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“Mixed” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

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Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Certificate of Excellence
Flaunden, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Mixed”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2014

I have just returned from 10 days at the Ocean Bay and in a way I'm relieved to be home.
I traveled with my husband and 14 year old daughter. We've traveled before to may countries and stayed in a variety of hotels, b&b's etc. I went with an open mind having read the reviews on trip advisor.
The hotel itself was good, staff were friendly although we did find that everything they do is for a reason ie. a tip, one cleaner put a pot of flowers on our balcony table and drew our attention to it, he wanted money! I heard a story from speaking to another guest that a member of staff had conned several guests by comming to their room and demanding they pay their bill by cash, the reception knew nothing about it and these people had to hand over £200. We stayed on a b&b basis which was fine. breakfast was really quite nice, a large selection of cooked breakfast, porridge, cereals, yogurts, fruits etc. couldn't fault it. As said by many reviewers, the room was big and clean but the shower unit left a lot to be desired with grout falling into the shower not so great. The electric supply was a bit sporadic and didn't always charge up my ipad. Around the pool was good, lots of sunbeds, fresh towels and the pool was clean.

Now for the bad bit! - If you go on the beach expect to be constantly hassled by the juice boys, fruit ladies and other sellers, they will persist and they don't seem to take no for an answer then when they've annoyed you they say oh you're not friendly! I found that after having fruit for a couple of days the fruit ladies think they own you, one of them even chased after me when I was going off for a swim.
Also if you go out the front of the hotel you can expect to be followed and harassed by the guides, they are supposed to be there to help you but they can end up being just as bad as the bumsters, we had a guy called Carl who claimed to be an official guide he was ok for a couple of days then he decided we were walking cash cows and approached my husband to ask for more money after we had paid him for his services he even thought it was ok to come into ourr hotel as we were waiting for the coach on the last day to ask for money. We went for dinner one night at 'One for the Road' when we came out it was dark and one guy came out from the side of the road at us, hands allover my husband and when we told him to go away he followed us, it was scary but we told the hotel about it and they informed the tourist police. My advice would be if you don't want hassle is go about your business with a sense of purpose and don't let them shake your hand and don't make eye contact.
Restaurants - I thought Surf & Turf was by far the best the others were just ok. On our last night we went to Red Croc the service was so terrible it was almost funny, after waiting 40 minutes for a starter we asked where it was, they made a mistake and hadn't taken the order down right, then two main courses came out and not my husbands it was a disaster! Try African Queen in Sunny Gambia that was lovely and very popular.
Be careful in the airport going back, again we were troubled by our trolley man wanting £15, some con man who was telling people he was short by £40 and needed to get home and don't go over weight on your luggage or you will pay a lot of money for it!
All in all I'm glad we went but I won't be returning to Gambia purely because I value a bit of peace on my holidays.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JaciP43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Kent
Level Contributor
79 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2014

Can't give this Hotel 5 stars as it needs improvements decoration wise but it was a 5 star holiday.

You will either love or hate this destination. This was our 2nd time and we love it!

To enjoy this holiday you need to embrace the way of life and the Gambian people. That said the only hint I can give you if you really don't want the hassle when you step outside the hotel (even if you have had guides etc etc - you will still get hassled) Is head down, keep walking in fact march out of the hotel, don't make eye contact - and don't stop to enter into conversation of any type. Firm no thankyou whilst walking and say you have been in here many times. If you stop then they've got you!! It did work for us - but the locals have evolved since last year so they will become wise to this I'm sure! You are their income and they will be persistant.

Breakfast is good in the hotel, fresh eggs cooked everyday. Bread is nice too. It's good eating breakfast outside in the sun when you know the rest of the UK is still in their winter coats.
Beach was very peaceful whilst we were there anyway, end of March coming towards the end of the season although I don't know why as the weather is amazing. Chilly in the evenings though so pack something to take off chill.

Use the juice boys on the beach, they remembered us from last year so that was nice for us. Don't be intimidated when they sit together near their booths - they're fine to go and chat to and the juice is lovely and only 75 Dalasi. Also the fruit ladies 150 dalasi for a plate of fruit. Everyday I had one - makes a change to be healthy on holiday! Lemongrass tea served on the beach from the hotel is also wonderful and once again cheap (by UK standars) 150d.

