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“Fabulous Time spent at The Kombo Beach Hotel”
Review of Kombo Beach Hotel

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Kombo Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 May 2013

We were very lucky to spend two weeks in 2012 and a further two weeks this year at the Kombo Beach Hotel. While services and facilities are basic, the atmosphere, staff and people make your stay completely unforgettable.
When we went back for a second stay, we found ourselves back as if a whole year had stood still. We saw the same staff, same people and the place had not changes on little bit. It is as amazing as it had been the previous year.
We went straight back to Sailor's a fabulous restaurant, only for the staff to recognise us from the previous year. It was Friday night when great Salsa music starts at around 9.
There are great restaurants all over the area where the hotel is located. A new restaurant called Destiny has just opened, and is unmissable for both food quality and sheer personal and friendly staff.
We had the pleasure of going to the Independence Day Celebrations in Banjul. The sheer colour and activity level is breathtaking.
The Gambia is a great place to visit. Don't expect perfectly manicured gardens and smooth roads, but enjoy the natural feel of a country that believes in 'Nature'.
A short taxi ride away is Sena Gambia where you can eat GREAT food at around £10/£15 per head. Scala comes to mind along with food from almost any country you fancy that day.
The Kombo beach is a clean and tidy hotel with good facilities and great entertainment. There is something going on all the time, yet it is discreet and totally suitable for families with young children. The beach is sandy and reasonably clean.
This holiday is a totally memorable holiday.

Room Tip: The hotel has four blocks. Block 2 or 3 would be the best
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Loved_your_food
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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438 - 444 of 1,016 reviews

Reviewed 14 May 2013

The towels were smelly, but the hotel ok for the money. Since it was the end of the season, the bumsters were too many and too annoying and the guards could not care less... don't think I'll be rushing back there.

But we had a very nice local guide, DJ Ratty, I definitely reccommend him... easy going, knowlegeable and fun to be with. It was worth every penny and he offered one of the best times in Gambia.

Overall, Gambia was a good experience, but don't think I'll be going back very soon.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank LondonCatalina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2013

Nice pool area and gardens, staff are helpful and friendly apart from the head of entertainment Happy Haddy: she was only interested in mixing with the people who had been going there for years. Some guests were on their 29th visit and most had been to either the hotel or the Gambia before. Happy Haddy also failed to really ever come out of the beach towel booth! I found her neither happy or helpful when I tried to speak to her to see what the hotel had to offer re entertainment. The pool guys were great as were the staff in the lunch time snack bar Geckos. The food in the hotel was average. The rooms need updating but however were clean. The restaurant needs updating also. Found a lovely little haven to see lots of birds at the hotel tucked away behind the gardeners shed. The head gardener feeds the birds every morning and it was a joy to see so many pretty little birds come down to feed in a wooded clearing. The current on the beach makes it both dangerous and difficult to swim ( a person did drown the week we were there and we were told this was not the first time that season), so although the beach is attractive not good for swimming. The night club at the hotel kept us awake until after 2am on 3 nights (apparently it is not supposed to be playing loud music after 12am but this seems to be ignored), we did notify reception and they offered us another room. It was a great pity as we liked our allocated room as it was on the ground floor by the pool, so great for days spent by the pool, but alas loud at night as near the Liv night club.

Taxi drivers outside the hotel were very helpful re driving you places and pointing out things of interest and also not expensive. We ate out every evening and and tried many places during our two week stay but we enjoyed most the meals at Destinys on the beach, which was a beautiful building and setting and we also liked the food and atmoshpere at The Captains Table. Would I go again? It was OK. We have been to other African countries on holiday but The Gambia was not my favourite. Not as pretty or exciting as others. But hey popular with most people we spoke to.

Room Tip: not in the first block whilst conveient for the pool too noisey at night
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Suzymalento
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2013

Apologies in advance - this is a long one!!!

To give you an idea of who we are, we are not the package holiday or 'all inclusive' types so chose this hotel mainly for location and facilities, with breakfast only included.

Room: we had a superior room. It was fine, not overly flash in any way but comfortable enough. It was relatively clean just a bit tired - could do with a fresh lick of paint, some grouting/updating in the bathroom, that kind of thing. Nice view from the fairly large balcony. We did have the lights break several times during our stay and it took a visit to reception and a phone call to get someone to fix them. The tap in the bathroom dripped throughout stay, this didn’t bother us except that the hotel claimed to be eco-friendly so we did notify a staff member but it was never fixed during our week’s stay. Walls are thin, any noise in the hallway (people walking!) or in rooms above is heard very clearly! We did notify the hotel the trip was for a wedding anniversary and we found it amusing that they went to the trouble of giving us a small gift in the room but gave us two single beds. (Best rate we found when booking was hotelopia website - seemed much cheaper than other sites!)

