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“Bumsters in Dumpville”
Review of Badala Park

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Badala Park
Ranked #6 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Reviewed 30 December 2013

By the second day at Badala Park, we were on our third room which we would still say was not up to standard as the workmanship and décor finishing were poor and we dread to think how bad it was before the 'recent improvements.' By that time we knew about 1/2 the staff who introduced themselves as being very useful for arranging trips out for guests using their 'brothers nice car!'
The 'tradesmen' and gardeners were all at it, do they not get paid a salary and get told that some guests want a little peace and quiet? We just decided to spend all day out of the hotel and had a long walk south down the beach and found the Monkey Park ourselves and by the 4th day we found the rep and told her that we were leaving and asked her to find us somewhere else and she replied a few days later that our 3 waiting days at Badala and the costs at a 3star hotel for our second week were a lot more than we could have paid for the full 2 weeks at Kombo Beach. No way!
After 7 days, spent mainly at the lovely Palm Beach area by the sea on loungers and eating and staying away rom the hotel in the evenings the Bumsters, (sorry Maintenance staff) knew we were not into being their best friends, which I suppose some couples do like and they moved on to new prey. You expect to get pestered outside the hotel which you do all the time but that is by unemployed youngsters but when it happens all day by the pool, when you are walking to get the breakfasts, which were absolutely chaotic! or when you are siting to have a cold beer, its too much. I should point out that the security staff, cooks and waiters/waitresses are exempt from this but some of those are unpaid trainees. There was a Xmas Eve Gala Meal free so we decided to continue with our beach holiday and have the meal because at least it was free, bad decision as it was awful, cold and an uninspired menu and we ate very little but it was too late to go anywhere else so we stayed and watched at midnight as a drunken 'member of staff' nearly drowned in the pool. It was absolutely awful to watch him being revived mainly by the guests!
So we saw out the remainder of our few days on the beach and going out to eat and drink most evenings! Do not get me wrong we did meet some nice people on the staff and will keep in contact with a few but the management chain at the hotel is wrongly set up and staff bumsters should be sorted out speedily to stop the hotel getting a bad name, it has a terrible reputation in the local area. Gambia lovely (and cheap) Hotel build quality and décor-awful, Staff 50% great, 50% a nightmare! Would we go back, yes but to a better hotel!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank oldham33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jarga10, General Manager at Badala Park, responded to this reviewResponded 2 January 2014

Dear Guest,
I am sorry you did not enjoy your stay with us i wished i knew about this when you were here.
Firstly the guy who almost drown was a guest who paid for his meal and not a member of staff. We sometimes have black guests too. I was there giving him first aid myself maybe you did not see me. The reason i let the tourist treat him is because those guests are doctors! always makes sense to let them handle those situation. When we have a medical emergency its always common sense to let doctors handle it even if they are guests and they were happy to help the poor lad. with regards to staff asking for money, heads will have to roll. Because my staff are all paid and in fact they all got a pay rise last month. What they did to you was utterly unacceptable. I take your criticisms very seriously and will address the matters you raised immediately. Thank you for the review and wish you a wonderful 2014!
Regards,
Jarga Mboge
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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133 - 139 of 361 reviews

Reviewed 28 December 2013

I spent two weeks in december 2013 in Badala Park Hotel together with my wife. According to classification, it's 2½ star .... my opinion is that this hotel should be rated higher! If you pay for 2-3 stars, you shall not expect 5 star service, of course. Our room was quite big, very clean, and the bathroom was also in good shape. The staff was very friendly and nice; you got the feeling that they really care. We used he massage and pedicure place at the pool area, we were also satisfied with the quality and price of that service. The hotel has a number of blocks, with a lot of palms and other green stuff around - it looks really nice. The hotel is a calm place where you get a good sleep, and if you some day feel for heavy night life, the Senegambia area isn't far away. The security of the hotel area is good - it was quite difficult to get some local Gambian friends in there to share a beer -:)

Badala Park includes breakfast in the the room price, unlike many other hotels. It's quite simple - juice, coffee, bread, some cheese or sausage, eggs and omelettes, porridge and some fruits. For us that was completely enough for getting then engine running in the morning.

The management of the place (the father owns the place and his son came in as manager this year) is most of the time available around the pool area making contacts with their guests - very friendly and nice people both of them! BTW, the owner speaks fluently Swedish, he has got his hotel management education in Sweden and the US!

The evening programmes around the pool (BBQ, African evening, etc) is a good value.

We liked Gambia very much, and we will probably soon go back there. I will try to get my room at Badala Park next time also. I liked the room, service and atmosphere there.

