smartline Palma Rima
38 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Palma Rip Off
"Literally just returned from Palma Rima Hotel Gambia. On arrival filthy sheets,filthy room,no fan,rude staff,prostitution rife,everyone on the take. Stayed in cell block after mosquito infestation had to move to bungalow at extra cost. Bungalows basic but a lot nicer. Avoid this hotel like the plague. The only thing going for this hotel is it's swimming pool. The hotel is known locally as Palma Rip Off........
- Travel date: Sun 22nd of April 2012
Think twice before you go
"We had visited The Palma Rima in 2004 and it was great but 8 years on we were not ready for what we found.We had booked a bungalow where we found the sat box for the TV missing and the plugged in mains power lead had bare live wires where they had been discounted from sat box,there was no hot water,the toilet sound like a fog horn when flushed and when I lifted cistern lid I found the ball cock held on with twine.After several promises of repairs I insisted on moving rooms and this bungalow was basic but tv worked ,hot water was there sometimes,toilet fine.Air condition expensive.Staff are friendly and pools great and food was limited but cooked well.Think twice as this hotel as staff told us has had no maintenance work carried out in years. And as a tradesman in my opinion the palma rima needs extensive renovation work done to achieve the 3 star rating"
- Travel date: Sat 18th of February 2012
"I had my eyes opened on my first visit to the Gambia, having read the reviews me and my partner were worried what to expect, we couldn't be more wrong. On ariving at our bungalow we were surprised how spacious it was and it was spotless (yes it is fairly basic, but it has everything we needed). We were woken up in the morning by monkeys outside our window!!! Breakfast consists of eggs, beans, cereals, pastries etc. Pool area spotless, you will see Omar cleaning the pool morning to night!, Weather glorious. All inclusive menus catered for all tastes (chips available all day), staff were always helpful. You will hear sob stories from staff about poor wages, my advise is tip at the end of holiday only if you have had the service you expect. Taxi's outside the hotel are cheap and drivers are great (shame about the cars, but its a laugh if nothing else). Keep anything valuable in the safety deposit boxes as bungalows are not the most secure. We looked at other hotels, but found the Palma Rima as good as anything else, yea it is not 5* luxury, but for a cheap relaxing holiday it is spot on!! Be firm but polite to the BUMSTERS they soon get the message and remember to haggle with costs!!! Enjoy"
- Travel date: Tue 24th of January 2012
Great place but please be careful
"I visited the gambia with seven friends (aged 24-36)back in 2008.... The hotel is extremely basic however with it being a developing country our expectations weren't too high in the first place.
The bungalows were fairly basic but We were out all day long, every single day, therefore it served its purpose as a base for a quick shower, change and a place to sleep! Yes it did smell fairly 'foisty' and the beds werent the best but what the hell... We got a bargain dea through first choice therefore we had no complaints.
The pool was great and the pool area was always clean and tidy. the food was basic and perhaps the drinks were slightly over priced but hey, we were on holiday and therefore just wanted to enjoy ourselves. The entertainment was poor but once again, what are people expecting... A 5 star cabaret show??? Its gambia remember not Vegas.
I have travelled far and wide and although at first wasnt truly convinced about a trip to gambia, i can say hand on heart I loved it. The culture, the experience... It was all worth it.
Only one concern, which is the main reason for me writing the review. THE BUMSTERS.... There were several of us in our group, all young and not at all intimidated. yes they do hound the life out of you but a firm no always did the trick. The main concern is regarding one in particular who goes by the name of 'Mr Barrow'. He has long dreads and wears shades. He bases himself outside Palma Rima and after discussion with him he soon became our 'guide', as we later learned was what he did weekly with new visitors. He took us far and wide every single day for a pittance if the truth is know. For less than Â£5 each we would be out from early morning to late evening. In thanks we took him out for meals everyday and made a fuss of both him and our driver. We had an amazing time and wouldnt have seen half of what we did if we hadnt had a local guide.
However, like may other tourists we took an abundance of pens, pencils, games, paper pads, lollipops etc as we wanted to visit a school. We had the name of a school however Mr barrow talked us out of it and said he knew a school way way out that never got any visitors, so naively we felt we must visit that one. the children were adorable, however on observing him talking slyly to the headmaster it was clear there was something 'dodgy' going on. We sang with the children, took part in their lessons, laughed and danced. It was AMAZINg and an experience I will never forget.
On leaving the school we asked if we could give out the pens etc to the children however 'Mr barrow' told us not to as they would be overwhelmed. we kind of understood, and gave them each a lolly (you would have thought we had given them the world). We got back on the bus feeling very humble and made our way back to the hotel after what was an emotional, heart rendering day. Mr barrow told us that if we were to send any money or gifts to the school we should do it through him, as items often were stolen on arrival to the country...... Alarm bells began ringing however we tried to get on with our evening... even taking Mr Barrow out for a slap up meal of steak and prawns.
