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“True review from a "high expectations" duo!”

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Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“True review from a "high expectations" duo!”
Reviewed 22 March 2014

We visited 14th March for a week. We were dubious due to the varied reviews but there is nothing to worry about! This place is just lovely.

We travelled with Thomas Cook on a b&b basis. We usually go all inclusive but were advised that b&b would suffice as the price difference was so vast- and we were advised correctly- as a fussy eater and being vegetarian I found that I had more than enough choice with low priced full sizes meals. We never went hungry! Our room service bill for a week was £110 at most including soft drinks- not bad for a weeks worth of lunches which included steak. Restaurant wise we really enjoyed the Taj Mahal which served authentic Indian food and would highly recommend this to anybody. We also dined at the smiling coast, surf and turf and ocean clipper/red croc. Good food in abundance.

The flight wasn't brilliant- cramped and an old plane but the six hour journey was worth what I only describe as a lovely and peaceful holiday. The return flight was better as the plane was newer and there were empty seats.

On to the hotel. We booked what they call a deluxe room. I am a bit high maintenance and like high spec rooms with modern everything, and I was expecting to hate the allocated room after looking at the reviews on trip advisor. For Africa this room was just fine and ultimately we only really used the room to sleep and shower as the beach and weather is what we chose The Gambia for. We stayed in room 223 by the pool and a 2 minute walk to the beach. We could see the beach from the balcony. The room was a bit dark and had a few issues light bulbs not working, in the bigger scheme of things this was just a minor issue. The sun would fall onto the balcony for an hour or so, but to be honest who wants to sunbathe on their balcony when the beach or pool is either side of your room. Yes the bathroom is a bit tired and could look a little nicer, but again we only needed to shower and use the toilet, who wants to spend more time than they need to in a bathroom( this coming from a girl who can take all day to get ready)! Overall the room itself would be a three star, but I understand why this is a four star based on the country. To put this into prospective we looked at other hotels when we collected others on our transfer to the airport and I sighed with relief as some of the others really were two and three star looking.

The staff were friendly and kind, nothing was too much for them and they were attentive on all requests. The grounds are tidy and clean, the ground staff work all day so we are met with pleasant views. The restaurant staff were again very helpful; the selection for a veggie wasn't vast but I didn't go hungry. If I asked for anything you would always deliver. As b&b's breakfast standards go I would say that they are doing just fine.

Outside the hotel we used one of the "official" guides called Solomon; I can only describe him as one of the lost helpful people I have ever met. He was polite and attentive, he took us where we wanted to go without trying to sell us trips we didn't want to go on. I would recommend him time and one again. Please use him, he could have taken a lot of money from is but he was more concerned with making sure we had a happy trip. The bumsters are a nuisance so only use the purple shirt guys, all of them were pleasant and had a story or two to make you laugh with. They also help keep these bumsters away.

Overall the trip was booked for relaxation and a great tan and I have come back with both ticked off. Value for money- the hidden costs such as transfers and in flight meals could be better value. The Gambian and hotel experience outweighed the flight and over charging which I believe Thomas Cook do and with the best of smiles. I would defiantly go back to the hotel and as other reviews have mentioned there are upgrade works taking place. It can only get better than it is, and it is already at a fairly high standard given that you are in a developing country. I would take the negative comments with a pinch of salt and if you do have queries the hotel staff from reception to the restaurant staff are more than happy to help. In hindsight I would have contacted the hotel direct before flying if I needed to. I am not sure why anyone would book to visit The Gambia and not enjoy their experience, short flight, great weather, nice people and friendly helpful staff all offsets a slightly ageing room.

If you are looking for a modern hotel then this is not the hotel for you and I'm not sure if you would find a better hotel to stay in.

