13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
The Mansea Beach
"The Mansea is basic but you pay for what you get. When we were there it had been taken over and was being done up, with bedrooms etc being totally gutted. The Mansea is in need of modernisation but wonder if the regulars that have kept it going over the last few years will now be priced out. The modernisation will however be good for the staff who are all brilliant and work so hard, sometimes in the past going months without pay. We have been 4 times now to the Mansea and the reason for going back is the staff.
The pool is cleaned daily. You also have clean towels every other day. bedrooms are cleaned on a daily basis. I love this hotel and hopefully will be able to afford to go back next year."
- Travel date: Sat 7th of April 2012
"we were booked in for 1 week & our son-in-law (who is gambian) & daughter for 3 weeks.
it was discusting ..mouldy no lights wire hanging from ceiling.
shown 4 rooms ll the same discusting mouldy, dark bathroom craked dirty tiles mouldy walls & shower curtain..no working light
not like the photos on web pages....rooms must be photos of somewhere else definatley not the mansea hotel.
we didnt even stay 1 night as so discusting!!! should have been our daughters honeymoon....they had to stay at village home for 2 of their 3 weeks as had no money to pay more than 5 days in a different hotel!!! we had to find alternitive hotel for 2 nights payed by our self as tour people took untill sunday to sort out transfer...it cost us a lot of money & hassel making phone calls to England & Gibba the hotel for u rep!!
not a good experience of gambia"
- Travel date: Sat 21st of January 2012
A nice little hotel - would go back !
"We stayed at the Mansea from 21st - 28th march. i think we payed a little over the odds for the holiday but i expected it as we flew out good friday !
The airport at Banjul is really nice clean and modern, although when we arrived we were practically stalked into handing over our cases.
The hotel is definitely 2 star africa ! it is desperate need of a refurb but then would it loose it's charm if they did make it more upmarket ? if you are looking for luxury this hotel is not for you ! The 1st room we were allocated looked out over a derelict building so before i even unpacked i asked to change rooms to a pool view, this was done strait away no hassle no arguments. The rooms are not dingy not full of mozzies and ARE cleaned daily ! the roomboy we had was a lovely man, although i cant remember his name now (after the 1st 25 names they all mull into 1) we tipped the roomboy on the 1st day to ensure that we got a good service..... The draws in the room literally fell apart as we opened them, i think you need a good sence of humor to stay here, this didnt worry me after all im on holiday and there was more draws in the room and a wardrobe, the balcony was nice it had a good view a couple of chairs i needed no more. the bathroom leaves a lot to be desired but the shower worked and there was clean towels. The toilet was clean but the flush isn't the best !!! if you have a touch of banjul belly just be aware that your toilet won't flush every thing away and will end up being a bit stinky by the end of the holiday, it wasn't just our loo i asked around and it seemed to be the whole hotel. Also the window does look out on to the coridor and it is just a mozzi covering in the window so yes you can see out so people can see in, easy solution put some papr up at the window problem solved !
The pool area is lovely there is always something going on and it is kept very clean the waiters come round and offer service or you can go to the bar yourself, the waiters are very nice, they dont expect any thing from you which is refreshing and they always have time to speak to you no matter how busy they are.
The receptionists are also really nice very professional, i got a saftey deposit box it was 450 delasi with a Â£20 deposit we got 35 del. to the Â£ so it didnt work out that cheap, but better to be safe than sorry. There was a lot of locals walking through the hotel majority of them were guests of holiday makers and some were older ladies boyfriends for the week....... when i asked about this to the rep, she assured me that they DO HAVE to register at security and with reception befor they come in.
The weather was fantastic it was very hot but there was a constant breeze so it didnt feel as hot as it was.
The bumsters really wore us down, NO i dont want a taxi, NO i dont want a trip and what the [-] am i gonna do with a wooden elephant...... in england these guys would be arrested for stalking they wouild literally run over the M25 to get to you ! a very firm NO THANK YOU some times work some times doesn't i found myself getting quite rude in the end but what else can you do when manners no longer work ?
Due to the exchange rate every one we spoke to found the gambia very expensive ! the average meal is between 180 - 250 del. julbrew beer was between 30n - 50 del. glass of wine 50 del and soft drinks 20 - 35 del.
We did the Roots trip - it was amazing, a real eye opener and very humbling, i would recomend this trip to any one ! even better if you have read the book of seen the dvd.
The Gambia is a very chilled out country and they say GMT is not Grenwich Mean Time it's Gambian Maybe Time and this is so true, Gambians would be late for their own funeral !!!! it is a good attitude to have but very annoying if your waiting for some one or some thing !