We worked out with all our meals, some in better than other eateries (Calypso - the best restaurant but dearer than say Hungarian) plus all drinks including a fair amount of alcohol. Tips & Cab fairs and anything else we spent on average £50 per day for 2 of us.

Tips - you do need to from the minute you arrive at the airport. Little and often. It will make your holiday experience so much better.

Finally the Gambian people are amazing lovely people. Happy & Funny. They get our sense of humour as well. Can't wait to go back next year - we feel like each time we go we make new friends.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sallyhatesflying
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
87 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2014

I initially read mixed reviews about this hotel but to be honest most of the hotels have received pretty mixed reviews, but if I came back to Gambia I would definitely stay here again in a heartbeat! The hotel was lovely and I am a self confessed hotel and holiday snob. its away from the main strip and located on a private beach, which suited me. The staff are friendly, the breakfast was varied and plenty.. I stayed in a deluxe room (BB) so not sure what the standard version is like! The cleaner kept coming around 9/10 am and asking to clean the room, which they do daily which was a little annoying because sometimes after brekkie i just wanted to chill in my room until midday….Short walk to the beach where you can grab freshly made juice from the beach boys.. try Fax's juice. There are a bunch of ladies who make the most delicious fruit platters.. but i caught a bit of an upset stomach from it so just be careful!!! The wifi in the hotel isn't so great especially if you want to catch up on your soaps but just logging into social media/email is ok… it surprisingly enough worked pretty well on the beach ( i was close to the entrance near the bar.. need to be well positioned so i kept hydrated :)! The locals are super friendly if not bordering on annoying at times… so expect a bit of this, they all want to know your name, invite you around for lunch yada yada.. also haggle when they quote for goods or services, so for example if they say 800 d offer 500.. taxis into the main bit should cost about 200 d each way. I liked Gambia as chill out location, i pretty much wanted to just be a beach bum for a week, which I achieved. Its a great place to just catch up and unwind and not too far from the UK (6 hours) and same timezone which is handy, weather was in its earls 30s. Best to go between late november and end of april (so makes a great winder destination). Get out and try the local food ( I didn't have any issues with the cooked food) its delicious especially benching ( a type of spicy rice) and chicken yassa (yum)… the unofficial tour guides from across road are ok too, you just have to pay for the expenses and tip them at the end ( £5- a day i would suggest)… ask for samba darboe he's lovely and wears a purple the dye shirt… a lot of people might give you poor stories which are probably not far from the truth but it gets a little overwhelming at times, so just watch out for that but don't commit to anything!! overall Gambia is lovely and with a bit more money injected into the tourist trade i'm convinced t will soon become a hot location to visit…so best to travel there whilst its still affordable and unspoilt!!!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KeisheyBeishey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 April 2014

From the moment you walk into the hotel you know you have made the right choice, we were taken to room by M.C. the concierge (nice bloke) sat on the balcony and looked out onto the beach and ocean.
The room was large and clean, yes a little tired but nothing to get stressed about, everything worked and beds were very comfortable.
Bakau is a small village with about 8 eateries/bars. The best for people watching was Mr Bass, this is the local social hub of the village and used by Gambians and tourists. Go there Friday night for a fantastic Gambian music and dance display.
After eating around the village, the most outstanding food we ate was at The new One For The Road, this place is a gem,. The seafood is out of this world for both value and taste. The restaurant is not far (150m) from the hotel up the very slight hill passed Surf and Turf. If you can live through the constant 'how are you' and 'what's your name' as soon as you leave the hotel you will see that Gambia has a lot to other.

