured.
Every area of the hotel is spotless and constantly being cleaned, even the pool.
We thought the food was excellent. There was always plenty of choice and whether we ate at 7pm or 9pm there was always plenty of freshly cooked food.
We ate lunch at the pool bar daily. All of the food was well cooked and again there was plenty of choice.
We chose not to use the Cape verdian restaraunt but used the Asian and again found the food and the choice very good. The themed restaraunts get booked up very quickly.
The rooms are more than adequate, water is provided in the fridge on arrival. After that you need to collect it from reception.
We went on the Jeep tour. It was quite pricey at 66 euro per adult but gave you an insight in to local life and we had a memorable day. You will visit a 60 year old ship wreck, amazing beaches, local villages and the viana desert.
We went on The Sal Princess. This is a sailing boat and again was quite pricey at 75 euro per adult. This is only a 3 hour trip. The crew are very friendly, drinks are included. The day we sailed, the sea was very calm. It was a nice morning.
There is a big game fishing excursion on offer at 92 euro per adult, we heard many big fish were caught.
There is a private catamaran that you can charter for 320 euro which if there is a group of you, could be divided between you all.
The beach was slightly dissapointing in comparison to other resorts we have visited. Sitting on the beach with the strong wind, sand tends to blow up on you. There is a strong under current here, most days the flag is red or amber. We didn't swim in the sea, but with amazing pools on offer we didn't see this as a problem.
The only down side we felt was the evening entertainment. There is a show every night at 10. It never captured the audience but it may improve over time.
We spent our evenings in the karaoke bar. Four nights a week there is an english guy, Paul who runs a karaoke from 11-12.
Two of those evenings he sings from 10-11. He was great entertainment.
Your reps are Paul, Theresa and Jenk. There availability is great, nothing is too much trouble and Jenk can often be found in the karaoke bar and he will have a sing with you!
You can walk along the beach in to the local town,Sal Rei. It takes around an hour or a taxi will cost you 10 euro. It's not advisable at night due to lack of street lighting.
The scenery around the hotel and on the Island is breath taking.
We stayed for two weeks and due to having such a great time, time seemed to fly by.
You really should look forward to your holiday here because you will have an excellent time."
- Travel date: Sat 13th of December 2008
"Me and my hubby went for a week on the 28/11 and we had a wonderful time here together.
The hotel staffs are fantastic, so friendly and willing to help. It makes a difference when you get such service when they are not expecting tips like in some other resorts I've been too, but a tip can be given if you wish.
The reception desk were also helpful as we were given a room a bit far for me as I'm 7 months expecting, so after explaining this to them they gave us a closer room and an upgrade to a suite!! They are very good about people with small children and accessibility.
The Thomson reps were also willing to help out whenever they could.
The grounds are beautiful. The interior and exterior design was done very well. I would definitely rec this hotel to anyone. So peaceful never gets too crowded as the hotel is very spacious.
I canât believe how nice and friendly all the staff were to me..so far the best and I've travelled a lot!
The riu is really trying their best for a new hotel. The evening entertainment could be improved for adults.. although the kids seem to be having a great time.
There was a delay on our return journey due to bad weather..fog but Thomson dealt with the situation very well we got an extra night all inclusive.
The beach is lovely and clean. The sea is beautiful..so blue.. but the waves are very strong.. to strong for my bump but the others had a great time. I spent most of the time in the fab pool..great cocktails at swim up bar.
I think 2 weeks would have been too long for me as the food would have got too repetitive so a week was just about fine.
Just go and relax."
- Travel date: Sat 13th of December 2008
Fantastic Hotel and Beautiful Island!!!!!
"We stayed at the Riu Karamboa for a week from the 28th Nov. Considering that the hotel has just opened they are doing a fantastic job and you would think the hotel had been open for years. The staff are friendly, always smiling and always willing to help. The hotel, rooms and outdoor areas are very clean and well kept. The food in the restursants was very nice and there was always a wide variety to choose from.
The beaches on the island are absolutely beautiful!!!! The weather is great although there is always quite a strong wind both in the day and at night. I would suggetest packing a few jumpers, cardigans for the night.
My one peice of advice that is vital to anyone going to this hotel is you must take a very good moscuito spray!!!!! We took 50% Deet spray which you can get on the internet and hardly got bitten. However, we saw people who had been very badly bitten all over there bodies, especially children. It is nothing to worry about if you take a good moscutio repellant, dont forget it is on the coast of Africa so it to be expected.
Also, make sure you take everything you need for your holiday, suncreams, wash bits, medications. The hotel does have a few little shops but it is very ,very ,very over priced!
Overall we had a wonderful holiday and look forward to returning in the future!"
