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...
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 [--].
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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Odigeo, Hotels.com, Ebookers, TripOnline SA, Jovago.com, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Badala Park reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Badala Park Kotu
- Badala Park Hotel Kotu
- Badala Park Gambia/Kotu