Riu Funana Riu Garopa `Hotel Desert Storm`
All-inclusive and Far Out in the Desert
The Riu Funana and Riu Garopa Hotel is all-inclusive only. They are on open desert a couple of miles out of Santa Maria and about half a mile back from the beach. The sea is rougher here in winter. They have unusual moorish style domed rooms and minarets in long lines. It is a holiday camp or sun factory aimed at the Ibiza or Tenerife tourist who wants better winter sun. The staff is German and Spanish with Cape Verdean waiters. It offers school food - pasta, pizza, hamburgers, frankfurters etc enlivened by the occasional paella. Local drinks are free, dispensed from push-button faucets. But the wine is poor Spanish plonk which could give you a bad headache and the beer a thin local brew. It has the largest beds and the largest bedrooms in the islands, with nice furniture. There are free gyms, jacuzzis and saunas, to divert. Most visitors are German so move early for pool loungers and sharpen your elbows for the buffet. The Riu Funana pool is already crowded by breakfast and it is a long way from the sea.The Riu Garopa does not have a pool. None of the rooms inthe Riu Garopa or Riu Funana have sea views. They look out onto a bare brown sandy pitch, on which they are trying to grow shrubs. The Riu provides free local alcoholic and soft drinks, but watch your head as the wine is brought in as freeze dried powder. Currently it is an all-day building site as they build other complexes all around it.
There sre two more Riu on Boa Vista
Attracts herds of sedentary grazers and boozers
There are reports of dysentery outbreaks at this hotel . Check on dysentery
H from Shropshire is an aficionado.
"This is our third Riu hotel we have stayed at and it was everything we expected and more. The food was excellent, the rooms clean, staff friendly and the beach was 12 mins walk from the hotel we couldn't of asked for more. We could eat and drink for free from 7.30am until 2.00am, even bottled water was free."S from London booked through CVT and found that he had made a mistake. He telephoned from the hotel, which was his second mistake,
"Get me out of here. Riu Funana Garopa. It is full of scum"
M from Barcelona was an early visitor.
"The Riu Funana is full board only and all up and running apart from beach loungers, which are still in customs.(Mein Gott!) They are working very hard to train hundreds of new staff on site. "
M from Lancs found a problem.
"My flight was late at night, and I`d checked out at 11 in the morning - they have a room set aside for each country where you can take a shower. But they made us pay for the dinner! That is totally unacceptable for an all-inclusive resort. It is not for the money (€15 each ) but the principle. I don`t know if this is usual in Riu Funana Garopa hotels but if it is very despicable."H from Shropshire found another
One problem we encountered which I advise you pass onto anyone staying at the Riu Funana Garopa was the phones, we decided to take our mobiles only to find we could get no reception, so we used the hotel phone. I made 4 phone calls back home which to my horror cost me 120 Euros. I didn't talk for long approx 3 mins a call but at over 9 Euros a minute it didn't take long to add up. We were not the only people who encountered this problem one couple from Portugal had such an expensive bill they had to get someone from back home to pay their bill with a credit card as they didn't have enough money with them.R&V from Scotland noticed the German ambience. Its a bit like being in the "Berlin Ostbahnhof"
"We did venture further along the beach and breezed into the Riu Funana hotel past the sleeping guard.The feeling of unconscious regimentation, cocooned from the world outside put us off. That is always the problem with ‘All inclusive’ hotels. They also do not assist the local economy as much as they should."S from Yorks found the sun-loungers full of Germans,
"And there are plenty of them at the Riu Funana-Garopa, a sprawling 1,000-bed complex built like a mock-Moroccan fortress with a light dusting of Disney. At noon, the ritual flip-flop to lunch is just starting. Up from the sun-loungers they come, flamingo-pink and vaguely hungry, eyes trained on the buffet bar with its piled-high pizza and paella. Sitting by the pool are two doctors from Cheltenham, and their four children. "I'm not a package holiday person myself normally," says the male doctor, great breakers crashing on the beach behind him. "But we wanted somewhere for the family. But it is, well, flat and boring."E from Grenoble found it ugly.