I hope this review helps settle any unease and you book away with a smile on your face knowing you are about to have an experience of a lifetime. Thanks for reading.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Ranjk1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2014

We stayed here as a couple from 26 Feb to 12 March and thoroughly enjoyed it. Having travelled very widely over all the world's continents we never cease to be amazed at the nit-picking of some people.This is Africa, so you know 5* is really 3* to 4*, and if you want unadulterated luxury you choose a more upmarket operator, but then you have to be prepared to pay for it!We found this hotel clean, pleasant, with nicely-kept gardens and pool area, and our room[122] was spacious, light and had a lovely ocean view. The staff were most friendly, and yes, you did have a bit of a job getting a coffee at breakfast, but so what? The breakfast was excellent, but we can't comment on other meals as we were b and b which we thought was the right choice.We did have a superb 4 course dinner in the Red Croc restaurant one night and for a tenner it was brilliant!The bumsters don't bother you at all if you say you've been before, and are generally pretty friendly. We took the Roots trip, which was excellent, with Scantours just up the road, and it was £20 each less than Thomas Cook's.The restaurants around are great and cheap, with fillet steak for about £6, and we particularly loved the. New One for the Road.The beach is vast and empty- we found there were plenty of sunbeds both there and at the pool and if you couldn't find one they would go and get you one.We happened to mention it was our wedding anniversary and they brought us a card, a fruit basket and a beautifully decorated cake- where else would you get service like that?Yes, there were a few niggles, but that's all they were, nothing to spoil your holiday. The flight was cramped and too long to have no entertainment. Please don't change the name to the Red Croc, it sounds like a bar!All in all a most enjoyable experience.

Room Tip: Didn,t see the standard rooms but our deluxe one was very nice.Ocean views are best.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LyndaNixon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
north of england
Level 6 Contributor
82 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

We have been returning to this hotel for the past 6 years. I will not say it is perfect but it ticks a lot of the boxes. Due to late booking we did not get a transfer included so I searched online for an airport transfer 1 quote was for £80 and another for £18 http://www.airporttransfer.gm/ I booked the latter, but hesitated as it was done through paypal, but thought if not at airport only lost £18, I needn't have worried, he was there to meet us in brand new white mercedes 6 seater, looked very swish and a very comfortable ride.
Check in fast with refreshing lemon grass tea.
Rooms no change although we had no hot water on first night this was quickly rectified when brought to the attention of front desk and cleaners.
Breakfast has gone downhill from previous years. Selection is more limited, no hot pancakes made, cold meats and cheeses very limited.
Pool was green when we arrived and not at all inviting. It was treated after a couple of days and returned to lovely blue colour although very cold. Slippy tiles around pool have been replaced with safer ones. Plenty of sun loungers but umbrellas more scarce and did have a tendency to blow over in the winds which picked up in the afternoon.
Lunches same as usual. Bit of a shock in the price increase of lemongrass tea, last year 50D this year 150D, only had the 1 after finding that increase, julbrew and coke cheaper!!!! We were on B+B so only ate in the new Red Croc restaurant once on a wednesday speacial which was good value for money and very tasty 2500D for 2 including wine.
Wi-Fi fairly good coverage, not advertised in room but we got it, had to switch to another router. Better wi fi then the few european hotels I have visited in the past year and free!!!!!
Changing money 62D in hotel 64D outside not the huge gap it used to be.
Had no problems from staff mentioned here about offering trips etc however a huge cull took place just before we arrived so perhaps on best behaviour, the only problem I had was on paying at reception a female receptionist did appear to keep 200D for herself until I asked for it to be recounted!!!!
Gripes: No one turned up for management cocktails which annoyed us as there were a lot of rumours flying around as to where the hotel was heading for next year and would like to know which were true. Since getting home I have tried to do a dummy booking for B+b and it was accepted.
Sheets too small for bed so came untucked had to ask for a second one to keep the bed in place.
It does appear that I have moaned about the hotel however I believe you have to accept it is in a third world country and perhaps some of our expectations are too high. I find it gives me clean friendly accommodation.at a time when it is cold and miserable in England.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank holsagain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helsinki
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

I chose this hotel because of the good reviews on tripadvisor. However I don't see the point for the good reviews.

