Laico Atlantic Banjul Hotel
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TravelPod Member ReviewsLaico Atlantic Banjul Hotel
For the price we really can't complain. I understand that some travel agents sell this as a 'First Class' hotel (which it isn't), which may lead to some negative revews!
In 11 days we also stayed at Keur Saloum in Toubacouta, Senegambia Beach Hotel, and Ocean Bay in Bakau, so can give a bit of a comparison..
This hotel had a good sized room, and was the only hotel to have a bath. Toileteries were provided. Beakfast good, but only the Keur Saloum disappointed here.
Internet expensive here, but free at all other hotels we went too. This is one reason why we only rated 4 out of 5. They need to address this to be on par with the others. Safe free, as it was at Ocean Bay. Senegambia charged.
Mosquitos are about at dusk and can be annoying. But they spray them with 'Bop' whilst you're at dinner. We bought a can (50D) which was useful for the rest of our trip.
Exchange rate of 47.5 to the pound, when official rate was about 47, so we were pretty happy. Best we could do in town was 48. Ocean Bay in Bakau took the proverbial here as rate was 40 to he pound!! Close to Ocean Bay in Bakau the money changers offered 44, but 5-10 minute walk to fishing port, we used a small booth that also did 48. In Senegambia the hotel did 47.6, 48 was easy to get on strip, but Barry's offered a bit more (also cheapest large water at 25D).
We staid B&B, which meant that we tried local restaurants for food. Billy's, with a view of Arch 22, was the best food we had on our holiday. Very good portions and quality at very good prices (less than £4 a meal). Michel's seafood is now something like Bamboung, but the food was a bit disappointing. Nefretiti on beach is only open until 6pm and had a much nicer ambience, but cost more (still less than hotel). Happy hour and prices in hotel, much better than the others we visited, and therefore we had far more on drinks in this hotel than we did in the others (in Ocean Bay we refused to buy any as crazy prices). The only food we had in hotel was a pizza (£4) and was good. For us there is no need to pay extra for the big buffet (£13) as we would only get fat. A la carte 3 course could be had for about £11. Other than places mentioned here, there isn't really much else about, except juice bars and black & white for cheap, good drinks. Both other Gambia hotels are better in this respect.
Grounds are very good, there is squash, tennis, bird garden, mini golf area, table tennis etc. All a bit tired looking, but good nonetheless. Ocean Bay is really lacking in the department. Pool fine, but bit cold, however jacuzzi nice and warm.
Beach looks nice, but not really any good for swimming. Senegambia best here.
During the day, sightseeing is easy as very close to the capital. Museum (£1), Arch 22 (£1 plus 2p tip!), and July 22 square can all easily be visited within minutes and no need for a local guide. Yes, the bumsters can be a bit annoying, but they are just trying to offer a service for those that may need. We stated where we were going, said they were wasting their time being with us and we wouldn't pay, and we were fine! However one did tag along one morning and showed us the commercial port, fish smoking areas etc in about 2 hours. We could not have seen this on our own, so we tipped him £1 and he was happy! Trip on ferry (20p) to Barra recommended and no need for guide, you can get a Pirogue back for about a £1 to speed things up. To Senegal border was 20 mins from Barra, we paid £4 for a cab. Across border in less than 10 mins, all very easy, if you want to do a day trip. However, you wont see much difference to Gambia, except the people speak French!
Would recommend walking to see the mosque after going to museum, that way you are off main street, so don't get bumstered! You get to see local life and are greeted by people not expecting anything in return, very pleasant. We were not allowed in mosque as not muslim, but they seemed very apologetic!
We went to international football match Gambia v Algeria which was quite an experience, although result (1-2) was a shame. Took green taxi from Bakau for 50D, and tickets for 100D - we would recommened these over the 50D tickets as are out of the sun, and the crowd are a bit less crazy! For the 50D tickets people were climbing on each other..! You can always go with someone from hotel/street if worried about doing alone.
In summary this hotel is good for those wanting to spend time in hotel and do local, low key sightseeing. We found it friendlier here than Bakau or Senegambia, and received no sob stories or blatant begging, unlike the other places. Staff good, price great - highly recommended
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
TripAdvisor Reviews Laico Atlantic Banjul Hotel
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