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“Missing Money”

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Holiday Beach Club Hotel
Ranked #7 of 9 Hotels in Kololi
East Yorkshire
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Missing Money”
Reviewed 23 May 2013

It's only now after Thomas Cook's recent reply to our complaint, basically 'fobbing us off' that I have decided to write this review.
We stayed at this hotel eighteen months ago for a week without issue. We visited again in February 2013, money went missing from our safety deposit box, 180 pounds which we discovered on our second day of a two week stay. When I raised this with the management at the hotel I was verbally abused by the manager who basically called me a liar, they gave us all the only one key and you've got it speal, I called for the Thomas Cook rep, he appeared to be like the poor staff at this place...frightened to death of the manager. I insisted on the police attending, which they did. I asked to look at the 'CCTV' However I was presented with a 'contract' (which I still have) by the management which they said I would have to sign if I wanted to access the footage which was on a hard drive, this said that if it didn't show anything I would be liable for the 140 pounds cost of getting the footage and that they would prosecute me for lying!
Of course I had no intention of signing anything and this heightened my suspicions. The following tea time we spoke to the rep and within an hour he came to our room and said he had just viewed the footage and it showed nothing (surprise,surprise), yes that's right about twenty hours viewed in under an hour. He invited me to view it, I told him that if I sat and watched the footage for it's entire duration and it had a second by second clock on it, I still wouldn't believe it unless I saw someone in the box, that's how much faith I had in it.
We decided that to salvage something from the holiday we had to move, we got the rep to sort this out, and two days later we moved to Palma Rima at a further cost of 160 pounds.
Not once for the remainder of the stay did any representative from Cooks call to see if we were ok after what I would describe as a bit of an ordeal. If this is a reflection of their company no wonder they are where they are. When we got home I wrote to Thomas Cook and told them of our nightmare, unfortunately Trip advisor rules mean I cant share it with you, but basically it was a 'fob off'.
In closing my review I will tell you a little about me, I am an Officer in the Fire and Rescue Service, I deal with all sorts of people in all manner of situations. I will leave it to the readers to decide whether I would waste the best part of the first week of our holiday, upset my wife and then spend another 160 pounds to move to a hotel half a mile away from all the action by 'making this up'.

Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
31 Thank ShaunandKaren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (154)
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2013

I have stayed in HBC 3 times now and love it! Reading peoples reviews about it not being good is rubbish-you just have to remember that it's The Gambia (a third world country) not a 5* luxury complex!

It is very welcoming and all workers are very friendly and more than happy to assist you! The massage shop at the front enterance is a MUST. I never went there until my last visit a few weeks ago but I wish I had been before-it was roughly £7 for a 25 mins neck, back and shoulder massage and it compares to any I ve had in England!

The rooms are basic but I certainly don't go on holiday to sit on my room. There is a bed, shower toilet and sofa-all I needed! The pool is extremely well kept. Breakfast is basic but you learn to live bread, jam and cheese! The hotel is attached to the beach and is very beautiful!

The location of the HBC is perfect, a far enough distance not to hear the notice from the main tourist strip but close enough to walk it-only a 2 mins walk up the drive and your on the main restaurant/bar strip!

I shall be going back to HBC!!!

  • Stayed April 2013
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Helpful?
6 Thank Sophiec89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shropshire, UK
Level 6 Contributor
167 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2013

This was our first visit to Gambia. We stayed at the Holiday Beach Club on a friend's recommendation and were very pleased. The location is ideal - right on the strip but at the end of a longish drive so it's peaceful. Also opens up right onto the beach. Overall the site was quiet and relaxing, but there were few staying there as this was the last week of the season - it closes for May - Oct in the wet season - so it may be livlier at other times.

We had a superior bungalow room near the pool. This has a separate living area whereas standard rooms are just a bedroom plus bathroom. I would recommend avoiding the A and B "barracks" Blocks - nowhere near as nice. The bathroom was basic but ok, although the shower needed soem time to think about working and you need to learn when there's hot water (late afternnoon onwards - by the morning you take your chances!). There was a/c available at 100 Dalasis (£2) a day - not worth it - but a fan is a good idea. Safebox is also essential.

