ClubHotel Riu Funana
Travel Blogs from Santa Maria
We docked in Mindelo at 8am. The temperature was 22C and was not expected to rise much above this. It was a lovely sunny day but there was a stiff wind. The Cape Verde Islands are situated about 400 miles due west of Senegal in West Africa and the group of islands in which Sao Vicente is located are also called the Windward islands, probably because the Trade winds blow regularly here. The view of Mindelo from the ship was dramatic. The small town is surrounded by ...
'For the ignorant old age is winter for the learned it is the Harvest' (Chassidic saying)
During the three day voyage to Cape Verde we enjoyed the activities on board and mostly meeting other people in the Aviator's bar amongst whom was a lovely couple from Derbyshire, Maureen and Alan, who shared the same sense of humour as us and Pat and Tony from Cleobury Mortimer just down the road from us. The world is a small place.
... cloudy, with drizzle and wind inhibiting sun baking and swimming to some extent. Our travel mates from Europe and the UK are more disappointed than we are, as they so crave the sun. We have become adept at finding a sheltered spot on deck and books in hand, lazing on recliners have remained perfectly happy and slothful –stirring occasionally to take an amble around, seek out a coffee or gelato or generally just enjoy the festive atmosphere. I have managed to continue my ...
- Stopped in Cape Verde Islands, traveled southwest and reached the coast of Brazil towards Cape St. Augustine
- The rest of the voyage was disrupted but claimed to continue South
The following day after chilling out on the beach and checking out the amazing huge surf waves, I stroll into town again.
Armed with a bottle of wine and a big bag of fruits, I go in search for Abilio's house. It's his birthday on Tuesday and since I can't make it to the party he kindly invited me to - and to thank him for the wonderful day together - I wanted to give him something.
How has this resort rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews ClubHotel Riu Funana Santa Maria
Desafortunadamente las 5 estrellas no son de mi tipo
Acabamos de llegar de Sal Cape Verde y nos alojamos en el Riu Funana por una semana. Primero toma nota de que el complejo es nuevo y está a medio construir, la otra parte aún está en construcción, pero no era nada que me molestara, sólo el ver algunas máquinas de construcción y jardines sin plantar. La Isla de Sal es el paraíso de los windsurfers y los kitesurfers por una razón: ¡el viento! Toda la semana estuvo haciendo viento, pero no mucho, podíamos estar en la playa o en la piscina tranquilamente, y el viento sólo nos refrescaba del calor del sol.
La playa está bien, y el agua estaba lo suficientemente caliente para algunos chapuzones (aunque no es la mejor época del año). Si lo deseas, puedes caminar hasta Santa Maria (alrededor de una hora).
Para ser un hotel todo incluido, la comida estaba bien - pero un poco repetitiva. No había nada de mariscos, algo extraño estando en Cape Verde. Debo decir que al final de la semana ya estaba algo mareada con la comida. Un problema para mí fue que de las 17.30-18.30 horas no había ningún restaurante abierto en el que pudiera comer, no es un todo incluido las 24 horas (tampoco tarde por la noche no puedes comer en ningún lado).
Otro problema es que mi vuelo era tarde por la noche, y salí a las 11 de la mañana - tienen un salón para tu equipaje y también un lugar en donde te puedes duchar si así lo deseas, pero ¡nos hicieron pagar por la cena! Eso es completamente inaceptable en un complejo todo incluido. No es por el dinero (15 euros por persona) pero la idea en general. No se si sea algo común en los hoteles Riu, pero si así lo es, es algo despreciable.
A week at the Riu Funana
I think the previous reviews have been a bit harsh to be honest. Yes it's a big hotel and yes it will get bigger, but the reality is that tourism to Sal is going to increase phenomenally in the next few years, and Riu have seen the writing on the wall.
From what I saw of the other hotels in Santa Maria, I wasn't that impressed. I would imaging the Funana is probably the best there at the moment.
There is building work going on at the sister hotel the Garopa next door, but I can honestly say it didn't affect us.
The beach is a short walk from the hotel - it's literally only a 5 minute stroll, I'm not sure what all the whining is about.
The all inclusive can be a bit "samey", but that is true of every all inclusive place I've ever stayed. There was a different roast meat every night, as well as fish, meat and great salads.
Rooms were perfectly comfortable, although the corridors can be noisy when new guests arrive and the disco kicks out.
The bar and waiting staff were friendly enough, especially if you try and converse in pidgeon portuguese as opposed to just shouting louder in your own language!
A couple of gripes though were that reception were appalling at passing on messages to the room - our suitcase had been misplaced by TAP (this is quite common I understand!) and, unknown to us, was delivered to the hotel the following morning.
