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“fantastic hotel great holiday” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kairaba Beach Hotel

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Kairaba Beach Hotel
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Serekunda
Certificate of Excellence
St Albans, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“fantastic hotel great holiday”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 November 2013

My wife and I just spent a week in Gambia at the Kairaba Beach Hotel We had an absolutely
brilliant holiday the staff were all very helpful and happy! The grounds of the Kairaba are lush green, well maintained and are inhabited by a variety of beautiful birds and also some cheeky monkeys! The beach is directly at the bottom of the hotel and is most pleasant for walking in either direction. Outside the hotels main entrance there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
We found the people of Gambia very friendly though many are trying to make a living by offering different services we did not find them at all intimidating.
I appreciate that Gambia may not be everyone's cup of tea but if you do decide to go I would definitely recommend the Kairaba Beach Hotel

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank duncan105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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825 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (264)
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London
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 November 2013

This is our second visit to The Gambia but first stay at the Kairaba, on our last visit we stayed up at the Sunset beach hotel and really enjoyed that but decided to go fro something with a bit more luxury and I'm really glad we did.
This hotel is 5 star but as others have said, that is an African 5 star, don't expect it to be comparable with US hotels as example with the same star.
That said, we found it incredibly clean, beautiful grounds full of wildlife with monkeys, peacocks, lizards and many birds roaming round and really fantastic staff. Literally every single staff member we encountered was polite, enthusiastic and smiley.
The beach immediately outside isn't amazing due to the erosion but if you turn right and walk for 5 mins there are tons more beads and space.
The location right at the bottom of the strip is ideal for restaurants. We only stayed B&B as having been before knew just how cheaply you can eat out and I think that was the right decision again this time. Also the drinks in the hotel were much more than 5 minutes walk up the strip.
Do go for the deluxe rooms, much better views and good for wildlife spotting.
Definitely go though, it's amazing

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank nicolajc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chepstow
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2013

Our first visit to the Gambia and what a good choice of hotel. We opted for a delux room which was in the garden. We had vie ws of the garden and the sea watching the monkeys, lizards and birds from our balcony. The staff were unerring helpful and charming nothing was too much trouble. the facilities offered by the hotel meant that we had a very relaxing holiday. The breakfast was good, we ate in the hotel one evening but was disappointed with the meal which we felt was expensive and not as good quality as the local resturant that we used.

Room Tip: Py the extra for a delux room
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LynH510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Highworth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2013

This was our first trip to The Gambia - we stayed at Kairaba Beach Hotel and had a thoroughly good time. The staff were very friendly and efficient, the weather was perfect, the gardens full of exotic wildlife. Looking at the accommodation, we'd recommend upgrading your room to one of the De-luxe options if possible. The main rooms are arranged around the gardens in blocks of 10 (5 up and 5 down). The views are obviously better from the upstairs rooms and the corner rooms have a bit more space and light, especially on the balcony (we were in room 1025). Most of the reviews suggest this is one of the best hotels in The Gambia and we wouldn't argue with that from what we saw, however it could do with a touch of re-decoration here and there. There were a few cracked tiles in the bathroom, the mirror was a bit tatty etc. - all small stuff which didn't spoil our holiday, but comparing standards internationally, it's not quite at the top of its game.

The food was fine, although we mainly ate in the strip outside where there is plenty of choice at more reasonable prices. Drinks were more expensive (maybe 3 times more than some local bars), but you expect that in better hotels.

Much has been written about the beach erosion - we didn't think it was that bad. There a couple of hundred metres of frontage that is affected, but you don't need to walk far to get past it. They were doing some work to strengthen defences whilst we were there, but it was all fairly low key and unobtrusive.

We didn't get pestered much by beach sellers, the juice bars were good and a small tip secured a decent lounger on the beach or by the pool (to beat some of our European cousins at their own game!!).

One thing that nearly caught us out was the local ATM's. We had most of our cash on a Caxton FX preloaded card, but firstly you can only draw out 3,000 Delasi (about £50) in one go and we seemed to only be able to make a maximum of 2 withdrawals a day. This was enough for the two of us, but could be a problem for larger families.

Overall - thoroughly enjoyable and recommended for anyone heading down to West Africa

Room Tip: Upgrade to the Delux rooms if you can, try for the top floor corner rooms and in a block away from t...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mike R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 November 2013

This was our third stay at this hotel this year and as always thoroughly enjoyed it.
Our deluxe room was situated in the horseshoe with nice views of the gardens.
The room was cleaned everyday and we always had clean towels and sheets.
Prices are high for drinks and were increased while we were there which is our only gripe.
The pool guys are all great,we spent a lot of the time on the beach to get the breeze and were very well looked after by all of them,it was too hot for us around the pool.
Breakfast was more limited as it was off season in October but still a good choice of hot and cold food.
We have booked to go for three weeks next year and cant wait to go back,the people are some of the friendliest I have ever met,all those lovely smiley faces are truly uplifting.
I certainly would recommend this hotel to everyone who enjoys peace and quiet,beautiful surroundings and a real Chilax time.
Our return to Banjul airport was hassle free as always,the flight would have been better if we were not all squeezed into such small seats,or so mine seemed as the lady they put next to me was so big, half of her sat in my seat with me!!!
Special thank you to everyone in reception who were all very helpful.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank dillyportchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oudenaarde, Belgium
Level Contributor
96 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 November 2013