The pool area is good with plenty of sunbeds. Beware monkeys that steam though the grounds and will help themselves to anything not tied down, and go in rooms if they can!

The staff are very friendly. Cleaners vary in efficiency and thoroughness but they are all desperate for a good tip when you leave. We were told basic pay is only about 400 Dalasis a week (£4). Breakfast is very basic - bread, ham, cheese, fruit, jam and tea/coffee. You can take food/drink to your room but buy mugs to use.

Evening meals were good, but a bit more expensive than outside the hotel.

Overall, we were very pleased with our choice. It's not 4 or 5 star comfort, so if you want that look elsewhere, but you are not isolated from the country and the culture as you are in some more upmarket hotels.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Globetrotter_Geoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
middlesbrough
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2013

This was our first visit to The Gambia and we enjoyed it fully. The hotel is basic but clean with friendly staff. We had a bungalow near the pool with plenty of space. Our maid Bilo, came every day and was lovely. One of the best things about this hotel is the location, you are right on the strip. For a quick guide to what to do in the evening - Scala next door has the best food and service but not very African (owned by Danish lady) Kora, across the road has excellent service again not typically African but a pool table and Pearly Bay white wine for £9 (drinking alcohol is expensive). Ali baba's turn left and 100m, always has live music and you wont get pestered at the table, this is the case with all 3 mentioned. The place before Mandela's (sorry cant remember name) is good for live shows (pic included) but the food is basic and you may get pestered (we were 2 lone women). Vulture feeding is at 11-11.30am in the Senegambia hotel (back of hotel, turn right, walk 100m down the beach), the knowledgeable guide will then take you on to the monkey park for a small fee - well worth going with a guide in a group. All the taxi prices are written on the board in this hotel's foyer and the taxi rank is just outside. We used a taxi driver called Abduli who took us to the crocodile pool one day and the capitol and market another. The driver will stay with you for 2 hours as part of the service, we gave a good tip and bought him a drink while he watched football when we went for lunch (he didn't ask for it). The hotel opposite the Senegambia has a nice restaurant and sport bar, both offering free wifi. There is a nightclub opposite HBC called Aquarius. The music is typically English/American with a bit of reggie the décor is very stylish and modern, not what you would expect. The locals were much better dancers than us, but we improved after a couple of cocktails!!!??? For tours I would recommend ARCH (out the front gate, past Scala, on the left) All in all - if your up for an adventure this is the place for you - only negative - the breakfast is poor and the same every day. bread, cheese, ham, jam, butter, banana, papaya, juice, tea, coffee (one day there was cake)

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank spud9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kololi, Gambia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2013

having stayed at the holiday beach club a couple of times in the past , iwould have to say that it is not a bad hotel like some others i have stayed in gambia.if you not a fussy person its alright .the rooms are not the best the cleaners were there every morning (give them a little tip and you will get clean sheets and towels every day),however some of the other staff could do with a lesson in manners the ones at the desk were a right happy bunch very helpful NOT.the breakfast was not the best unless you like bread and jam so dont ecspect a full english.no air con ,beds werent to bad once you got the bugs out LOL.,

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank dankerdof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2013

just got back from the holiday beach hotel in Kololi our first time there, and we had a great time we had a bungalow near the pool and it was very nice and spacious, all the staff we were very friendly and informative, the strip and bumsters were no prpoblem you just have to be firm and polite, and they will leave you alone. we had some great days out wit Arch Tours they were fantastic, great value for money, we felt very safe and comfortable and saw many things about The Gambia we as tourists would not have been privileged to see all the guides were very informative and great fun to be with many thanks to Rhino, BK, Amy, Ali, Soloman, and everybody else at Arch Tours, we will be seeing you again next year.

Room Tip: we found the best rooms were in the Bungalows try no fans or AC for first couple of nights we didnt...
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank CIRCE1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2013

Having read some very mixed reviews about this hotel- particularly negative about the supposed "prison blocks A & B"- we were unsure what to expect. I'm not overly fussy about where I stay as a hotel for me is just a base in which to shower and sleep, but upon arrival when we found out we were in B-block, I admit I was a little anxious! However, I felt that the comparison which other guests had made to a prison block were a little far-fetched. Yes, the room was basic, but it was spotlessly clean and very spacious. The shower was powerful and the maids did a brilliant job of keeping things in order. We had 2 double beds and a nice patio area which caught the sun in the evening. You could here the music faintly from the strip, but it was by no means unbearable and could easily be drowned out by earplugs (or a Julbrew coma!).

