Senegambia Beach Hotel
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Winter sun these days tends to rank higher and higher on a tourist's wishlist, and the option of spending Christmas Day on a beach in the Gambia almost seemed like the greatest christmas present that was never intended for unwrapping. The long-established Senegambia Beach hotel, which lent its name to the Senegambia entertainment strip leading off …
It is pricey compared to hotels of a similar sort of standard - but you're paying for location on the strip and the grounds. We went into Sarge's which is far cheaper in similar location, and for a few days we would prefer to pay the premium for here, but for a longer holiday you could make massive savings by being in Sarge's (we only saw a room …
The Gambia is the place for anytime of the year sunshine its
80 deg without a cloud in the sky for the entire year , we toured about
a little and went to a local school , but the main idea of the holiday was
to get out of the british weather.
How has this hotel rated in the past?
TravelPod Member ReviewsSenegambia Beach Hotel Serekunda
It is pricey compared to hotels of a similar sort of standard - but you're paying for location on the strip and the grounds. We went into Sarge's which is far cheaper in similar location, and for a few days we would prefer to pay the premium for here, but for a longer holiday you could make massive savings by being in Sarge's (we only saw a room and common area, we did not actually stay there).
In 11 days we stayed at Ocean Bay in Bakau, Keur Saloum in Toubacouta, Senegambia Beach Hotel, and Laico Atlantic in Banjul, so can give a bit of a comparison..
This hotel had a reasonably sized room, but smaller than the other hotels. Was clean and had all we needed, bathroom looked like it had recently been modernised, but shower system was one of those that gets the whole room wet! Toileteries were not provided. Beakfast very good, with the most tasty Baobab juice we had. and a good range of local breakfast items compared to other hotels.
Had room with distant sea view, first floor, it was pleasant and a much better balcony than at Laico.
Exchange rate of 47.5 to the pound in Laico Alantic, 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 stayed B&B, which meant that we tried local restaurants for food. Can't rememebr the names of places we went except for Ali Babas which was fine, and the one with a garden was good. Jasmina was fine for a drink, we kept our spending to below 250 dalesi for a meal and ate well. Service slower and not as friendly as in Najul and Bakau. Food prices in hotel for pool snack seemed resonable. We had a spag bol and water there, which were a bot more than on the strip, but nothing major.
Grounds are very, very good, you can see monkeys, vultures, hornbills etc. Two pools, one near reception and the busier one near the beach. This was far warmer than the other pools we went too and we spent a fair amount of time here. We don't get to pool until aftter 3pm, which meant we could just abouut get a sunbed, but before that it would have been tricky as busy.
Beach has been hit by erosion and has a mini cliff edge (1 metre!), but although it may not look as nice as those in Banjul and Bakau, the sea here was swimmable (although red flag every day we were there) , we wen in every day. My girlf was a bit scared of waves, but I thought it was ruddy brilliant!
A 30-40 minute walk along beach will take you to Kotu which has a calmer beach with green flags. Plenty of places to stop for juice etc if you feel inclined. We then went up through the small town which began with F (fajala?) and caught a shared taxi for 7 Dalesi (14p!) back to the Senegambia strip.
Wifi free, ane worked. Safe not free, unlike the other hotels we used. Quite bad this considering how expensive this hotel is.
During the day, local sightseeing is easy, but not much to see. We went to monkey park, which was good and an easy walk (we walked back along the beach, but there using the road). There is much less local character within easy reach compared to the other places we stayed. It is obviously far more touristy here. Bumsters will beg, but not follow you so much. We had them trying to scam us in many ways. Not such a likeable bunch as in Banjul! In Bakau there is croc pool, fishing area and market; For taxi We spent 250D with backbacks to get from Banjul to Bakau, and same again to get from Bakau to Senegambia - I think it is possible to do cheaper, but with all our stuff we couldn't be bothered to have a too lengthy discussion! Both destinations about 20 mins away by car.
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.
From Senegambia we booked a green taxi for 700Dalesi to do Akubo and Lamin lodge - total about 4 hours. Was a bit of a waste of money asLamin Lodge not open - wish driver had said as we could have got to Akubo much cheaper! AKubo was ok, but if done Bijilo (monkeys) and Kachicaly (crocs), it is not so great. Guide at park was very knowledgeable though (100 D) and made the trip educational.