Room and quality: The hotel room is in really bad condition (standard). The bathroom looked like it had not been cleaned for months. The toilet seat was broken and the toilet did not flush. I got a wound from the broken toilet seat. Taking a warm shower was not possible. The sleep quality is same as in any hostel. Our room 617 had the "best views" for standard room, but there was a connecting door. So there was no any sound isolation. We could hear the talk and a man snoring from our next door neighbour. A/C was very loud, thought we fixed it by ourselves with a band aid.

Guides: DO NOT TAKE GUIDE FROM FRONT OF THE HOTEL. When you arrive, hotel guides glue to you. It is impossible to get rid of them unless you know what you are doing. There is also other exit which leads to Red Croc, better to take it if you want to avoid the hassle from the guides front of the hotel. We did a mistake and took the guide from front of the hotel. He was not interested in anymore than getting his pockets filled with money and getting some items to be bought by us. He did not explain much and I could not understand his English. There are much better guides near Cape Point or front of Red Croc who have blue uniform and sign OTG (Official Tourist Guide). They are the first guides in Gambia and they were honest. We changed our guide to a guide front of Red Croc. This caused a little hassle next time we met our guide from front of the hotel, because he thought he "owns us". Our guide name was Red who could speak fluent English and was friendly to show around. He was also very honest and helpful and not like the guides front of the hotel. I heard from a dutch woman who stayed at the hotel that she did a excursion with the the guides front of the hotel, and she was asked for more money during the excursion and her lunch and dinner were not paid as promised.

Staff: The hotel staff were mainly unfriendly, but I understand it, because they get paid too less (about 30 € / month) for 12 hours works. There were some friendly ones. Reception staff was very aggressive when we tried to request some information or ask for a room change. I felt like I was bothering their day. They always said "come back in 2 hours" and after that they seemed not to know the original question.

However the hotel facilities: beach, breakfast and a beach bar was very nice. However you could not swim in the ocean due strong currents. There was always a sunbed available. I think the hotel Red Croc (when it will be opened) will be much better than the rundown Ocean Bay. If the Gambians would not be so helpful and so cheerful, this would be the worst holiday ever. However Gambians made us to smile everyday and we liked to have a little chat with them. It was a dream holiday, but the hotel was a big disappointment. It is more closer to 2-3 stars. I would not complain if I had reserved 2- or 3-star hotel, but now I didn't get what I paid for.

Room Tip: Ask a room without a connecting door.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank alpnet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2014

We travelled to Ocean Bay for two weeks in late February 2014, with an 18mth old and nearly 4 yr old. We all had a great time!
The flight was ok, we took plenty of play doh, sticker books, wrapped some new toys etc. The transfer was about 20mins so not too long.
We had a family suite which was good as it had a separate bedroom, so we put the children in there (they provided a cot for 18mth old), and my husband and I slept on the sofa bed in the living room.
We took our own mosquito nets and the children weren't bitten all holiday. The bedroom had thick blackout curtains and air con so they slept well - hooray!
We went B&B, the breakfast was good - cereal, porridge, bacon, eggs, pastries, toast etc. We crushed the children's anti-malarials and mixed in to yogurt and jam and they took them ok. They had high chairs and it was nice sitting out by the pool.
The rest of the time we ate out at local restaurants, e.g. The hungarian, rising sun, calypso, one for the road. There was a good variety of food, we didn't get any stomach bugs, and there was always something for the kids to eat. The food is much cheaper at the restaurants than in the hotel and I'd recommend B&B.
The pool was nice, not massive but big enough, with plenty of loungers and a little shallow children's area. The beach was beautiful, plenty of shells to collect! There weren't many toys in the playroom which was a shame.
We went on several excursions with our great guide Samba, from outside the hotel in purple tie die shirts. We walked to the crocodile pool and got a tuk tuk back which was good, also went to abuko, lamin on a boat trip, the "monkey park", bakau fish market, banjul, and to see the vulture feeding.
All in all a really great holiday, the staff were friendly, facilities simple but adequate, wonderful weather and a really interesting holiday for everyone. The children loved it and didn't want to come home!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rosalind W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
worsley manchester
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2014

