More about Hotel Palm Beach
wonderful place to stay!
We went in January 07 for a week of relaxation. This was our first time in the Gambia. Knowing it was a developing country we didn't go expecting 5 star service.
The Palm Beach was basic. In our room the air conditioning didn't work, the toilet seat kept falling off and the mosquito net was full of holes big enough to get an elephant through. But hey....it all added to the experience.
On the other hand the Palm beach hotel staff were so excellent. Attentive, friendly and courteous at all times. The bar staff especially couldn't do enough for us and made our stay a wonderful warm experience.
If anyone is going soon please please say hello to Siaka and Alagie, two lovely, lovely waiters (from Kathryn and Andrew in England). Also Awa another lovely waitress. You'll want to adopt them and bring them home with you!
Some people may think the staff are only after things from you but when we left after a week it was the staff who came to myself and my husband bearing gifts for us and thanks for our kindness towards them. That doesn't happen very often whilst on holiday!!!!!. They are only given the most basic equipment to work with and we thought they did a fantastic job considering.
Away from the hotel, yes there are bumsters on the beach but just saying a polite no thanks or if you're hassled by someone wanting to take you somewhere, tell them that you already have a guide, oh and don't forget to tell them that this isn't your first time in the Gambia and that you know the "ropes" and how things work. This seems to deter them.
The beach is a minutes walk from the hotel with free sunbeds and a fruit sellers hut next to them so you don't have to go far for delicious fresh fruit, peeled and prepared in front of you (fantastic).
There's a bar and restaurant on the beach belonging to the hotel also.
The hotel pool is large and clean and there is daily and nightly entertainment ranging from bingo to African dancing. Sunday nights there is live African Music on the beach around a big fire...a must see!!
If you're looking for a holiday to relax and enjoy yourself then The Gambia is the place. Show a bit of respect to the locals and their culture and you will get back it all back and more. Have a wonderful time!!!!!!
Palm Beach - not that bad
Stayed at the Palm Beach 20/03/07 to 27/03/07. We
booked a 2*+hotel and that is exactly what we got. The room was a bit tired and shabby and the bathroom had damp but in such a small space with the tiniest of window to let the steam out this was bound to happen. Our pillows were dirty but were changed immediately and other problems that we had ie lightbulbs needing replacing again was done almost immediately. The rest of the hotel including reception and the pool areas were kept spotless. Myself and my partner hadn't gone to the Gambia to sit in a room so none of the above really bothered us. We had gone for the sunshine and we got loads. The temperature must have been in the late 30's. We stayed half board, but if we were to go again we would only stay B & B. The breakfast was fine but the evening meals weren't that good and worked out at £10 each for a small 3 course if you had to pay. Right next to the hotel on the beach is the Kunta Kinteh bar. We spent quite a bit of time here. The sunbeds were free and the beer worked out at about 70p per bottle. It's here that we met Michael/Mikey, I think his real name is Malik. He works at the bar but also does trips out in a 4 x 4. We went out for a day with him - 9am to 5.30pm. We visited a school, paradise beach, the nature reserve, Lamin Lodge where we took a canoe up the river Gambia and through the mangroves, visited a fishing village where the catch was just being brought in and the children showed us fish being smoked and then we drove miles across the beach. We had a fantastic day out and it cost a fraction of the price that the hotel would have charged. We paid around £50 for the two of us. I must admit that the bumsters were a bit of a problem, it starts as soon as you get off the plane. Everyone wants a pound for moving your bag even the smallest of distances, then the bus driver wants one for lifting your cases into the coach, then lifting it back out at the hotel he wants more money. It can cost you a fortune before you've even got to your room! The beach isn't too bad, when walking along we walked in the sea, they don't tend to bother you so much then.
At the market in Kotu we picked some materials, were measured up and had some lovely clothes made for us, all at a really good price.
We stayed for a week and I think that was long enough, unless you just want to lie in the sun all day and then a fortnight would be ok. Anyway hope that anyone going soon has a good time, we certainly did.
We Liked It!
We had a last minute deal to Palm Beach and had a really good holiday that I'll remember for years. The hotel is basic, but we are talking about a poor country here, so if you want perfect consider paying more or visiting more priviliged countries! We didn't see the health hazards reported by others - in fact the room was well-serviced and the public areas were fine. The electricity and plumbing have minds of their own, but that's not the hotel, it's the country. The beach on which hotel sits was one of the cleanest I've been to, so no complaints there. It had lovely views, was not too crowded and the live music from the local guys on drums gave it a traditional feel. The people were very welcoming, from the hotel staff to the locals on the beach who adopted my partner for regular volleyball games. Like other places in Africa you do get hassled to buy things, but a firm 'no' normally suffices. Out local guides were wonderful, and showed us a taste of Gambia beyond the tourist sights. If you're a stickler for safety regulations you might want to pass on the ferry, but I recommend feeding the monkeys for all! It was quite an experience. We made friends, and I would consider going back.
