More about Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa
Food not 5*
Just back from a week at the Sheraton Gambia. We had previously stayed twice at the Kairaba and thought that the new 5* Sheraton would be a step up - it wasn't.
The food was nowhere near 5* quality. There were only two restaurants one totally a la carte (outdoors under thatched roofs - on the first night we couldn't stand the cold wind and we had just flown in from England!), the other buffet / a la carte. Most of the buffet was unrecognisable, meat was generally tough, and the a la carte menus were very restricted. In the main restaurant the a la carte menu included such delicacies as sandwiches, pizza and pasta - except that they never managed to produce a pizza even on the Italian theme night!
The breakfast buffet was also mediocre. Very limited fresh fruit, no muesli, fruit yoghurts only appeared occassionally and were instantly snapped up.
As experienced by other reviewers, the patio doors didn't lock and the upgraded room had no bath. We actually preferred the walk in shower - but it would have been better if the water hadn't run under the door and flooded the rest of the en-suite.
The hotel site was on several levels with many steps. So not really ideal for people with mobility problems although there were many infirm guests who seemed to be coping OK.
We found the pool extremely cold (we don't think it had any means of heating) and, while it had a shallow end ideal for poor swimmers, access was only by ladder.
In summary - the room was OK, the staff were extremely helpful and friendly but the restaurant facilities were barely 2* standard.
A week of sun and relaxation
We have just returned from a week at the Sheraton Gambia, which - despite our anxieties after reading some of the reviews on this site - we found to be excellent.
The hotel itself is built over several levels, in a style reminiscent of a moorish fort. The pastel colours of the buildings give an air of warm radiance. We stayed in a lovely beachfront room, which looked and opened directly onto the ocean.
The room was kept spotless by an extremely diligent and hardworking maid - who would wait until we set off for breakfast each day and then have the room cleaned and replenished with fresh towels and toiletries before we returned. In fact we could not keep up with the towels, as more were supplied each evening with the "turndown" service.
We found the breakfast buffet to be excellent - with a good choice of food. Fresh eggs, omelettes, waffles, pancakes etc were all prepared as we waited and there was also the usual cereals, cold meats, fruit , cakes and a whole host of hot food - dishes too numerous to mention.
During the day the poolside bar served a fairly limited menu, however we soon discovered that you could order pretty much anything and if it was possible, the kitchen would prepare it for you - such was the level of helpfulness of the staff. In fact, we found all the staff to be eager to help, courteous and seemingly extremely happy in their work.
In the evening the Al la Carte meals were of an excellent standard, although the buffets were pretty average in comparison.
Should you choose to eat away from the hotel there is a courtesy bus to the Senegambia strip at 11.00 and 19.00, returning at 23.00. Or if you wish to make your own way, the reception staff will order you a taxi - which appears almost immediately.
Taking into account that this hotel has been open less than a year and it is a venture into a new territory for Sheraton, we can only conclude that Jennifer Buhr (General Manager) and her team are doing a fantastic job. The hotel management are eager to seek the views of the guests and appear to be very responsive to comments - positive or otherwise.
Final point is that last year we stayed at the Karaiba hotel - which was very good - but the Sheraton is definitely a step up.
Wonderful Place for a Winter Break
We spent a week in the Sheraton Gambia in January 2008.
The Hotel is incredible, the views are superb from all areas.
The rooms are spotlessly clean and well furnished all have a view of the sea.
Breakfasts were good and the food in the returants is good. If you eat at the resturants do try the "Lady Fish", it is the best fish I have ever tasted.
The satff are really friendly in a genuine way.
Although the hotel is away from Senegambia about a 10 minute taxi ride and the area is not developed this does not detract from its superb location.
Right on the beach and the infinity pool was fantastic, it is cold but I liked it that way.
The weather was fantastic hot but breezey.
I really can not fault this holiday only to say that we would stay for two weeks next time.
Senegambia or the strip as it is known is worth a visit especially in the evenings, good for people watching.
We did eat out but the food was nothing to rave about but adequate.
I was quite suprised by some of the negative comments posted, not sure what some people expect.
This hotel is new and there are teething problems, our door reset itself several times and we had to have the key card reset but so what.
Jennifer the manager is working hard with her staff team to get all the staff delivering a 5* service but as any of us know who manage staff this can take time,
I would have no hesitaion in recommending this hotel.
We took a full football strip and donated it to a primary school in Serekunda, one of the staff Madi assisted us with this and we are very grateful to him.
You hear alot about the "bumsters" yes they do appear especially in Senegambia but a polite" I know where I am going or I am meeting friends "and they leave you alone.
It is no where near as bad as Portugal in the 80's when you could not walk without being asked to buy a timeshare etc.
As visitors to this country we should remeber just how poor it is and the wages are so low about £20,00 a month and yet the staff go out of their way to give us a good holiday experience.
Do try the boat trip well worth the money.
I would say go to Gambia and enjoy !!
