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“Good Hotel”
Review of Kombo Beach Hotel

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Kombo Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 April 2014

I can not understand some of the comments about this hotel.Not a single smelly towel or insect bite.The staff were friendly and helpfull,the breakfast good.The hotel far exceeded many 3 star hotels I have stayed in Europe.All in all recomended for people with sensible expectations.

Room Tip: Away from the pool
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Stephen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 April 2014

I stayed here from the 22 to 29 of March 2014. Everything about the hotel is of a good standard and much, much better than I expected. I found it clean and bright with beautifully manicured gardens. The food, both the breakfast and the evening buffet could hardly have been bettered with a massive choice. The bread and cakes are all baked on site and fresh every morning, how cold you better that. I could tell that the restaurant staff really cared about their food and service and I thoroughly enjoyed their efforts. Some of the food in the evening was absolutely superb especially the fish, cooked in front of you al fresco by a very skilled chef. Lots of restaurants in the UK and USA would do well if they were as good as this.
In every area of service the staff were 1st class and could not have done better. Most waiting staff, reception and bar staff knew me by name within a day or so and greeted me as a long lost friend whenever they saw me.
The hotel was like a secure haven in a sea of madness because outside of the hotel is a crazy world waiting. I felt like a new born fawn amongst a pack of hunting dogs! I didn't feel safe in spite of being told repeatedly that I was. The people smile at you constantly but there seemed a hint of menace in their constant hassle and hustle. I am a well traveled man having visited every continent in the last year or so but I wasn't prepared for the cultural shock. Almost everyone you meet will try to sell you something, a taxi, a tour, a bird guide, a bag of nuts and even sex and they never ever, ever stop. If you say no and walk on (as advised by the hotel rep), then you are abused as you walk away. If you take the other tack and greet them back with warm smiles then you give them hope and you are pestered even worse.
It is a very dusty, dirty and unkempt country with litter piled on litter almost everywhere you look. Even the well known wildlife areas are badly littered which I found a massive disappointment. Compared to Sri Lanka for example, and I was there in January, Gambia lags way behind. I constantly read comments like, "This is Africa, what do you expect", or "If you don't like the hassle don't come" and to a degree, I agree but its such a shame that they have made such a mess of what could be a paradise.
The President is aware of this problem however and on the last Saturday of every month, for 4 hours there is "Operation Clean up The Nation" As I said at the time it will take a lot more than 4 hours a month to clean this place up.

To summarise.
Was the hotel good? Yes very good.
Did I feel safe? Only in the hotel.
Would I go again? Probably because the bird watching is second to none but I would be more prepared to face the hassle next time.

Room Tip: Blocks 2.3..4 etc are quiet and away from the public areas.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled solo
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1  Thank 941Chas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014

After reading very mixed reviews about The Gambia and hotels along the coast we decided on Kombo based on price and location and it did not disappoint, it surpassed our expectations.

The hotel was very welcoming on arrival and very easy going. It was clean throughout, tidy, organised, very well staffed and felt very safe. We had a superior room which we expected to be basic and a little run down, keeping in mind we were in West Africa and not an commercial location like Egypt. Our room was on the second floor and was large, spacious and clean. It was a little dated but had everything we needed and all in working order. It was cleaned well every day, the king sized bed was very comfortable and tea and coffee facilities supplied daily.

Breakfast was very good, varied, clean and plentiful.The beach was stunning and protected well by the security from the people trying to sell things to you on the beach. Embrace the fruit ladies who are allowed to approach you past the informal tree barrier to sell you fruit. We held off but to our dismay as once we gave in we regretted not doing it sooner as you get a lot for your money and is a well earned refreshment in the sun. Once you have a card from one of them this deterred the others so that is all you have to say.

The food in the evening could be pricey varying from £4.50 to £16. The buffet was 600 Dalasi which is worth doing but not every night. Captains table just down the road is a must; it is not that cheap but the atmosphere and food quality is worth it,.

We did a day trip with Arch tours which is a MUST! It was the best £40 I have ever spent.

I would recommend changing your money at home and not taking a MasterCard with you and Visa is better if you are going to use the ATM in Senegambia which is about a 45/60 mins leisurely walk along the beach to get to.

This is not a 5* luxury hotel but it is comfortable, very good value for money, safe, clean and I would go back again as I felt very relaxed (not wanting to leave!). Just remember you are in Africa and not every where is the 'Ritz'. We felt we got an amazing deal on this holiday and would happily go back to this hotel and destination. I have marked this hotel as a 5 as we could not criticise it as to be honest my expectations were low but were surpassed by the staff, atmosphere and price.

Room Tip: I did not see what a standard room looked like but our superior room was spacious with a lovely view...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Naomi44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

Fantastic holiday. Rooms basic. Staff were attentive and friendly. Hotel was on the beach. People trying to sell things on beach, just tell them you're not interested and they will wish you a nice day and be on their way. but hotel have security staff to stop you being bothered.

