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“Disappointing”
Review of Kombo Beach Hotel

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Kombo Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Certificate of Excellence
Aylesbury
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Disappointing”
Reviewed 20 April 2012

Have just returned from a ten day holiday at the Kombo Beach hotel. Overall I was disappointed. The fabric of the building is very tired, the rooms need decorating, new furniture and curtains. The quality of the workmanship in the rooms is poor, wiring to switches on lights is below par.The bathrooms are horrible, dated , dirty, covered in mildew and lacking in any ventilation. The first room offered to me and my family was a disgrace, the toilet seat in the bathroom was disgusting. We quickly upgraded but the improvement in quality was minimal. The cleaning of the room was adequate at best.. Cleaners were more interested in making freinds with you so as to receive a good tip, than they were of doing a good job of cleaning. Have travelled to other African resorts on a simialr budget and were not disappointed!

The hotel encourage bumsters into the hotel, in the first few days of your holiday you are subjected to constant pressure to buy a trip or something simiar. On previous trips to Africa we were protected from such people in the hotel, if we dared to step outside of it that was a different story. In fact, I can honestly say, every person I met in the hotel would try and make friends with you so they could offer an additional service to you. I hated it!

Food was generally ok, at times very good. However, we were disappointed to find they were running out of wine as they are close to the end of the season. I mentiond this at reception who suggested I complain at the end of the holiday. What a great idea!

The pool area was quite good, the pool was clean and there were various activities throughout the day. Sunbeds were provided with covers.

The position of the hotel is great, easy access to the beach and of course fantastic weather.

The grounds are well kept and of interest. The staff I spoke to were motivated and doing a good job.

We booked our excursions through Thomas Cook, they were not cheap but the vehicles and staff provided were excellent. Some of the vehicles provided by other suppliers were in my opinion unsafe or should be scrapped! With other suppliers I always wondered ..what would happen if...

I left the hotel disappointed but overall enjoyed the experience. Whether I would return..... that's unlikely. Everyone has different expectations, read all the reviews and if The kombo is for you go for it. Good luck

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mark G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
England, UK
Level 4 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2012

I stayed here on a business trip to The Gambia. 10 days bed and breakfast deal from Directline Holidays - a Thomas Cook package.
Upon arrival, Anna at reception was very helpful and helped with my room change and recommended a room with a sea-view. Fantastic view I must say.

Hotel staff here were friendly, warm and helpful. Breakfast was ok - not a wide variety of fruits as I would have thought.
The room was clean and quite spacious. I stayed in a standard (double) room. I was't impressed with the TV; it gave the room a feeling of being stuck in the 80's! Apparently the Kombo Beach hotel used to be called 'The Novotel' in the 80's. Some would say you're not meant to watch TV while on Holidays - well, non-holiday makers need to be comfortable and catch up with the news etc. To be fair, there was a good selection of channels but no sports channels were available.
The Liv Bar came to the rescue for the much needed footy catch up. The Liv bar was a great big hub of activity within the hotel premises. A separate management from the hotel. I sensed a bit of competition per the Hotel management and the Liv Bar. The Liv bar had a menu of up to 40 Cocktails - the only one in The Gambia who offer this, allegedly.
Ask for Ali the manager and the ever helpful Miss Lamya at the bar. I enjoyed my time at the Liv bar better than I did at the hotel - perhaps this was because I was not on a pleasure / holiday trip.
If you have to change your money to the local currency, do ask around as rates are usually competitive. I changed mine just outside the hotel, a few blocks down just before the Bungalow Beach hotel. Ask for a guy called 'Lamin Fixer'. Good guy, he's a shop attendant and would help you with almost anything from enquiring about the current rates for currency and what best to do. Still, as a rule of thumb, never go for the first price quoted. Haggling is not a bad thing - you are only trying to get your money's worth. By the way, Lamin Fixer speaks some Danish, Finnish, English and the local dialects. His Facebook account is: www.facebook.com/laminfixer

I think the hotel charges are a tad high for the internet / wi-fi usage. 100Dalasis for 1hour. Other establishments provide this free of charge! The management need to review this. The Wi-Fi only works within the pool area, reception and some parts of Block 1.

A restaurant called Sailors about 7 minutes walk down the road does good Sea food. It is owned by a Spanish gentleman called Lorenzo. Not a bad spot to go for a good meal or snack. The restaurant has free wi-fi open to anyone who comes in and it is superbly fast! For the food, Wi-Fi and location (10 metres from the beach) I made the Sailors restaurant my hang out!

The hotel; all in all was clean but again, feels like it is stuck in the 80s and could do with a major 'overhaul' or updating. Threadbare blankets, curtains and bed linen could do with a well deserved change; considering how many guests walk in through the doors each year. The most modern thing about the hotel is the Liv Bar!

Note to Management: How can you not have a single piece of African Art work adorning the walls of your rooms?! Beats me!

The guys at the gym made my stay most memorable; good banter and all round good guys. Ashley, Assan, Lamin and Johnson. I played ping pong, Tennis and Beach volley ball. Lamin the Tennis coach is an absolutely brilliant guy. Do have a Tennis lesson with him if you can.