Amy and John Stoke-on-Trent
New year at Sheraton
We stayed at the Sheraton for new year and oh boy was it bad. To book in took 1/2 hour . We then had to walk along the top path to our room. No milk for tea/coffee (and what do we brits need) , front door would not open fully, patio door would not lock, shower flooded the room every time we used it and we had the case of the missing patio furniture we started with 1 chair and table then there was none so much for sitting and enjoying the view. Breakfast started out ok but as they got busy things got slower and slower self service can do that anywhere why stay the best hotel and serve yourself? silly things like the toaster being next to the lady cooking the eggs everybody getting in each others way not smooth. We had a (only 1 mind) meal in the hotel all the fish had run out ,took ages to come not cooked as ordered ok they did give our money back but that does not make up the the horrible holiday . Only 1 bar, staff slow not trained to 5 star the staff moved when the assistant manager was around.New years eve was so funny we opted for the gala dinner ( it was included in the price) nice is about all i can say fireworks ok , The only thing that saved my holiday was a few good people to share it with. There was a lot lacking from this hotel lets hope it changes would go back to gambia in a few years.
already planning our second visit
Stayed for one week 22nd to 29th Feb and had a wonderful time.
Hotel clean, excellent service, so what if it is slightly slow sometimes, you're on holiday, what's the rush!
We found the food wonderful and plenty to choose from, not quite sure why complaints in other reviews. As one review states this is a third world country but the food was always well presented and very tasty.
Beach, pool and all areas well maintained. The beach boys always on hand with towels, beds, drinks etc. Please remember to tip, they earn very little and whats 50p to us!
Really miss sitting in the Treetops bar after dinner, looking out to sea and sipping brandy, after a hard days sunbathing, what more can you ask for!
Good trips organised via travel agent, great to see the real Gambia, they have very little but always greet you with a smile.
If we have one complaint it is not totally directed at the hotel and staff, but some guest would sit in the resturant areas for lunch with no tops on, mainly men and the Sheraton are supposed to run a strict dress code, so we feel that they should try to enforce it otherwise we feel that the standards you expect from a 5 star hotel will be beginning to drop.
Our flight back was delayed by 7 hours but the hotel did not hesitate to let us keep our room for no extra cost and paid for lunch.
We are already planning a return visit later this year, to top up the winter tan and recharge the batteries. This is exactly what you can expect to do at the Sheraton, it is so peaceful. Yes there is very little to do and it is off the beaten track, but after speaking to guest at other hotels who where bothered by the 'bumsters' day and night, the Sheraton benefits from its position and good security. Plus only 10 minutes from the airport, other hotels are over an hour away.
Thanks to all the staff, especially Seedy and Omar and see you soon
Donna and Vince
The rooms here are excellent. The way the hotel is set up is a little strange but adds to its overall charm. The hotel beach is fabulous' stretching for miles in both directions with no-one around. The food is above average for Africa and the staff are very attentive but lack the training of a five star hotel. There is a courtesy coach to take you to the Senegambia area. This is an awful place! Its not the locals hassling you but the general quality of "the strip". There are a few decent restaurants but the bars and clubs are straight out of Magaluf. I suppose that as The Gambia has only been a tourist destination for 35 years or so they are still learning and maybe they think it is what people want. All in all a great hotel to relax at and enjoy the peace and quiet. Just remember that you are in a developing country and not to compare it to more established African destinations. Go to Senegal for the day if you can, 15 hours but well worth the experience
Highly recommended - a great hotel and a great country
OVERALL: A great hotel and location. The beech is great and the hotel itself is excellent (although not a 5 star hotel by UK standards, more a good 4 star). Fantastic for a relaxing holiday and highly recommended, dont believe the previous negative reviews. The hotel is so close to the beech with a great pool. No doubt that The Gambia is the 'new Caribbean'
One comment is that the hotel staff (including reception staff) can sometimes be abit slow but its the Gambian way so just relax, your beer will eventually arrive! Overall the hotel staff (and gambians in general) are very friendly and all want to know your name and chat. They always have a smile and if you go on a day out prepare to wave and say hello to lots of people (especially kids). A great country.
Best recommendation from us is that we have already said we will go back which is unusual for us as we like going different places.
ACCOMMODATION: A very nice stylish and modern african rooms with a great sea view. One gripe was the TV stopped working half way through and as its all IP TV (Internet TV) i dont think they know how to fix it so it stayed broken for the remainder of our holiday ! Still, we didnt go on holiday for the TV but sometimes its good to watch before you go out! Other people had the same problem.
FOOD: A great selection from the buffet and a different international theme each night. Good quality and a wide choice and plentiful so no complaints at all ! Breakfast selection also very good.
POOL/BEECH: Pool is very nice and cools you down in the hot Gambian sun ! Pool attendents are great and will reserve you a favorite spot every day as well as setout the sunbeds and towels ready for you (thanks Yankuba!) although i'm sure the daily tip helped with this !! We had a great spot under the fixed shades bordering the beech. Only metres from the pool and sea ! Note it can get very windy (certainly in March) so be very careful as the sun is VERY hot and you can burn very easily as the wind makes you think its cooler !! The sun here is 30% stronger than in the med.
