For those not familiar with the destination, Cape Verde is a group of ten islands some 350 miles off the coast of Senegal in West Africa – keep going and you come to Brazil. Surrounded by the Atlantic and cooled by prevailing winds, the temperature is in the mid to high twenties year-round. Just six hours flying time from the UK and with a one hour time difference, Cape Verde is an ideal destination for those looking for easy access to winter sunshine, although it is a year-round resort.
Opened on 14 December 2019, the Robinson Club Cabo Verde is the twenty-fifth hotel in this successful German hotel chain, owned by TUI. The island of Sal, named after the now-unused salt pans, is mostly sand. Very little grows there apart from a few stunted bushes, and everything apart from fish is imported – even the drinking water. Despite this, guests will not feel deprived.
The hotel is adults-only and all-inclusive and consists of 307 double rooms and suites. Rooms are simply but comfortably furnished in monochrome colours and have patios or balconies. They are equipped with a fridge and coffee machine, with both coffee and tea pods. There are USB sockets beside the bed. Bathrobes are provided, plus slippers for those in suites.
The bathrooms have separate sections for shower, wash-basin and lavatory, and much use is made of glass walls and sliding doors. Whilst some guests have commented on the apparent lack of privacy, it did not seem to be a major issue. One thing missing was the provision of some form of dressing table with mirror and power socket for those wanting to style their hair. There are power sockets by the mirrors in the wash-basin area but clearly ‘health & safety’ rules are a little different there.
Although the ground floor rooms and most other guest facilities are step-free, there are no specific facilities for disabled visitors.
There is a large general buffet serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. A huge variety of dishes is available, although at lunch and dinner most are side dishes, whilst mains consisted largely of fish or chicken. There are many long tables which encourage sociability, but as many of the guests are German, British guests may find conversation a little difficult. However, I found no problem in getting my own table, either inside the restaurant or on the extensive outside terrace. At lunch and dinner each table is supplied with both sparkling and still water. A request for red, white or rosé wine is met with delivery of a bottle, and there is a self-service tap for those wanting lager.
Fancy a change of menu? Pousada is a Tapas bar where guests pay for wine but not for food, and are encouraged to order several dishes. Another speciality restaurant is to be opened shortly.
There are three bars in the hotel. One is by the beach, popular for sunset drinks, whilst the main bar later becomes the open-air disco. The more intimate No Hassle bar is at the other end of the hotel and is ideal for those looking for a tranquil spot.
Throughout the Robinson Club Cabo Verde, the service is excellent, the cheerful staff speak English, German and Portuguese and are always ready to help.
The hotel focuses on fitness and there is a gym, spa and mixed sauna, offering both clothed and unclothed areas. There are various fitness classes including a morning yoga session by the beach, and two swimming pools.
Given the huge beaches and regular winds, it is not surprising that water sports, especially windsurfing and kite surfing, are a major attraction. There is also scuba-diving and sailing. For something less strenuous the hotel is a fifteen minute stroll along the beach or promenade to the town of Santa Maria which, at the last census, had a population of six thousand and is the biggest town on the island.
Cape Verde is not the Canaries or the Caribbean but a unique destination in its own right. Laid back and under-developed it is an ideal place for those looking for easy access to winter sunshine, a chance to relax, and to enjoy the invigorating facilities provided by the hotel.
Robinson Club Cabo Verde, Avenida dos Hoteis, CV- C.P. 62 Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde.
Tel: (+34) 971 169 100
The resort is located on an 8km (5 mile) beach around 15 minutes from Sal Airport which is served primarily by TUI and TAP airlines.
Type of Hotel: 4-Star Hotel and Resort (Adults Only, All-inclusive Resort)
Number of rooms: 307 rooms and suites
Price Band: From £585 per person per week, two sharing when booked direct. From £882 per person per week with TUI from the UK including flights and transfers.
Insider Tip: If you don’t book a package which includes the airport visitor tax, you should pre-pay it online at least a week before departure. Have your details ready as you have 20 minutes to complete the form and pay. The fee is 3,400 escudos, around £30. Go to https://registration.cv.zetes.com
Reviewer Rating: 8/10
Mike Pickup is an award-winning travel writer and photographer who has over one hundred features a year published in newspapers, magazines and travel trade titles.
Photographs by Mike Pickup and Robinson Club Cabo Verde