Reception did not think to deliver the case, nor to ring the room and say the case was there, only by speaking to TAP the following night did we establish this and go and collect the case ourselves.
Also the internet access is in a tiny room which is manned by young people. Now - given that the users of the internet room were all middle aged, the music being blasted out in there was so ridiculously loud that we couldn't concentrate and gave up.
7 dias en Riu Funana
La verdad es que estamos en Cabo Verde, no estamos en Europa, asi que la calidad del hotel no es comparable.
Creo que está razonable para el precio, pero no es comparable con hoteles de 5 estrellas del caribe a los que estamos habituados.
La playa fantastica, agua limpia y transparente sin algas. Kilometros y kilometros de playa. Sin palmeras. El hotel tiene tumbonas, bar de playa con refrescos solamente, multiples actividades acuaticas.....y miles de senegalenses intentando vender recuerdos, recuerdos que realmente no son de cabo verde , pero la verdad es que se te cae el alma a los pies y terminas por comprar para ayudar; cuando ya llevas alli varios dias pueden resultar pesados, pero que hariamos nosotros en su situación?
La habitacion normalita, mucho mejor que los otros hoteles de la zona. El mejor sin duda; pero repito que no se puede comparar con otros hoteles.
La comida, mucho buffet....2 restaurantes con reserva tambien muy normalitos, el buffet variado, es cierto, muy español; muchas ensaladas etc. Marisco ni verlo!!!
El agua es un bien muy preciado en el hotel, te dan las botellas en recepción.
La animacion en el hotel FANTASTICA,; todos los dias un espectaculo por la noche y actividades continuas de todo tipo.
Felicidades al RIU FUNANA por la animación.
El hotel tiene 500 habitaciones, y estan construyendo otro riu de otras 500.
Estan intentando poner el máximo de plantas y jardines en aquel sitio tan desertico, les está quedando bien, quedara mejor. No olvides que esto no es el caribe, es africa.
En fin, animo a ir a esta isla y a este hotel.
Un abrazo y buenas vacaciones
Falsche Bilder vom Riu
Die Bilder, die von dieser Gruppe benutz werden, sind total unehrlich! Sie zeigen das Hotel, als wenn es am Strand liegen wurde, weil sie besondere Objektive benutzen. Es liegt in Wirklichkeit 500 Meter vom Strand entfernt. Das Hotel wurde auf einem einsamen Streifen, 2 Meilen von Santa Maria entfernt, gebaut. Auch die Bemühungen, die Umgebung um das Hotel zu bepflanzen, schlagen wegen des schlechten Bodens fehl. Die Zimmer sind groß und komfortabel.
Disillusion with the Riu
The photos used by this group are totally dishonest. They show the hotels as on the Beach using telephoto lenses to shrink the distance. Actually it is a good 500m from your room to the beach. The hotel is built on empty desert two miles out of the town of Santa Maria. Although they are trying to grow plants the hotel compound is mostly baked bare earth.
Rooms are large and comfortable but the hotel is patronised by middle-aged overweight Germans whose make their presence felt both at the buffets and in the race for pool loungers.
Unfortunely not my kind of 5 stars
Just arrived from Sal Cape Verde and stayed at Riu Funana for a week. First view is that is a new resort that is only half built and the other part is still building but nothing that bother me, just the view of some building machines and some not yet planted gardens.
The island of Sal is the windsurfers and kitesurfers paradise for a reason... wind! All week the wind blew but not very windy, we could stay at the beach or at the pool quitelly that the wind would just refresh us from the heating sun.
The beach is ok and the water was "heated" enough for some baths (this is not the best time of the year although). You can walk all the the way to Santa Maria if you want (about 1 hour).
For all inclusive hotel the food was ok - but a bit samey... No seafood at all, this is strange being in Cape verde. At the end of the week i have to say that i was a bit queasy of the food. One problem for me from 17.30 to 18.30 there was no open restaurant for me to eat, this is not a 24 hour all inclusive (also late night you cannot eat anywhere).
Another problem is that my flight was late night, i've checkout at 11 in the morning - they have a room for your laugage and also a place where you can take a shower if you want, but they made us pay for the dinner! That is totally unacceptable for a all inclusive resort.. Is not for the money (15 euros each person) but the all the ideia in general. I dont know if this is usual in Riu hotels but if it is is very dispicable.
Go before Sal is spoiled
We stayed at the Riu Funana for the first 11 days of April.