Room Tip: Our room was 122, we could not of asked for better. Top floor and fantastic beach/ocean view.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Beachfreaks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bakau, Gambia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2014

The Ocian Bay is a great hotel with very good happy staff rooms especially delux rooms are as good as it gets very clean. We found the breakfast was good and set us up for the day nice hot coffee mid day eat by the pool 11 days paying for mid day meals and drinks by the pool £200
Eating out with wine came to £300. Free internet in your room or on the beach tipping is up to you I gave 50 D about 75p to pool guy and girls who serve by the pool not much to us but a great help to them. The only problem is Green taxis are double the price of Yellow taxis walk down the street and find a good yellow one go on trips on your own in your Yellow taxi avoid the Bumsters they know nothing except how to charge. All in all I can recommend this hotel for a great winter sunshine break at the right price and only a six hour flight. Captain Eddie

Room Tip: Pay a little extra for a deluxe room
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Eddie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 April 2014

I travelled with my fiance as a birthday treat. We flew with Thomas Cook which was satisfactory, although cramped. Firstly, this hotel is undergoing a name change and is being re-branded as Red Croc Resort. It is apparently being taken over by a Spanish millionaire who is obviously trying to invest and keep people on site for all inclusives.

There are some real positives that this hotel has and it is good standard for the Third World (think around 3* UK). The staff are fantastic and enthusiastic to make your holiday enjoyable. There appeared to be a new local manager who was going around asking for feedback on how they can improve which is a good sign. The staff also very kindly made an effort on my birthday: they put petals on my bed and the chef made me a small cake which was a lovely gesture.

The room itself (603) had a great view of the beach and was perfectly acceptable for the week. There were a few small niggles such as the flush being temperamental and the walls were in fact very thin so we could hear our neighbours talking to each other etc. On a positive there is a free safe and minibar/fridge and effective air con.

The grounds are very well maintained and are constantly being watered and pathways being cleaned. The pool area is also very good; plenty of sunloungers and free towels. We split our days between staying by the pool and going onto the beach which is extremely pleasant and the towel boys are enthusiastic to help. There is also a new gym area with some basic weights facilities and a cross-trainer for the health-conscious!

On to food and drink. We stayed on a B&B basis as we wanted to experience the local food also. Breakfast was acceptable but could be improved: there is a mix of cold fruit/meats and some hotter choices such as porridge and fry-up staples (eg sausage, bacon etc). However, the sausages were chicken and not to our taste and the bacon was unpleasantly greasy and fatty. On the plus side, they make fresh omelettes/fried eggs to order and the bread is also very fresh. Half price happy hour drinks daily at the pool bar from 17:30 -18:30 then at the beach bar 18:30 - 19:30.

We dined out each night at the following:
Taj: Nice Indian food and very close to hotel. Quick service but not especially cheap. Apparently under new owners.
Hungarian: Near the Taj, was perfectly nice but we left feeling a little underwhelmed as we were expecting more.
Mr Bass: We went here twice. First time was very good, second time, my fiancee had lots of big bones in his stew which was extremely offputting. Service also was very slow (eg 40+ mins) each time. The plus side was that there was good entertainment of dancers on fri/sat night.
Smiling Coast: Food was very good, live band was excellent - think they are Monday and Thursday. Well worth a trip on these nights.
One for the road: A bit further away but we had a nice lunch here and a decent evening meal. Don't order the wine though as its a small glass and vinegary!
Calypso: Wonderful venue itself, with little individual huts. The food was pretty good, made better by the ambience.

In terms of drink, the local Julbrew is more than acceptable and can be bought for half the price at the supermarket a short distance away. If buying cocktails at the hotel for happy hour, we both had ice and had dicky tummies the next day. Others seemed not to have that problem so not sure it was that but I'd bear it in mind.

Finally, the worst thing on the trip for us was the constant harassment from the bumsters. They spot you getting off the bus when arriving and whenever you leave the hotel you will be approached. Apparently, a good way to get rid of them is to say that you've been there before many times, you're meeting a friend and are late etc. One man said his daughter worked there and they left him alone all week. Walk purposefully and do not give eye contact. If you don't need any escort or are not interested in doing any trips you must be VERY firm. I found it extremely off-putting as you could see them standing up as you left the hotel foyer and they would casually approach you and soon catch you up. Even when we were firm, they would still chat to you and before you knew it you were being walked to the supermarket to buy water and some beers! A nice relaxing stroll became a daily chore that we had to psych ourselves up for. I tried to be polite and explained that we just wanted to walk together, but this sadly fell on deaf ears. One night as we were followed to Calypso for my birthday meal, the same guide came out of the bushes of the restaurant. He had clearly been waiting for us to leave for an hour and a half! Quite unnerving in my opinion as we really did not need his service and we told him that on several occasions. Although friendly, these guides were a pest and they put many other tourists off from venturing out of the hotel. Yes they are harmless, but I found their constant presence very intrusive and frustrating. They sadly did put a dampener on our holiday.