Beach: the beach was actually better than expected, nice, large stretch of white sand in front of Kombo - especially compared to the beach down by Senegambia strip which has big erosion problems. Beach was always clean and security guards from hotel were always in attendance, though we didn't have much hassle on the beach.

Facilities: the pool area was quite lovely and there was a 'fake beach' area too - nice for lying in the sun for a change from beach

Bars: the best was the sports bar one set beside the pool which, on our first visit, stressed that it was different ownership from the resort (weird they felt need to tell us?!) Served a big list of cocktails and had a couple of good 2-for-1 happy hours plus free Wifi, the other bars in resort had very limited/no cocktail lists and Wifi was payable everywhere else in the resort.

Restaurants: Breakfast was fairly good, best was the waffles, eggs and pancakes stations-made to order. Gecko's was good for some good priced meals and very friendly staff, we ate there twice... though disappointingly their 'specials' board didn't change once during the week we were there and there was only one gambian dish on the whole menu - on the specials board. (We like to try local dishes when travelling). We didn't eat at the buffet - it was the perfect example of a restaurant catering to tourists that only want comfort foods from home even when on holiday. They advertised a nightly themed buffet. On one of our first days there we walked past and saw everything looked British - roast meats, chips, yorkshire puddings!! - we asked reception if any night would be "Gambian food - all local dishes". They said that that night was! So we thought, fantastic, a great opportunity to try lots of local dishes.... turned up at dinner time and said 'is this gambian night?' the waiter enthusiastically nodded and took us on a 'tour' down the buffet table removing all the lids to show us what was on offer...... um?!?! it was vegies, chips, paella, salads, minute steaks, and a chicken dish. We asked where all the local dishes were and he pointed at the one chicken dish.... very disappointed, we declined to stay and left! I guess this depends on your tastes but this was not what we wanted on holiday to a different country.

Restaurant recommendations outside the restaurant: The Captain's Table just down the road from Kombo was a much better restaurant choice than any at the resort. It had a great atmosphere, with portions of the restaurant open to the night sky, wooden furnishings, thatched roofs, all very stylish but definitely feeling more 'African'. The food was great - lots of seafood and different local dishes and 'modern twists on local dishes' available. We ate there several times. We'd also recommend Calypso restaurant at Cape Point - the setting was really lovely! There were quite a few restaurants in the Senegambia strip serving local dishes like Domoda, Yassa,etc - yum!

Staff: Were a mixed bag, some really friendly (there was an older guy in Gecko's restaurant who was very cute) and a tall guy on the pancakes bar at breakfast who was very friendly. Some weren't too friendly at all, or quite slow, or had to be asked multiple times for things – though this is very typical of African customer service ;-). We found it interesting that many of the staff would try and sell things on the side - we had gardeners tell us they also owned taxis and ran tours, security officers offered to take us on tours or take us to their family's house for a fee, gardeners try and sell us coconuts from the resort ground palm trees, waiters try and sell us books 'they'd written' and so forth. Not sure if the resort is aware and don't mind this or don't know. The taxi captains were a mixed bag and sometimes quite abusive, see below.

Taxis: Yellow taxis are the way to go in The Gambia. We don't know what the technical differences are between Green and Yellow taxis except that the Green taxis are supposed to be the official tourist taxis with fixed fares. This doesn't seem to mean anything other than that they charge a lot more than what the yellow taxis do. The driver's lounge around in groups by their taxis outside resorts (as yellow taxis cannot pick up from resorts) and yell at you and hassle you when you walk past. The taxi controllers outside the resort try and tell you to take a taxi and then direct you to one 'for a fee' even though you are perfectly able to walk to any one of the dozens of taxis lined up outside the resort by yourself. A couple of times we walked past the Kombo Beach resort taxi controller because we were either just going for a walk (or walking out to the main road to take a yellow taxi not that they'd know that!) and one of the controller's in particular would be quite abusive yelling after us 'take a taxi!!!' or sometimes 'you are rich, we are poor here, you come to our country, you give us money!!' Lovely! Is he employed by resort? Taxi quality (both green and yellow equally) is a completely mixed bag, one is not better than the other. Once we established how much cheaper the yellow taxis were, we'd just wander the 5min walk to the main road and hail a cab there. You negotiate fares but you will pay a LOT less! Eg from main road near Kombo a yellow taxi took us to Cape Point for 50D (approx £1) (green taxis wanted 200D-approx £4). Brikama return including waiting time while we shopped cost us 400D in a yellow taxi (green taxis wanted 1000D). Same again – much cheaper to Kartong. We never had a yellow taxi driver hassle or yell at us – and they were always driving around looking for fares (actually working!)

