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“KOMBO March'09”
Review of Kombo Beach Hotel

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Kombo Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Dev
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“KOMBO March'09”
Reviewed 1 April 2009

I read the reviews before, went out there and now want to add the opinion of a couple who wanted just some sun, sand, sea and a place to sit and be served food and drink.
The hotel itself, set in beautiful mature gardens had all you needed; a nice pool, lots of sun loungers, bars, shop, reasonable rooms etc.. all kept clean and organised. It reminded me of many places in S.E Asia. It's pointless comparing the standards of the hotel to anything other than mid-range tropical locals in the developing world. Don't therefore compare to hotel standards in Spain, Italy or Florida ! This hotel can only be viewed with respect to other African or Asian resorts, and if you can not do that: do some research and be open minded.

We got heat, sand and pleasent surroundings. I worked outdoors in the cold all winter so if the worst thing I had to endure was how one salad buffet on our first night was the same as the next three then fine- it tasted good. I'm not fussy about food. Had I'd been I would go to Rome or Naples. Yes the food variety lacked.....variety.... but as I say, it tasted ok and they did wonders to invent many dishes out of a few ingredients.

Our room was fine for us in size, the bathroom modern and balcony small but looked out to sea and tropic gardens. The beach was great. You will hear alot about the locals approaching you for charity. The hotel beach itself is private only to the guests but if you can't resist a walk along the beach, or anywhere, then be prepared to be approached. They do invade your privacy but it does not take long for them to get any hint that you wish to be left alone if you ignore them. We tried to put things in perspective. This is a country in dire poverty with a gloomy past.

It's funny because after hearing so much about the locals, the people we could not stand were our fellow English travellers with their nice football shirts, cigerrette smoke, and the butts they think ok to flick into the sand as if outside their local Spar shop. Those ladies that strut along the beach topless dazed with heat forgetting they are in a Muslim country.

Our highlight was a guided tour around the local padi fields and mangroves by Ya Ya Barry the highly recommended bird guide. He showed us the most amazing things including Kingfishers the size of Blackbirds, Bee Eaters and vultures.

Go and enjoy being hot, having a beer. There is a very high chance you will get what you pay for and come back tanned and relaxed. A very good holiday!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dan186
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Northampton
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 March 2009

Just arrived home from stay at this hotel. Overall impression was if you are going there this one is worth staying in. Had a suite for the first time and glad we did. spacious, clean though soft furnishing looking a bit tired. Food was fine and sometimes more than fine though the night we ate in the Brasserie was the one disappointing experience we had. The fillet steak could have been 40 year old elephant for all I know. Ages to try to cut and then impossible to chew to swallow so had to give up on it. The staff were all very friendly, helpful and imformative. Service was good. A nice breeze gets up in the afternoon and keeps you nice and cool. No creepy crawlies around. Found the bumsters a total pain and it began at the airport so stayed within the hotel grounds to avoid them. Saw a review that said there were not enough sun beds but we could sit anywhere even when we didnt sit down until virtually lunch time. Given the drop in the exchange rate it was not an inexpensive place to be. A couple of years ago you could get more than double the current exchange rate. If you go and you have room in your case, take a few of your childrens out grown clothes with you. They will be hugely appreciated, much more than you can imagine. I dont know if we would go back but I wouldnt say I wouldnt! The entertainment was colourful but very very loud, having said that it did not continue after 10.00pm so wasnt a sleep problem.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank SusieNorthampton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Poland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2009

We went to this hotel in February , just for one week. Hotel is very big, there is 4 buildings seperated with greenery strips where you can have relaxiong , quite time in the shadow of palms etc. You can walk to the small park for bird watching as well.
At the pool is usually lots of peple,so you need to book your sunbed early in the morning.Otherwise you might struggle wth free one. Of course hotel is adjacent to the beach and find place over there but if you want to see fruit ladies or other people trying to sell you something - it might not be good idea. there is a guard at the beach so those peple can't approach to sunbed but it was still annoying when they stood ther in front of you (4-5 meters and keep calling you even if you got sunglasses on and prevent that you don't see them- dont help )
The food was good . We were on B&B and this was mistake. Ther was 100 F diffrence between half board and we went for B&B cos we thought we could eat cheaper in Africa - unfortunatelu the food is very expensive at this hotel . For spaghetti , lazagne and two small beers I paid about 600 Dalassis. One Pound was about 34 Dalassis. So we found this quite expensive. Even outside hotel in other retaurant the prises are similar.
There is internet at this hotel so you can use it, also you can exchange money but we find exchange office outside hotel and they offer slightly bigger rate.
In the evening there is entertiment . Diffrent bands come ,so you can listen to them, but sometimes collect tips which could be annoying.
There is gym and lots of sport activity. I played games I have never played before. Also water aerobics if you like .
Overall the hotel is very good and people willing to help you.

overall the hotel is

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ArekPoland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
copenhagen
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2009

I just returned from one week stay in Kombo Beach, first time in Gambia and travelled with Thomas Cook.

The best part about the hotel is the location there are 3 or 4 good restaurants withing 5mins walk and several mini markets. The Sheraton for example appeared to be in the middle of nowhere.

We had a double room in block 4, I suggest if you have young children or like an early night you request this block as it is furthest from the pool area where there is loud entertainment ie drumming until approx 10.15 every night. The room itself was kept very clean with floor swept etc every day, however the soft furnishings had some really nasty stains on them so it didnt feel clean. Room was an OK size with a bath and the added bonus of a fridge. Decor was basic but bright. We had a leak in the bathroom day 1 and this was handled very efficiently being fixed within 1 hour. One real complaint is having to pay to rent a safe, definitely a hidden extra as the hotels insurance wont cover you if you dont put your valuables in it.

