11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We have just returned from the Morabeza Hotel in Sal, It was one of the best hotels we have stayed in. We had a large room with a seperate bedroom, seperate toilet and bathroom,. air conditioning, plenty of cupboard space, hot water constantly,
the room was cleaned every day.
The pool was great with plenty of loungers, wide choice of food for breakfast, take tea bags if you want a british cuppa. the resturant was superb, food there was realy good. lunch was served in the aquarius beach resturant over looking the sea, it was like paradise.
Entertainment wasnt brillient but its not Magaluf, Traditional music every other night, traditional dance on sundays,
even had a bit of karaoke, theres a disco on saturday nights, its very hot in there.
It can be very windy in the nights so its wise to take a couple of long sleeved tops just to keep the chill off.
Theres no hairdryers in rooms ,so a travel one will be needed.
the Staff are really friendly, and try hard to speak English,
They accept euro all over Sal.
Beware of the strong waves they can be quite forcefull.
All in all a wonderful hotel and place"
- Travel date: Thu 28th of June 2007
"Had the most fantastic relaxing holiday on Sal, staying at the wonderful Morabeza - please note that all the rooms that are now available have undergone refurbishment and whilst this is continuing throughout the hotel - you wouldnt know it - no noisy building work to be heard - in fact didnt know it was happening until we stumbled across them at another part of the hotel by accident!!
Our room was decorated in modern muted colours with loads of storage and a good sized mini fridge with ice making facility - a must for the G & T at the end of a hot day.
The bathroom was stunning with a huge shower you could fit 6 people in, one shower head the size of a dinner plate and also another normal power shower head, bowl type sinks and good lighting etc. Beds were comfy and the room was fresh and cleaned everyday - staff dont wake you up in the morning or seem remotely bothered if you just want to sit on your balcony or terrace, they just come back later.
All the staff were lovely particularly the animation team who couldnt do enough for you and made an effort to chat each day.
Mane a cape verdean member of the team was particularly lovely and a member of the dance team on the cape verdean evening which is not to be missed and very good value for money. Mane will also take you on a free tour of Santa Maria which we found lovely, he takes you off the beaten track and because I mentioned to him I worked in a school he took us to the local infant school to meet the children which was great.
As advised by other reviewers, we took out some lightweight toys, colouring books and stickers so we went back later to give them to the kids and they were so grateful - they dont have much but they are wonderful happy children and it made us feel quite humble and it was well worth the effort.
On the tour Mane took us to some nicer shops where you dont get hassled at all. Unfortunately this was our one and only experience of shopping unaccosted. My advice is to not get into conversation with shop owners in the street and although it seems rude it really is a nightmare to the extent that after one effort on our own to shop we never did it again! Try and buy from the shops owned by the Cape Verdeans. They dont bother you at all.
The hotel pool is lovely and clean with loads of sunbeds and cushions and all the staff are very nice and do there best for you.
Breakfast was absolutely wonderful with any amount of fresh exotic fruits, cakes, croissant, brioche etc. They will make bacon and eggs for you however you want them but you do have to ask but dont feel afraid to do so, they are very accommodating.
Sal itself is a very barren island and there isnt much to see - Mane helped us arrange a tour of the island with a friend as Thompsons had no spaces and I would highly recommend it cos it was loads cheaper, we had Guta all to ourselves and could come and go as we pleased. In all it took about 4 hours which was enough and we were lucky enough to go and see the Red Turtles babies which isnt offered by other tour operators.
In all a fabulous relaxing holiday with good food everywhere we went. However, my friend and I were the only people we met on the whole holiday that hadnt had a stomach upset or been ill. BUT my feeling is that people ate things in excess a lot of the time, shellfish and food that was uncovered for some time which we didnt do. Also we didnt drink their coffee as you have to be very careful about the water and milk - we maybe didnt have the culinary experience that some people had and did eat quite simple food but felt it was worth it as we escaped being ill. One man who arrived with us was actually really ill for 6 out of 7 days! Dont think it is the Morabeza that is the problem - or the restaurants, but rather what people were eating and being european we dont have the resistance the C V people have. Definately take plenty of immodium and dioralite in case - we had to give all ours away because people forgot theirs!
If you want an action packed holiday - this can be done with dune buggy rides and quads and various other things that are on offer. I had a wonderful massage with Odette and was worth every penny - cost around Â£14 and states 20 minutes but cos she wasnt busy I got an hour and 10 mins - truly wonderful..
The laid back way of life doesnt suit all - but if you relax and go with it, you dont even think about it - some people like to be served immediately they arrive in restaurants but personally i think its nice to have a look at the menu in peace and let them do their job their way! You get much better treatment in the end.
