14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
It was everything we wanted in a hotel. ...
"It was everything we wanted in a hotel. Clean and attentive staff that cared that you had a good holiday. They helped when needed and stay away when not...it made the holiday for us. Meals were OK in the Bistro , but you could be adventerous and eat outside the hotel, which we did every night. Not as cheap as you would think for the poverty....Be prepared for a lot of walking, as the taxis will follow you until you give in or need them. No hassle , if you simply explain no, without expletives. Brilliant holiday all round.... will be back"
- Travel date: 25th June 2008
We have been to the Sunbeach every year ...
"We have been to the Sunbeach every year since 2004, either as a couple, or with children or family members. We keep going back because the hotel provides all that is needed for a wonderful, relaxing holiday. The hotel is very clean and the staff and facilities top rate. The food is excellent although the price for dinner is expensive compared with outside restaurants so we go B+B and eat out at night. The staff are all friendly, efficient and well trained. The rooms are spacious and the pool area very clean. There is no rush for sun beds and it is quiet and relaxing around the main pool where you can be the only person using the pool at any given time. There is also waiter service. You can sign all bills to your room but we pay as we go so we can leave tips (5-10 dalasi which is 10-20p) because The Gambia is a poor country and wages are very low. The staff will remember you each year you visit. Every day there is happy hour at 17.30-18.30 and we use this to try out the cocktail of the day for half price, although the drinks are not expensive anyway.Each year we return we see others that are regular visitors to the hotel, which just goes to show that others view it as highly as we do. I have been to many places which I have enjoyed, but the Sunbeach is my only regular return base. My brother and his wife came with us on this holiday, and loved it so much they are returning with us in 2008. It is true that you get a bit of hassle from porters at the airport but use them and just give them a pound for their trouble or say no and they will move on. you also get a bit of hassle when you leave the hotel. I suggest you use the official tour guides (OTG's) who sit outside the hotel. They are there to keep the bumsters away and will take you wherever you want to go, they can arrange any trip you wish for less than the tour operators and taxi fares are all pre-set prices. They don't get paid any money by the hotel but are there to keep tourists happy so please tip them if you use them. Anyway, the hassle is not so bad and a firm no will get rid of them. Trips-I suggest the monkey park, the crocodile pool, Paradise beach, the 'Roots' trip and Banjul market is a real eye-opener. Don't be afraid to haggle over the price. You should aim to pay a third to half of the original asking price. If you do you will get a good bargain and the seller will be happy too. Wood carvings are good gifts but do vary in quality so shop around and the cloth colourful bags on every stall are strong and great for work. Food is excellent wherever you go. We like the Chinese restaurant, Chapman's, the Hungarian and go to MR Bass if you want a good atmosphere and African entertainment. All in all an excellent choice for your holiday base in The Gambia "
- Travel date: 3rd May 2008
The Hotel is spotless and well managed. ...
"The Hotel is spotless and well managed. Food is fab, very high standard, lots of variety. Plenty of fish dishes which were really nice and I'm not a fan of fish. A few restaurants outside the hotel, food not up to much. On the positive side didn't have any sickness problems so it all must have been cooked enough! Entertainment excellent a mix of African and one night a fantastic band with Reggae and European pop from 60's up to date. The African style acts were particularly good. I would say it was the best hotel entertainment I have seen. Outside the hotel you need to be firm as you get pestered all the time by locals who want to show you around for money. It could be a bit intimidating if you were say a group of females or elderly. The local are nice people and we felt safe walking out at night. Plenty of sun beds. Nice beach but beware of the rocks in the sea! There are daily aerobic sessions, jogs, water and beach volley ball and they entertainment team are a nice group of people. Beware at the airport there are "porters" trying to grab your luggage for money. They are greedy and expect Â£1 and as soon as they get it they abandon you. There is no need for a porter as the airport is tiny and they coaches are nearby. On the return journey they were asking for paper money for the pound coins they had. They must be making a mint in local terms. It is good to help the locals but this was not the way to go about it. Would definitely go to Gambia again a perfect climate and nice people. Perhaps may try another resort next time."
