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“Fantastic location and very friendly staff”
Review of Hotel Palm Beach

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Hotel Palm Beach
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fantastic location and very friendly staff”
Reviewed 29 January 2010

Situated right on Kotu beach, this hotel is in tropical gardens. The rooms all have a small balcony with enough space for a couple of chairs and a small table. For best view and tranquility, upstairs room are best.
Facilities are adequate, remember that this is a 2 star hotel which compares to 2 star hotel in the UK. Rooms and bathrooms are large, and furniture is comfortable.
Breakfast is plentiful and very varied with a choice of about 10 different dishes, hot and cold.
But what makes this place stands out is the staff. Everybody is very friendly, polite, and offer a genuine individual service to all residents. Service is reliable and fast, even in Gambia time. They will remember your name and will be more than happy to spend some time with you, either to respond to your query or to chat about their culture and customs, if this is what you want. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank HappyTravel88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Worcester
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2010

My husband and I stayed at the Palm Beach Hotel for 2 weeks and found the hotel still in the early stages of being revamped and although the rooms are basic and in need of redecorating, there were clean sheets and towels on a daily basis.

Breakfast is basic but sufficent. But over all the loxation of the hotel makes up for it, with it being surrounded by palm trees, leading onto the beach and the estuary to the side of the hotel, where you can see a variety of birds, ideal for keen bird watchers.

The first few days were over whelming, we were continually aproached by whom we believed at first to be bumpsters, when infact they were people trying to make a living. Whether it be them trying to tempt you into their bar, buy their fruit, jewellery, nuts or use their taxi's.

We spent the majority of our 2 weeks at the John Raymond bar, the second bar to the left as you go onto the beach. Don't be put off by the number of people working there (25 or more). They are a big family and very welcoming. We especially got on with Bob, Combi and Peter.

They made our holiday, it was the best holiday ever and we are very well travelled. You learn alot from talking to them about their way of life and for a small fee they will take you on a tour of many of the sites. We came home with well over 400 pictures.

On a Wednesday they have a barbeque. The food is amazing and they light a bonfire on the beach, with dancing and them playing the drums.

You will find if you have a Gambian Guide, whether from John Ramonds or else where, you will be less likely to get pestered.

We loved it that much that we plan to return January of next year...........amazing people.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank unclesid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2010

Brilliant holiday! Perfect weather, beautiful palm fringed beach, friendly smiling people, great food, reasonable prices etc etc.

The hotel is in a fantastic location and the staff are brilliant. However, BEWARE THE MANAGEMENT who, on arrival tried to extort £60 from us for repair of the air conditioning unit which had 2 bare wires hanging from it (we didn't pay, and it was fixed eventually). They also told us that a sea view room upgrade would cost £200!

The room was a bit dodgy. We weren't expecting much but were surprised to find there were no curtains, no bin, no coathangers and no where to hang clothes. We got it all sorted out in the end, and it didn't spoil the holiday. The rooms were as clean as they possibly could be with only a damp cloth and a few brushes.

The Gambia felt very safe to us - lovely friendly people (sometimes too friendly, but it was easy to shake people off politely).

John Raymond's bar (turn left on the beach) is a lovely, friendly laid back place with excellent food and highly recomended (particularly the Wednesday night buffet and campfire and drumming and dancing on the beach).

Our local guide was one of the bird watching guys (you can find them on the bridge over the creek) called Omar and he was great. He took us to the eco-friendly/responsible tourism awarded Makasutu Nature Reserve - brilliant day out - then to meet his family at their compound (house). We also went with him to the local market at Serrekunde. He is a really nice, trustworthy guy and would recommend him without reservation. Didn't go on any of the organised trips as they were ridiculously expensive, and in a country where the average wage is £20 a month we preferred our money to go into the local economy rather than let Thomas Cook get their hands on it.

Plenty of other interesting things to do and see, including the monkey park (you can walk to it along the beach) and the daily vulture feeding at the Senegambia Hotel. Loads of brilliant music and dancing everywhere and for anyone remotely interested in bird watching it is paradise.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank veronicaholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancaster
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2010

My partner and I spent a wonderful 9 days in Kotu and we are depressed to be back in the UK. The hotel is pretty basic but hopefully you won't spend all your time there - there is so much more to Gambia than hotels! It suited our needs to sleep and shower. There is little variety to the breakfast but it suited us fine. The staff were wonderful despite the fact that they are very poorly paid...very friendly and always happy to help. They clearly work very hard to serve tourists so remember that a 'hello, how are you?' can go a very long way. While on the subject of breakfast I should mention that if you get up very early and arrive in the restaurant at 7am it's unlikely that there will be anything out and ready for you...I assume this is because very few people get up that early on holiday.

We did not spend any time at the pool so I couldn't comment on it...it is so close to a gorgeous beach why would you go to the pool? When you are on the beach you will be approached by many people selling fruit, juice, nuts, jewellery etc. They are trying hard to make a living and most of them are extremely poor. We befriended a couple of them and were invited to their compounds...some just lived in very small rooms and without electricity, gas or running water, instead using a communal well. It is a real eye opener and it gave us plenty to think about in terms of how lucky we are.

We didn't spend much time on the beach although I will recommend Kunta Kinta for food and drink, also John Raymond is a great place to chill out. The place is run by the Rasta Boys and they are very friendly indeed. They spend a lot of time smoking grass and relaxing but the food is great...it sounds weird but seriously try the chicken sandwiches! You can be waiting a while for food but it's worth it, especially if you are wanting fish. On one occasion we ordered some and they went out in the boat and caught it...you can't get fresher than that!