Flights - Flew with TAP from Heathrow, changing at Lisbon. Plane late departing, arrived Lisbon even later as French Air Traffic Controllers were on strike. TAP met us with a mini bus as we left one aeroplane and drove us at high speed to the next aircraft and no sooner were we on board than we were speeding down the runway for take off - just like a James Bond movie! None of the crew could tell us whether our luggage had received the same treatment so we were quite expecting to be without luggage when we arrived. However, somehow the luggage made it so we were very impressed. Unfortunately, the return trip wasn't so good. Flight late taking off, bussed from one aircraft to another, loads more time to transfer, but somehow luggage didn't make it on this route. It took over 24 hours for our luggage to reach us. We were lucky! We spoke to several people who had missed the connection completely on the outbound trip and had to stay in Lisbon for 24 hours. TAP had refused to pay any expenses. Also met a family whose luggage didn't make it on the outbound trip so they were left with nothing when they reached the hotel. Make sure you pack a few essentials in your hand luggage or, better still, avoid flying TAP if you can!
Visas- We hadn't done our homework properly. You do need a visa if you are British, unless you are married to someone who comes from Cape Verde. You can get a Visa when you land, but to be honest it's the last things we wanted to do at 1am, so save yourself time and get it before you go.
Hotel Rooms - We'd booked a suite so we (2 adults, 2 children aged 13 & 9) could stay in the one room. Our room was clean and spacious. Most rooms only have a shower; the suites also have a bath. There was plenty of wardrobe and drawer space for all four of us. The walls are quite thin and if you're in a downstairs room you can hear lots of noise from above. Only got woken one night by people arriving at the hotel.
Pools - I'm told they were cold, but after seeing my children struggle to get into them I decided not to! Apparently one pool is heated, but I'm told it was still cold. You need to choose your spot by the pool carefully; otherwise you're in danger of having umbrellas falling upon you because of the winds!
Building Work - They are building the other half of the hotel. You can see the builders, but they are far enough away not to be a problem.
Food - We'd never stayed at a Riu hotel before so didn't know what to expect. We thought the food was brilliant! Plenty of choice, lots of healthy salads, fresh fish, homemade pizzas, gorgeous desserts. Red wine also good! No complaints!
Entertainment - Lots going on in the day. The staff tried very hard. The music was mostly continental in the evenings but British/American around the pool in the day. The shows in the evening were a bit amateurish, but the head of entertainment was very funny in the comedy sketches.
Children - Few British children, but our kids soon worked out that the Belgium's speak very good English. Our 13-year-old son completed his PADI open water course, often with 1-1 tuition.
Sal - We hired a car and made a tour of the island. Sal is basically dessert. There is one tarmac road running down the middle, a few cobbled streets in Santa Maria and the rest of the roads are sand tracks. Make sure you book a 4-wheel drive! The fishing village of Palmeira is pretty, watch people jumping from the cliffs into a natural swimming pool at Buracona, visit Salinas de Pedra de Lume (an enormous crater of an extinct volcano from which salt is extracted) - at present no entry charge, we visited some remote beaches on the west coast and saw one family living in a cave, visit Serra Negra to watch kite surfing and of course go into Santa Maria. People all very friendly. One chap in Santa Maria was a pain on a couple of occasions trying to sell us things and not understanding the word no, but mostly we weren't bothered too much (not at all outside of Santa Maria).
Climate - We'd read the reports, but weren't really prepared for how strong the wind was. During the day it was actually quite pleasant because it never got too hot and was comfortable to walk around. Usually between 5pm and 6pm the sun clouded over and you started to really feel the wind. Take a cardigan or light jacket for the evenings. Apparently Sal only gets about 10 hours of rain a year!
Overall - We thought the hotel was brilliant value for money and enjoyed visiting Sal before the rest of Britain discovers it!
They all inclusive well
We have just returned from Riu and found that it met the high standards of the chain.
There is some building works going on there but it didnt bother us!
Rooms;It can be a "bit of a walk" to the restaurant or the pool depending which block you are in
Strange set up of having the bathroom in the room, with the toilet closed off; look out for the innovative wooden tassels pretending to be wardrobe doors!! They worked well though!
THE DOORS TO THE ROOM are next to each other and whenever your neighbour goes in and out you think that they are coming into your room; so that was a poor idea!
The corridors are an announcement the next flight has arrived! They echo and unfortunately you can count the cases in and out whilst laying in bed!
The rooms are clean though and very comfortable; just a couple of silly ideas that probably looked good on the design.
Food; The same all inclusive buffet style; was very dissapointed when we "reserved" a table in the other restaurant only to find the only difference was you get your wine brought to the table, but still buffet style!!! Expected table service there.
The food was good and of a high standard.
They do the food well, and always felt comfortable of very high hygiene standards.
It does get very "samey" but not sure what they could do about that!
Entertainment; The team do well; and I think they begin to grow on you after the first week; they appear to get the level right between asking you to join in and being pushy! There is something for you to do if you wish; and they make you aware of that.
