Review: Riu Touareg Hotel – Cape Verde

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As you bounce along the cobblestone road towards the coast of Boa Vista, the Riu Touareg emerges out of the landscape like a life-sized sandcastle. Situated on miles of deserted coastline, with not another building in sight, the Touareg is extremely isolated, so is the perfect choice for a relaxing ‘get away from it all’ holiday where you can completely chill out and relax. It allows you to escape modern life and reconnect with each other – meaning you can only get wifi in the reception and dining areas. I found it liberating not to be attached to my phone during the day….however we did spend the first 10 minutes of every dinner time looking wildly unsociable.   Opened in 2011, the Riu Touareg has 881 rooms, a huge main pool and separate children’s pool sprawled over such a large area that it really doesn’t feel crowded. The government have ruled that any property on the beach front can be no higher than 3 stories – fitting in perfectly with the surroundings – a high rise would stick out like a sore thumb here.

imageRooms: We stayed in a lovely air conditioned family room on the 2nd (top) floor. The family rooms are more spacious than the standard double, consisting of a little lounge area with sofa bed, coffee table and tv, and a separate bedroom with what I can only imagine was a super king sized bed – certainly the biggest bed I’ve ever slept in, and very comfortable. The room was tastefully decorated in an African theme bursting with oranges and reds and was kept immaculately clean throughout our stay by the incredibly hard working hotel maids.

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Simple things please simple minds, so you can imagine my delight when I found our towels expertly crafted into swans upon our return from the pool on the first day. I was however a little disappointed that this wasn’t the case every single day, although it did provide a lot of entertainment for me rushing up to the room each day like an excited kid on Christmas Eve to see if a new animal had appeared on our bed. There were no tea or coffee making facilities however there was a fridge to store the big bottles of water which you could collect free from reception. I would imagine some of the sea views from the balconies are breathtaking, however ours was looking over a rather sandy garden area onto another block of the hotel, so I would recommend emailing the hotel ahead of time to request a sea view room.

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Entertainment: During the day there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained courtesy of the fantastic animation team. I have no idea where their energy and enthusiasm from but it is infectious. Things kick off around 10.30am with water polo, followed by activities throughout the day including darts, shuffleboard, the weekly ‘crazy game’, water volleyball, football, bingo and shooting. Their motto as they are calling out the activities is ‘DON”T BE LAZY!’ and I heeded their advice by taking part in the aqua-aerobics….once….in 11 days.

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Evenings can be just as lively with a nightly show from 9.30pm – 10.30pm. The show has a different theme each night, such as Lady GaGa tribute, Grease, Rock Legends etc. The dancing is good but the songs are either mimed or sung, but bear in mind we are not talking West End standard here! I would recommend taking a pack of cards with you, we spent most evenings playing cards in the bar or watching films on the iPad.

There is also a night club open until 2am which I ventured into one night. It actually had a great mix of music to suit everyone, with classics such as Bon Jovi followed by club tunes with an African beat. By midnight the small club was reasonably full with a wide age range providing a great holiday atmosphere.

Food & Drink: There are 3 main restaurants at the hotel plus a beautiful pool side restaurant open for late breakfasts and lunch, all of which are buffet style. The main restaurant has something for everyone but can get slightly repetitive after a while. I mainly kept to pasta and salad, however they do change things up often. You can eat at the African or Asian restaurants as many times as you like during your stay but you have to pre-book, and can only do so 3 days in advance. I would recommend going to reception before 9am to do this as they get booked up very quickly. However the food is well worth it, we ate in the Asian Restaurant which had a much more intimate atmosphere and gorgeous food including a delicious selection of sushi, tempura vegetables, spring rolls, curry and much more.

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There was quite a wide selection of drinks included in our All Inclusive package. Plenty of cocktails (including the best Pina Colada I’ve ever had), beers and a variety of soft drinks. The swim up bar was probably one of my favourite places with plenty of tables and booths and very chilled out atmosphere.

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Adults Only Area: For a supplement, you can stay in the adults only section. This can be booked directly through Thomson, but a couple we got talking to said it was much cheaper asking to upgrade at reception. However they did also say that you don’t get much more for your money…

The main attraction would be the free wifi available in the rooms and by the pool. Plus if you stay in the middle of the school holidays you will be child-free (therefore splash-free / noise-free). There is a separate pool and bar specifically for the use of guests in the adult only section, plus a weekly champagne pool party event. You also get a jacuzzi in your room and a bigger balcony with a great view guaranteed. Finally adults only guests have the added perk of being able to dine at the gourmet restaurant, the only restaurant with waiter service.

image All in all a great all inclusive hotel – perhaps not quite as luxurious as others in the Riu chain but definitely still something to shout about. Although there is literally nothing to do in the immediate surrounding areas of the hotel, I could still have stayed longer than my 11 nights. If you want to get away from it all, and completely chill out with cocktail in hand, this is the place for you.

As they say on Boa Vista…. CABO VERDE = NO STRESS!

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