really loved the hotel..fabulous enormous rooms and gorgeous grounds.
Opted for a garden room as we enjoy gardens and birds etc... if I went again I would go for a garden room again.
We were late getting to Dakar because of the snow at Brussells (from manchester via brussells...really good flights and lots of legroom...and 46 kilos plus 20 kilos handluggage EACH! great for taking stuff for our next destination, the Gambia.
Arrivals smooth as silk, transfer problem free. the transfer was as others have said...long and the last bit on a very bumpy road. The driver Yammeh was a very interesting man and took lots of short cuts across the coastal land/salt flats/sand/flood plain area for the last hour or so leg of the journey...as this was at 10 - midnight sort of time it took on a very other-wordly quality and was hypnotically surreal!
Arrived just after midnight...taken to the room (all luxurious stand alone 'huts'); a tray of dinner was there, and although we felt a bit bush-narnered, we perked up and got a second wind with the delicious salads, bread, fruit...and a bottle of wine from the mini bar (which was very expensive!! sprite was £6 a tin in the mini bar...but at after midnight in a fab place on the first night of a holiday you aren't going to turn down a drink are you!).
Fantastic rooms and the greatest bed I've even slept in re quality of mattress, and huge.
One other UK couple there...half a week overlap with our week. Everyone was quite reserved, including most of the staff...who seemed to be working from a script. We speak french...so no real communication issues, except a couple of silly mistakes on our part which left us looking a bit like idiots and the staff thinking we were lunatics with a strange sense of humour (try translating Groucho Marx humour into French for a Senegalese breakfast waitress over oeufs-a la coque).
Fabulous beach, lovely gardens, great for admiring birds, some really nice staff...some a little 'stiff' (but the manager (a really nice guy) was often on site and didn't look like he suffered staff doing their own thing - which is a bit of a shame...but they obviously have their policy).
Great food ...fab fish and daily specials...snacks for lunch a bit expensive...or eat lunch in the restaurant (which we didn't do, but I think it was the same menu as the evening...and it would have been better value to do this, with hindsight).
Missing - beach service for drinks and snacks and lunch...considering the price/hotel quality I think this would have been a good addition to the offer (room service was charged at an additional 10,000 CFA...can't remember exactly what this is but around £10 - £15 ?? on top of the meal cost).
The MOST MEMORABLE BIT: the local guys we met and chatted to...lovely and genourous and a pleasure to meet. My partner helped the fishermen a couple of days (because he is a busy-body and because he is a nice man and because he enjoys talking to people wherever he goes) and we realised that the fishing 'crew' is actually quite small and that other people just come and help...artists, craft market sellers, people with no jobs, and occasionally tourists.
I bought some things and the craft market guys were very generous...you might think I've been conned but I haven't - they really were lovely people and gave us extra cadeaux and were just fantastic!!!
Jean-Pierre has a shop selling fab bags made out of rice sacks...which would not look out of ;lace in Liberty! And Louis has carved wood and jewellery. I've posted some pictures.
Other guestes mostly adults; two boys were there and seemed very french as in polite and well behaved. just the day before we left a couple and their daughter (8 years at a guess) arrived and she looked a bit of a little madam as only girls of that age can look.
The rep was a nice guy, but very keen to talk about himself, and his fantastic/dramatic/tragic life so far: he told us lots about himself, quite a lot about the excursions and not very much at all about the hotel and the tips that might have been useful to know, like pay the night before you leave, and what time the transfer was going to be!!!...ah well..if we DID go back I doubt that he would still be there.
When we arrived we thought it was fab and that we would go back for longer / when we left we thought we'd never go back / and now we think we might go back...as it was very very very relaxing and a great chill-out. We went from there by car transfer to The Gambia...left at 8am and arrived at the Nala Lodge in the Gambia at about 3pm (ferry crossing included)...back home to our favourite hotel.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Le Royal Palmarin
- Hotel Le Royal Lodge Senegal/Palmarin