I hope to be in The Gambia again very soon but I'm afraid I shan't be staying here but will definitely visit the Liv Bar and of course go for some more Tennis sessions with Lamin and catch up with the good friends I've made.
Night life - SeneGambia is the place to be.
Do try to get off the beaten path and do non-touristy things if you can, There's a lot more to The Gambia than lounging around in the sun by the pool side all day - you might as well go to a tanning shop on your high street.

Give an hour of your time to a local organisation, help them with planning, strategy, fund raising etc. I did this with my local contacts and visited small football academies in Brikama, Lamin, Bakau and Sukuta.
I met some young people (a group of 22) at the hotel. They raised £21,000 from the U.K. to support schools and sports academies in The Gambia. They made the news and met the Vice President. They helped with construction of football pitches, classrooms and so on. Kudos to them!

Visit Serrekunda market, you'll get your holiday buys cheaper there than the designated craft markets.

Finally, do try to buy a local sim card. This can cost anything from 10Dalasis to 50 Dalasis. A lot more convenient and cheaper to have a local number to send messages back home and make calls but make sure your mobile phone is unlocked to accept any sim card.
On your way out at the airport, there's an outdoor bar called Luigi's - ask for one of the managers called Lamin Jarju - another good guy I've known for a while.

Enjoy The Gambia. A great place to visit!

Room Tip: Rooms on the 2nd or 3rd floor are great for Sea View!
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TJAbif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
grimsby
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2012

we spent 2wks at and travelled with gambia experience. this hotel is clean but is in need of updating furniture is tatty, rooms need new furniture and a lick of paint!! swimming pool is small for the amount of guests but is clean on a positive note!
didnt eat or drink the hotel of an evening as found it cheaper to in outside of it. resturants we tried where boss lady, tao in senegambia, clay oven, sailors and captains table they were all good a part the cpatains table which we found expensive and service was rubbish. we only spent a couple of hours on the beach but u couldnt relaxe withthe constant sellers coming over to you! staff at kombo are very good and very friendly. breakfast is ok not much fruit available only 2 different types of cereals bit basic. we didnt do any trips with gambia experience as we used arch tours much cheaper and the people who run the trips are so lovely. not sure we would come back to this hotel unless they update it!

Room Tip: make sure you upgrade your room standard rooms are in need of a total face lift
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank mandy36Grimsby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gateshead
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2012

Great hotel in fantastic location. Rooms a little dated but spotlessly clean. All of the staff were great, the gardners, cleaners, bar staff, sun bed helpers, restaurant staff and the people organising the daytime activities.

If you want to go on any trips book through the local tourist guides. They have an office to the left just outside the hotel. I use the term office lightly, as its more like a run down garden shed! Don't be put off though as the guides are very knowlegdable and much cheaper than Thomas Cook. My wife and I booked two trips with two friends and we had the exclusive attention of our guide throughout. It is worth taking a trip to the Calypso restaurant at Cape Point for lunch, it is right next to a lagoon and you will get some great pictures of the crocks and kingfishers. Regarding the bumsters, it was our first time in Gambia and we followed the advice of previous reviewers by politly but firmly refusing offers for merchandise that you do not want.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GatesheadDave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2012

After being a bit apprehensive about travelling to this area I must say It exceeded all expectations.. all reviews about this hotel and the Gambia that I have read was correct 99% are great reviews that is what took us there. 4 of us travelled and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. First of all I would like to say to get all your medical and travelling items sorted before you book as injections need at least 4 weeks or more to get sorted the earlier the better. Please see your medical practitioner or health travel clinic and take maybe some rehydration sachets as it is very hot. In the senengambia strip there is a pharmacy if you need to use it they are very helpful if you have forgotten anything. We never had as much time as expected but was well within the 2-3 weeks needed for the injections. Weather was gorgeous, people lovely, just be aware of the bumsters who home in on the arrivals, say you have visited the Gambia before and check for the best taxi drivers and guides. If you give a firm polite no thank you and mean it they will find someone else but expect to get approached. We had Solomen in a green tourist taxi very pleasant and not pushy. Our guide was Hassan who was one of the beach security men. He looked after us from start to finish very caring and reliable. You will find the right people for yourselves. Sailors restaurant is good for sea food and you will have a guide to take you there, as it is just of the main stretch..you do not have to pay them as Sailors provide a little fee for them as a token for the tourists that visit. The markets are the same all trying and hoping to get trade but barter if interested... again if not interested just make your excuses but they all seem to remember faces The hotel is very clean and the staff are always working to maintain a good atmoshphere we reckon we picked a lovely hotel and lovely staff. Some rooms need updating ours did but our friends in the adjoining room was lovely. We asked for a quiet room but to be honest anywhere would have done as the music stopped at about 11 no noisy early hours of the morning. Entertainment was provided nightly very good music and also other entertainment. The fruit ladies do a lovely dish of mixed fruit and coconut we had one every day if we were on the beach. The senegambia strip is full of restaurants and Scala restaurant is exceptionally good. Food is always reasonable in price. Taxi is about 400 Dalasi there and back but do not pay until you are back home this is the done thing. Dalasi was 47 to the pound and the rate is better outside of the hotel just turn left. There is also entertainment at the hotel during the day and water polo is great fun.. This review is similar to all the others and I read all of them and all holiday makers rate this hotel and the Gambian people. We found the pony riding on the beach fantastic and it so good to see the ponies along the stretch of sand, and even being washed and taken for a swim in the sea .We could go on and on but read all the other reviews and have a great holiday....certainly very different. One more tip if you have an unlocked phone get a local sim card this is much cheaper to keep in contact at home.... also you can call your taxi driver to collect you and they will come and meet you instead of arranging a set time. Only very few shops in Senagambia strip, lots of restaurants.