Overall I would highly recommend this holiday - the beaches are stunning although I am a good swimmer I didnt feel too safe in the sea but it varies from day to day. We just stayed the week and i feel that was enough although we would have visited other iislands if we had stayed for 2 weeks but this can be pricey. Came home more relaxed than any other holiday i have ever been on - ENJOY!"
- Travel date: Sat 23rd of June 2007
relaxing holiday at Morabeza
"Just returned from two weeks at Morabeza, great location, rooms basic but very clean, restaurants and bars good choice of both food and drink, (people on HB only had a set menu to choose from which did not have alot of choice) we travelled with Holiday Options and they arranged for BB plus our 1st, last night and both Saturday Cape Verde nights which I would recommend were included this was a good opion as we were able to discover some good restaurants the best Americonos and Atlantis the seafood was some of the best we have had and reasonable. My husband dived with the dive centre Scubateam on the beach and really enjoyed his dives lots to see and visability great. There is alot of building works going on around Santa Maria but as Morabeza is directly on beach you do not have any problems. We flew from Manachester and this was the only negative of the holiday the plane is only a 737 and was very basic and on the return will also stopped at Faro to change crew this we had not been informed and added another hour on to the journey.
Overall a great holiday very relaxing."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of June 2007
Fastest growing holiday destination
"We have just returned from two weeks at theMorabeza with Capeverdejetaway. The hotel has magnificent views over one of the world`s most idyllic beaches. We have never had such excellent service before in a third world country . The hotel grounds with mature palms and hibiscus are so lovely that it was hard to leave to walk through Santa Maria itself, much of which is becoming a building site, with all the new properties going up.
It was warm with a good cooling breeze and never hot enough to need aircon. But the town itself was so hot and busy that, we gladly ducked back into the peace and tranquility of the hotel.
We stayed in one of the newly refurbished duplex suites with its own balcony and sea view. The food particularly at the Cape Verde buffet on each Saturday was excellent and very plentiful. We were expecting just the normal limited array of cheap dishes available at all inclusive hotels, but even breakfast which is Continental offers a wide choice of fruits, breads and juices. You can have your evening meals at the bar where English speakers congregate or at the open air restaurant under the stars.
The pool is small but warm and the sea is warmer still and was calm when we were there, even though it is he open Atlantic. The kids really enjoyed it. The staff at the Beach Bar were attentive and amazingly fast for a tropical hotel. Sun loungers are freely available unlike at some of the big all inclusive hotels which are colonised mostly by Germans.
It is not the most expensive hotel in Santa Maria but surely the best. We paid Â£200 per person for a week and another Â£200 for full Board which we thought excellent value. The flights from Gatwick was a special late deal for just over Â£300 per person and Cape Verde Jetaway organised the visas, which everyone needs, very efficiently.
The flight was smooth and trouble free lasting just under 6 hours and the stewards friendly. Food was a little limited and there was the usual crush at Gatwick and delays making us two hours late getting back. At Sal there was chaos for those who had not got visas but we walked through ahead of all the queue, thanks to preplanning.
Overall this is one of the best hotels and best organised holidays that we have experienced. Perhaps it is not ideal if you want sightseeing but for a beach and sports holiday, it is perfect with everything within easy reach. We took the free diving lessons and saw some very colourful fish. Wind surfing is on hand for the energetic and there was always wind."
- Travel date: Sat 26th of May 2007
Hotel Morabeza - the best on Sal.
"Flew out on 29 March worried about what we might be going to having read a mix of reviews. However, relieved to say we have just had a wonderful two week family holiday at Morebeza in Sal thanks to a lovely hotel, well-run with friendly staff.
We travelled with our family (17, 15 and 12) and all thoroughly enjoyed out stay. The hotel's position can't be improved. The kids had a spacious 1st/2nd floor duplex with an excellent view of the turquoise sea and beautiful sandy beach and we had a more modest double room nearby with a beach view. The rooms were clean and comfortable and the showers were powerful with plenty of hot water! The pool area is well-planned out, you can lounge about in the shade or sun, go for a dip in the pool or take the short walk onto the beach for a swim in the sea. There is a windsailing and kite surfing station connected to the hotel which my husband had a go at and was impressed at the standard of tuition given. There are plently of activites within the hotel (which are free of charge) such as tennis, archery, crazy golf, local dance lessons, a games room with full-sized snooker tables, darts board, table tennis, other games such as Scrabble and playing cards available to borrow and the animation staff are most helpful and always around. There's also a comprehensive library of English paperbacks (donated by guests). In fact all the staff were friendly, polite and obliging. One of our standard lights wouldn't work, I reported it to Reception who contacted Maintenance immediately and the man was there to fix it before I made it back to the room. I call that 'service'.
We did a couple of trips on the Catarmaran Mamita which were well worth going on. The first was to see the coastling and the second was looking for dolphins, which evaded us, but we clearly saw a whale which certainly satisfied us and won't be forgotten. We booked these trips on the promenade running along in front of the Morabeza and would recommend them.