Anyway back to the hotel...
We didn't eat at the hotel at all so I cannot comment on it, instead we ate locally which is cheaper and you are also helping the local community instead of giving your money to the hotel. We would stay at this hotel again when we return, the location and staff are wonderful. The location is ideal for birdwatching too and I highly recommend it even if you do not have a massive interest. The colours of the many species of birds are breathtaking. You can easily find a birdwatching guide outside the gates of the hotel, I recommend Yankuba, or Yanks as we call him because he knows EVERYTHING about the local birds.

So overall this is a good budget hotel and we would be very happy to return.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank sammy222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2010

We liked it. It’s a beautiful location and it’s a quiet part of the beach. We would go there again.
It’s a good third world hotel but don’t expect the Radisson. Breakfast has no variety. The toasters work – on one side of the bread only. Light fittings are interesting. It’s difficult to sleep on karaoke night. Rooms do have air-conditioning but you have to decide if you prefer to be cool or quiet at night. It has water pressure occasionally.

Their restaurant on the beach was a real disappointment but the beach itself is great. It is only 25p to Banjul by local bush taxi (but you will pay much more if you take a tourist taxi).
What really upset me is the exploitation. The hotel pays its cleaners £1.80 a day and many members of staff are paid zero and can be dismissed at any time. Why do they work there? – Because they hope to ingratiate themselves with guests sufficiently to be given a tip that will enable them buy a day’s rice for them and their family. I would rather the hotel charged more and people had the dignity of being paid for their labour. And apparently it’s a British owned hotel. Thomas Cooke and the other tour operators should not use a hotel that so exploits its staff (and its guests) in this way.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank arcturus1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2010

Palm beach hotel was really nice with lovely pool.staff couldn`t do enough to help.Beach was beautiful.Room clean with mossy net to get tangled in!.Air conditioning standard.T.v only had 1 channel,but films constantly one after another.Took our own kettle and tea/coffee/mugs which was a must.Plus you will need to take beach towels.Evenings are hot.The best thing to take is a very light long sleaved beach top to save mossie bites.Take repelant.I got 5 bites even using it!When on beach go to John Raymonds bar.Third on left.Tell Osmond Julie and Rab sent you and he will take you on any trips for much less money.Don`t buy him too many beers though ,else they come to expect it.You are far better off with a guide though.Kunta Kinte next door really good cheap food.Go to the strip at Senagambia taxi fayre 150 dalasi both ways ask them to wait for you,and they will be there in 3 hours or when ever ,pay on return trip.Don`t pay any more,barter with everything.Don`t fall into same trap as us nursery school comes onto beach and you go visit school to sponser child.It never gets to child.The head teachers are corrupt,and will sell your items taken.The mother that turns up is not the Mother a all.Beware!Have a great time though.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank NorfolkWednesday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northallerton
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2010

Wow , The Gambia , what a place . The people are the most friendly & hospitable people in the world . We were advised not to go as it wasn't really a safe palce to visit but all thorough the holiday the people were so friendly and it was quite safe to walk about .However, you would be contantly pestered if you didn't have a gambian guide or friend . Most of the people have the same motive for chatting to you , that is to sell you something or to take on "tours" to this place or the other . But, if you you told them you were fixed up with a local guide or a local restaurant then they were happy to cheerfully wish you a nice day and leave you alone. You need to bear in mind all the people you meet need to do a little business during the day with someone in order to feed themselves and children , especially the sellers who sit at the side of the road selling a few bananas or small packets of roasted nuts. No sales means no rice to make the daily meal at the end of the day !
Anyway , this review was suposed to be about the Hotel ! I would have to say there are much nicer hotels along the beach and the Hotel itself was a little run down , but you could see the new owners were adding new things all the time in an attempt to improve the rooms etc. We had to look at 3 rooms before we found one that had an acceptable shower & toilet . Then we met Modou Jallow our room attendant ! I think he wanted to show us all of The Gambia he was that proud of where he lived . We placed our trust in him and we were not diappointed . Within a couple of days he invited us to meet his family and you couldn't have wished for a nicer family . He lived with his mum , his wife , sisters & brothers in a small compound on the edge of Serrakunda . They had little in the way of material things and had to barrow water each day from the local standpipe several hundred yards up the road .One of his younger brothers was a Chelsea fan, absolutely devoted to the team and his face lit up if you mentioned any of the players especially a certain chap going by the name of Drogba. In fact the whole of Gambia seemed to be mad about English football and would all meet at the local store to watch the football . You would see people arguing in the street and Modou would say , " they're just talking about football"!
However, he was so pleased just to sit and talk about what England was like, The Gambia & football , not necessarily in that order, whilst sharing a cup of sweet tea and the family meal . At the end of the holiday we gave him a gift of a large bag of rice which was well received. If you go to this hotel you can contact him on his mobile [--] (everyone seems to have a cheap little Nokia or similar ) . His cousin Mustafa runs the internet cafe ( except there is no cafe , just 2 computers) and he has just set Modou up with an internet address , [--] .
I think on balance we would recommend the Hotel as it was reasonably clean , all the staff were extemely friendly , the meals were safe , and the porridge in the morning is to die for , in fact it's not porridge but a form of sweet rice pudding with coconut bits in it , yummy .
Anyway we would definitely go back as the weather in January is a constant 30 c , beats -10 c any day , and the people are so wonderful . A good cure for depression , 2 weeks in The Gambia !
Rob & Jackie
p.s. don't give pound coins as tips as the locals can't get them changed , other than pestering the tourists !

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank RobandJackie68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Palm Beach

Property: Hotel Palm Beach
Address: Serrekunda, Kotu, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kotu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Hotel Palm Beach 2*
Number of rooms: 166
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Also Known As:
Palm Beach Hotel
Palm Beach Kotu
Hotel Palm Beach Gambia/Kotu

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