Overall i would reccomend the Mansea and the Gambia to anyone. If you are looking for luxury and 5 star accomadation then go to the Sheraton but if you want a clean room, clean towels and brilliant staff then go to the Mansea. I would say go with an open mind and deep pockets. I do understand this hotel wont be to every ones taste, but i am of the opinion that as long as its got a good bed and good shower then you dont need any thing else you are on holiday and honestly how much time are you going to spend in your room any way !!!!!
PS i only seen 2 mozziesin my whole stay.....
if you want to know any thing dont hesitate to drop me an email
Lindsey & Steven"
- Travel date: Tue 1st of April 2008
will be going back again
"I was given this holiday trip as a present so was a bit worried and the first couple of trips out of the prison(as the locals like to call it ) justified my worries, we then met Lamin Lawyer(local taxi driver)he took us out for the day and we never looked back. We met a couple of the locals who were happy to walk on the beach and talk for absolute hours, this meant other locals would not bother you.
As you start to get colour the bumsters leave you alone as it must be nearly time for you to go home.
We started to go across the road to Simple Simons ,drinks cheaper than the Hotel and the guys much more fun.
I read about taking a torch , I was laughed at, but on first night of were is the torch it was the most used piece of equipment.
The hotel was basic but it did the job for the week, pool area was great .
We were invited to the beach party got in at 3.30 am but up bright and early for the breakfast.
We never saw any trouble,fights or knives as they are very laid back and wanting to listen to Bob Marley.
Will be booking up for next year ."
- Travel date: Wed 26th of March 2008
Good Cheap Hotel
"Friends of our who go to Gambia regularly advised us that unless you are prepared to pay for 5* accommodation they are all very similar and all very basic. There is no All Inclusive in the Gambia - apparently it's a governmental scheme to get people out of hotels and spend with the locals).
We stayed at the Mansea Beach for the New Year - would firstly advise people to be careful what they pay - we bumped into a couple that paid Â£600 for a week and we didn't pay that for a fortnight!! Of course some companies really overcharge because of the time of year so it's good to shop around.
The hotel itself could do with a really good overhaul - most doors didn't shut or windows close! Our shower didn't work and we didn't really have any hot water and what we did have was brown!
The staff are all outstanding and will do anything within their power to make your stay on the smiling coast good.
We had no problems at all with bumsters - you can say a polite 'no thanks' but my husband and I had a great time with some locals in the bar just outside the hotel - they only want a fruit punch - about 20 dalasis - and you can talk til the sun goes down and most of them have really interesting stories to tell.
Inside the hotel there is a clothes/souvenir shop - the owner, Alicia, is a lovely woman who will go out of her way to make you something if there's nothing in the shop you want and unless you really want to experience the busy market we found her prices cheaper!
On the beach - we stayed away from the actual bars and chose to give our custom to the many shacks along the beach - what an experience - again, mixing with the real people and they will fetch you anything you want (for a tip of course, but who works for nothing? I certainly don't!)
I would recommend Sizzlers bar on the beach (first bar on right when you get to the beach from the Mansea). Rosemary, the english lady who runs the bar and is very friendly and entertaining with many stories of life in the Gambia.
They also have a beach party at Sizzlers every Sunday night - we felt quite safe. Bearing in mind that most Gambian people don't drink and most smoke the local 'tobacco' everyone is so laid back - lots of reggae on the beach at night in January was heaven!
We didn't like the food in the hotel but we did see other people eating it so it could just be us ..... the Mansea is about a 10 min walk from Senegambia, the hub of the nightlife with lots of restaurants to choose from and quite cheap - not a s cheap as we expected but certainly half the price of what you pay in good restaurants in uk.
Only complaint would be that there is sand everywhere (even on pavements) and my feet weren't clean until I got home!!
We are going back to hear the plumbing rattle again!
Sarah & Darren"
- Travel date: Sat 15th of March 2008
lovely people but
"On arrival i thought oh my god what have i done, the room me and my two kids were to stay in was well not what id expected. The bathroom door was broken and didnt shut and the window screens didnt shut either. I spoke to reception to about this who were really nice and moved me to a different room i had to remember that it is a two star hotel its clean but very very basic. the maids come in everyday to clean the rooms. The pool is really nice and big and the staff very very nice especially mikey the entertainment manager. The pool attendents are so nice and make you feel really welcome. They have entertainment for the kids in the pool. The evening entertainment is good but once youve seen it its all the same. I only ate breakfast in the hotel but it was always nice and a good variety of food
My biggest tip i can give to anyone staying in the hotel is to use the safety deposit box although while i was there someone had their stuff stolen out of their box the hotel is responsible. I didnt use the deposit box and chose to take my bag with me everywhere with all documents and money in. One night i didnt take my bag and i hid it in the wardrobe under clothes when i returned all my money had gone. I reported to the management who were lets say less than helpful saying i sholud have used a safety deposit box. Be very aware of the security guards although there there to keep you safe they dont miss a thing and if you leave without your bag they WILL NOTICE.