Also there is security on the beech so no hassles from the bumsters. Infact we didnt see a single one ... they know that the Sheraton is out of bounds.
Sheraton has the friendlist staff we have ever experienced
From the moment we arrived at the Sheraton my wife, our two daughters and I were totaly impressed.
Only ten miniutes transfer from Benjul airport, we arrived at the hotel and were given fruit cocktails then whisked off in a golf cart to our accommodation. We stayed in rooms 6007 and 6006 beach front ground floor rooms with private lockable porch area which lead to both rooms. Giving our family security whilst still being able to walk between our rooms.
Marble power showers, beautifully furnished, well presented good sized rooms as you would expect in this new 5 star hotel. What really blew us away was when our room guide opened the curtains to reveal the spectacular view. 50meters of grass and palm trees, 50meters of golden sand meeting the beautiful Atlantic ocean stretching beyond.
The staff in our oppinion were totally outtstanding remembering all of our names where to put our loungers and towels each day what drinks we liked and when. Our two daughters aged 12 and 14 were treated like princeses with staff setting up volleyball, pool,and table tennis tournaments for them.
They were always friendly and smiling and did not expect anything in return for treating us so well.
The food was very good at dinner you could choose from the buffet or a la carte menu in the main resturant or the slightly more expensive but very good menu at the beachside resturant.
After traveling for over 20 years and staying in some amazing places we would totally reccommend this hotel. Forget all the hype about Cape Verde we went there last Easter, the Gambia wins hands down.
The only thing we could think of that this hotel may need in the future is a beach bar with some music. Although as grown up kids from the rave generation we know this may not always be to everyones taste.
quiet and peaceful
Wanted a relaxing break in the sun in March. Gambia seemed close enough with reliable weather. Malaria risk nearly put us off as taking medication is advised. We chose the Sheraton becuase it is new and did not advertise 'entertainment'. It is worth the extra if you want to relax. It's away from the centres and so there is none of the hassle on the beach experienced at the other hotels. It was not very full when we stayed so it's easy to find a place by the pool or beach. It's a sprawling place but you soon get used to it and our standard room looked over the ocean (distantly). Some people complain it is not 5* but it seemed perfectly ok to me. It's clean, has courteous staff, a lovely pool and a stretch of beach so there is never a possiblity of being crowded. Downside is the beach is not cleaned so can have debris and cigarette stubs. Food is only ok - the restaurant on the beach has a limited menu and gets windy. The buffet tries hard to cater for international guests but quality is variable. Breakfast is buffet and varies slightly each day. There is no spa or fitness centre yet and internet arrangements are haphazard. A band plays each night and often they were really good even though there are few guests to create a good audience.
The hotel is away from the others but there is a shuttle bus each evening to 'the strip' where there are lots of places to eat and drink (about £10 for a meal). We also ate at the coconut residence (fine dining!) which is a colonial style hotel with a mouth-watering menu. it was very expensive (London prices) and the descriptions were better than the real thing.
Like others have commented, we arranged a driver to take us round which reduces the hassle and can be informative. We also went on some of the company 'trips' - to the monkey forest (it's a hot forest), down the river through the mango swamps (leisurely and boring). Others said the 'roots' trip is interesting.
Gambia has a great climate (the wind keeps down the heat), friendly people but it is poor and the gap between tourism and their life can be disturbing. Unfortunately Gambia more than other African countries focuses on getting as much out of visitors as possible and that can make you cynical and reluctant to part with your money. The driver of the airport bus to the plane encouraged us to sit in the cab and then asked for a tip! beware the other airport scams of people asking you to change coins into notes.They ask for a £20 in exchange for £10 note and coins - trouble is in the throng we didn't count the coins and so got £19 instead! Look out too for exchange rate fiddles like in the duty free shop and do the arithmetic! Most people want to contribute but the tipping culture isn't helpful. Some people arrange to sponsor a child's school fees.
We enjoyed it but probably won't return.
Sheraton the number 1 hotel in Gambia
We stayed in February and had an amazing time. The first night we had dinner on the beach with our own butler (the wonderful Sena) who looked after us whenever he could from then on.
The room was fantastic and had a great view.
Jennifer who was then the manager (since moved on to oversee the opening of the Sheraton in Cairo ) made sure we were given a great welcome and checked we were enjoying our stay when she saw us.
The lovely Fatou looked after us at breakfast and nothing was too much trouble for any of the very friendly and attentive staff.
If you wanted to go to 'the strip' you could use the shuttle, but the strip just did not compare to the wonderful surroundings of The Sheraton. As others have said, the food could be better. For us however, the less attractive surroundings on the strip and the hassle you get from hustlers there, meant we preferred evenings at the hotel.
We had a driver on many days and also did the trips. Our favourite was the day trip to Senegal. That really was an amazing experience.
We would definately go to The Sheraton again.