The hotel sits in glorious isolation, there’s nothing around so if you’re looking for clubs etc, this isn’t the place for you. If you’re looking for beautiful sandy beaches and piece and quiet, then you’ll find it on Boa Vista.
We stayed in a standard room which was well sized with decent beds and a bathroom with shower. Hot water was available all hours and the shower had a reasonable flow. On one occasion we had a smell of cigarette smoke coming through the shower vent, presumably another guest was the cause, other than this, no bad smells from drains as other reviews have mentioned. The rooms aren’t the most soundproofed, if you get noisy neighbours I suggest you tell the hotel early and either they or you can be moved.
The food is good, even though the hotel caters for a large number of guests, the main dining room always had space and plenty of food. There was always a good selection of dishes and everything we tried was of good quality. Most days we had lunch in the snack bar, the selection of food was almost the same as the main restaurant but in a more relaxed setting and closer to the pools. In the evening you can visit one of the themed restaurants (bookings required but no extra cost). They were OK but not really that different to what you could eat in the main restaurant, worth a try while you’re there but not too disappointing if you don’t.
There is always at least one bar open 24 hours a day, they have a decent selection of drinks but nothing branded. We’re not big drinkers or too fussy about a certain brand of drink so not a worry. If you’re a coffee fan, the bar in the main reception area is the place to go, freshly made and they will make just about any variation on a coffee that you can imagine.
The hotel entertainment team do their best to put on a nightly show, on some nights there was a guest singer or band. None of the entertainment was bad, they do there best but is wasn’t Las Vegas! One surprising omission, no disco.
There are trips available and although the island of Boa Vista is only small, I think it’s worth venturing out at least once. The locals seem happy but poor, many that don’t work in hotels depend on the tourist trade to sell souvenirs for a living. Don’t expect UK health and safety standards when outside the hotel. We spent very little apart from the cost of excursions, Euros are acceptable everywhere although if you want local currency there are cash machines in the hotel. We were advised not to get any Cape Verde Escudos as you can’t exchange them when once you leave and as the Euro is accepted widely there is little point.
Although the hotel complex is vast and at first it seemed like everything was a long way apart, after a couple of days finding our way around we found nothing was more than a couple of minutes away. If you’re not good at walking then I’d say some form of mobility aid is essential and apart from the upper floor rooms, the whole complex is very wheelchair friendly.
So to the swimming pools and beaches, all I can say is fabulous. Some of the pools were being refurbished during our stay but even so there were plenty of others for swimming or just relaxation. The sunbeds around the pool were popular but my question would be why stay around the pool when your on the edge of a lovely sandy beach? There are hundreds of sunbeds on the beach and for anyone wanting to venture a little further there are miles of white sand. Just to the east around a small headland you can enjoy your own almost private beach. Our only disappointment with the beach was that the sea was too rough to swim, the red flags were up all the time during our stay.
During our stay the sun was out every day, there was always a breeze from the land but for me this was essential otherwise we’d have cooked. Even with the breeze the temperature was in the mid twenties, very pleasant.
On the subject of sun tanning, take plenty of sun cream, there are shops in the hotel but choice is limited and prices are high, typically 30 Euros for a bottle.
Not directly hotel related but the journey to Boa Vista isn’t the best flight ever. The island’s airport can only accommodate smaller planes like the 737. If like us you travel from the UK it’s quite a long flight on a plane that’s not really well equipped, take your own entertainment as apart from an in-flight meal, nothing is provided.
And last but not least, the hotel staff were wonderful. Most are local and in their twenties, they are so happy and enthusiastic they really made our stay. They were always smart and polite and all spoke English (and other European languages) well enough so that we didn’t have to use Portuguese (we did try but we’re very limited). They are a complement to the hotel.
My final tip, visit soon. At the moment Boa Vista is relatively undeveloped. New hotels are under construction and in a few years I think the character of the island will change as it becomes more commercial.