Room Tip: Any room on a higher level for a good sea view...ground floor are larger with room for sitting outsi...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jetgenie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Redditch, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2012

Spent two weeks at the Kombo beach, was given a room opposite the cocktail bar that has karaoke on twice a week so asked for a room change to a quieter room, this was no problem and was in block 2. Beware that block 4 in the even numbered rooms ou face right onto the tennis court not a good view. Rooms kept very clean but the floors now and again could do with a mopping and not just a sweep. We stayed in a "superior" room which had safe, tea making, air con and fridge included. The room had been reconditioned which is the best i can say and not really a refurbish. The pool is quite small but never a problem but does get quite busy around the pool area with sunbeds etc, again we always found spare beds. The umbrella's can be a problem to find as midday you had to get out of the sun. We spent most of the time on the sunbeds on the beach as there was a breeze. The fruit and other sellers are a real nusiance and will not leave you alone, even worse if you buy something as they come back again and again asking why you do not buy again.. Kombo do have security on the beach but it depends who is on as too how you will be hassled. There was a young security girl on now and again and when she was on you never got bothered. We had a couple of items go missing from the sun beds, when we left them to go for a walk along the beach. When we returned the sunbed mattresses had been removed and we lost suntan lotion, not a problem but then a Kindle. Our own fault for leaving them under the sunbed mattress. Disappointed that the beach guys knew nothing when asked and we had to report the loss of the Kindle to the Hotel management which they took ages over in certifying the loss and were really not intrested. A good number of places to eat in no order Paradise Beach (just along the beach), Captains Table and Boss Lady right outside the front of the Hotel. a 10 minute walk up the road you had DJ's and Allie Barber (Italian the Gambia way). You need to watch the Bumsters especially on the first few days whilst you are turning brown, they will talk to you as if they know you, say they are from the Kombo Hotel and just seen you book in and can you meet their family etc. Went on the river cruise long day not much to see but it did include sparkling wine, brandy with the coffee, and a buffet lunch. if you like Garlic bread probaly the best you will taste (and cottage pie). So in our second week one of the English guests had been looking after a very small puppy that the mother did not want anything to do with and would not let it feed, it was so skinny and on deaths door. One of the pool guys (who i will not name but has a compasion for the dogs) had been squeezing out the larva that the "local" bot flys had injected into the puppy and without him the puppy would have been eaten inside out. In the week that we had the puppy we got over a 100 out of his body by squeezing them out. The puppy had a regular daily bath in the sea (and sometimes in the Hotel bath at night) before crashing out in the hotel room on a nice woolly blanket eating some ham and drinking milk soon had her up an running, which a number of guests commented on the change. Gave me something to do as I had had no books to read.Sadly we had to return and can ony hope that other people are looking after the puppy. I would go back but only for a week now that I know the place, prices in teh tourist areas for foood and drink are around teh same as in England, further out they are cheaper.

Room Tip: Block 1 odd number rooms all face the pool, block 2, 3 and 4 odd numbers you will see more of the se...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank daveWorcestershire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 March 2012

Just returned from another fab week at kombo beach... It's the sixth time we have stayed here and it never fails us. The rooms have been refurbished to a good standard. Staff have all been excellent as always... Lovely places to eat which are close by. If you Want a taxi driver ask for big ya ya he's excellent! Very jealous of anyone going! We will return in November for another adventure!

  • Stayed March 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ollie2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kombo Beach Hotel

Property: Kombo Beach Hotel
Address: PO Box 694, Kotu, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kotu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Kombo Beach Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 258
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the beautiful wide sandy beach of Kotu is Kombo Beach Hotel, a popular and lively hotel with a desirable range of facilities, excellent cuisine, entertainment and true Gambian hospitality. Offering 5 different room types: standard, superior, premium, studio and suites, all with excellent amenities which makes this hotel also the perfect choice for the business traveler. During 2011 and 2012 the standard & premium rooms, studios and suites were refurbished. With a choice of facilities like pool with separate children's pool, gym, internet cafe, mini market, massage & beauty saloon, laundry service, daytime and evening entertainment, clinic, lush tropical gardens, beach front setting and friendly staff this is an ideal hotel for either a relaxing or an active holiday. On site there are 3 restaurants and 4 bars. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Kombo Beach
Kombo Beach Banjul
Kombo Beach Hotel Gambia/Kotu

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