Room Tip: Upgraded once we arrived from basic room to a suite but shouldn't have done. We spent so little...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Jackie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

Just returned from two weeks Kombo Beach.We enjoyed the hotel,All the staff was very friendly and helpful from porters to gardeners to reception everybody spoke and nothing was to much bother for them.The location on the beach was fantastic.We had a basic room but was fine with comfortable beds.Breakfast was excellent every day,the evening buffet was good with plenty of choice although a little expensive at 600 dalasi per person,several restaurants near to Hotel and only a short taxi trip to the strip. Cant wait to go back...

Room Tip: All rooms have sea views.Block one is near pool and evening entertainment if you like it quiet try b...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank dave l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2014

I stayed in Kombo Beach for a week in February with my family. I can honestly recommend this hotel to anyone staying in The Gambia, whether for a family vacation or a romantic getaway. As a rule, the people in this country are generally astoundingly friendly and I felt right at home everywhere I went; the hotel was just the cherry on top of a great experience.

The staff is very friendly and welcoming, always asking how you are doing; almost everyone remembered me and my name after the first time we spoke. The people working at the beach and by the pool will provide you with a sunbed and a mattress immediately, all you have to do is ask instead of getting annoyed that there are none available. The reception staff can be a little slow at times but there were no major problems.

Everything in The Gambia happens at a much slower pace than most people from big cities will be used to and I sincerely recommend you get used to this instead of complaining incessantly. It will not speed anything up, as the local people are simply used to this way of living. It's perfectly normal to wait sometimes even an hour for food in any given restaurant, including the expensive ones. If you are especially impatient, you should try out the hotel buffet - the food is delicious. When it comes to food, eat shrimp and prawns whenever you can, they taste amazing anywhere you go. The traditional local dish is beef in spicy peanut butter sauce, which is also very good and worth trying.

The rooms are certainly nothing special but they are clean and taken care of. The AC works no-problem, which is essential with the temperatures as high as 37 celsius. As always, a tip left for the cleaning staff will do wonders for the quality of their work. Also, it's a very good idea to meet the person who cleans your room and make friends - they will strike up a conversation themselves if you bump into them. After I talked for a bit with the lady who took care of my room, she never failed to leave flowers on my bed, usually in some sort of elaborate display.

If you don't feel like paying for the wifi voucher, I highly recommend Liv's, the poolside bar. It is not part of the hotel and don't try to use the Liv's wifi while sitting at a table that doesn't belong to them. The owner monitors who joins the network and he will cut you off if you use it but are not a client. The drinks are much better at Liv's anyway, so who cares? (Try the White Russians, they're delicious and served in much bigger glasses than normal)

In general, I loved the hotel and the country. While you're there, explore as much as possible and try to talk to the locals as much as you can. They're extremely welcoming and someone will probably invite you over to their house for dinner. While this is creepy for many people at first, say yes! It's a wonderful experience and will let you see the way these people really live.

Careful, the ocean isn't as warm as you'd think and the waves can be very rough; they will often knock you down and you can really hurt your hands and knees!

Room Tip: Try to get a room on the top floor for a better view. Also, ask for rooms in the block closest to th...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank AleKuro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2014

For most people, a trip to The Gambia is their first outside of Europe and definitely their first to a third world country in Africa. People we talked to and from the reviews on here, seem to try and compare standards to those you would experience going on a package holiday to Spain, but you should be aware of the background to where you are travelling. Poverty is everywhere outside, most of the hotel workers live in compounds trying to support a family on one meagre wage and therefore just about survive on the breadline. The much revered ‘bumsters’ and beach vendors are an annoyance to many, but in reality they are just trying to make a living the only way they can.

We've been to Kombo Beach twice now and always enjoy getting away from the typical tourist scene. The people are very welcoming and friendly. But, just as you wouldn't wander around London with an expensive camera round your neck at night, don't go wandering around outside the hotel displaying obvious valuables or being inappropriately dressed; at least without having your guard up. That said, we never felt threatened or hassled in any way. Once you know your way around, we have always found good humour in chatting with the locals.

When you arrive at Banjul airport, people will try and grab your bags from the luggage belt to take them to your coach for you. A firm and polite ‘no thanks’ will get them to leave you alone quite amicably but if you let them take you bags, be aware that there will be an outstretched hand at the end. This is how they make a living – if you don’t like the fact that this isn't the same as it is in Europe, don’t come!

Prices within the hotel for food and drink are massively inflated. I suspect there is no correlation with the level of cost and money going into the local communities. The Gambia Experience do support many local charities such as the school but you’ll find far more reasonable (and much better quality), food and drink in the bars and restaurants just outside the hotel.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank rtwexplorer2010
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: £66 - £133 (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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