The shows at night are very difficult for them as there is such a mixture of nationalities; but they try there best; and if you have kids I am sure that you love the entertainment team; and the shows.
Beach; The beach is fantastic; we had a week of fairly high winds and then just a welcomed breeze where it appeared that every guest was on the beach; but we could wonder a little further down and find secluded areas; if thats what you want.
Out and About; I read an earlier review and took their advise about eating at the Atlantis, Barracuda and drinking at the Morrabeza; all recommended.
We also thought we were brave going into town at night only to find that there is absolutely no threat what so ever-thats how it felt.
Went into El Pirata - the only disco in town; ITS 6 EUROS FOR A SMALL BOTTLE OF BEER; Only had one!! They stamp a card and you pay on your way out; so be aware of that one! Tourists have one card locals another.
The cabs were excellent and reliable; Two euros into town in day; three at night.
TAKE A SHAWL OR JACKET for the evening; it felt really cold on some nights, with the constant breeze and after being in the sun.
OVERALL;I thought that they do the all inclusive thing well and they met our expectations.
We both thought that Sal exceeded our expectations, and would like to return before its spoilt.
We will return to Sal; but probably not the Funana (unless its a fantastic deal!) but thats just because we are "all inclusived out" no reflection on the hotel.
We look for a holiday where you can lay in the sun, read and fish - do something every now and again - not use the diaraoha tablets!!!; And not feel like you are meeting every drug dealer or professional beggar or salesman in the town everytime you step out of the hotel-this delivered that;
The most important thing was that this place felt safe.
Dont go to Sal if you want forests and mountains.
Dont go to Riu Funana if you want silver service and orchestras and room service.
But if you want a clean, comfortable friendly hotel and the opportunity to "do something every now and again" like shooting or football or a long walk on the beach after lunch (with very very few english staying there at present!). Then this is the place for you.
Too big, too far away, too windy
We stayed there a week in march.
We are a couple we didn´t like the hotel because: it´s too big 500 rooms more 500 under contruction, everyrooms are very far away from everything, from the beach and reception and restaurants. There´s no room service and no food after 22h. The drinks quality is not good, cocktails only 4 !! the animation is tood poor and the shows at night is only mimic !!
The swimingpool is to small for 500 rooms now imagine for 1000 !! And the pool is not protected from the wind, the beach is the same thing we could stay there because of the wind.
Becarefull the photo of the hotel you see in the catalogues is not real, the rooms are not near the beach.
To go to the city, only by taxi.
This hotel maybe be good for families or old people that can came to cape verd without go out of the hotel, but for active and young people just forget it.
If you are looking for sun and relax don´t stay here, it´s too people, noise and wind.
Stay on hotel near the village
Sorry about the mistakes, we hope we help in your choose.
If you need some help about ilha do sal just ask us
Riu Hotel, Sal Cape Verde
Stayed at the Riu for 1wk 9 Feb 2006. It has 500 rooms (very few sea facing and you can't prebook them)Another 500 are being built. The construction site which includes its own cement works is screened off from part already opened but there is also building work near the pool.Although only opened in Oct 2005 parts of the hotel are already undergoing repair with large cracks being repaired in many of the blocks. This is noisy if you are unfortunate enough to be in one of the affected blocks (block 4 when we were there)
The hotel design takes no account of the prevailing winds - EVERY bar and even the reception/lounge are open to the elements. Great in the heat of summer butvery cold in the evenings when its windy which it was for the whole of our stay. Its easy to see why this is a windsurfers paradise - it was blowing a gale the whole week, but beware the sand in your eyes on the beach or even walking about the hotel.
Rooms are clean and well decorated - good aircon and ceiling fans - shower not bath.Because of the design -the rooms are quite noisy as noise is amplified by the long corridors - a bit of a problem when the night flights arrive and people and luggage are entering rooms at 3 am.
The hotel does the all inclusive thing well - the food was good - but a bit samey. Excellent for families as children could eat at any time during the day.The fish restaurant on site was quite good.The non branded drinks were surprisingly good and we found the staff to be very pleasant and helpful. The evening shows from the resident entertainment team have to be seen to be believed - but good for children. They aso run the activity during the day by the pool and on the beach - keep fit, bingo, darts etc.
We hired a car but there is nothing on the island to see. The town of Santa Maria is only a few euros cab away and there are plenty of cabs. Its a safe place - never felt threatened and some good restaurants and bars, Try Atlantis at lunch time - terrific lobster - 25 euros, The Barracuda at night - superb creole food very cheap and the bar of the Morabeza for drinks during the day - great location.
Great hotel for families and older people who like everything on site.