Do not go to this hotel!
We booked a room at this hotel for two weeks and paid a lot more for a sea view room. However the view out of our room was dirty dustbins and bushes. Wanting to explore on the first night, we wanted to go and find the beach. As it was very dark we asked a staff member to help us. He took us in completely the wrong direction to see his friends. It was pitch black and they were asking us for money. Being quite scared we handed a little over and quickly left. This is not uncomman, some friends have had the same experience. I dont really have any complaints with the breakfast, the sausages were really odd though. In the whole week we only went on the beach twice because people just kept trying to sell us stuff eg, newspapers that were months old. At one point I was asleep and some one actually woke me up to sell me something, I was not happy! When me and my boyfriend were walking down the beach people would just follow us. We did say no to every one of them, but they would not go away, each with a similar story about why they wanted our money. I even went in the sea to get away from them but they would still follow.
This really ruined the holiday for me because we were not told by the travel agent that people woul keep begging for money like this.
When going on a boat trip (when we were on the coach picking up other people) we were really gutted to see that the sennegambia hotel looked lovely, and had a guarded beach just for the people staying in the hotel.
The entertainment that was put on every night was really not that great. The food in the restaurant was the worst meal I have ever had in my whole life. The food at the pool bar is slightly better.
I really would not recommend this hotel. But if you are going to gambia, seriously consider The sennegambia.
Friendly people, unique holiday experience
I stayed at this hotel during April 2007 and had a fantastic time. Gambia is a complete cultural experience like nothing else I had experienced before!
The hotel was basic but what can you expect for a developing country? The outdoor pool area was lovely and the location, right on the beach, was perfect! The only downside was that the resort centre was about 10 minutes walk away (although much quicker during the daytime when it was possible to walk across the beach to get there) and the sea itself, being thr Atlantic Ocean, was not good for swimming.
The Gambian people are the friendliest I have ever met, although you do need to wise up to bumsters! The hotel staff were brilliant though and they will advise you and even show you around their country themselves if you befriend them (which is easy to do). We have made lifelong friends from the Palm Beach Hotel, and got to experience the proper Gambian way of life by being invited for tea with some of the hotel staff back in their houses.
I would happily return to this hotel and this country and would be comfident of another great holiday.
Nice hotel, near beach,
Bit worried having read some reviews here before going but in fact its a nice hotel. Swimming pool looks very nice (not that I went in). Rooms are cleaned every day with fresh towels every day and sheets every other day. As it was a last minute booking I did not take any Malaria tablets but was suprised to find repelant very expensive (350 = about £10 small tube) so buy before you go.
Hotel rooms are in small blocks with 3 floors. Many of the rooms are inward facing with not good view. Our room looked out onto the sea via a small area of plants and shrubs - not exactly gardens - more nature reserve and if you are into bird watching you would be in for a treat. Bit worried about mosquitoes but no real problem there - I got about 5 bites over 7 days
The currency has increased in value by about 30% within the last 3 months so prices are not as good as they might have been e.g local beer in the hotel is 50 = about £1.42 a bottle. Outside of the hotel local beer is 35 (about £1) or less if in a true local area.
Meals I thought were expensive for a 3rd world country up to 400 for some main meals (£11.40) but more usually about 200 - 250. I got through £500 for the week for two people with quite heavy drinking of beer so not bad really - but we do not have starters or afters. Hotel has a nice beach bar.
You could ask around outside or the ground staff for some Palm WIne - smells horrible but does not taste too disgusting. When drunk in the morning it has no strength but if left for a few days becomes potent.
Not over impressed with the entertainment which was a bit lack lustre and included on at least one night the dreaded Bingo.
Breakfast was fine and you can choose to sit inside or out. According to info it should have been continental but included eggs, sausages, beans, mushrooms etc.
Generally Kotu beach is very laid back and I found it a bit too quiet but try and bypass the bumsters (easier said than done)and green taxis and head for the main road where you can pick up a Yellow taxi and pay tourist rate of about 50 to take you to Sena Gambia with lots of lively bars and some live music.
holidays places never to go again
we have just returned from a week stay at the Palm Beach Hotel at Kotu Beach. we arrived during the day and were not suprised by the sights we saw on the way to the hotel as we understand the deprevation and poverty of these areas. the first onslaught was by the porters at the airport who for doing nothing really expect cash. The hotel appeared clean and tidy on first views but the daylight brought other problems. The wall sockets were hanging off the wall and not working at all, the door to the loo had to be blocked with furniture so you could gain privacy, the rust and scum on the tiles was ingrained. we reported these to reception Tues, Weds and Thurs when finally after asking for a move the electrician was sent to our room hey presto eleci.