- Travel date: Wed 10th of December 2008
"The hotel itself is beautiful and very clean. Staff very friendly even though there is a language barrier, they are very willing to help you. Rooms clean although shower was cold on a couple of mornings, in room mini bar fridge although not stocked at all. Bring a travel kettle as tea/coffee pouches can be obtained from the lobby coffee/tea machine otherwise you'll be treking up there every morning. Buffet restaurant by pool and main are good although food is a little repetative but considering they have to source this in - a good effort overall! African restaurant not open at the time of our stay but the Asian & Cape Verde were - both buffet though, food ok. Weather was high twenties to 30's with a welcome breeze but do take a high factor as u catch quickly. Entertainment staff friendly and great with the kids. The disco is non-alcholic until 11.30 to allow kids to enjoy. Excursions are limited but Thomson offer four 1) Jeep Safari, 2) Sal Princess Boat Trip, 3) Catamarran and 4) Big Game Fishing. People we spoke to who did the Jeep and Sal had mixed reviews, mainly costly or uncomfortable ride, the Cat trip was 400 Euros very expensive although didn't know anyone who did that. We went on the fishing trip - 6 hours but we got 7.5 hours due to the fish we caught (Wahoo, Portugeuse Dorada & Sail Fish). Very experienced Captain with sona equipment and professional rods, all in all a good day out. The hotel is situated on Chaves Beach and if you are able bodied do walk the long stretch to the left. We took 2.5 hrs to walk to the end which was well worth it and the views are stunning so take a camera and a bottle of water is essential to keep you hydrated. We stayed for a week, very relaxing although I think to stay for two weeks may be too long."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of December 2008
A very relaxing week
"We were on the first flight from the UK to this newly opened hotel. Considering it had only been opened for a week - the hotel and staff did pretty well! Some of the rooms were still being decorated but apart from outside of the hotel complex, no building work being done.
The rooms were very basic but nice with plenty of storage space. It was a pity we were in the further block away from the main part of the hotel, and on the top floor but it meant it was quiet!
The pool area was lovely and so was the beach. The sea can be rough at times which was good for surfing although if the red flag is flying, you cannot borrow equipment from the water sports guys. Always a cool breeze blowing which kept the temperature very bearable and meant you came home with a lovely tan!
Main language of staff if Portugese who speak very little English which caused small problems, especially at the bar areas! Loved the 'drinks stations' around the hotel where you can help yourself to hot and cold drinks, including beer - thought that was a great idea. The courtesy shower rooms in the reception area toilets is also a great idea as check out from rooms is 11am and flight back to the UK is currently 4pm meaning you can have the morning at the pool/beach.
We went on the Jeep Safari and the boat trip. Loved the Jeep Safari, although it is a bit long and not for the faint hearted/pregnant or anyone with a bad back - it's quite extreme 'off-roading' at times - there are few roads!! Thought the boat trip was a waste of money - didn't really get to see any coast line apart from what you can see from the beach which was shame. It was expensive for what it was.
Only real moan was about the water sports centre - we were fobbed off all week for diving, every day we were told ... maybe tomorrow we will be ready - which was too late for us as we only had a week there. To be told by the reps on our last day that diving is available from another company in Sal Rai was a bit annoying as you can't dive within 24 hours of flying and we carried out equipment that didn't get used. Problems with the jacuzzi and sauna meant we only got to use this facility once, but just teething problems that I am sure are sorted out by now!
Will definately head back there in a few years, it will appear much 'softer' once all the landscaping has grown up and hopefully helping to 'blend' this huge hotel into the landscape!"
- Travel date: Tue 25th of November 2008
Will get better!!
"Great location for this recently opened Hotel, that had only been opened a few weeks,so there were a few teething problems,BUT nothing major.Like all RIU hotels the world over.!! Food reasonable but nothing great! considering you are cooking for large numbers.Eat early to get the best choices,leave it later and there is a limited choice. Entertainment left alot to be desired!! Same programme as last year in Sal!!.Rooms comfortable,very clean and well appointed.Although if you were unlucky a long walk to some of the rooms.Pool area excellent with plenty of sun beds. Day time activities well organised and enjoyable. All staff helpful and friendly despite limited English.[particularly the Bar Staff!].Beach superb!! right in front of hotel,get there early for sun beds!.Hotel has potential and will improve with time.
- Travel date: Mon 24th of November 2008
"We have stayed in this hotel for our honeymoon and it was just fabulous.
The room was a suite, very confortable and well cleaned.
The restaurants were also very clean and the food very varied and tasteful.
The employees are very kind and educated and always smiling at you.
The swimming pools area is very relaxing with some animation in the afternoon. The jacuzzi in the spa is simply fabulous.
Animation is everywhere: gymnastics, hydro-gymnastics, dancing, bingo, shooting, dards, voleyball and football at the beach.
The beach is beautiful and the water is hot, it is very nice for a calm walk... there is always a nice breeze which without it we could not be there because of the high temperatures
Negative points only for the air contitioned which was not 100% functional and the night shows were basic for a 5 star hotel."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of November 2008
"We were among the first British tourists to arrive on the island - flight was okay, but the seats left something to be desired. However, the view from the aeroplane when landing makes you leave all that behind. Airport a bit small and takes too long to get through. The hotel was spacious, clean and comfortable. Very high standard and exceptionally clean. There was always something going on, but the night time entertainment left something to be desired. The food was excellent with plenty of choice and always fresh. Drinks were fine with a choice of named brands. The hotel's location was fantastic with miles and miles of white sandy beaches, fantastic for long walks for getting an all round tan! The staff were friendly and helpful although the language barrier was a bit difficult sometimes, especially if you were not speaking English and English is your second language.