Mikael
Helsinki, Finland

Room Tip: Not all rooms are similar, some people like more to be close to the reception while other likes to b...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Mikael S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2013

Spent 10 days here in November 2013 and cannot wait to go back. Room was basic and bathroom a bit tatty but everything worked. Had a few trips to see the river and the monkey park but mostly just sat around the pool and relaxed. Staff were great, pool was clean and food was good. We were only bed and breakfast so had to pay for other meals and drink but not overly expensive. I would have preferred all-inclusive but I am not sure what quality it would be if they did that. Great value for money.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank michael p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2013

This was our second visit to Badala and I have to say it was a big improvement on our last visit when chaos ensued and you could not tell the staff from the bumsters.

The new manager - Jaga, the son of the owner is making great strides in getting this 2 star hotel up to standard. a former British Marine commando he has set himself quite a challenge, however, unlike most hotel managers in the Gambia, he is liked and respected by his staff so that is a good start. He is working incredibly hard to make this hotel a three or even four star property.

Our room in the B block was one of the best according to the front desk, it was gloomy but spacious, the best part was the view of the 'jungle' which attracts a variety of beautiful birdlife. Our friends were not so lucky, they were allocated a room in the ;bumster block' where doors had been kicked in so often in the past that they were unlockable, and had bars on the windows. Apparently those rooms were usually given to elderly clientelle who had 'visitors' or had booked in a local lady or man of the night.

Staff could not have been more helpful, many are on work experience, and work for no pay, so please do remember to tip generously. These young people pay 7,000 Dalasi for the privelege of attending a hotel training course and there is no guarantee of a job at the end of their training or work experience stint.

We did think that there were too many staff, they were literally tripping each other up at breakfast, but all were helpful and could not do enough to please, all apart from one little man - the food and beverage manager who would target single female guests and enquire if they were married or with a partner, he was single and available apparently. He homed in on one very attractive female with his usual chat up line. She informed him she was happily married to a Gambian man.

One day her husband joined her at breakfast and this food and beverage manger made a bee line for him quizzing him on whether he had paid for breakfast. It was highly embarrasing for the woman who had in fact paid for her husband to stay overnight as he lived far from Kotu. Not content with embarrasing the couple this little jobs worth went straight to the front desk to quiz the manager on whether the guest had been paid for.

He tried the same with us, we had invited a guest one morning to meet a business man who had been appointed to make renovations to Badala. He invited the man who had experience of installing solar panels to meet him at breakfast. Once again the job's worth made a bee oine for the man asking him if he had paid for the powdered water which passes for 'juice'. The British man who had invited him to the meeting assured Ousman that he would be taking care of it as he was a guest of the hotel.

A hotel which is on the way up really does not need such an annoying little man to be in charge of food and beverage since he clearly takes delight in humiliating the hotel guests. Management please take not. Staff informed me that he humiliates them as well.

We were delighted to hear about the introduction of 'happy hour' from 6pm to 8pm when you can have two for the price of one beers. The pool is large but needs cleaning, all too often we almost swallowed an enormous floating cockroach when swimming. Not sure if the filter system works.

Badala Park is adjacent to a great beach, but this is marred by the many bumsters, husters, who will hound you as you run the gauntlet from the front and back entrances. We were followed relentlessly on our first week, grubby hands would be thrust out, 'shake' they would say' 'How are you? how far you goin'? It was non stop. Some wanted to hug' us and became abusive when he refused to go near them.

After a week of this relentless onslaught and running the gauntlet on a daily basis we had a word with the tourist police who were very helpful and observed the hassle for a day. On Wednesday night they closed in and rounded this bunch of irritating hustlers up and packed then off to Senegambia police station where they were arrested and given a couple of days community work. Peace reigned for the second week.

We were stunned to hear that the manager of the Palm Beach hotel had actually called the chief of police to complain at these arrests. Rav or Raj who seems to do little all day other than sleep, took it upon himself to take offence that these hustlers were barred from loitering outside of his hotel. why? They bring him business apparently.

He receives £6 a day apparently for each guest from Thomas Cook , whereas a bumster brings in some rough trade, a working lady or man, for the night, the guest pays in the region of £20, so the hustlers make business sense to him, they bring him trade. But has he thought of the consequences of what is in effect running a brothel? Living off the proceeds of immoral earnings?. And is he paying tax on this under the counter revenue?.

Before the round up and arrests of the bumsters the traffic loitering outside of Palm Beach was chaotic, following the arrests it was peaceful. you did not have to run the gauntlet of loud remarks, questions, being followed etc. Peace reigned. but Rav was not a happy man. The chief of Police no doubt ignored his complaints. After all why would they want a group of agressive jobless losers to hold their tourism and their country's economy to ransom by continually driving tourists away not to return as a result of their abuse?