In summary this hotel is good for those wanting to spend time in hotel and have a semi-european style holiday. Not much local sightseeing, but plenty of bars and restuarants and beach good. There were far more kids here than the other places we stayed.
I am 6ft 1 and the flights with Thomas Cook should not be legal. Crazy small legroom, luckily the person in front did not recline to much or I would not have survived!! They use same legroom for Greece flights as confirmed by air hostess. Apart from this flight was fine.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Senegambia Beach Hotel Serekunda
Give gambia a chance
after reading some peoples problems,regarding the senegambia hotel.i must say a few words.ive stayed at this hotel 10 times in the last few years.remembering the gambia is a third world country.i am sure some people do not do much research when it comes to booking holidays.yes the electricity can be erractic.the bumsters alittle off putting,but don,t be put off by what some people have wrote.
i,ve nothing except warmth to everyone.the staff at the hotel are great,alittle laid back,prehaps alittle slow ,but remember its gambian time.like all countrys the star rating on hotels is unlike that known in uk.for the short peroid we are on holiday,we could all put up with it.the food is excellant.and i would always recommend that people going to the gambia stay here.one of the freindly hotels around the country.looking forward to staying there again early next year.
if not sure just do some research before booking.
Stayed here for the first week of my honeymoon. When i seen the place i actually cried, i was inconsolable. u might think 3* is acceptable here, but over there is a different world. Nice staff, had to stay 1 week before getting out to another hotel. Beautiful surroundings, beach, gardens etc, but rooms were horrendous (can't describe). Nice staff though?? Sorry!!
Fantastic holiday went in march going back in november.
Fantastic holiday first time in the Gambia but it was the best holiday i have had. i went in March 2005 and going back in Navember 2005. the people are so frirndly they can't do enough for you and very helpful. i recommend the hotel to people as it was great and in a good location.
Loved laying by the ool
The first three days in the gambia were awful, i felt really invaded especially coming from london were everyone minds there own business. the gambia and senegambia hotel were extremley friendly. all the staff at the senegambia were great to spend time with, we went dancing with the guys from the ool and were invited to meet everyone and their family. as two single women travelling we were bombarded as soon as we left the hotel, we learnt how to deal with the hassling bumsters.
overall the gambia is fantastic, the culture difference is extreme, my friend and i are going this year for 6 months to undertake voluntary work.
senegambia is the touristy part of the gambia and great place to stay, looking forward to my return
Great gardens, poor staff
Let's discuss the good part first: The gardens are as somptuous as can
be, teeming with gorgeous birds. The rooms are plain but ok, the beach,
though somewhat eroded, is still really pleasant. Most of the staff are goodnatured, smiling people.
We had been told that the hotel personnel were not as good as they used to be, but it goes beyond that: Senegambia Beach Hotel has a serious staff training issue.
A few examples?
How about getting asked up to 4 times in a single minute if you want to
have lunch, sometimes by the same waiter, I promise I do not exaggerate...
Or this (authentic) conversation:
"Would you like to order something?"
Customer: (reads from pricelist)
"Yes a tomato juice please"
"There is no tomato juice"
Walks away. Leaving the customer openmouthed.
During our stay, the staff of the Golfshop somehow discovered the song "Hey, big Spender" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. They really loved it: for two full days the song was played in a loop, over and over without interruption, at full blast over the hotel grounds. Customers were shaking their heads in bewilderment; management was invisible.
Cleaning is at best superficial, empty bottles lay next to the paths in
the gardens for the whole duration of our stay, without anyone bothering to remove them. More serious, a piece of soiled bandage remained stuck to the side of the pool for a week without any cleaning staff bothering to remove it.
Although the grounds are huge, do not expect any privacy. We tried
enjoying the little terrace of our room, but we gave up. Every single
staff member walking by would walk up to us and start a very joyful
conversation, in most cases leading towards a commercial proposition. Some of them outright begging for cash. Money is at the centre of almost every relation with the staff: tip too little one day, and you may find that you're not eligible for the service the next.
The problem of the "bumsters" surrounding tourist resorts in the Gambia
is well known. It's an unpleasant harrassment that tourists have to live
with. It's essential that within the grounds of their hotel visitors
should be able to feel sheltered from this pressure. At the Senegambia
beach the contrary is beginning to happen. The staff are copying the
practices they see on the outside.
