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“Happy times but beware.”
Review of Badala Park

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Badala Park
Ranked #6 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
manchester
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Happy times but beware.”
Reviewed 11 February 2010

As with others we read these reviews before we left so we had an idea of what we had got ourselves into.... although we really had a great time overall there were a few downs but mostly ups.

The hotel is a little ragged around the seems but improvements are being made, whilst we were there our room received new bins and toilet brushes and nice little handsoaps(admittedly small things but improvements nonetheless). Also the entertainment area gained a new TV projector although despite much fiddling with only seemed to show a bollywood movie and football !!

Our room was in C block on the top floor and was cleaned by Lamin who is a very honest and hard working boy who always had a friendly smile and hello. The room itself was upto our needs, beds, shower, fan, safe and was clean. The balcony looked out over a portion of 'the jungle' and I even saw a red colubus monkey in the trees on the first day along with a spectacular array of birds. Alas the balcony also had a view of the 'Happy corner' which sometimes offered views which would offend more genteel personage !!??

The hotel staff were numerous and sometimes it was hard to discern the staff from others who seemed to loiter around the grounds, and some of the attention from some verged on the intrusive. We particularly liked the following people around the hotel who we discoverd were trustworthy and attentive...... Lamin the C-block cleaner, Mohammed the big smiling waiter, Cheeky Jay the waitress with a great sense of humour(ask her for a cappucino !), Mariamma the waitress who served us most regularly and who we liked alot, Awa on reception who is a cute as a button, BB our bag man and fix it boy and most importantly Abdullah the cigarette seller right next to the front gate who is a great guy and always gives you a straight answer to any question, buy your cigarettes from him, he gives a good price and has a lovely family which would benefit from your business.

The food in the hotel is passable, the chinese restaraunt is probably the best of the three but we ate outside the hotel more often as the choice of restaraunts locally and in Senegambia is really good....highlights include African Queen and Paradiso on the strip, Kunta Kinteh, Tam Tams and Barracuda in Kotu.

The hotels evening entertainment is OK but a little erratic and often similar in its style, although one night there was a 'pub quiz' which was highly entertaining due to its total lack of organisation. If you want a night of true Gambian culture try outside of the hotel. Kunta Kinteh organise a fabulous BBQ on Sundays and the entertainment is absolutely top notch.

When leaving the hotel it is always like running the gauntlet....and could become a bit much if you just want a peaceful stroll... the walk to Kotu village and the walk to the beach via the palm beach hotel are particularly entertaining/annoying(delete where applicable). Common phrases which you will hear...."Happy couples", "your satisfaction is my gaurantee", "your happiness is my pleasure", "a gift from my heart", "nice to be nice", "the more you smile the browner you get" and so on, generally these are proffered to elicit cash in some manner.

Gambia is a beautiful country and its people are wonderful so it really is rewarding to leave the hotel and do some trips to some of the attractions and local villages. We initially booked 2 through the holiday company which is a good idea as you do get a good level of organisation and you can speak to other tourists of their experiences. We would highly recommend the 'Treasure Island' trip but wouldn't advise the trip to Fatarah in Senegal as you pay a lot and see very little. The organised trips are ok but expensive and the money doesn't go to the locals so it is better to find someone you can trust who offers trips..... The two people below we used and we cannot recommend them enough...
Firstly....

OMAR SHERIFF(yes, as in the actor) our good friend who looked after us from the first time we went to the Kunta Kinteh beach bar on Kotu beach. A really good rasta guy with a heart of gold and strong sense of fairness. He took us to the monkey park and we also did the Roots tour with him. He can be found most days at the Kunta Kinteh beach bar or give him a call on [--].

and....

ENSA SAIDY a taxi driver from the Senegambia strip who is a cool guy, a real big personality and also a man who can be trusted wholly. We used him to ferry us from the hotel to the Senegambia strip and back most nights and found his company and choice of music hugely entertaining. We also took a day trip with him which took in the Crocodile park, Lamin Lodge, the batique factory, Serekunda market, Brikama and a thoroughly humbling visit to his mother and his village. He also took us to JOKOR, the famous mbalax nightclub. We enjoyed all our time with Ensa who we now class as a good friend. Find him and his jeep on the Senegambia strip or call(9808311)

Other highlights of our stay........

KUNTAH KINTEH beach bar on Kotu beach, great food, great staff,(thanks Yousef), the best cappucino in Gambia and a place to really feel safe to relax and enjoy the sun.

OUSMAN the aeroplane boy. This guy makes the most incredible things from scrap metal to sell to make his fees to go to engineering school. We got him to make us a helicopter complete with lights and spinning blades. This young man and his determination and ingenuity reduced us to tears. His smile and honest nature along with such talent made him No.1 on our list of favourite Gambians.... Email him to meet him and see his work [--].... you won't be dissappointed.

Overall Gambia is a great place to visit and the people are lovely. It can be relaxing, hard work, emotional and exhillerating, just remember to take loads of sweets and pens and excersize books for the kids....."TOUBAB" "MINTY"

If you use any of the contacts mentioned above please remember to say BIG HELLO and THANK YOU from Ian and Kay in Manchester.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank kaykasa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
North Walsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2010

Stayed at the Badalal Park and was very dubious to begin with as booked as a late deal and read some of the other reviews on here and wondered what we would end with. Was pleasantly suprised with what we found. Lovely welcoming people, couldn't do more to help, room were adequate and very clean.
Would recommend anyone to stay there if you want clean, no frills, great location place to stay. Would stay there again. Rooms were cleaned everyday, with clean towels and beds changed 3 times a week.

Brilliant holiday have already booked to go back in December!!

