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Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

This is going to be a long review as the Island warrants it and if you plan to stay at this hotel its worth knowing what you are getting. Firstly, Cape Verde is fabulous, as are the locals - so don’t stay in the hotel, get out & about to mingle. The weather is HOT HOT HOT, but the wind can trick you into thinking it cooler - DONT BE FOOLED! Bring cardigans or light jackets for the evenings as the temp drops a-lot at night.

The hotel is big, spread out in room blocks with in excess of three pools. The advertising suggests you’ll have the option to use golf buggies to travel across the hotel expanse, but you wont - we managed to get a lift twice in two weeks and we were in block 13 which is right at the farthest part of the hotel. The Sol Dunas is in the same ‘estate’ as the Melia, but is perceived as the poor relative!

On arrival, we’d been sold the ‘private transfer’ by Tui which proved an utter waste of money and would have been cheaper to just grab a cab. At the hotel we were checked in, immediately asked if we wanted to UPGRADE our room for around £300 which we declined and then promptly told our room was NOT ready and could be between a 3-5 hour wait. We were told to go and have lunch, in the ‘about to close’ restaurant! We asked if we could get some towels so we could go for a swim instead, at the pool immediately behind the reception and were told NO you aren’t allowed to use that pool!
By now the coach with everyone else from our flight had arrived, with some being promptly given keys to their rooms and about 12 families (inc us) being told their rooms weren’t ready - they knew we were all arriving so why on earth weren’t the rooms ready?! We were told to just keep checking back in at reception to see if our room was ready - Two and a half hours later, and we were eventually given the key to our room.

The room in block 13 - a one bed family room with road facing balcony. There is a lounge area with sofa bed and a bedroom
‘Area’ (no door) with a double bed. The bathroom has a bath with shower - ours also had a flipflop mark on the ceiling with an ornamental dead mosquito. The room was reasonably clean, albeit they had only made up the double bed and forgotten to make up the sofa bed. We waited five days, having asked housekeeping, our rep, guest services and then tipping £5 to a room maid to get a pillow for the sofa bed!
The cleaning team are over worked and majorly understaffed as the ‘room not ready on check in’ debacle carried on every time a new set of guests arrived which meant people needlessly started their holiday on the wrong foot. Cleaning of rooms is very hit & miss, and even if you go ‘green’ re towels (which we always do), they will take your towels and some of the time leave you with just one to share between you!

Food/Restaurants!! Believe what you’ve read about the food here as it is mostly awful! (We met many people from other hotels who said their food was fab, so Sol Dunas has no excuse). We ate cheese & bread most days and were beyond ecstatic when we managed to pull together a mackerel salad. The main restaurant is stuff nightmares are made of - its huge & noisy, and the food selection is ‘interesting’. If you like eating mashed potatoes and meatballs for BREAKFAST, to go with your scrambled egg and undercooked bacon then you’ll be in your element. There is one omelette station with two pans and one very hot & bothered member of staff - if you can be bothered to queue its worth it if they haven’t run out of ingredients. We like decent food, and sadly found the food here dreadful. The Grill serves a condensed buffet breakfast, and some menu ordered options (inc poached eggs and a fruit platter - this was the highlight of our stay), for evening meals you have to make a booking and in fairness the dinner was nice, well presented and nicely served. The Italian restaurant was dreadful - deep fried calamari was served as cold squid drowned in mayo, and carbonara was like pasta in a mushroom soup!

Pools - are good! But, as soon as peak easter break hit the race for beds began - one day we arrived at the pool at 9am to find only one available bed, all others had towels ‘reserving them’ but only 20 people sat around the pool (which prob has in excess of 100 beds), most of those ‘reserved beds’ didn’t have occupants until gone 11am! The pools aren’t heated which is a welcome relief from the intense heat, they are big so you can get a decent swim in if you are an early riser.

Beach - you can access via the Melia area of the hotel. We only went once as we found the atmosphere down at Santa Maria beach, near the pier, to be MUCH more compelling. Waste no time grabbing a taxi, its around €4, to the pier as the beach is gorgeous, locals super friendly and beach front restaurants (some associated to hotels) serve fabulous food.