But overall this was the best holiday ive ever had i was very worried travelling on my own with kids but everyone is so nice.
Go to the bar opposite the hotel gates simples simons bar what a great bunch ov guys. drinks are so much cheaper there than in the hotel and they play music they are just like one big family thats where i spent most of my time. The bumster you hear about are harmless but can get a bit annoying the best thing i can advise to do is to get one as your friend i recommend Bob The builder who drives the green jeep the guy with the long dreads there isnt a nicer man on the planet. he can be found outside the hotel or in simple simons bar. If you have a friend all the bumsters know and leave you alone even if your not with them just say my friend is bob youll get no problems.
Eat at the main strip which is a 5 min walk away a whole street full of resturants and quite cheap i would recommend chossans.
Take a torch for walking at night you cross a football pitch and it can be a bit uneven its much easier with the tourch. I read that in another rewiew and how handy it was.
Beach is 5 mins walk away most sunloungers are free if you buy a drink from the bar i recommend sizzlas.
Sizzlas also has a reggae party on the beach every sunday night well worth taking a look but it doesnt kick off till late kids can go too no problem.
I cant wait to go back so even though i had a few hiccups i would reccommend Gambia and this hotel to everyone so come on get booking."
- Travel date: Tue 11th of March 2008
"Room was basic and furnishings dated. Bed linen was not changed during a week long stay and dining area tables and chairs were dirty and tables cloths filthy. I have stayed in The Gambia before and standards were much better even in a 2star hotel. I was disappointed in The Mansea Hotel although the staff were nice and friendly and swimming pool area fine. A good location near Senegambia bars and resturants."
- Travel date: Fri 7th of March 2008
love it we stay here always
"My family and our friends have stayed here the last 4 years.
One thing you have to remember is that this is a 3rd world country with most workers earning the equivelant of Â£20.00 per 4 weeks.
With this in mind the accomadation is not 100% perfect as you would expect from a western country. They do the best they can. Rooms have enough furniture eg double bed drawers loads of wardrobes and a chair, single bed if needed. Fridges, fans ect can be hired at small price from reception.
For a 2* hotel this one is ideal, cheap price, one street away from the main senegambia strip ( nightlife, bars, resturants etc ) beach at end of street and taxi rank outside Mansea gate.
Staff are superb, can not fault any of the staff and with it being a smaller hotel it feels more like a family atmosphere and very safe for children of all ages and babies.
Staff will do anything for you to make your holiday the best.
The entertainment man there Mikey ( real name: Modou Musa Ceesay ) is a gambian film star with Vinasha studios based in The Gambia. You may see his face on bill boards around the area.
Kids that hang around near the hotel are very polite and befriending but don't get sucked into the "our football is broken, could you buy us a new one " scam, they take the new football from you and you never see them with it again, they will tell you it is at their compound ( home ) safe. It isn't, they have sold it or taken it to one of the shops for a refund.
Lamin Lawyer is a well known tourist taxi driver outside Mansea Beach, he is a good friend of ours and respects all travellers to his country. ask for him if you need a taxi, tell him you read about him on this site."
- Travel date: Sun 24th of February 2008
Firstly let me say that this was our ten...
"Firstly let me say that this was our tenth visit to The Gambia and we have stayed at Senegambia, Kombo Beach, Sunset Beach, and Palma Rima previously. We have also looked round other hotels to check on what else is available. We are therefore well used to the low comparable standards of accomodation that this "poor" country has to offer and have always been able to cope with it. Then we came to Mansea Beach over Xmas this year and found it to be far and away the most apalling hotel we have ever encountered, whether in The Gambia or anywhere else in the world for that matter.
The rooms are in a disgusting state of dilapidation and need total renovation. The electrical points are in a dangerous condition and the plumbing is haphazard at best. Several of the guests when we were here commented that it was like "Tenko" (remember the TV programme about a Jap prisoner of war camp?). We asked for a fridge in our room and paid extra - when it arrived there was more rust on it than white and it contained several cockroaches inside!
The breakfast buffet is simply awful, with minimum choice and constantly running out of things. The female members of staff tended to be rather surly, although most of the male ones tried to be helpful. It was quite amusing to be sat by the pool and watching a batch of new arrivals being taken to their rooms - then to see several immediately coming back out to be moved to other rooms, only to find out that they were no better!!
We saw bumsters being allowed into the pool area that were brought in by guests. One morning a female guest arrived at the pool area at 8am with 2 of these characters - all 3 were drunk and they continued drinking and using hotel facilities, alongside families with children who were also sat around the pool. My recommendation is that if you are planning to come to The Gambia - pay a little bit more and stay at either Kombo Beach, Senegambia, or Kairaba - avoid Mansea Beach like the plague!!!"