We went by small plane to see the island of Santiago on a day trip - a lot is crammed in but it is well worth a visit and unforgettable, you see the 'real Cape Verde'. Book early as there are only a few places and I think it might only Wednesdays.
We liked eating down by the beach at the Barracuda Restaurant and the pizza restaurant between the hotel and the Barracuda. Good, fresh fish as well as other dishes and happy staff. The Culture Club in the square also served excellent food. It's advisable to book all these places in advance as they fill up early. We spend both our Saturdays at the Cape Verdean Night at the hotel, which was a good night's entertainment with plenty of variety of local dishes, traditional live music and dancing which you can join in with. All fun, that's why we spend both Saturdays there. The buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant has something for everyone and it's so pleasant being able to sit out and take as long as you want over it.
Don't worry about the 'wild' cats and dogs, they're friendly enough and like a bit of company. No problem with mosquitoes or flies. The street vendors didn't bother us either, maybe we're just used to 'Big Issue' sellers. They weren't aggressive, they say 'no stress' and leave you if you just smile and say 'no thank you'.
Definitely would recommend this holiday. Hope Morebeza doesn't expand too much. It has the best position in Santa Maria and will always be popular with those of us that wouldn't want to stay at places like the Rui Garopa - which looks like a giant sandcastle in the middle of nowhere.
We will certainly return to Hotel Morabeza and Sal (before it gets over-developed)."
- Travel date: Mon 16th of April 2007
Morabeza pleasant hotel
"We booked our stay through the Cape Verde Experience and stayed for one week at the end of March.
Despite the damning reviews we read at this website, I found GlobeTrotter_Bristol's review very accurate and helpful.
We paid extra for a room upgrade and found the room to be bright and clean with a sea view. Our wing consisted mostly of Brits mainly our age (60's). Food was very good, although inside eating lacked atmosphere. The outside terrace was lovely but could be a bit chilly for me. It could go off cold in the evenings so take something warm. Hotel staff were helpful and most could speak English.
The beach was very close, it was interesting to watch the fishermen bring in the catch. The sea was an incredible shade of blue, but a little rough for me, it also had a strong undertow so take care.
We were not bothered at all by hawkers, maybe we were just lucky, they are best totally ignored.
We ate out most nights. Do take globe trotter recommendations on restaurants. The restaurants can look very tacky but give a high quality of food if you like fish !
Should you be going for 2 weeks we strongly advise to book in some island hopping, these trips are expensive but would be worth it as there is absolutely nothing else to do. The trips book up very quickly. We stayed for 1 week and found this to be right for us, we had a pleasant relaxing time, the Morabeza was considered the best on the island.
Would we go back there, probably not, it was quite expensive for 1 week."
- Travel date: Wed 4th of April 2007
Santa Maria, Sal, Cape Verde, Africa
"We had a one week stay at the Hotel Morebeza Sal at the start of March 2007. Our room me of a Butlins holiday camp from the 60's. There was mould in the shower room. The decor and outlay was exactly that. The only advantage was that the room we had, had a good view over the beach and scrub which is not as good as portrayed in the brochures!
You either have a view over the sand scrub to the sea or over the satellites at the entrance or onto other rooms. The restaurant is ok
but if you are with Holiday Options you need to make sure what your entiltlements are re dining and towels as they are not upto speed on this! The winds were high that week so could not sit on the beach at all due to sand blowing. The island is very very barren with
absolutley nothing there! The meal prices out for two very basic
fish courses and a bottlle of basic wine for 2 Â£35 at least so not cheap! They have cashed in too quickly for what they can provide at this time! The prices are ridiculous for anything such as jewellry.
They pester you all the time to buy along the very few streets which is very off putting. It is is one of the very few places I have not bought anythinbg.,"
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of April 2007
Hotel nice, resort a shocker !!!!
"Having chosen Cape Verde for a winter break we had done lots of research and so were not too surprised by the barren and bleak landscape, but the beaches were better than expected, and were some of the best anywhere.
The hotel Morabeza was friendly and comfortable with nice and clean public areas and a good beach club (although it was very popular with guests from other Hotels so sometimes getting a lunch table was a problem).We had a sea view room which was comfortable but a bit basic and in need of upgrading. From our veranda we had a great view of the constant hassle of tourists by hawkers along the beach path. This was a nuisance and did prevent many people from leaving thier hiotel compounds. My advice to the Cape Verdeans is to deal with these hawkers (mostly from mainland Africa) in a robust way and tourists will spend more time in Sal spending money. Although the town is a real mess at the moment.
Not much to recoomend Sal just yet but the Hotel Morabeza was just about the best option."
- Travel date: Tue 27th of March 2007
Much as we expected !
"We spent a week at the Hotel Morabeza on a bed and breakfast basis.
