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
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
"I must say, I completely disagree with the previous review on the 'cat problem'. There is no such thing, the hotel are friendly to all wildlife and keep cats separate from the hotel restaurants providing a 'cat cafe' feeding morning and night to ensure they are fed but are away from the restaurants.
There was no spraying, jumping on tables or anything like that - completely inaccurate.
The staff were excellent, so many waitresses, waiters, porters, entertainers, security etc all extremely helpful. Service was excellent, room was cleaned to an exceptional standard. We had a sea front room, bottom floor. Pros and cons are easy access to pool spa beach etc but view is obstructed by the palm trees So a higher room possibly would have been better.
Food was excellent - I was dubious at first mainly because it's so healthy! Great selection of options fresh salads and vegetables every day, freshly carved meats, vegetarian dishes, sea food as well as three alternative restaurants to book at the reception.
Spa was wonderful I had 2 massages and my partner had an aloe Vera wrap to help his sunburn - worked a treat. Only â¬40 so value for money.
Beaches were stunning and water was beautifully clear, managed to get pictures of a baby shark, fish and a turtle while walking across the beach.
Would highly recommend! "
- Travel date: Mon 1st of August 2016
Wont be back in a hurry due to the cat problem
"The island of Boa Vista is an unspoiled location with beautiful beaches and a lovely climate. It is a great place to just chill.
We had a great time on the island and we would certainly return again but sadly not to this hotel.
The hotel itself is situated next to a beautiful beach although the sea is somewhat rough most of the time and the red flag is constantly flying. We requested and got a top floor sea view room. We had lovely views form our balcony of the beautiful sunsets.
Our room was ok. It was looking a bit tired and did smell musty at times. The bath towels, when provided were of poor quality, the complimentary sachets of shampoo and shower gel were also of poor quality. I would suggest you bring your own. The room had air con and a ceiling fan, although the latter did not work. We didn't need to use the air con most days.
Day time activities were good, the entertainment team worked tirelessly morning, noon and night to keep guests entertained. Food quality overall is ok.
It is a large hotel and it was near enough full when we stayed so it did take some getting used to in the first few days.
There is however a big downside to staying at this hotel and one that would prevent us ever coming to this hotel ever again.
There is a growing cat population at the hotel.
Now I am an animal lover but even I draw the line when cats are roaming the main indoor and outdoor restaurants in search of food. I witnessed cats jump up onto tables to snatch food, spray on tables and chairs and snatch food from infants in prams. There is also a strong smell of cat wee depending on where you sit to eat. This is clearly a hygiene issue which is not being dealt with by the hotel management.
We walked out of the African themed restaurant one evening when 2 cats jumped up onto our table and snatched food from my partner's plate. It's not an experience that we expect in a 5 star hotel.
We love Boa Vista but sadly not this hotel.
- Travel date: Wed 27th of April 2016
"great hotel where all staff can`t do enough.lovely food.rooms are nice and also kept spotless.the walk on the beach to the village on wed and sat with the rep at no cost is a must . you find out more about Cape Vrede.
Please take out medication for yourselves and the hospital and orphanage. Note books and pencils for the school.Â£15 for a packet of paracetamol.
A good all round relaxing holiday.I read 6 books !!"
- Travel date: Thu 31st of January 2013
MORE LIKE 3 STAR
"We went to Boa Vista on the 29th September for two weeks and to be fair we were rather disappointed. the flight by Thomson was awful, freezing cold both ways, cramped and uncomfortable, on time though to be fair. Very poor selection of Duty Free goods in both directions,l hardly anything in stock.
On arrivel Boa Vista airport is very small but clean and pleasant to use. we were met by two excellent Thomson reps and shown onto a coach for a 3 minute transferre.
On arrivel at the hotel we were met by dancers and given a drink, check in was quick and easy and the cases were at our room within 10 mins.
The rooms were OK clean and comfortable, the maids are very good with the daily cleaning,
The hotel has everything you need, the big problem is the crowds, it is so busy. the main restaurant can get packed, we didnt even bother going for breakfast, we used to wait for the pool bar to open at 10.30 and get a snack there.
The pool is lovely, although needing some maintenence in places, it has some very sharp edges to it in places where tiles have come off, the pool ares can get very noisy during the morning with people everywhere, arobics, volly ball, dancing, cooking demos you name it its there. The afternoon seems much quieter, until 4pm when Bingo starts.
This hotel is billed as a 4/5 star hotel, although I belive it would struggle to get a 3 star, at times with all the people about it seems more like a holiday camp.
The food at the hotel is plentiful and varied, with the main restaurant and three speciallity restaurants to choose from. The Asian restaurant we found very good, as was the African, but the Cape Verde was not really to our taste. The place was clean everywhere, with pleasant gardens, but beware there is very little to do, only a couple of trips on offer, and nowhere to go, great if you want a total relaxing holiday, but if you like to walk out and maybe do a bit of shopping forget it. In two weeks we only spent about Â£80 and that was having a spa treatment at the hotel which was excellent.
The weather we had for` the two weeks was brilliant, hot and sunny, but I cant get away from how impersonal this place is, its far too big and busy.
Main question is....Did I enjoy the holiday? Yes Would I go again? No "
- Travel date: Fri 14th of October 2011
out of this world
"this place you cannot faultits fantastic on all levels service 10/10, quality of food 10/10, accomidation 10/10 , you cannot faulty this place its a little piece of paradise, staff are so helpful and freindly, so well catered for kids as much or as little to do as you want, weather fantastic 5 min transfer you wont beieve this place , already booked to go again next year worth every penny "
- Travel date: Mon 5th of July 2010
"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
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
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