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“Beautiful, tranquil and stylish Boutique hotel” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ngala Lodge

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Ngala Lodge
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Certificate of Excellence
Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Beautiful, tranquil and stylish Boutique hotel”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2010

We have been several times before; Ngala Lodge has seen changes? I'd say it evolves and we enjoy it more and more each time we visit. Many familiar faces and old friends, and a few new stars.
We are in our mid-late forties and don't feel too young, we feel like us; I think people choose Ngala because of what is offered, not by age-group. Perhaps the fact that children aren't permitted weights the demographic in various interesting ways. There is no lively scene...no family fun...no organised activities...no karaoke...
I'd say that Ngala appeals to someone looking for a bit of pampering and luxury, tranquillity, peace, a romantic break, good food, chic/slightly quirky/arty surroundings, fantastic service by friendly, natural and gracious staff. Perfect nemesis to the rat race!
In past years we have stayed in the smallest suite, the penthouse, the manor and also the atlantic suite; this year we just went for an 'ordinary' suite....and it was fabulous - the suites are all different, some lighter, darker, smaller, bigger, higher, artier...but ALL really lovely.
The new chef is wonderful (I know the management work very hard to get the right chef when a previous favourite moves on, which isn't easy, and they must have a little bit of trial and error...in order to strike gold).
I could write much more...but I think you get the drift that I like it very much! Looking forward to returning to Ngala Lodge.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank FriendOfPooh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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429 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (159)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Brighton
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2010

Had a great stay at N'Gala Lodge over the Valentines week. The chef Marco laid on an exceptional meal for the special evening, although to be truthful the food every evening was good, fresh fish a speciality. The Atlantic suite rooms, with hot tub, are undoubtedly the best , but more expensive, and as you spend most of the time out of the room the other suites are fine, unless you want a jacuzzi every day! The penthouse has 2 spiral staircases and not for the elderly, infirm or those who like a few drinks of an evening!!

This is now a 5* boutique hotel so doesn't come cheap by Gambian standards, but one has to compare it to EU qualities and then it is reasonable value for money. A beer is about £1.10p and bottle of house wine is about £15.00. 1.5litre bottle of water is about £1.00. ( based on 40 Dalasi to the pound)

Stepping out of the hotel is an experience and not to be undertaken if you don't want hassle!! The local guys ( Bumsters) are quick to pounce on every European with offers to guide, show you the best bar or take you to their family home. On the Banjul/Barra ferry they will "clean" your shoes or repair them without taking NO for an answer. All done with a great big smile of course.

From our experience the latest local scam is to invite you to the family compound, deliver a sad tale of Grandfather being the village elder and taking in orphaned kids and presenting a note pad with details of donations made by other victims to support the orphaned kids. Grandfather is not there, he's praying for you! This happened to two separate groups in the hotel.....

I'd like to say that the friendlines of the locals is genuine and not a cover for a scam, but it's hard not to be cynical. What I will say is, we holidaymakers are far, far better off than the local people, ( average salary £30.00 per Month) so what harm does it do to let some cash go occasionally. We NEVER once felt in any danger.

If you take a trip to Senegal over the Gambia River then on the North side you will be expected to buy pencils, notepads and sweets ( Minty) to take to the children at the border. Please do this, everyone wins, the bumsters selling at Barra and the kids who get no school materials inland. The cost is minimal and the feelgood factor is immeasureable.

By the way, although hot during the day at this time of year ( February) it's cool in he mornings if you do an early trip, and the wind on the ferry is definately cool all day!! Take something warm.

Anyway, great hotel, lovely people, fabulous birdlife and fascinating experience!

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 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?
2 Thank Prefermotorhomes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wedmore, Somerset
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2010

Ngala Lodge is a beautiful hotel set in lovely grounds over looking the atlantic. We felt that we were 20 years too young for the hotel which seemed to attract the over 65's. It is luxurious for Gambia and the staff are lovely. The food is OK but more care and attention should be made with the cooking and not just the presentation.

The beach is lovely and clear of bumsters but the sea is very rough and not good for swimming in but great for a dip and jumping the waves - be careful of very strong under current though.