We flew from Gatwick and paid for a flight upgrade, which we found not to be particularly good value for money.
Our travel brochure described the hotel rooms as faded and that the island had lots of building development work being carried out. We were allocated one of the older twin rooms in the hotel and found the description exactly correct.
The room was adequate but in need of re-decoration, although it had reasonable facilities - TV, fridge, air conditioning as well as a ceiling fan, plus a fair size bathroom with a good shower. There was a separate WC room. Some people we spoke to stayed in newer type rooms in another part of the hotel, which they said was much better.
There was a fair amount of development work being carried out in the hotel and local area but it didn't particularly disturb us.
We found the hotel staff friendly and helpful and the general hotel and pool areas were well looked after.
The beach was very good and swimming was reasonably safe in front of the hotel Beach Club. We didn't think it was too safe for children though, or for poor swimmers. Further down the beach there were quite strong currents and a large undertow.
The breakfast buffet was very good, lots of choices. However, the main concern was the number of flies everywhere. We thought that they could have done with some electronic "fly zappers" around the area.
We had buffet dinners at the hotel twice, which we found good - again with lots of choices - plus evening entertainment. Pre-dinner Happy Hour was good too, where the bar staff produce an excellent Caipirinha cocktail !
We ate in Santa Maria the other evenings, particularly good were the Culural Club, Americo's and Mateus restaurants. All are on the main street and within 5-8 minutes walk from the Morabeza. Also extremely good was the Atlantis, which is further down the beach from the Morabeza. Very good "fish of the day" dishes and reasonably priced.
We felt safe when walking around at night, but obviously took the same precautions as anywhere in the world - don't walk alone or down unlit back streets.
There are a lot of street hawkers trying to sell you their wares. If you want any hand made jewellery then stop and barter, otherwise a polite "no thank you" and keep walking does the trick.
Some people suffered stomach and sickness problems whilst we were there, but we were ok. We drank only bottled water and didn't eat much salad or any shellfish. We also cleaned our teeth using bottled water.
Another complaint some people had was that there were cockroaches in their rooms. We didn't see any in our room, altough there were some mosquitoes about. We swiched on a couple of electric repellers every night before we went out and used a bit of Deet spray on our arms and necks, so we were alright.
Because the hotel is fairly open, there are a lot of dogs and cats roaming around. The lesson here is to ignore them and don't feed them, or they'll keep coming back !
Petty pilfering occurs, so if you're on the ground floor - don't leave your towels or swimming costumes on the verandah to dry. They could be stolen by a walk by thief - as ours nearly was ! If the hotel security guard hadn't seen him approaching our verandah, we would have lost ours ! Similarly, don't leave anything on the beach whilst swimming in the sea.
Generally, if you want a week "chilling out" by a nice pool or the beach, then this is for you. If you accept the island, the hotel and area for what it is, then you'll have a nice relaxing time - as we did.
It certainly isn't the new Carribean - yet !"
- Travel date: Sat 17th of March 2007
Just not good enough
"As a family group made up of 2 married mature couples, we have independently taken and shared many holidays, both long and short haul.
With this experience, we looked forward to our holiday in Sal, particularly with the relatively 'short' flight.
Within the first few days, we became disappointed over a number of issues:
POSITIVE - The hotel grounds were kept neat and tidy, and our superior rooms had furnishing and fittings to a good standard, including ensuite. These were serviced every day, and similarly kept neat and tidy.
NEGATIVES - With the exception of a minority, the staff's attitude to us varied from mildly indifferent to a feeling of resentful sullenness.
The hotel's central public, sunbathing and outdoor eating areas had cats and dogs roaming around, the dogs frequently and furiously scratching and the cats regularly spraying. Within these areas, and including the indoor dining room, there were numerous flies landing on us, floor and table surfaces, and of course on food ,plates and cutlery at mealtimes.
3 out of our party of 4 suffered stomach/diarrhoea problems, 2 of which consulted a nurse and doctor respectively because of the severity. We were aware of at least 9 other people similarly affected.
In conclusion, reading other reviews will paint a picture of Santa Maria and Sal, but overall we will not be returning to cape Verde."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of February 2007
Hotel lovely, clean and breakfast very g...
"Hotel lovely, clean and breakfast very good. Staff friendly - once you have broken the ice!
We stayed on Sal island and the weather and beach were superb. If you want sun and sand and love wind surfing, kiting this is where to go.
However, if you want to do anything else forget it for a few years. Prices of sea fishing trips extortionate Â£400 and Â£190 to go island hopping, Â£11.00 for a can of hair spray!
They seem to have got the pricing all wrong, they are charging 6 star prices for a resort that has no amenities yet.
The island is full of building sites and property shops. Reps but not hassling. Music very morbid. Few restaurants but hard to find a decent steak."
- Travel date: Sun 7th of January 2007