Spa - there is a lovely spa with jacuzzi and a small heated pool with massage jets. Worth a visit for €20 each.

Staff - like so much here at the hotel, they are hit & miss in extremes. Some were friendly, others positively hostile (reception staff being particularly ‘whatever’) but cleaning staff and the entertainment team being friendly - you don’t experience this outside of the hotel, as all the locals are friendly & laid back (even can drivers and restaurant touts are nice) which made us wonder if staff at this hotel are mostly over worked & underpaid?!

General Cape Verde stuff that isnt hotel related:

Dogs & cats - there are lots of stray dogs & cats here, but we found them to be really friendly & sweet (we are big fans of dogs so we were in our element). On the beach don’t be surprised when a dog comes over to share your shade, they just lay down and sleep next to you which is pretty cute.

Island jeep Tour - worth doing as it gives you a better feel for where you are and what ‘progress’ is doing for the island. There are shanty towns which are pretty heart wrenching.

Catamaran trip - not your usual idea of a catamaran but worth going if only to see the numerous pods of dolphins. (Take a cardigan as its windy out at sea so don’t expect to be sunbathing in your bikini).

Beach BBQ (held at somewhere called Angulo - owned by a windsurfing champ, and hosted by Amilton (if ever there was a great advert for CV its this guy) from another hotel) was our best night out. They held a bonfire on the beach, served simple but delicious bbq food, taught us to dance CV style, played wonderful live music and made sure we all had an absolute blast.

Definitely visit Cape Verde, its wonderful here, and promises a holiday to sooth your soul, rest your mind & body, and of course to get a cracking tan.

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
5  Thank NtM70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunas M, General Manager at Sol Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2018

Dear NtM70,

Thank you for having chosen Sol Dunas for your holidays and for having set aside some of your time to share your stay experience with us and with fellow travellers on Tripadvisor.

We thank you for your appreciation of the positive points of our hotel and We're glad that you liked Cape Verde, however we are sorry to hear that were not able to fulfil your holiday expectations and thank you for having brought to our attention the points that were not up to your standards, it is obviously not our intention to convey such an impression, quite the contrary we do our best to ensure that our guests enjoy their stay with us. Due to the volume of arrivals that we may have some patience is required, our staff always try their best to check you in as quickly as possible. Regarding the food, we try our best to cater to the different preferences of our guests, therefore we offer various themed restaurants so the guest has the choice where they would like to eat. The hotel have enough sunbeds for all clients, however, they are distributed along the pool areas and the beach area. We advise our guests against the reservations of sunbeds, in case there is not enough sunbed in one swimming pool there are sunbeds available at other swimming pools, or in the beach area. Furthermore, our staff will proceed to remove the hotel towels from the sunbeds that are left idle for too long. There is an information board in every pool house advising our guests against the reservation of sunbeds as these will be removed by our staff members. The presence of dogs on the beach and cats, is a condition that affects the whole island not just the hotel itself. Regardless of this we already have taken measures to minimize its impact as much as possible with a team that dedicates to them, taking care of and taking them out of the hotel and lead to adoption. The feedback and suggestions from our guests are always welcome and much valued and are taken into account for the improvement of our services. Having said this, we will continuously intensify our efforts to enhance our services and ensure your complete satisfaction. Our Guest Experience team are also always available at the Reception to assist our guests with any queries that they may have or with any help that they may need during their stay.

We hope that we can persuade you to return for another visit in the not so distant future and allow us the opportunity to offer you our services again and change your perception about us.

Kind regards,
Sol Dunas Management Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2018

We got off to a bad start - we arrived in the afternoon and were told that our room wasn't ready and were told to go and get some lunch at the Grille restaurant. Feeling a little annoyed and tired, we found the Grille and ordered some lunch. The food came and we were not impressed, it was cold and there were a lot of flies and cats around so we didn't enjoy it. After lunch we headed back to reception to ask again if our room was ready, by then we had been there for 1.5 hours. It was way after the advertised check in time so I wasn't happy when they said it still wasn't ready and could give no indication as to when it would be. So, we sat in reception and waited, and waited, and waited. In the end I went to find the Rep and asked him to sort it out. He spoke to the Manager and 'as if by magic' our room suddenly became available.

