5 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Two years ago i was staying in riu funana in sal island. This year i went to bavista to try iberostar. Well, the hotel itself is nice. the staff are friendly, but sometimes they don't try hard enough. the pool is ok, and the beach is really great. The only thing that ruins the picture is the wind. Get ready for wind all the time. the food is not that good, and there is not much variety, but is ok from a 4 start hotel point of view. Any way, the caribean resorts are much much better. Conclusion, it was a nice week, in a average hotel."
- Travel date: Fri 4th of June 2010
All right, nothing spectacular
"The staff is very good, the drinks are normal and so is the food for a 4 star hotel. Its located near the beach and in this part of the year its windy.
The swimming pool is very good, one of the best I've been since it has salted water.
The rooms were nice and clean."
- Travel date: Tue 30th of March 2010
A trip to Paradise
"This hotel is simply fantastic,seven star location,perched upon the most magnificent beach,a piece of paradise,vast expanses of white idyllic beaches ,lapped by turquoise waters.The food was 5 star standard,as good as any 5star hotel in the world.I took a flight to Sal,def worth an overnight stay,a lot more developed than Boa Vista,with many restaurants,bars,cafes ,shops and a few night clubs ,but was wonderful to return to the idyllic underdeveloped,tranquil Boa Vista.A whale watching trip with Braccuda tours was fantastic ,with two whales and a white shark putting on a show better than anything ever viewed on tv.The quad biking trip to Santa Monica beach ,simply the best beach in the world,better than anything i have ever seen anywhere(s africa,w africa ,Dubai,India,Vietnam,Cambodia,France ,Spain,Irl)don't leave Boa Vista without seeing this before they build the 1500 room hotel!This trip was a heavenly trip to Paradise with wonderful staff."
- Travel date: Tue 30th of March 2010
Fantastic relaxing break
"Flying into Boa Vista is something else! After 6 hours in the air and leaving a cold and foggy Gatwick, the expectation is starting to bubble as you approach into land. Then out of the window you see what I can only describe as the most increadible beach, stretching for miles into a mist thats been churned by the Atlantic surf. Little did we know at that time that this was the beach (Praia de Chaves) that is right in front of our hotel.
My wife and I chose to stay at the Iberostar because we had spent our honeymoon in an Iberostar in Mexico and loved it due to its superb food and relaxed international feeling. I'd heard that the hotel had only opened in December 2009 and after seeing the other review for someone who went then, I am so glad that we chose to travel when we did as it sounds like they had some problems. I'm pleased to say that we had no such trauma.
We travelled in early January and the hotel wasnt very busy but that was perfect for us. We just wanted somewhere to chill and relax for the week and thats exactly what we did.
The location is amazing. Elevated above such an increadible beach. We made it a daily event to watch the sun go down with a G 'n' T, and a morning ritual to wander as far as we wished in either direction - the hardest decision was to turn left or right! (Be sure to walk around the disused ceramic fatory which has been engulfed in the powdery stuff).
There were certainly signs that the hotel was still tinkering with things and finding their feet but it didnt bother us. In fact it made it quite interesting as we were trying to work out what they were planning or working on. There werent any watersports at that time but they offered to drive us to a nearby centre - after careful consideration, and another beer, it sounded too strenuous so I returned to my book and my sunlounger.
The Food was excellent. Good variety, and quality and along the lines of what we had experienced in Mexico (only on a smaller scale as it had 200 rooms). Its only a 260 room hotel so even if they were full, it wouldnt be too crazy as it isnt one of those huge complexes where you get lost finding your room. We also got to make friends as we kept seeing the same faces at sundown.
The staff were so welcoming and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble. The rooms are clean and functional. We did have a couple of minor issues but the hotel staff sorted them out. The area that I'd say they could improve on was the entertainment.
We took a quad bike out one day which was great fun. I've never had sand in such obscure places. We went up into the Desert with huge shofting sand dunes - very bizaar in the middle of the island. We also got recommended a trip to the North of the island as someone told us there was a wreck there - maybe next time.
Sure Boa Vista isnt like the Canaries but there are things to do there at your own pace, and if your up for a relaxing break in the sun I would definitely recommed it.
As for the Iberostar, it was perfect for us and very pleased we didnt chose the Riu. We are considering returning next January with some friends. I only hope that we dont fall out deciding which direction to walk!"
- Travel date: Tue 19th of January 2010
Lack of facilites and inadequate information
"I stayed in the Iberostar Boa Vista during their first week of opening in December. When I originally booked this hotel it was due to open in November (mid) so I thought that by making a visit there one month later the start-up wrinkles would have been ironed out. In early December I began to worry that the hotel was perhaps not yet opened so I phoned the central Iberostar phone line and was informed that I was not to worry and that the hotel was up and running and fully operational.