- Travel date: 6th January 2008
The Sunbeach Hotel is an attractive hote...
"The Sunbeach Hotel is an attractive hotel situated right on the beach so it`s a great location. It does need a little sprucing up which the new manager said was going to happen this year, although alot of the work has to be done in the holiday season (you can`t paint outside in the rainy season). We liked the area as it was quiet with only a few restaurants serving good cheap food which is why we went bed and breakfast, as the hotel restaurant is good but you pay the full European rate. Outside most good hotels there are official hotel guides who will take you anywhere you want to go for a cheaper rate than if you went with your holiday agent. They will even walk with you down to the shops or market stalls which I recommend if it`s your first stay in Gambia as you will get pestered by people even though they are not supposed to do this. As they are very poor you can understand this and as this was our second stay here we were much more comfortable and when you learn a few words like "no thank you" in the local language you don`t get bothered much. In fact, once you realise these people are in fact very friendly and you talk to them your holiday just gets better and better. The hotel staff are great and you can learn about their lives if you take the time to get to know them. The only downside is that some are given English money as a tip which is of no use to them and will keep on asking you to swap it for Gambian money which is ok but I could have done without it on my holiday. My best market stall was no23 run. His carvings are very good but shop around and have fun haggling. We have two sons and they really loved it and want to go back every year! "
- Travel date: 26th December 2007
Going back again in April 2007
"Visited Sunbeach Hotel in April 2006 and will return in April 2007 - it really was that good a holiday! The purpose was to fish and to see Gambia at the same time. The former turned out to be much better than expected and can highly recommend Hooked on Gambia for fishing trips. The Sunbeach Hotel is a well run hotel with management and staff eager to help and assist at all times. Nothing was too much trouble. Infectious laughter is one way of summing up the atmosphere. The rooms were made up daily and cleaned to a high standard. The gardeners often left a posy of flowers for my wife who was mobility problems. The evening buffet selection was quite extensive and good."
- Travel date: 5th March 2007
A wonderful week
"It was the second time we spent a week in The Gambia. Last year we stayed in Ocean Bay Hotel, this year in Sunbeach Hotel. Although the first one might have been a bit more "posh", we absolutely prefer Sunbeach Hotel and we will return next year. The hotel has a lovely atmosphere and wonderful views unto the sea on both sides of the resort. We stayed in House 1 which is furthest to the Cape Point and highly recommendable. We spent most days on the beach as the pool area was a bit too lively for our taste. It was easy to change between beach and pool and we made good use of both. Although we had booked only B&B we had three meals (including one fish buffet) at the hotel of which a single dish was a bit of a disappointment, while the rest was absolutely fine. We never missed a happy hour and made good friends there and then. At the end of our week we were surprised that we had spent less money in the hotel than we thought we had. We ventured out on our own more than once with a very nice taxi driver. However, an organized trip on the river Gambia was okay but overprized. On our own we always felt very safe and the people were just lovely."
- Travel date: 5th March 2007
sunbeach resort a great holiday
"we stayed for two weeks in this hotel and to be honest it was an excellent hotel. the rooms were spotlessly clean and the bars public places also clean.. all the staff were friendly and helpful although most of them were trying to get something out of you. either by offering to take you to their homes or on trips.. we found the prices in this hotel was a little pricey..eg--half beer Â£1.50 / buffet dinner Â£12 per head. the breakfast was good except don't ask for hard boiled eggs and the bacon/sausage left a lot to be desired. if you want to go out the local bar/chinese/italian/hungarian are all in short walking distance. the guides outside the hotel are good if you are nervous about going out as you will not be pestered with them. but if you don't need a guide its still hard to get rid of them as they tend to follow you wherever you go to be your friend... the roots trip is great and also the classic cruise.. also some good fishing trips for beginers+pros..all in all a nice relaxing hotel+resort with loads of hot sunshine.. oh and don't forget to take pens,crayons+chalk for the local school.."