"Shame about the Riu Funana Garopa monstrosity that sticks out like a sore!!! How on earth someone got permission to build such an atrocity??? And more to the point who thought it was a good design that would look good once finished???"So did R from Herts
Hotel Morabeza - Good, the best we saw anywhere on the island. The complete antithesis of that RIU Funana Garopa monstrosity (we called it Alcatraz). "
T from IOW found it military and sandswept (the plants have yet to grow)
"The combined Riu Garopa and Funana compound is huge, 10 blocks with approx 150 rooms to each, two pools, and beach. the whole hotel is run with military precision, staff in different uniforms to show their job. The main areas become very busy at times and seating can become a problem. Drinks included UK brands of spirits. Nightly show was amateurish to say the least. Bottles of drinking water are available free from reception, the tap water is brackish desalinated water. The down side, not the fault of the hotel, is the constant wind blowing sand everywhere, flies, and noise. The pool and beach look idyllic in photos but add to that cold water, wind, flies, screaming children and bar music loud enough to make your ears bleed and you have a truer picture. A new hotel is being built on the Santa Maria side of the Riu complex, this is creating noise and extra dust and may be a nuisance in rooms nearby. Take clothes pegs to keep your beach towel (provided by the hotel) on the sun lounger, head scarf for ladies (hats blow away), anti-diarrhoea tablets (just the change of water I expect),"L from London realised that the sea there is dangerous
"The beach was beautiful but the sea current at the Riu Funana Garopa is definitely too strong for most children and infact some adults , therefore a lot of the included water sports are not that enticing. The beach by the Morabeeza hotel is much more suited to small children and is extremley pretty. The hotel and island were great but I wouldn't go back again in a hurry just because I found it a bit bland (hotel that is) maybe its because its the first time I have ever done all inclusive and its not for me."
T from Berks lost the sunbed race and disliked the fried grub
"The "speciality" restaurants are the same as the main buffet but with less choice. The food is of reasonable quality but far from gourmet. It is all buffet style and fried rather than charcoal grilled. It is catering on a mass scale (5,000 beds) so everything is frozen/tinned with the exception of the fruit. My wife was sick once and felt queasy for a couple of days. Other people on the plane coming home said the same. We never discovered why but she was fine after a couple of days home. There is the usual early morning "bagging" of sunbeds, so you need to get up early for a good spot by the pool. The hotel is 20 minutes walk (or 3 euros in a taxi) from Santa Maria or 30 minutes along the beach. The beach by the hotel seems to get the full force of the wind and the old "British" windbreaks would be useful."
H from Sussex discovered that it was in the desert
"The Riu Funana Garopa looks like Beau Geste of the French Foreign Legion, is about to drop by a Saharan fort. It's design is absolutely awful. It`s massive. Ok we thought,not us: butgive it a go!.We did and never ever will again! The staff is rude, arrogant, unhelpful and pretend not to speak English. The food in the main restaurant was inedible. It was almost impossible to sit on the beach which was a shame. We found it hard to sunbathe because of the constant flies landing on you."
H from Essex found it like Butlins
"The evening entertainment - believe me I'm not a prude but I just found the entertainment puerile. Very Billy Butilins, if you like watching people being dragged out of the audience to perform drinking races or putting bottles of water between their thighs and pretending to urinate into a glass then this is for you. It wasn't for me, certainly not what you would expect from a ? star Hotel. "
J from Worcs did not like the food or the walk to town.
"Hotel Desert Storm" as some guests described it. The reception and all public areas are fairly tastefully appointed and front desk staff are friendly. It`s a pity all the staff don`t follow their example, some are surly and seem to wish they were somewhere else, I know how they feel! Our room was on the ground floor Riu Garopa with a view of the opposite wing of the accommodation block. Our request for sea view was obviously ignored.
Food in the Espargos buffet restaurant Riu Funana does not live up to a rather grand dining room, the salad section is the normal selection of grated carrot, cold meats etc but the "hot" food is a big disappointment, all vegetables are either tinned or frozen and the meats with a couple of exceptions are incredibly tough and only lukewarm. We tried all four speciality restaurants and the only one worth revisiting is the Asian: the Grill and the Brazillian are particularly bad.
The beach, described by Thomson as "porcelain -white sands" is a coarse mixture of golden and black grit, which when the wind blows threatens to remove the skin from your body. The sea is clear and looks fun with large waves crashing onto the beach but is bone chillingly cold and has such a strong undertow that it is very dangerous for weak swimmers or small children. You can always use the two pools but these are even colder. We walked to Santa Maria, about twenty minutes past the extensive construction sites, lorries and JCB`s passing inches away from you."
S from Birmingham was made ill by the water
"We have just come back from 2 weeks in the Riu Garopa hotel and sickness and diarrhoea was rife. Everyone we spoke to had either had it or they knew someone who had. I was struck down twice in the fortnight and came to the conclusion it was the water they washed the salads in. I didn`t drink the water or have ice but I ate a lot of salads which I think they must have washed in water. "
A from Wales an all his party were ill.
"The hotel has a lot to answer for, 5 of our party were very ill as were many other guests in the same week. If the island had a fly problem the food should be covered. The salad bar was crawling with flies especially in the snack bar. When I complained to the Rep I was told to go to the management. I witnessed one of the chef's handling a raw steak then without washing his hands handle and re-arrange cooked food on the counter. We took a hand wash which killed germs and dried naturally on your hands as well as using bottled water to wash our tooth brush and mouth and we still all fell ill."