Sam was a great host and made our first airbnb experience very easy. He responded to all questions within minutes from the initial enquiry onwards, arranged transfer from the airport (EUR15) and his representative met us in the hotel reception. The apartment is beautiful, spacious and well-equipped. It has the best location in the whole complex, near enough to reception to pick up the wi-fi but still quiet enough to really relax. The apartment is on the ground floor and has a small patio area with its own furniture, separated from the communal pool area by some low greenery so no need to fight for sunbeds. There are 7 pools in the complex but we only used the one outside the door as it was so convenient and a good size. The patio also faces the right direction to get the sun all day.
For us staying at the apartment on a self-catering basis was ideal, we had the luxury of the apartment, pool and wi-fi but a taxi to Santa Maria is only 3 euro during the day and 4 euro in the evening. Food is relatively expensive in Cape Verde as everything is imported, consider taking a few things with you. The hotel may offer an all-inclusive option but we preferred going into Santa Maria for dinner.
You will need to purchase a visa on arrival at the airport (EUR25), there's a separate queue to the left of passport control. It's quicker than joining the main queue as most people on a Thomson or Thomas Cook flight will be on a package with the visa included.
Our flight home was delayed by several hours and Sam was happy for us to stay on longer as there was no booking immediately after us. We really appreciated it, thanks Sam.
Special mentions in Santa Maria: Café Criolo, the bakery nearby and for a special meal the restaurant at Odjo d’Agua Hotel. Sal Beach Club is the place to be for watching sporting events. There is also a good TV package in the apartment, multiple English language film channels and Portuguese language sports channels showing English football for those who can’t bear to miss it.