Tours: We always book locally and try to avoid companies where a lot of the profit leaves the country (in this case like Access / Gambia Experience). We booked two tours with Arch Tours (just off the Senegambia strip) and they were awesome!!! When we visited the office to book, there was no hassle, the tours were great, much better priced than any other company we looked at, lovely tour guides, small groups, good tour itineraries, and unlimited soft drinks and beer for free throughout the tours - most charge additional for any drinks. We'd highly recommend them and if we were to return to the Gambia, would definitely only use that company for tours.

Ok, so sorry this is long but hope it helps someone! Overall it was a mixed bag, resort WAS nice -particularly beach and facilities-but rooms are a bit tired and the staff can be a bit frustrating and we'd prefer local dishes in the restaurants. I would stay here again though, as I think it was a good location away from Senegambia and we got a good price through Hotelopia - it wasn't 4 star as you are normally used to in more western countries - but then This Is Africa!!!! ;-)

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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21  Thank Bunny81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2013

A great hotel with lots of character – I can see why people come back year on year. The hotel is right on the beach front and has ample sun-loungers near the pool and on the beach. All the staff are very friendly and always smiling. The rooms are simple but all the 'good stuff' is outside in any case. There are a few restaurants onsite also a number of really tasty ones in the neighbourhood - the price drops markedly outside the hotel. The Monkey and crocodile parks are well worth a visit - hire a local guide (tourism makes the Gambian world go round).

One thing to keep an eye on though is the bill - we just happened to add the bill up ourselves and found that they were around 15% over! Of note there is a surcharge of ~3-4% to use credit cards and if you want cash there are few options near the hotel. Cash is king - bring £ or $ and change it at local vendors in country.

Room Tip: Most of the rooms are simular. Worth ensuring you have aircon though.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank F14-Roberts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2013

Did what it said on the tin ! Family of four with 2 teenager school girls. We weren't expecting the Ritz and it isn't but it is clean and friendly, good staff, good area, lovely beach, ideal for long walks. We liked the fruit sellers and beach bars, great way to learn about the place. A lady by herself can be like a rabbit in the headlights with all the attention outside the hotel at night but once you get used to the polite but firm no thank you, I'm OK. It gets easier to handle . I loved the tandoori eatery close to the hotel, one of the best, but could have happily killed the local band who turned up just outside and only managed to sing the words Bon Appetite ! For an hour (we still laugh). For the children the second week when they found a friend and their feet was easier, and sports like tennis prove good value for lesson. I played golf a few times, expensive at around £30 with tips but an experience playing on sands ! Just ask at the entertainments by the pool. Tip if you fancy this pack a few balls, glove and tees. We hardly ever go back t the same place, but I can honestly say this place chilled us so much we're going back with two other families over Xmas. Mozzies, not so much in the hotel but carful to cover up if going to a beach bar at night.

Room Tip: If you like a Spar treatment, the coco beach does specials, and you feel special. Can also recommend...
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Tinmis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2013

We have been to alot of Hotels in The Gambia but find that everyone here are so nice and helpful, also it is central and easy to get to most places.
We stayed in a standard room this time but we have also stayed in a superior room as well, standard rooms do need some work doing on them but if you ask they will do any maintenance straight away. The staff are Great and do anything for you, they are very helpful, food is good and some cooked while you wait.There are loads of locals that will take you on Trips and ask you to go to there compounds, do go as it is an Experience and safe as we have been going for years.There are plenty of Taxi's that will take you to resturants, we use a guy called Buba Sonka who has a 4x4 and will take you any where and wait for you. the beach is lovely but does have security guards on it to stop sellers coming in to far, but we find that if you just say no to them they do go away.

Room Tip: You can request ground floor if needed, but superior rooms are not on ground floor only premier room...
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank 10suzanne
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

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: £46 - £125 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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