The best thing to do is to hire Habib the taxi driver for a couple of days and ask him to show you "real Gambia" he is charming, honest and everyone in Gambia knows and respects him. Habib for president!

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chestnuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 February 2010

The hotel is magnificent. We had an atlantic suite and that was wonderful. The 'normal' suites are older and due to the older part of the building they have smaller windows and are more dark inside.
No hustlers and bumpsters near the hotel (on the road as on the beach). Due to the area there are not too much yellow taxi's you can grab. Small minimarkets nearby to buy some cookies etc.
Hotel staff is very friendly and helpfull. Loungers in the garden will be replaced as the wooden ones are a bit old. No seats in the garden but every terrace has his own seats.
Do not book half board as you can dinner in the restaurants for a smaller price and you have more choice to go out for a night or to have no dessert or starter.
The swimming pool is a bit small but no other guests in there swimming so you have enough space.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Ilena73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scotland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2010

This is our 3rd time at Ngala, and the hotel is fantastic.
Unfortunately the chef who used to own/run the restaurant is no longer there, and we felt the standard of food had dropped.
Inconsistancy between dishes and sauces, and dish ingredients not as the menu description, and there seems to be cheese in most of the dishes, both lunch and dinner! ( I hate cheese!)
A new chef/restaurant manager had just joined since December, so hopefully the glitches will be sorted out.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank OonsP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
manchester
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 December 2009

We stayed at this hotel after doing extensive research into other hotels in the area and i have to say i dont think we could have found a better place to stay. From the moment we arrived we were blown away, we were greeted by the owners and shown to our room which was huge! (Atlantic suite- it is probably the best as it gets the sun in the afternoon on the balcony). The staff were so friendly and couldnt do enough for us, also in the restaurant the food was amazing both for breakfast and for dinner. We ventured out of the complex one evening to the main tourist area and i wish we hadnt of bothered, we would have had a better time in the hotel restaurant, everything was far too 'touristy' - for lack of a better word!. (In the evening there is always different entertainment- local singers or musicians playing in the restaurant). Some reviews have said that the pool is small and the beach is cut off whilst the tides come in and out- this is true but i can say that you would rather not be on the beach- especially by yourself- as you get harassed (not in a menacing way!!!) by locals, the complex is on top of a cliff that you have to walk down to access the beach so the hotel is very secluded and private- other people who we have spoke to who have stayed in other resorts said they were bothered day and night on the beach by locals . There is plently of loungers around the garden and it is hard to get one around the pool, however the staff still attend to you in the garden and the pool is large enough for everyone there, but that is truly the only downside to this hotel, everything else is amazing.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank hqnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
england
Level Contributor
148 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2009

The decision to go to Gambia was quite sudden, nevertheless I still did my usual thorough research. I am positively sure that taking everything into consideration Ngala is the very best. The rooms are big, with great views or either with private gardens, wonderful bed with nets and the most lovely chambermaid, Fata, The restaurant is excellent, the food much better than many top London restaurants and the view was fantastic. The beach is small but the sea was great to swim and there is a pool, fairly small, but considering there are not too many people it is fine. Now this is the hotel, just about perfect, what you experience outside is a totally different thing. I think it is a must to go on the ferry from Banjul to Barra and then to the Sine Saloum Delta, it is an experience not to be missed. I do think that the Gambia experience tours are slightly overpriced considering the local prices. Gambians are very friendly and happy people, but you should always take care when you engage in conversation with people you do not know, irrelevant of were you are. Have a lovely time and experience life in Africa

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank anastasiaEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ngala Lodge

Property: Ngala Lodge
Address: 64 Atlantic Boulevard | P.O. Box 4091, Fajara, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Fajara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Ngala Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1995, Ngala Lodge - an intimate, child free, boutique hotel of just 18 unique, magnificent suites, set in tropical gardens, overlooking the Atlantic is the perfect place for a romantic break. Recently voted the 4th most romantic hotel in Africa by TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards, with arguably the best restaurant in the Gambia, our guests find it hard to leave.Ngala Lodge - where romance isn't just for Valentines Day! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngala Hotel Fajara
Ngala Lodge Gambia/Fajara

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