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gollygolly16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beds
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2010

After reading many reviews of this hotel we still decided to stay at Badal Park. We arrived expecting basic, which is exactly what we got.
If you are looking for luxury or you use your room for more than sleeping and showering then this hotel is not for you. The staff are very friendly and always willing to help. The electrician is a lovely lad called DAVE. Lookout for him in his new Luton Town Shirt! The bar staff were equally happy and helpful, Hello Lamin and Bhuna! aka The President and Vice President!
Any problems that we had to report were fixed immediately, which is more than you can say in most European Hotels. Everyone smiles and says "hello, how are you?" and seem to mean it.
The hotel may not be on the beach, but the short walk was no problem and If you need to buy a towel don't buy on the beach ask Ramona at the third stall on the left as you leave the back gate!
We only ever paid 50 dalasi each way for a taxi to Senegambia from outside the hotel. If you just tell the driver "that is the price and I'm not paying anymore or I'm walking" they normally give in very quickly.
The best Beach Bar is Kunta Kinteh. All the boys are helpful and Bintu was more than attentive when refreshments were required. Once you are on one of their beds you become one of the family and you won't be bothered by Bumsters or Beach Sellers unless you want to. The manager Sisi always checks that everything is ok during your stay, but is not intrusive.
We organised a couple of trips with Malick Bah who is part of the Kunt Kinteh "family" and these trips were enjoyable and safe, but make sure you haggle on price as with most things in Gambia.
In summary if you can put up with basic accomodation you will have a good holiday with happy people and like us you will want to return just to see them all again!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Travelling_Hopes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
stamford
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2009

I have read some of the other reviews and believe everyone has different expectations on their hols. But It really saddens me to see extremely negative reviews on this hotel. I was there for two very very enjoyable weeks with my wife and two children aged 3 and 4 and did not once feel uncomfortable or obliged to give anyone anything. When we were there I met the GAMBIAN owner (not European) on the stage on Xmas eve and he summed it up in his speech that they can't offer the comfort the European owned hotels offer but they offer the friendliest hotel in The Gambia!! This is 100%true. My kids cried when they had to leave.........I got to play Water Polo against another hotel and by the way the pool was cleaned at the end of our first week so I believe it is cleaned regularly.

Please don't book to stay in Badala Park expecting luxury.....and then come back home and tarnish the GAMBIAN owned hotel's reputation..........The staff here are trying to make a difference and rely on people staying there to make a living. When you see the hotel rating is 2* remember this is Africa not Europe or America........Our Thomas Cook rep informed us it is in fact a zero star rating despite advertised as 2*.

As for being hassled by staff to take you on trips...........of course they will try but we found that after a day or two when you have told them 'you already have a guide' they will not bother you but to simply pass the time of day with you!! There is despite the other reviews alot of genuine friendliness from even the bumsters outside the hotel!! We found telling them we had a guide or we were meeting people at another bar/restaurant and couldn't visit theirs, soon sent them on their way wishing you a happy holiday of course.

As for tours, we booked Moses Colley, a local guide who took my family and friends on three very enjoyable trips, Gambian style not on an air conditioned coach. It is your choice entirely who you go with but a recommended local guide is the best way to experience the real Gambia. Your money also stays in The Gambia.

Tam Tams Bar and Ali Baba are restaurants just outside the hotel that we thoroughly recommend. Or you can go to Senegambia strip in a green taxi for 100 dalasi. Where we ate at Africa Queen which was fantastic!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank taylorfamily09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kent, UK
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2009

This hotel is away from the main senegambia strip, where the restaurants and main action is, however there are restaurants in walking distance. Tam tam next door was very good actually,notably, very good vegetarian food.
This hotel is very basic with basic rooms but they are clean, our room was cleaned daily and there were always staff cleaning and tending to the grounds . Staff here are great and we enjoyed their company.
The only thing that spoilt my holiday was the very noisy entertainment which would always start as we were going to bed, even when there seemed to be no other guests there at the time! This really is very loud in certain rooms and you certainly would never be able to sleep through it.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank splodgebaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
north wales
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 December 2009

rooms were basic(get what you pay for) , ,had a fan in room which seemed to keep place cool enough,there are some with a/c (they were all full when we arrived) cleaners cleaned twice a day so rooms were clean, but the hassle from bumsters spoilt the holiday(a few of the hotel staff were just as bad) pool never got cleaned (expect someone with a net to get all the dead butterflys out,would not advise you to swim in it ) food was ok, if you want to go out for a day ,best to go on arrranged tours or you will be hassled for money all the way, went to river gambia beach( looked like a landfill site and the smell was awfull,)if you like to lie on sunbed all day by the pool, then this will be ok for you, otherwise pay a bit extra for a decent hotel!,all rooms have a very good safe and security of a night is good,(use the safe for piece of mind). happy hols!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank brian_carr43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Kotu hotels

Bristol
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2009

This was our second stay at Badala Park, just to say if you want 5star europe, don`t book 1star Gambia. The rooms are basic but you have everything you need, bed & shower. The staff are amazing & work such long hours for a pitance, anything you want they will get for you. We went to the home of one of the waitresses, culture shock doesn`t describe it, it was amazing, the children have nothing but are so happy, our kids could do with living here for a while they would realise how fortunate they are. If you want to go on any trips contact Kebba on [--], he is married to an english lady, what a great guy, we went to Sanyang Beach, a fishing village & 2 fishing trips on the Gambian River..........what a day, caught loads of fish,& ate one on the boat!!! From river to plate in 15mins, how fresh is that? He is a lot cheaper than tour operators.
All I can say is go to Badala Park with an open mind & you will have a great time, a holiday is what you make it & ours was excellent, we will go back to Badala again. If you have any questions more than happy to try & help.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank 0117mazzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Badala Park

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): £
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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