I stayed in many hotels in the Gambia, but the Kairaba is by far the best i stayed in so far. It was my second visit in a year and they will definatly see me back again. The staff is great, they help you were possible, no hasseling. When you come with the car (as we did) you have a secured parking lot. The breakfast is supurb. The only minus I could say is the bathroom, but the marketing director told me they gone start a big renovation in '14. So it will become even better. Keep up the good work!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Buck78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Appleton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
113 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 November 2013

So, our first trip to The Gambia and we had a wonderful time. I will be writing a full journal in the months to come but for now I'll try and sum our hotel experience here...

I normally research our destinations a lot, however this was a random choice for our hotel and we decided to just go with it for once and didn't really know what to expect. I did have a last minute look at the reviews on here before coming and I have to say those who have given negative reviews really need their expectations resetting...

We spoke to many couples during our visit (I enjoy chatting to all sorts!), and everyone I spoke to agreed that when visiting The Gambia you need to understand you are visiting a developing nation, in Africa, with many areas of the country poverty stricken. To moan about the odd insect in the room, the slightly worn decor, power cuts, or anything along those lines I find ignorant and snobbish. Do not judge by our Western '5 star Hilton' standard, take a walk out the hotel in to the local area. Talk to people, research how people live there and THEN see how you feel. As for insects you're in AFRICA?! I even think I recall someone moaning about the TV not being flatscreen on here?!

So, that said... our stay...

We arrived late on the Saturday in darkness and check in was easy and well organised. We did read the Tripadvisor forums before coming and were ready for being asked about trips out by our porter and also the tipping mentality so the porter trying to make friends wasn't unexpected!

Due to reading some of the negative reviews I was a little nervous about our room. We were looking to not spend to much given we are saving for a new house... that said I did immediately ask about upgrading and offered to come back once everyone else was settled in (As we were one couple of a large coach load). When we got to our room I found satisfactory. It was clean but obviously well used. There were some large ants in the bathroom but we swatted those and weren't bothered by them again for the week. We did have the odd tiny spider but I had expected more given our location.

During the week we were made to feel very welcome by the entire staff. The cynical side of me thinks they are only doing it to earn tips but you know what, I don't care. There are a lot of British restaurants who can learn from this... Just because you bought me my dinner hot, got the order right and didn't spill it on my lap doesn't mean I should give you a huge tip at the end of the meal!

I'd like to call out Samba and Bakary particularly who looked after us poolside all week. Friendly smiles, warm greeting every day and we were never wanting for water, food, beer or cocktails.

Twice during the week we stupidly forgot to lock our safe. Twice the security guards came and found us and escorted us back to make sure everything was safe before allowing the room to be cleaned. They take tourist security very seriously!

The only downside is the food is expensive when compared to the surrounding restaurants in the area. Very expensive in fact. We did stay for the Africa night buffet which was our biggest disappointment of the week. Admittedly this is because we spent much of the night with another couple we met drinking and chatting none stop. However, we chose this night as we wanted to taste a variety of local dishes at once and we found the selection disappointing and rather bland. Certainly not worth the very expensive 800 dalais.

Now noting if you are staying full or half board this wouldn't be an issue, but as we wanted to explore the local area and try many places we were only on bed and breakfast. Yet even the prices up at the havana bar for food were almost double that of the restaurants outside.

Also, and this is a long story but in summary, the management should give serious thought to customer loyalty. One of the many couples we befriended have been visiting for over 16 years, sometimes twice yearly. They support the local area, hospitals and schools and often bring the child they have sponsored for many many years to the hotel for a brief stay during their visit. Where even they accept a point would come where she was old enough to be chargeable for the stay is fair enough. However when they then only want to bring her for the day as they can't afford the additional stay also charging her for using the pool I feel is a little cold. I understand some of the reasoning but given the exceptional circumstances some discretion I think would be in order.

These however are our only negative comments. I found all the staff, from the waiters to the cleaners, security guards and even the groundsmen I bumped in to whilst taking bird photos were all happy and friendly.

Golden Hands massages are worth a trip also, very reasonable price for a good massage. Likewise speak to the lovely and friendly Pico at the pool who's artwork is around the hotel and we ourselves came home with two pieces of his work.

We are already looking at dates for our return trip, and don't see any reason why would stay anywhere else.

Room Tip: Garden rooms looked lovely and we'll be looking book one of these next time. That said our delux...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JustJim79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kairaba Beach Hotel

Property: Kairaba Beach Hotel
Address: 390 PMB, Serekunda, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Serekunda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Serekunda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Kairaba Beach Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 160
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This premier 5-star hotel in The Gambia is not one to sit on its laurels but has continued to build on its reputation over the years. Located on the idyllic, sprawling golden sandy coastline of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Kairaba Beach
Kairaba Beach Serekunda
Kairaba Beach Hotel Gambia

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