A word of warning, if you book a stay at Badala, Palm Beach, Mansea Beach or Palma Rima you will be subjected to relentless hassle from bumsters and the hotel management allow this and are profiting from this hassle as they see these losers as being pivotal to bringing them business even if it's a very seedy business.

None of the nearby hotels such as Sunset Beach or Kombo allow these losers to gather around and hassle their guests. Why is it always the 2 star hotels such as Badala and Palm Beach and Mansea who actively encourage the rough trade these hustlers bring to them. Surely it is time to clean up Gambia tourism and to stamp out the stain of prostitution that hangs over this country?

when I travel to the Gambia with my family I certainly do not want them to be having to be having to sit next to elderly men from Finland at breakfast with working girls young enough to be their grandaughters and talking in grubby suggestive ways to those girls.

Surely this should be stopped if you want to run a decent hotel. I can honestly say that almost half of the guests during our stay were those who had booked in working ladies and men which is why I would not return to Badala despite it's many otherwise nice qualities such as the wonderful staff and proximity to beautiful birdlife. If they stamped out the prostiution and the bumsters this could be a decent hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank devong504
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 December 2013

When we checked in at the hotel after we just arrivedI thought it was a bit messy, there were so many people at the checkin but afterwards when I had a cocktail by the swimmingpool I felt more relaxed. And during the week stay I got to know a lot of people from our travelcompany and from the hotel and I found them really helpful and friendly. There were all kinds of activities by the entertainment crew, and we had a barbeque and an African dinner including African music on stage. The breakfast was sufficient, there was plenty of coffee and juice, bread and cheese, and pancakes, also omelettes you could order.. After reading a lot of negative reviews about this hotel I got really worried, but I had no problems whatsoever, only the room flooded a few times from the shower, and when I left the door of the safe open too long, it would not close anymore, so someone came to reset it for me, the personnel was really prompt in dealing with any problems you might have. The other tourists were mostly Dutch, and a few were English as well. Overall I had a great time at the Badala Park Hotel and I would like to return there one day!

Room Tip: I stayed in the D-block, that was next to the swimmingpool, but on the backside so no problems with...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank DublinHennie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 December 2013

Lost count of how many times we've stayed here. We run a small welfare charity in The Gambia and the money we save by staying here goes into the community. So, it's cheap. It's also wonderful value; clean, spacious accommodation, friendly and helpful staff, satisfactory breakfasts: a safe place to be.
It's not a luxury hotel; it's basic. If you want room service and hot and cold running flunkies go somewhere else. Read my lips: clean, cheap, friendly. Sometimes things need fixing: the loo in our room ran loudly all night - they fixed it next morning. The door to the bathroom had several screws missing from the hinges - also fixed.
Nothing went missing from our room. Nobody hassled us. The cooling fan ran 24/7. We sprayed the room with anti-mozzie stuff ('Bop' from the hotel shop kills mozzies) every evening before dinner.
We're not beach people but there is one about 10 minutes walk away.
We'll be back!
P.S. The new manager is great.
P.P.S. Some of the entertainment was excellent - especially the stilt dancers (one on only 1 stilt!)

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank timidimp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2013

have been back to Badala Park for 3 weeks again November 5 to 26 th . nice to see the hotel has change and seeing the staff where still the new bar staff and they are all willing to help you Everyone is so friendly and helpful, you will want to stay even longer. Breakfast is buffet style and there is food available poolside or Chinese. The rooms and pool, are kept clean and towels are changed daily.Going back in February for a friends wedding nice to see old friends and staff . This hotel has had some bad reviews in the past but the new manager (JARGA LAI MBOGE) and staff are there to listen and improve right away. The chef (ALIEU) is one nice guy he and his staff will help you start the day with a good breakfast and first class food all day .. See you all again in feb..many thanks for making this one enjoyable stay in The Gambia

Room Tip: B / BLOCK is a good block near to reception and breakfast area we where in B16
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank demba12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Badala Park

Address: Kotu Stream, Kotu, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kotu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Price Range: £24 - £56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Badala Park 2*
Number of rooms: 202
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With over 10 years of ownership and 30 years of management experience, the recently refurbished Badala Park Hotel is renowned throughout the Gambia, as well as Africa, Europe, USA and by travelers worldwide.Less than thirty minutes transfer time from the Gambian Yundum International Airport and you will always be greeted in our large cool reception and lounge area after your travels, on arrival at the friendly Badala Park Hotel with the friendliest staff in the Gambia. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Badala Park Kotu
Badala Park Hotel Kotu
Badala Park Gambia/Kotu

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