- Travel date: 2nd March 2007
"Spent Xmas and New Year at Sun Beach. Staff could not be better. The accommodation was very clean but was very dark as green is not our favourite colour! The gala dinner Xmas eve was excellant as was the entertainment which followed. The nativity was well thought out with Mary, Joseph and 3 month old "Jesus" is a stable. The highlight of the evening was Father Xmas arriving on his donkey!! (He arrived by speedboat on Xmas Day). On Xmas Day, entertainment was provided by way of carols sung by children from a local school. Brilliant!!!!! Especially when they were sung reggae style. The downside of our stay was the very poor selection of food. Breakfast was ok but evening meals were sometimes very poor. Salads sometimes consisted of lettuce, tomato, cucumber. On some nights, there were no tomato. This, to us spoiled a very very good Xmas and New Year. The entertainment staff were more than good and worked very hard arranging sunbeds for the guests and generally sorting out their needs. Overall, we had an excellant stay and made good friends with the staff. It was unfortunate that the variety of food, especially in the a la carte restaurant let it down."
- Travel date: 20th February 2007
Want to go back tommorrow!!
"I have just returned from The Gambia at 5am this morning and already want to go back. This was one of the most enlightening holidays I have ever been on.Myself and friend both female age 28 went and had a ball. The hotel is okay but the friendliness of all the staff makes up for the fact that yes the Ocean bay next door did look better. It is in a fab locationwith a great beach and taxi right outside and you can walk to reataraunts if you find hotel too expensive. We ate out everynight and also took one trip with The Gambia Experience and one with a local guide too,we have stroked crocodiles,fed monkeys,been to a hospital a school and to Lamin Lodge on a boat.We ate at local restaraunts on the beach which most tourists dont find unless they go with a guide. Yes you get followed down the street with tales of undying love,part time boyfiends if you wish and dinner invites but as long as you have a laugh with these people and are firm you wont have problems.this is a 3rd worl country with the average wage being Â£20-Â£50 a month but these people are a hell of a lot more happy and chilled out than most of us. Go to LE Bateux for good food on the beach and as a treat try the Butchers shop,if you brave it try a local nightclub dancing till 5am and hardly any hasssel from men,get more back home. Dont buy ciggarettes on duty free on way out as they are Â£5 a carton from street vendor for 200,it is a muslim country so just chuck a pashmina in your bag or a kaftan encase you go to a local restaraunt. OH and practically everynight is Reggae night!!!"
- Travel date: 11th February 2007
"31/01/07 - 07/02/07 Great position on the beach with superb gardens. The pools were spotless and the staff everywhere attentive. There were activities laid on if you wanted them from water aerobics to beach volley ball but they were very low key. At this time of year the Christmas rush is over and the hotel was very relaxed. We stayed on a B and B arrangement and were therefore able to sample the local restaurants. There was a great choice at breakfast and it was a good standard. We did try the Sunday BBQ which was excellent and great value with locally caught fish. The hotel's entertainment manager "Ten" arranged for us to meet a local football team as we had brought out football kits from our school. We had a fantastic afternoon. We would recommend this hotel for a stay in one of the quieter less commercialised coastal areas and can't wait for next year."
- Travel date: 9th February 2007
Had a fantastic honeymoon!!
"We have just returned from a week at the Sun beach hotel and I have to say you must be either terribly fussy or just had a real unlucky week to have left the previous bad reviews! My husband and I have travelled around (Kenya,Dominican Rep, America etc) and were a little dubious about going to Gambia for our honeymoon as there are such mixed reports! All I can say is that we had the most amazing week, fantastic weather, lovely beach, clean & comfortable rooms, cheap to eat & drink, great staff - always polite and welcoming, we truly could not ask for more and are now hoping to go back there next year with our 2 young children as we felt it was a very safe environment for them. Yes there are lots of bumsters around, but they are so harmless and great for local advice! You only need to give them 50p and they will show you all you need to know and even carry your bags! You must remember that this is a third world country and you will not get the luxurious 5 star hotels that we have in England/America etc. Still it was a pretty big hotel with lots of amenites, the choice of food breakfast/dinner was varied and tasty and I don't think Â£1 for a local beer is that shocking when everything else is so cheap, if you really need to budget then simply buy everything outside of the hotel, a beer was as little as 60p, water 30p and we had a lovely 3 course meal and drinks at the chinese for around Â£13. Chapmans, The Clay Oven and The Piano Bar were also highly recommended to eat at."