Best spots in the neighborhood: dinner at Ali Baba just down the road, tasty food, nice service; and 10 mins walk away Bijilo forest, the only piece of primeval forest left along the coast of Gambia, beautiful trees, monkeys, birds galore.
Our third visit.
Our third visit to Senegambia Beach Hotel,this time for three weeks in February, we noticed standards had dropped considerably. We suffered major drain problems. Staff at the hotel are wonderful, as are Gambian people anyway. I am so sad to see that the wonderful beach is once again being eroded after such a short time. We will be returning to the Gambia next year, but maybe to different accomodation.
We have just returned from an 11 day holiday at the Senegambia hotel and having read a couple of reviews before was a little aprehensive. I had no need to worry at all , we had a fantastic time and probably one of the best holidays ever.
The hotel is lovely and clean and so very friendly, we had upgraded rooms - Jacana rooms - and we have no complaints at all about the standard .... I have been to several hotels of the same class in the Caribbean and the Senegambia was far superior.
The setting is beautiful and the gardens are so peaceful, the hotel was full so had 600 guests and you would never have known that, no feeling of crowds or any lack of space. Plenty of pool activities from a fantastic entertainments staff, but no one hassles you to join in if you say no thanks ... the staff put on a show twice a week and thats great fun, as well as that there is nightly entertainment.
There are three restaurants and all serve excellent food , we would totally recommend both the Flamingo and the Bantaba Inn as an alternative to the main dining room ... lovely little restaurants both with exceptional chefs and fabulous one to one service whereas the main dining room is larger with a buffet service ... a great choice of fabulous food in there too.
The only word of warning - it is not a place for women to go on their own unless totally confident ... the local "bumsters" can be quite intimidating and very very persistent regardless of the age of the ladies !!!! We are two females in our thirties and have both travelled independently to quite a few places and it took us a couple of days to feel comfortable but that was only outside the hotel ... a polite firm no ... with a smile and carry on walking usually does the trick, if not tell them you've been there before and you have friends there ... this is usually enough.
All in all thoroughly recommended and will definitely go again.
On first arriving we were dissapointed with the room fascilities they were quite basic, but soon found the beds to be very comfortable and the shower worked well. The maid service was excellent,clean sheets every day and the whole hotel was kept very clean.
The hotel staff from the reception to the gardeners were very helpfull and friendly and tried to make our holiday more enjoyable.
We were on a half board basis and thought the food was excellent a wide choice of dishes well presented, hot and well cooked. There are several restaurants and shops within walking distance for those who want a change
The most stunning part of the hotel was the grounds and the wildlife. You can sit on your balcony and see monkeys, monitor lizards (five foot long) and a huge variety of colourfull birds all of which you can approach to take photo's easily. The daily vulture feeding is not to be missed
Overall it was a very enjoyable experience staying at the senegambia and the basic rooms were soon forgotten by all the good points. We would definately stay here again and recommend it to others
This hotel itself was fairly good, although the rooms are extremely basic and the electricity supply does go off sometimes when lots of people are using it! So take a torch!! Went beg Oct and still quite rainy. Hotel grounds, pool and animation team excellent. Drawback is when you leave the hotel you will get hassled by locals! If you are girls on your own I wouldn't go. Not the place for a relaxing holiday unless you don't want to leave the hotel. Good option for crashing by the pool and some winter sun. However some of the local guides will take you out for the day for a good price and you will get to see the real African people. Malic took us out ask outside the hotel for him. Overall was a good hol but wouldn't return in a hurry (after getting Banjul belly!!)
Nice people, basic hotel super gardens
First time to Africa, the people were great! The hotel is huge it has fantastic gardens, full of birds, monitor lizards, monkeys and other wonderfull African wildlife.
The hotel bar/restaurant were excellent loads of places to sit and relax. the rooms are very basic, but clean, well kept and secure (the security chap was always walking by.
There is loads to do here without leaving the hotel, wildlife watching, swimming, mini golf, tennis, squash and other stuff.
The hotel is at the end of a street with restaurants and shops (expect hassle outside the hotel - but not inside the grounds).
The staff are very friendly and helpful, the food is good.
Went with the Gambia Experience, great staff.