- Travel date: Sun 6th of January 2008
"On arrival at this hotel we discovered that the rooms allocated to us had not been cleaned,beds not made,dirty wet towels left in the shower,previous occupants empty toiletries left all over the floor,maybe because their was no bin available ? The shower room window had no covering and looked out over a public corridor,it would have been impossible to shower with any privacy.Their was an overpowering smell of mould and damp.The furniture was falling apart,and the mosqito net at the window was full of holes,affording no protection at all.The management's answer to our problems was laughable if not so serious,the bed would be remade but no clean linen was available as it was not yet dry !! The towels would be hung over the balcony to dry and would be fine to use.The shower room was infested with cockroaches,and no suitable solution was offered to this problem.My husband had been trying for the previous week to resolve these problems and had been told on a daily basis,that suitable rooms would be found,he had to leave the hotel and find friends to stay with,on my arrival,the situation reached boiling point,we had to stay one night but was moved the following morning.We were then told by the hotel staff that many guests were complaining.."
- Travel date: Tue 4th of December 2007
The Smiling Coast
"We stayed here the 1st week in Nov , a good hotel if a little off the main road . The advise of "take a torch " was the best ,glad we did , The hotel is friendly & our room was good although friends of ours in another room were not impressed .We made friends with our room cleaner & he made sure we had fresh clean towels & gave the room a good clean through everyday.The staff are very friendly & will do anything for you although the service could do with a boost . The breakfast is basic but ok . The meals at the hotel are not great but we ate out at the many resturants on "the strip" choose from Chinese,Lebonese ,Pizza English whatever you fancy but do try the Gambian food its great ,especially the fish , Butterfish is my fave but try the ladyfish or Barracuda. We ate this a good few times in the Baobuo bar on the beach simple but friendly & much cheaper than the hotel, The beach is fab with many activities i,e horseriding, quads ,bodysurfing but beware the currents in the sea!! or you can just sunbathe with the cooling breeze from the sea its good .Buy peanut cakes & fruit from the beach ladies & relax! The Gambians are very very friendly people too much so at times but just be polite & friendly back they are only trying to earn a living ,Do try to stick to the licenced guys & avoid the bumpsters offers ,dont encourage them. Remember that a little goes a long way when tipping & we tried to give a little to a lot rather than a lot to a few , even when shopping ,they dont mind if you buy one thing from each seller . Take a good suncream & plenty of mozzie spray we were careful to cover ourselves in it each eve & had no problems but we saw plenty who did! Happy Holidays!!"
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of November 2007
Mansea Beach was a nice place
"I was happy with the Mansea Beach Hotel, especially for the price. I booked my package a few days before I went (I went at the end of March) on website "holidayhypermarket" for only Â£385 for a week, this included a single supplement as I was travelling alone. When I first arrived I did feel alarmed at the security, there were safety deposit boxes in reception, but i didnt use them because I like to have easy access to my things. It did look as if the door to my balcony and my front door to my room had been forced open in the past, this along with the big wall around the hotel made feel me paranoid. I think this was just nerves at being in Africa for the first time. I kept my ipod/ mobile/cash/camera and passport locked in my suitcase and it was fine. I also realised that they were so many staff around at all times, it would be hard for anyone to break into my room.
The hotel has a nice pool and lovely gardens. Normally Im a beach person but due to the bumsters and the sea looking too rough to swim,
I spent most days lying around the pool and it was nice. The staff are very attentive and will bring you food and drinks, I never ever tipped them but they were still nice. I did tip once when I wanted a fridge bought to my room, which came very promptly. I also had a problem with my shower once, the tap came off in my hand and the guy came almost straight away to sort it out.
My room was large and comfy, with a massive wardrobe. The decor is rather dingy, but it was fine for me. My room looked onto the gardens, so sitting on my balcony was very pleasant. I imagine though that some of the other rooms wouldn't have had such nice views. It was noisy at times, one night a club nearby was playing music until 4am, and some couple in my corridor had a blazing row at 5am, I didnt mind this too much, but when the maid woke me up at 9.30am the next day, I was angry. I wish they had do not disturb signs! The maids realised I wasn't an early riser and only knocked on my door on 2 of the days. But even when they didnt knock they woke me up with their loud chatter in the corridors.
Leaving the hotel grounds was stressful at first, as you get all these guys calling out to you. The first time I walked to the beach a guy walked with me for an hour, but he was polite and never asked for anything. It was annoying though, so I learnt to be firm and just say "please leave me alone, I don't want to be followed". I started being quite rude towards them by the end of the holiday. Once you have a bit of a tan they seem to leave you alone.
If I went back to the Gambia I may pay more and stay at a hotel right on the beach. The Senegambia hotel looked lovely, I had a drink there one night, the bar is very plush but prices reasonable. The grounds are beautiful, and sunbeds nice (you can pay to use them if you don't stay there). However I expect it costs much more than the Mansea."
- Travel date: Tue 8th of May 2007