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Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Reviewed 15 April 2014

We are a well travelled family of four (children aged 8 and 5) we usually favour independent holidays with more to offer than just laying around the pool!! We decided to book a package deal as we wanted to stay in one resort and not travel around too much.
The Gambia appealed as there seemed to be lots to do and see and we weren't disappointed, we had a great 10 days and squeezed in plenty, we were sad to leave as there was still so much we could have done! Here is a little information about our holiday.

Flights: We booked with Thomas Cook, Flight time is approx 5hrs 40mins, outward bound we had films (need to buy headphones or adapter) Homeward bound no entertainment. We pre ordered food, would probably get a sandwich from the airport on the way out next time but food back was fine.

Hotel: The location is a little out the way of the main strip (Senegambia) it is located on a beach and has about 8 or so restaurants nearby. A nice area if you want a bit of peace and quiet. If you war a more lively area with a much larger choice of restaurants then a cab to the strip cost about 200 dalassi each way. The hotel is small and friendly and safe and we were happy for there kids to have a bit of in dependancy and go off to play, pop to the room etc. The hotel staff were friendly and the grounds well maintained There was a swing and slide area that my kids used daily. The pool has a children's area but my 2 tended to use the small round dip pool.
We went B&B as there are so many places to eat!! Breakfast was good but got a samey, the menu was the same daily. We ate once at the hotel and weren't impressed!
Remember 5 star in Africa is more like 3 or 4 star elsewhere.

Rooms:Yes the rooms in place need a little care and attention but this is Africa and if you see where and how the locals live then this is luxury in comparison. We had a premium suite as we had kids. The suite was plenty big enough.We had a separate room and the kids were on a sofa bed. We had 2 TV's (limited channels, but who goes on holiday to watch TV??) Fridge with mini bar (beers about £1, soft drinks less) Hairdryer in bathroom. Hot water from a powerful shower, miniature shampoo and body wash,A/C and plenty of storage. If you ned the room sprayed for mozzies then you can ask at reception…we just used the spray in the room which nearly killed us let alone the mozzies!!!The electric does go out frequently on the island but the hotel has a back up generator that kicks in within minutes. Internet access is available but intermittent, in the lobby there is a better signal.
Our room was (804) was cleaned by Lamin who was very attentive, we had petals on our bed every morning and nothing was too much trouble. We tipped him 500 dalassi. (Lamin mis the name given to the 1st born son).

Gambian People; In general the people are warm and friendly, they rely on the tourists for money and yes you will get hassled from day one, be strong but friendly, they want to help and they want to earn some money. We felt a little intimidated at first and it is a bit irritating when you just want to go for a walk on your own! don't say later cos they will remember you!

Tours/Tour guides:We had carl following us from day one and felt obliged to have a trip with him but were a bit hesitant, we then met a lovely English lady: Moya at our hotel that has gone into business with a local man Sam and booked a tour with them. Moya was out for charity/holiday and I invited her along…we would totally recommend them for tours..The name is Samoy tours we felt very comfortable with them. We later let Carl sort out a fishing tour and although he is very nice if not a little persistent we would definitely book with samoy again!
We walked to the crocodile farm which is about 10/15 mins away, you walk through the locals town but it didn't feel unsafe at all and was a highlight in fact to be welcomed to where the locals live. We bought lots of sweets (minty's) but be aware once you start handing them out you will be swamped….. I liked throwing them out of the taxi..the kids love it, my two had new best friends too!
The monkey park you won't kneed a guide too but we did get one when we were there and they were informative so worth it. The monkey park is at the end of the strip, Senegambia hotel (vulture feeding here too at 11.30 daily)

Fruit ladies/juice boy's: From day one you will be introduced to your 5 a day lady or man and then you stick with them…we has Omar (no 1) and he was great, we only managed to go to the beach a few times for juice etc and he got the children brackets with their names and a necklace each....am sure it cost him more than we spent on juice! He came and found us to give us the promised bracelets and I ran after him to give him 100 dalassi, the fruit ladies were friendly a bit hits and miss on the ripeness of fruit but you can choose what fruit you want.

Taxis: we mostly used the yellow cabs a s they are cheaper, not always in a good state but then the green tourist cab we got from the airport (standard 800D) was falling apart anyway much to my 8 year old daughters disgust!. You need to walk up the road but there are plenty. If you need a bigger cab then Yusulf has a mini van and was very good and would do a deal…he took us to the airport for 700 and when we told him we didn't want a porter he helped us in with our luggage…a very nice man!
We regularly got cabs to Senegambia and paid 200 each way-I think this is possibly too much but we were happy to pay. The green cabs will do it at a push but it's up to them and you can always get a yellow one, just say I always pay blah blah blah

Restaurants: We ate at the Taj-Indian twice, very pleasant staff and lovely food, The surf and Turf, a little more pricey but yummy and worth it, Chinese was good,The Calipso is well worth a visit, we happened to stubble upon this little bit of paradise the day we arrived and used it for a lunch time snack/drink…wildlife and ambience is lovely (watching the crocs and birds while you have a beverage) and the kids off in the hammock or nature spotting! The only bad meal we had was at the smiling coast, could have been a bad night??? football was on and nothing on the menu-I had fish with a very salty sauce a a dodgy stomach the next day…might have been the Malaria tablets or sunstroke? anyway we weren't in a rush to go back!!
The best restaurant we went to was The African Queen on the strip, ate here 3 times, fab food and fab atmosphere….totally recommend!!

Weather- we went at Easter-think it Spring/ warmer than I though with a breeze so deceptive, don't get burnt!! however the nights get colder and we didn't pack enough warm clothes!

Money: take cash!! we didn't and ended up getting the maximum out of the cash point a day 3000 d, appro £50. which is roughly what we were getting through a day, they will take any main currencies

Lastly enjoy, It is the smiling coast of Africa and I look forward to going back one day, the kids loved it too I mean where else ca you stroke a crocodile!!!

Room Tip: We had Premier suite, good position, not a sea view but large and central to everything room 804
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank SmartVinnies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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
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2  Thank JaciP43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank Sallyhatesflying
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank KeisheyBeishey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Thank Beachfreaks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Thank Eddie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank kathwing
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

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: £48 - £163 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 And Resort
Ocean Bay Hotel Bakau
Ocean Bay Resort
Ocean Bay Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel Gambia
Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort Gambia, Africa

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