A few other reviews have also complained about the rooms being too "basic"- this is Africa! I have paid more money to stay in much bigger dives in holidays to Goa in the past, so for me this was pretty luxurious as holidays to Third World locations go. As for the fact that you have to pay extra for fans or air-con: you really do not need them anyway. While the daytime temperature was very hot, the evenings are extremely cool by contrast. I needed to wear a jumper every night when we went out and the room was no warmer than our houses back home get at the peak of British summertime. We also elected not to bother with a safety deposit box, having read some reviews of theft. The rooms are not overly secure, so we just locked valuables in our suitcases with padlocks and found this to be adequate.

The hotel grounds were very beautiful and the pool area was well maintained and looked after. In the mornings and evenings the hotel gets bombarded by monkeys which is a real treat, though keep an eye on your food as they will pilfer anything that they get their hands on! You should also try to resist the temptation to feed them, as once the tourist season ends they will have become dependent on handouts and could struggle to look after themselves.

In terms of food and drink, yes the breakfast was nothing special, but it was perfectly edible and we didn't feel the need to rush out and purchase a full English every day. If bread, ham and cheese isn't for you, there are plenty of cafes 5 minutes away from the hotel who do very good food (our personal favourite was Darboe's) if you want something more substantial. However, I think it is very telling of Western culture that we head off to a continent where starvation is rife and complain that we aren't being given good enough food while there... :) The bar at the hotel is slightly more expensive than the bars on the strip, but we're talking pennies more for drinks, not pounds. A little tip, however- if you're having a day by the pool, go to the strip for lunch. Pretty much all the restaurants have "happy hour" so you can crack on with the Julbrew early, at a reduced price!

Location-wise, you could not ask for a better spot. It is very close to all the bars and restaurants, though the beach behind the hotel is pretty much eroded away. However, you can walk 20-40 minutes up the beach (heading north) to Kololi if you want to spend the day in one of the beach bars on a more pleasant stretch of sand. Our favourite place to visit for food on the beach was Kunta Kinteh beach bar (40 minutes walk away), or there is Solomon's which is a little closer. Be prepared for hassle both on the strip and the beach from bumsters. The beach was slightly more hard work as every 5 minutes you get offered peanuts, fruit juice, sunbeds etc. You just have to be patient and say no- a lot! On the strip we got a bit of hassle the first couple of days but once they know your face and realise you are not interested in their "services", they will leave you alone. From what we gathered, the bumsters' biggest customer-base was middle-aged European women...

Make sure that you do get out and about from the Kololi area though- as another reviewer said, it is a tourist bubble and it is great to do some of the trips and see other parts of the country. Don't use the Thomas Cook tours as they are more expensive. We went through Arch Tours for our trips and I could not fault them, they were absolutely fantastic. Their office is pretty much next door to the hotel- turn left when you leave the main entrance on the road side and you will see them. I'll review them separately, but we had a few fantastic days out with them and their brilliant team of staff.

All in all, I would absolutely recommend this hotel to people who are not fussy and recognise that European standards are very different to those in the developing world. We had an extremely pleasant stay and I would definitely stay here again if I ever go back to the Gambia.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank SunshinePleaseLeeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Holiday Beach Club Hotel

Property: Holiday Beach Club Hotel
Address: Kololi Beach, Kololi, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kololi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 9 Hotels in Kololi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Holiday Beach Club Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 80
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Holiday Beach Club Hotel is a simple traditional African hospitality facility of a Two (2) Star rating, situated on the Golden Kololi Beach. The Holiday Beach Club Hotel Complex features 81 rooms consisting of Superior, Pool view, Sea view, Single storey and Garden View rooms. It also has a swimming pool, Main Bar, Beach Bar and Restaurant. Its mission is to provide a simple but modest Gambian hospitality service of excellence, while aiming to make the Gambia a tourist haven. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Holiday Beach Hotel
Holiday Beach Kololi
Holiday Beach Club Hotel Gambia/Kololi

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