Breakfasts had something for everyone pancakes, fruit or full english and having read some of the other reviews on here before we went I was pleasantly surprised. Most days we filled up on breakfast and were then able to skip lunch. This is just as well as we were amazed at the cost of food in Gambia. Perhaps naively I was expecting there to be cheap alternatives from street sellers, but there was nothing like this available, including a couple of beers we were spending approx 800 dalasi a night on a one course meal for two. We ate a couple of times in Boss Lady which is directly opposite the hotel and probably the cheapest nearby restaurant selling traditional Gambian dishes. On Sunday nights most of the local restaurants have BBQs where you need to prebook so be aware you may need to reserve something earlier in the day.

The hotel grounds were immaculately cared for by the friendly team of gardeners. The pool area is probably the worst thing about the hotel. The pool itself is very small, not big enough for a decent swim which doesnt matter as barely anyone seemed to go in it. Instead there were an awful lot of very red people squashed together on sun loungers facing away from the pool in order to maximise the sunburn. Not a sight for the squeamish. By 9.30 most of the sunloungers by the pool are taken but thankfully start to clear again around 3.30. The beach is a much nicer setting with sunloungers always free. There is an invisible line on the beach which the sellers cannot cross and the security guards will quickly send them packing if they try, so if you want some time out it is a great spot.

Gambia itself is a beautiful country and we found the world outside the hotel extremely interesting. The attention of the locals can be a bit offputting as we are so used to our own space in Europe, but it is rarely persistant. Just be aware a maybe seems to be taken as a yes... if you arent interested say 'no thank you' not 'maybe tomorrow'. We had a couple of scams tried on us but they are pretty easy to spot. The only other thing I found disturbing was a couple of the official tourist guides touting for business by telling us how much they hate the Germans and how much they wished Germans werent allowed in Gambia, I can only think sadly this approach wins them custom from some Brits. The trips we enjoyed most were simply walking along the beach to Hotel Senengambia (we wished we had stayed here as it looked lovely) for the vulture feeding then going on a tour of the monkey forest. We also enjoyed a trip to Abuko, haggling in Banjul market (you definitely need a guide here as it a maze) and walking to the crocodile pool through the town. Make sure you walk down to the beach Sunday evening to see probably the biggest football match in the world... you will get what I mean when you are there.

If you go with Thomas Cook DO NOT go for the return transfer to the airport. You can get a green tourist taxi for 600 dalasi each way which works out about the same cost as you pay Thomas Cook. Kombo beach is the furthest in the list of the pick ups so we essentially lost 4 hours of our holiday using this service... benefit of hindsight.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CopenhagenRagdoll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cannock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2009

Really enjoyed time around the pool, always plenty to do. The wedding was lovely but obviously there were cultural differences yet the gardens were absolutely beautiful and made it a very special day. Didn't enjoy the hastle upon leaving the hotel, would recommend finding a special Gambian friend who will basically protect you from this. Meals were varied and well cooked, whether a quick lunchtime snack in the Ghecko bar (would recommend their special fish fingers and chips) to the buffet menu at La Brasserie. Take advantage of happy hour between 6 - 7pm but beware, some of those cocktails are lethal.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gillyval
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2009

Our first time in the Gambia and a fantastic experience. Very poor country so expect a lot of locals to be hassling you for business and/or money, tips etc, for example directions to the local market requires a tip! Be firm but polite and say no.

Hotel room was very basic but nonetheless comfortable and cleaned daily. Do hire a safe for your valuables, costs £14 as temptation is all too easy. The restaurants on site are very pricey but the service is good. The hotel staff are all very friendly and have time to stop and talk or help you. The grounds are kept very tidy and the beach very clean and beautiful although the sea can be rough at times and quite chilly. Take advantage of the long stretch of beach and walk in either direction to scout out the beach restaurants. Great restaurant in Leybato on the beach, very quiet, great food, reasonable prices, just turn right on the beach, walk for about 15 minutes and you'll see it.

Many excursions offered by our rep but try and arrange a local tour guide as saves money and gives you a more personal experience instead of being in a huge group. We used Pa Modou, a fully licensed tourist taxi driver who was very friendly, patient, very knowledgeable and accommodating always. You can ask around the hotel for him at reception or the bar as he used to work in the Kombo or alternatively call him on (220) 7024647 / 9830754. He took us on the 'Roots' trip and a coastal trip down to Kahtung. He was more than willing to stop along the way and wait around for us for as long as was required.

If you think a holiday in the Gambia will be cheap, you would be wrong. To eat, drink and get around can soon mount up and you need to have a decent amount of spending money to see you through. However, for us it was an enjoyable holiday but i wouldn't be in a rush to return as many more countries to see.

Happy travellers

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ScotlandDawn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bristol UK
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2009

Yes this hotel is a little tired, but the beds were comfortable and the rooms were clean. We had superior room which had tea and coffee making facilities and a free safe. Bit of fun making the tea as the kettle lead would not stay in the socket. Though there are sufficient sunloungers found it impossible to get good or well positioned ones and some of them were broken. I do wonder whether some of the Germans were up before it was light! Free towels and mattresses which was good, both on the beach and around the pool. You just have to make sure that you take the towel back each evening or otherwise you do have to pay. When the hotel is full there is a scramble for places to sit at the peak breakfast times. A security guard on the beach keeps the bumsters at bay. Its possible to walk along the beach to Koili where there is more entertainment and the bars are cheaper, drinks in the hotel are a bit dear but then that is hotels for you.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rognbev
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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