The evening brought about more problems as the Bumsters as the local scallys are called are set on every corner and as you get rid of one another tries to get you to use him as your tour guide. I know they dont have much and to them we are rich but my main tip is at your rep meeting befriend the legal tour guys who will ensure no one else bothers you because when you have local with you they leave you alone. His prices are what they would expect and they supply everything from driver to tickets.
Be polite but firm when you say no and keep walking they will walk with you but they are not rude and will give up eventually. the majority of them are nice people but dont get taken in I have never felt so intimidated and was not alone in that thought. The hotel has better rooms if you request to be in the hotel block rather than the garden rooms. Best advice stay at the Senegambia hotel down the road its near shops and cafes and is not as scary. or be prepared not to go off the complex
The more you smile the more you brown, the more you brown the more you smile!
As mentioned by another reviewer I was a bit worried after reading previous reviews on this hotel!
We had a few problems with our room on arrival in that the shower didn't work or did the toilet! so we were moved to another room which was located right next to the night club so we moved again - the staff were very apolojectic and was very quick to find us an alternative room!
Although we didn't have the best start we had a fantastic time! The staff were so friendly, the pool area was lovely and the weather was awesome!
We stayed at the Palm Beach for 1 week and our main aim was to go away and relax and that we did! I would recomend this hotel to anyone! we loved it so much that we have already booked to go back!
As mentioned in previous reviews about towels we had no problems - we had clean towels every day!
The only down sides was the A/C which was very noisy and didn't work very well - and no fridge - but what do you expect for a 2 star hotel!!!
After reading some of the other reviews, i was a little worried about this hotel. But i had no problems with the hotel or the staff.
ROOMS- As mentioned by other people, the rooms are not the cleanest especially the bathroom. But this is Gambia and compared to how the locals live this hotel is paradise!!! The bedding was clean enough, but the towels did smell abit stale. So if you are fussy then take your own towels. The rooms were fairly small, had air-con, 2 single beds pushed together, large wardrobe, drawers and a bathroom with shower. There is a small balcony outside the room with 2 chairs. There was also a tv in the room which showed a gambian tv station, an arabic film station, which showed good films and sometimes BBC world was on there too.
HOTEL - The hotel is fairly small and is right on the beach. Theres not much right outside the hotel, but a 3 min walk and there are a few shops and restaurants, near Badala Park hotel. Its a bit dark to walk in the night though, so bring a torch. The pool is very nice and rarely gets busy. Has a small pool and also a childrens pool. There is a bar at the pool and food is served there. Breakfast at the hotel was adequate, cooked food, bread, cereal, juice, tea, coffee, cheese and fruit. There is an outside bit to the restaurant too.
BEACH - As mentioned the hotel is right on the beach which is perfect. The beach is gorgeous and the sunbeds are free. There is a stage on the beach where they play music and sometimes have shows on a night. there is a restaurant and bar at the beach which is owned by the hotel. But there are also local bars and restaurants along the beach. The sea can sometimes be a bit rough, but it is very warm. There are quad bikes to hire, horses to ride, boats and also volleyball nets. Or you can just relax on your sunbed.
Overall, the hotel is very nice if you want to be right next to the beach. Its not luxurious, but it is adequate for the price. The food is fairly nice and the staff are very friendly. The senegambia stip which is the main tourist area for clubs, bars and restaurants is just 5 mins away by taxi costing around 2 pounds. I would definately go back to this hotel again.
Want to have a really bad time, then go here!
Stayed here for two weeks over Christmas and new year, rooms filthy and most things broken, not secure, dirty bedding sprayed most days with toxic fly killer to the point of making you feel feint. This is the dirtiest hotel I have ever stayed in, my wife paid for a massage in reception but all the staff just said that they had never received the money so no massage. The place stinks, the restaurant is like a soup kitchen and the staff are like gangsters.
does anyone know a good guide.
hello. my girlfriend and i are off to the gambia on the 29th may for the first time.we have been trips to bali and india in the last couple of years and found it more fun and less hastle when we had a good guide/taxi driver with us. We wondered if anyone out there could kindley recommend anybody friendly and reliable to us in this area
RE: does anyone know a good guide.
hello contact Abdoulie Sanyang, he is honest and loyal. He helped me a lot whilst i was in Gambia thats why i advice everybody i know to cant him.
Sure he will help you
email him on
RE: does anyone know a good guide.
We stayed in Kololi and met a guide called ebrima jadama or Brian as he likes to be called.He is very friendly but very modest he will not ask you for anything,obviously he is hoping for payment.He showed us the local sites,monkey park alligator pool etc. We felt very safe with him, he even gave us a present when we were leaving.