- Travel date: 18th January 2007
Wonderful people, weather and beach, outrageous prices in the resort
"We have just returned from a week at the Sunbeach Hotel and Resort in The Gambia, where we celebrated the New Year. I was a little apprehensive before we left for the Gambia after reading previous reviews on this site. However, I was pleasantly surprised on arrival to find the resort basic but clean and comfortable and way above my expectations for a four star in a developing country. Again I was dreading the food - as I'm a vegetarian and quite stringent about food hygiene. However, the main restaurant was very clean and run by a Scots chef. There was a great deal of choice and although not a gourmet a la carte restaurant, the food was delicious, plenty of fresh fish, chicken and curries, vegetables, rice, noodles etc (much better than any Egyption buffet). We were booked in half board but ate at the Avacado Restaurant at the Coconut residence on one evening (highly recommended - the food was 5 star and not too expensive - and a beautiful hotel), we also dined at the Ngala Lodge, again delicious and highly recommended). We transferred our buffet dinner one evening to the Sunbeach's 'a la carte' restaurant (hmm far from a la carte, and we waited 2.5 hours for our food which was fine but nothing special and certainly not worth the wait.) Food at the beach bar came from here too, which we ordered whilst lounging round the pool - but not good for veggies if you just want a sandwich. They also don't like to deviate at all from the menu - they have a cheese and ham toastie on the menu and it was quite a struggle to get a simple cheese toastie. Breakfast was fine - lots of choice, although the fruit was a little disappointing. Prices inside the resort were inflated to UK prices - don't expect your stay here to be cheap, we were told by an ex pat that it was one of the most expensive resorts in the country. Expect to pay around Â£2 for a small bottle of local beer. BE WARNED IF YOU ARE GOING OVER NEW YEAR THE PRICES ARE INCREASED FOR NEWS YEARS EVE - WE WERE PAYING AN ADDITIONAL Â£14 PER BOTTLE FOR CHAMPAGNE!! All of the wine and champagne prices were increased on NYE but not the beer. We went to the hotel manager, Mr Vogel to query his policy and were met with a rude, patronising response. Several staff had already told us that the increase was for one evening but he told us it was because it was new stock - hmm what a coincidence. I would be interested to hear if they as still charging 3000 dalasi for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot or if it has gone back down to 2000 since our departure. We wouldn't have minded so much if the additional costs were going to the staff - but none of them were being paid any extra for working new years eve. Don't expect to be treated with any respect by this manager - he was rude and very unhelpful and on this basis we would NEVER return to this resort. Which brings me onto the other people we met. All of the staff without exception and excluding Mr. Vogel, were wonderful, very friendly and warm. We had a 3 year old in our party and he was adored and given a great deal of attention - no one could do enough. Our teenage girls were also given a great deal of attention but were treated respectfully and we had no worries about leaving them in the hotel of an evening. There were only a few bumsters on the beach but if you told them you weren't interested you only had to say so once - there was no persistent hassle. We had a fabulous guide who took us to the crocodile museum (highly recommended) only a short walk from the hotel, where you get to see a bit more of local life, the children are beautiful and very friendly - take pencils and paper for them if you can (paper is very expensive out there). Wherever you go in the Gambia tip as much as you can afford to - these people earn a pittance (average Â£40 per month). The trainee staff in this resort earn nothing while they are training (3 months!) OUTRAGEOUS! The management need to start investing more in their wonderful staff rather than greedy profiteering - it hasn't gone unnoticed and it isn't a recipe for a relaxing holiday for tourists with a consience."
- Travel date: 3rd January 2007
Sunbeach Hotel & Resort is also called
- Sunbeach Hotel
- sunbeach hotel bakau
- sunbeach resort bakau