we visited this hotel from 19/02/14 to 05/03/14 we got a taxi from the airport only cos £15 for 2 couples and we arrived at the hotel a good hour before the bus our check in was a bit slow they had given us rooms at oposit ends of the complex although we were all one booking form it was eventualy sorted rooms were good size and quite clean not the best our first meal in the hotel was breakfast next day we had chosen b&b (good choice) no warm plates in fact not very much warm food we complained and new burners were brought out and lit under the pans the waiters were totaly oblivious to us getting a cup of coffee was hopeless it was easier to go for your own and it did not get any better for the whole 2 weeks the only people that smiled were the pool guys and the bell boys .After 5 days we noticed the water in the pool was getting lower and the day after the pumps stopped running we complained they said engineers were working onthe pumps and the water went dirty green we complained again they were not listening and it got worse you could not see below the 1st step in the deep end we complained to TCs rep who could not believe it he took photos and went to see the manager but the manager refused to speak to him we don`t do beaches so our holiday was totaly ruined apart from the bars in the town go to the Hungarian cheapest beer in town 40 dalasis a pint at happy 4 to 6pm also great food and mine hosts Frank And Bella are realy nice needles to say we will not be going back to this hotel at any price I think its back to the Atlantic in banjul

Room Tip: insist on a room on the second floor you get pestered if you sit on your ground floor terrace and yo...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sesiebo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prague, Czech Republic
Level 5 Contributor
27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 March 2014

In general we are very happy after 2 weeks spent in the Gambia where we stayed at Ocean Bay (soon rebranding into Red Croc Hotel). Its location is very fortunate, at the long beach (they planted tens of new palms on it). There are many plants in the area so you feel like in the garden. Rooms are clean and big enough with very friendly service staff. Towels were changed every day! Sometimes no hot water and blackouts - but in The Gambia it is not a surprise. We had AlI incl. package, but be aware, that you will be able to have only 4 alcohol drinks/day and only house wine or a local beer. After some days food became monotonous, especially very scarce fruit and limited range of cakes. But every day was fish what we appreciated. Sometimes it took time to be serviced with drinks so you’d better order them as only as you sit at the table to get them before end of a meal. But honestly the staff was very friendly and did their best. The number of sunbeds at the swimming pool area was limited (less then demanded) so be prepared for an early booking one for you. The same happened on the beach. A very good massage in the hotel SPA - especially after a long flight! Bankomat is just opposite the hotel but you can change money also in one of many places just behind the corner. There are many things to see not far from the hotel. Recommended is a walk to the Bakau harbour or the Crocodile Sanctuary. For longer trips we took a local guide Musa Manneh we contacted in advance via mail and agreed tour details. Very reliable and flexible. He is an experienced birdwatcher showing us plenty of birds in Abuko and Brufut. We also had a day trip to Senegal with him to Fathala National Park. A great safari! When crossing the Gambia river - take a local boat to have more excitement.

Room Tip: avoid roms 108-112 if you do not like a wall view
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Roman K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

Property: Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Address: Kofi Annan Street, Cape Point, Bakau, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Bakau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:5 star — Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 195
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA, Expedia, Hotels.com, Ebookers, Southall Travel, TravelUp, 5viajes2012 S.L., HotelQuickly and Evoline ltd so you can book your Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Ocean Bay Hotel Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel And Resort
Ocean Bay Resort
Ocean Bay Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel Gambia
Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort Gambia, Africa

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