When I arrived in Boa Vista we got a taxi from the airport to the hotel and it was obvious immediately that the hotel was not finished. The lobby was bare, the staff were disorganised and Spanish staff were training the local staff and sometimes being unnecessarily abrupt with the local staff. I asked how many people were staying in the hotel and I was told that there were 15 guests.
We made our way to the room and the first thing we noticed was that you have to pay approx. â¬7 to use the hotel room safe and you must contact reception about this. So off I went back to the reception desk where one of the staff from Spain got a pack of batteries and explained that I would have to pay to use the in-room safe and that it was anyway unnecessary since there was no history of crime on the island of Boa Vista - this was in contrast to a number of articles I have read where theft from tourists is a common problem. Anyway, I went back to my room with the staff member (and I told them that I wouldn't pay the â¬7) and we set up the safe to operate it. On the walk back, the spanish lady was very friendly but I couldn't help detect some slight racist undertones in some of the comments she was making about opening a hotel in "Africa" (sic) and how it is impossible to get anything done there and so on.
Next a saga with the TV commenced. We switched it on out of curiousity and it didn't work. I went back to the reception desk. A workman came by and couldn't fix it. Then two workmen came by and couldn't fix it - one then left and my husband tried to help the remaining workman mount the TV back on the wall. It still didn't work. We decided to go out to and at various stages during the day we would return to our room to find a workman there trying to get the TV to work (driling holes in the wall, spilling plaster on our belongings etc), or we would find that a workman had been to our room but left the door open when he left since the lock was very stiff and hard to turn. But yet we had to pay for the security of a safe (in principle).
Lunch was mediocre buffet food and the main problem with only 15 guests for a buffet is that the food is not turned over very often so it gets dried and lukewarm. They should have aimed have restaurant food with so few guests.
That night I went back to reception and mentioned the broken TV and the fact that we constantly had workers in our room. The reception lied saying there was no TV in the complex - but we know the other guests all had working TVs except our direct neighbours who got a bottle of champagne to make up for the inconvenience. We also discovered a major design fault in the hotel. The entrance door to each room is frosted glass with a bright light outside each door. So the bedroom was as bright as day when we turned off the lights in the room. There was no way of turning off the light outside the room. So back again to reception and this time the same TV repair man was sent to tear up a black out sheet and stick it to the door using black masking tape.
If I look to see what Iberostar claims is on offer in this hotel it is hard to see why they are so dishonest. The "gym" was two spinning bikes in a basement type room. There was no restaurant, no theme pub, no spa facilities, no sauna, no jacuzzi, no beauty parlor, no theme restaurant (just the main buffet restaurant), no snacks at the beach bar, no snacks at the pool bar except very limited offerings from breakfast until the last day that we were there, no theatre bar, no theatre either for that matter, finest shows were far from fine and were miserably performed in the pool bar each evening by the entertainers who were trying to make the best of what they were given, no rifle shooting (why do they list this???), and most importantly absolutely NO water sports. I don't even know how they could offer water sports since the sea at Praia de Chave is quite rough and high waves and from what the locals told me it would almost always be unsafe for swimming. I think the lack of water sports was the main disappointment to me as there was NOTHING TO DO HERE WHATSOEVER!!!
One day we went into Sal Rei, another day we took a tour around the island (not the most exciting - sure there are nice beaches but plenty of other places have nice beaches and warmer waters) and one day we walked into Sal Rei from our hotel and this took us about 2.5 hours.
The hotel had no telephones working when we arrived but we did have mobile signal from vodafone Ireland so could use them at least.
Dinner food was a bit better than lunch food but still just buffet style without fast enough turnover so after a few days I was tired of old pizza, old french fries, old pasta... the roast meats were good though as were the seafood salads.
Praia de Chava is beautiful and the hotel complex itself was really attractive. Just pity they don't realise appearance is not everything. I would not mind if Iberostar had been honest to me and told me that the facilities would not be on offer but I had booked a certain standard of hotel and it certainly did not live up to expectations.
Would I go back. No! There are a lot more interesting islands in the world to visit than Boa Vista where there is a local community that provides a picture of the place you are visiting. In Boa Vista I really just felt that the tourists were totally isolated particularly with the lack of local amenities. if the hotel had at least been able to provide us with amenities worth participating in (and I don't mean bingo! or kids' disco for the 5 kids that turned up later in the week) then maybe it would have been a more interesting destination. Shame on Iberostar for providing such false information and then having the audacity to increase my invoice beyond the quoted price because they felt they should and when I questioned this they told me that I had to pay the extra and could then contact the central office when I return home. I still must do this! as they know of course that once they have your money, it is harder to argue for a refund.
This place is only suitable for those who want to spend all day every day lying in the sun. There is nothing else to do."
- Travel date: Sun 10th of January 2010