Our room was spacious (one bedroom apartment) and fairly clean but the sofa bed wasn't made up ready for my daughter to sleep on. So, I had to ring reception for them to send someone to sort it out. We had to call reception three times during our stay to ask for towels - the cleaner would clean the room and take away our wet towels from the bathroom but then she would forget to replace them. So we would get back from the pool and want to shower before dinner, only to then have to wait for towels to be delivered - things like that start to get on your nerves after the first couple of times.

Spices Restaurant - The restaurant is not set up to cater for the amount of people that are staying at the hotel. We struggled to find a table that had been cleared or had cutlery, we went to get a drink and there were no glasses etc. etc. etc. The food was ok, a bit bland and some strange concoctions but overall it wasn't too bad, although not up to the standard I have seen at other 4* all inclusive hotels. There were people everywhere, pushing in and not looking where they were going. It was a complete overload on the senses!

Pools - the pools were all nice and clean but very cold due to the wind and time of year. You could usually get a sunbed without having to get up really early. There are towel huts by the pools where in theory you would expect to be able to exchange your towel card for a towel and then change the towel for a fresh one whenever you needed one, as per all other 4* hotels we have been to. This, we discovered, was not the case. We exchanged our towel cards for towels on our first morning (one of them had a big hole in it). We then went back at the end of the day to change our wet towels for dry ones, so that we had them ready for the next morning. We were told that we couldn't change them as they had run out (there was a stack of clean towels on the shelf behind the guy!) and to come back in the morning. So we went back in the morning and were told that we could only change them in the evening. This went on for 3 days...in the end we just kept our slightly smelly, damp, holey towels as it wasn't worth the hassle to change them.

The communal areas are looking a bit tired. The sofas in reception are stained and grubby and the floor around them is covered in hair and sticky patches where people have knocked drinks over. The areas around the pools and the stairwells up to the rooms have seen better days and they weren't swept or cleaned in the week that we were there.

The beach is lovely, the sand is soft and the sea is blue and clear. Sol Dunas customers can only use the little bar shack on the beach, there are no AI food options down there which was disappointing. Head to the ice cream shop just up from the beach, the ice creams are nice and reasonably priced.

Overall, it was an ok holiday. I'm a true believer in 'you get what you pay for' and that was very true of this hotel. We didn't pay a huge amount and therefore we didn't expect a lot. But there were just a few things that started to really niggle as the week went on. I would definitely return to Cape Verde but wouldn't return to the Sol Dunas and wouldn't recommend it.

Date of stay: March 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank RachelHelenJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunas M, General Manager at Sol Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2018

Dear RachelHelenJ,

Thank you for having chosen Sol Dunas for your holidays and for having taken the time to share your review with us and with fellow travellers on Tripadvisor.

We thank you for your kind comments regarding the positive aspects, and for having brought into our attention the not so positive points, which we will take them into account for the continuous enhancement of our services. kindly note that it is not our intention to convey such an impression to you quite the contrary, our guests are our main priority. The food is prepared and served under the strict supervision of our Executive Chef which includes the temperature control of each dish according to the international health and safety norms. we try our best to cater to the different preferences of our guests, therefore we offer various themed restaurants so the guest has the choice where they would like to eat. The presence of flies is due to the weather, and it is unfortunately a condition that affects the whole island not just the hotel itself. Regarding the cats, we already have a team that dedicates to them, taking care of and taking them out of the hotel and lead to adoption to minimize this. We advise our guests to contact our Guest Experience to report any anomaly or to request any assistance during their stay and allow us the chance to change your perception about us immediately.
We always welcome and value the constructive feedback and suggestions from our guests as these will enable us to gain further insight into the needs and preferences of our guests so that we can adapt our services to meet your expectations.

We hope that we can persuade you to return and give us the chance to offer you our services once again in the near future.