Overall, we had a fantastic time and nothing at all to complain about. Would absolutely recommend this for a real chill out holiday with stunning scenery, good food, wonderful weather and lovely people! You don't get that all together very often."
- Travel date: Sun 23rd of November 2008
Thumbs up to Rui Karamboa
"A very nice Hotel to stay in with a very good standard all round. Yes there are some teething problems and actual Hotel design with paths in particular could have been better thought out.
We arrived at a tiny airport in Boa Vista which took a little time to pas through their controls. From there very smooth 10 minute transfer by Thompson to the hotel and quick check in for the 250 guests all arriving at the same time ( 5 coaches).
Bell boys shuttle your baggage to the rooms but decided to take are own and glad we did as we heard it took some people two plus hours to get their luggage.
Our room was on the second floor (top floor) in the furthest block but was easy to find. Dont expect any lifts as there are none so time to carry the bags up four short flights of stairs.
Room very nice, functional and clean with a good shower and plenty of storge for clothes and a complimentry safe in the curtained wardrobe.
Hotel bars and restaurants are very clean and well laid out and the food has a good thumbs up with a good choice and well presented and above all fresh and hot. You will not go hungry here unless you are a real fussy eater.
Service from the various bars good with International brands of drink in the all inclusive price.
Entertainments team good and encourage participation if its your sort of thing but will not harress you if you prefer just to relax.
Pool good but hot around it as lack of breeze and a little too noisy for us so we retreated to the lovely large sandy beach where there is a lovely cooling breeze keeping the 30 degree heat feeling just right. Sea very warm, little cloudy due to salt level and the movement of sand so dont expect good snorkling.
Lovely walk along the beach will take you to near deserted areas which is nice as the coast is still generally very much undeveloped.
Dont forget essentials as shops in Hotel quite expensive as tube of toothpaste and a deodrant stick cost 11 euros.
Taxi to town 10 euros which there is not a lot there but gives you a better ensite to life on Boa Vista.
Hotel gets our thumps up as they have done so well to get it open in time and will be a cracker in a few years time when the plants have had a chance to mature and bush out.
Two little negatives
Dont leave your balcony door open too long as we had a problem with mosquitos so first few nights bitten to bits. Yes they are there so would advise to take repellant and spray your room.
AC system was inefficient with high hotel occupancy and the room got stuffy as thats why we opened the balcony door to let a breeze in. Hence as people left the Hotel, the drain on the electrics lessened and the AC system became more efficient. One guest told us this was the explanation that was given by the Hotel. Perhaps they are looking at it, I dont know but after a few cocktails at night ,I slept through a warm night with no problem.
Overall a winner and enjoyed a week at this lovely hotel."
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of November 2008
"22nd August 2008
Have just returned from a 2 week stay at the Riu Karamboa and cannot wait to return!!. We were among the first Plane load of British guests to arrive at the Hotel which opened 5 days before.
The view of the hotel as you fly in to Boa Vista is stunning, in our opinion things were the same when we actaully arrived at the hotel. Transfer time from the airport was about 4 minutes hardly time to sit down. The bedrooms were of a very good size and well appointed with lots of wardrobe and drawer space. The hotel occupies a very large area so some rooms were a fair distance from the action (but very quiet). Great pool area with loads of sun loungers but we preffered the stunning beach which was a quieter location again with lots of loungers and umbrellas. The hotel is all inclusive and was of a great quality with a wide choice at every meal. A very good choice of drinks including some international brands (Gordons, Johnny Walker), the beer is very drinkable. One plus of the drinks service are "Self Sercice Drinks Stations" dotted around the Hotel from which you can help yourself to Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks 24 hours a day.
All the staff are very freindly and are learning very quickly the biggest problem area for the local staff is not being able to communicate in english, though we have no doubt that this will improve with time.
Two words of warning;
1) if you think you might need something take it with you as local shopping is extremely limited. There are a few boutique style shops within the hotel but poducts are limited and very expensive
2) As yet the Hotel cannot exhange travellers cheques so take cash in euros. You can exchange travellers in Sal Rei but the charge around 30% commision.
Overall an extremely relaxing hoiday in a stunning unspoiled location one of our best."
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of November 2008
Thomson Holiday 'BAD'
"The hotel itself was fairly good, 'NOT 5 STAR' food pretty good and staff all nice a friendly. However, the rooms are more 3- star, poor, complained and offered another room but unfortunately that was the same condition.
They did put a bottle of cheap fizzy wine in our room as some kind of sorry !!!
Thomson failed to send us a review email as promised so thought I'd leave my own, as don't want Thomson getting away with it."
- Travel date: Mon 5th of December 2016