A wonderful holiday A review of Palma Rima Hotel
The rooms in the hotel are functional but forget luxurious : I suspect that this is fairly typical of the Gambia. We were somewhat taken aback at first by how basic the facilities in the rooms were. In the end, they served their purpose well as we spent most of our time outside in the sun or asleep. On the plus side, the beds were stripped and fresh sheets provided daily as were the towels in the bathroom.
The outstanding feature of the hotel was the food (it's well worth going at least half board for this reason). All meals were buffet style and you could eat as much as you wanted. Everynight of the week a different country's cuisine was featured. I was amazed at how fresh the food was despite being prepared in such quantity. Also, the food had real flavour. The chef was not afraid frying when this was called for so it is quite possible to expand your waistband without too much trouble.
The staff were a tonic : the most friendly, helpful people I have ever encountered anywhere. Nothing was too much trouble and english, despite not being the first language of the country, was spoken by all of the staff. They are not well paid (even by Gambian standards) so their cheerful outlook is doubly astonishing !
This is a personal comment but I found the amount and volume of music played constantly around the pool to be annoying : if you want quiet either go down to the beach or stay somewhere else.
It will pay to go to the beach as the cost of meals (if you are not full board) and drinks is less than half that charged in the hotel. There is much conjecture about bumsters (hustlers) but they are overrated as a problem : polite refusal of their offers usually works as does giving the impression that you come to the Gambia regularly. Avoid rudeness but as a last resort simply say that you are surprised at the hustler's continued presence as you didn't invite him! They hate to be rude!