Kind regards,
Sol Dunas Management Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2018

I stayed in this hotel last November with my family, including child (14 months). t is perfect for families, couples. Very entertaining evening programms, some days there are parties. Really great choice for buffet. For a la carte restaurants, you have to book for the first day you arrive.
Towels - you get card and exchange them in some points. We couldn't get towels for quite long time. After we got them, we exchanged only at the end of stay, to avoid being without towels.
Good quality champagne.
Very friendly animators.
Taxi to Santa Maria cost 3-4 euros.
Spacious and clean rooms. You can choose that your room is cleaned every 3rd day and get 30 eur voucher to spend in spa or souvenir shop.
Territory of hotel is huge, beach is nice (at bikini club the best), a lot of pools, plenty sunbeds.
Overall satisfied.

Date of stay: November 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Signe D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunas M, General Manager at Sol Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2018

Dear Signe D,

We would like to thank you for having chosen Sol Dunas for your second stay with us and for having spared a few moments to share your holiday experience with us and with fellow travellers online.

We are truly honoured for the trust and preference that you placed in us and it has been sincerely a great pleasure having you as our guests again. Having read your review, it is with great satisfaction that we perceive that you have also enjoyed your second stay with us. We try our best to ensure that our guests feel welcome and at home and when this is so it is very satisfying and motivating to know. Thank you for your kind acknowledgement of the positive aspects of our services.

We thank you sincerely for your valuable contribution and we look forward to welcoming you once again in the near future.

Kind regards,
Sol Dunas Management Team

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Reviewed 3 April 2018 via mobile

The all inclusive, that put me off all inclusive. Could be so much better. Unorganised kaos, poor food, late check in, and butlins on steriods. If your thinking of visiting here with older children i would seriously have a re think.
The rooms are large and clean, but the buffett restaurent is unorganised with mostly cold food and lack of seating and space. The a la carte restaurents are not much better. The Grill serves a seated breakfast which took over an hour to serve and was cold, so worth avoiding.
When we arrived we had to wait a few hours for the room to be prepared, the hotel did compensate us by offering 2 free meals in the sister hotel, which is far better, but even these meals were of poor quality, my husband sent his meal back twice and in the end he didnt eat.
Overall very poor, it could be so much better, maybe the management needs changing, or they need a rocket up their backsides. Such a shame as the locals are so friendly and in bad need of more tourism for their economy.

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank Gemma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunas M, General Manager at Sol Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2018

Dear Gemma B,

Thank you for having chosen Sol Dunas for your holidays and for having set aside some of your time to share your stay experience with us and with fellow travellers on Tripadvisor.

We thank you for your appreciation of the positive points of our hotel and thank you for having pointed out the aspects which you thought needed to be improved. These have been duly noted and will be discussed with our team. Regarding the food, we try our best to cater to the different preferences of our guests, therefore we offer various themed restaurants so the guest has the choice where they would like to eat. Kindly be aware that during busy hours, some patience is required during check in, however, our staff will try their best to check you in as quickly as possible. We always recommend our guests to not hesitate to report any anomalies to our Guest Experience during their stay and request any assistance to determine the real cause of your complaint. We take our commitments with our guests very seriously and we assure you that every measure is taken to ensure that your wellbeing and safety always come first at all times.

Once again we are sorry that not all of your expectations were met, we hope that you will give us a chance to change your perception about us by visiting us again in the near future.

Kind regards,
Sol Dunas Management Team

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Reviewed 3 April 2018

We were pleasantly surprised with the Sol Dunas. It is in a beautiful setting and next to the Melai Dunas .we had an excellent holiday with food service for. All staff .my only criticism is that we were not allowed to access any of the bars or restaurants closest to the beach as they were for The Melia guests only .

Room tip: The higher the room number the further you are from Recetion and the beach
Date of stay: February 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Meliá Hotels International
Thank KATHLEEN R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunas M, General Manager at Sol Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2018

Dear KATHLEEN R

Thank you for having chosen Sol Dunas for your holidays and for having set aside some of your time to share your review with us.

It has been truly a pleasure having you as our guests and we are very happy to know that you have had an enjoyable stay with us, as this is the aim towards which we strive for each day. We give a Welcome Pack to all our guests at the arrival, where is all the information regarding the facilities and amenities available of each hotel, furthermore, our staff is always available to clarify any guest’s doubts.

Thank you for having recommended our hotel to prospective guests, we will look forward to the delight of welcoming you as our guests again hopefully soon.

Kind regards,
Sol Dunas Management Team

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