So all in all, a great choice for some winter sun. We're glad that we went but not sure we would return here.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kathwing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2014 via mobile

Having read lots of reviews about Bumpsters & official guides I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Travelling solo I decided to book two Gambia experience trips at the initial meeting with the rep. Venturing out on my first evening I was immediately greeted by Ismaila an Ocean Bay official guide from 'the office' opposite the hotel. Trying to remember all i'd read I decided to chat to him as I wandered the short distance to Mr Bass where I spent many enjoyable moments during the week enjoying watching the local African dancers as we ate great food & cheap drinks.
Ismaila proved to be a great guide. He was very knowledgeable about the local history & gave me a tour of the crocodile pool.
On the second evening Ismaila & I were accompanied by another solo traveller & her official guide. They took us to the fish market where from a hotel above we watched the hustle & bustle as the boats landed their catch & the trading was undertaken. We ventured down to the market & were given a guided tour. This included being shown the smoke house for 25 dalasi pp & amazing fish of many varieties. We chose two very good sized Ladyfish which were cleaned & gutted for us & cost £5 The guides then took us to the food market to buy vegetables & spices to accompany the fish. Whilst we the visitors showered at the hotel, our guides arranged preparation of the fish at the Ocean Bay private beach. We arrived to find a bonfire to keep us warm, BBQ & bench & chairs & a cool box of soft drinks. Apparently they could have provided African drummers given more time to plan.
The fish was wonderful. We enjoyed eating it together from two dishes between the four of us & our chef & two others that tagged along ate what was left from the cooking pan. That was a great experience & the best meal of the week with more fish than we needed.
We became friends & found the guides always appeared as we ventured out. This is their job & how they work. We gave them 300 Dalasi each (2) for that tour to the fish markets & BBQ which they seemed happy with.
Another evening they joined us at Mr Bass for a meal after our crocodile pool trip. We wen't approached at all by bumpsters & the other guides seemed to know 'we belonged ' to Ismaila. He bought me a purple bracelet with my name embroidered on it. Everyone seemed to know he was my guide so I guess the bracelet was something he does for his guests.
On the last morning I bought him breakfast at the hotel as a thank you which he appreciated.
I enjoyed the Gambia Experience tours however the official guides could have given us the same trip cheaper. Bob the taxi driver was great. His clapped out green taxi got us safely to Ngala hotel for an amazing meal on our last evening. I found all the staff to be very friendly & helpful & all were keen to promote The Gambia. My room maid always decorated my bed with fresh flowers from the garden & one day I received a hand picked bouquet from one of the staff. Having read lots about the Gambia I took pens. & pencils & crayons for the school, dressings, paracetamol & ibuprofen for the clinic & baby clothes which I gave to the chef for his new niece & I left a carrier bag of towels. & clothes for Ismaila to distribute along with my lantern which he will be able to use for his BBQ's . I also took 10 eyeshadow compacts which I get in my clinique bonus time bags but don't use myself. I gave these to the waitresses who seemed pleased.
Whilst it was a holiday, it was actually more of an experience enhanced by having our guides to take us to see The Real Gambia. A week wasn't quite enough but I crammed lots in. The chef even picked me up on Sunday & took me to the local Anglican church in a yelliw taxi before walking with me to the clinic to deliver my gifts.
I think if you are willing to accept this is a developing country & accept all it has to offer, the people will appreciate you & you will make the most of your holiday. I actually love Africa & the people & would love to visit more of it having spent a month in Kenya & just a week in The Gambia.
I promised to promote 'The official Ocean Bay Guides' on trip advisor upon my return.
If/when you tip the staff don't forget the chef who is usually missed. They only get paid 1200 dalasi £20 a month for a 6 day week for 6 months of the year. There is incredible poverty so bless them in whatever way you can & they will bless you

Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
2 Thank ClearlyclassJan
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:
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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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