The next day the boys from our group were walking down to the beach and noticed some familiar items in the little taxi stands en route... Our 'tesco' and 'asda' A4 pads, our pens, pencils, rubbers, toys... all stacked up. Turns out Mr Barrow was also in charge of all the taxi stations and the children had received NOTHING !!!! Mr Barrow had been in cahoots with the headmaster and it must have been arranged for him to return for our items. After a big confrontation with him it emerged that our thoughts were correct... The children had indeed received nothing. He apologised giving us some sob story, but our trip to the school had all been for nothing. Yes it was great to see the children but all our efforts to better their education had been thwarted by this awful man ......PLEASE BE WARNED AS THESE KIND BUMSTERS AREN'T ALL THEY SEEM... THEY WILL STEAL FROM THIER OWN AND I DONT DOUBT THIER ABILITY DO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
On leaving the country several of us had items such as aftershave, make up etc stolen out of our case at the airport !!!!
I would still encourage people to visit this cultural extravaganza of a place but please please do not put your trust in anybody.... And please go with an open mind x x x
- Travel date: Fri 28th of January 2011
"just returned from this hotel after 1 week, i have travelled extensivly in the world but have never seen such a disscustingly bad excuse for a hotel. it had everthing you dont want,death bugs,drugs,moronic guests,, staff continually on the take,high prices for zero quality, and to top it all , only 1 way in and outof the hotel so you have to run the gauntlet of bumsters and theives that wait 24hrs outside the gate. the localls call this hovel the prison, buti am sure prison cannot be this bad. lastly do not expect to have a plesant stay here, we dident and we always look on the bright side "
- Travel date: Wed 10th of March 2010
"This hotel is great value for money , rooms are clean and tidy, staff are friendly, a lovely place too stay, the breakfast was ok , but just ok , I have been to Gambia 7 times , and I have stayed in worse hotels and better in Cape point, Dont get me wrong this hotel is not of European standard but I would realy really strongly recommeded it your not going to any better for a budget hotel, swimming poool , tennis, table tennis, poolvolleyball in the afternoon, evening entertainment "
- Travel date: Mon 25th of January 2010
Don'T book this hotel !!!
"This hotel was one of the worse hotels ive ever stayed in.
The Staff management ,who were not Gambian by the way but Lebanese , were so rude and had no idea how to treat their guests.The room was dirty,with no phone ,no fan ,no tv,old tatty towels,smelly pillows etc.The shower glass panel was broken at the bottom to leave a very dangerous sharp knife edge [see photo ].And to think there was a childrens cot in the room.
The hotel was in a desperate need of a lick of paint. The breakfast was very poor,I didnt eat there,in fact i checked into another hotel during my 2nd week of the trip as it was that bad.
I wasnt allowed any visiters even though id paid for a double room and slept alone.I did enjoy Gambia but this hotel was annoyingly bad,unbelievable!!!"
- Travel date: Sun 3rd of January 2010
"I have been to the gambia on 9 occassions and i will go back, but not to this hotel!
this was the 5th time i have stayed here and each time it has deteriorated. The pool was the only thing that was great. It is the biggest in The Gambia and i used it daily. The old guy who puts out the mats for the sunbeds always remembers you and puts your towels out for you in your preferred area. The rooms were extremely dull. I think nothing has changed in them since my first stay here 8 years ago. The towels were stained and threadbare, there was a hole in my sheet that my toe got caught in and ripped the sheet. Although cleaners came in every day there is little they could do with a rag and broom. The entertainment was a complete joke! The food was inedible. breakfast was fresh porridge and stale bread or fresh bread and stale porridge! The staff looked embarassed to be there. I like the Gambia as a whole, the people are lovely, the weather is great and when you find somewhere else to stay then it surpasses expectations. We ate a lot at Luigis restaurant and will probably stay there next time. Other hotels that we have stayed at and been pleased are Kombo Beach and the Atlantic in Banjul. A word on the bumsters that are always around - just say FIRMLY "no thanks" and walk on, this was usually sufficient to deter them, if they then persistred in walking with you do not interact and they will wander off to a more likely target."
- Travel date: Fri 6th of November 2009
Basic But You Get What You Pay For
"I travelled to Gambia for the first time in February 2008. I had booked a "main block" room but was upgraded to a bungalow room on arrival. The room itself was lovely - spacious, clean, good clean bathroom and large enough wardrobe, the lock on the patio-style doors did seem a little flimsy but I had no security issues during my stay - in fact I had a security guard sitting outside of my bungalow 24hrs a day! The swimming pool was very good (the largest in Gambia), and always appeared clean to me. The breakfast was almost non-existent unless you like stale bread and watery jam and the food available in the snack bar & restaurant was of a much lower standard than we found elsewhere in the area, and much more expensive. Drinks are also expensive compared to local bars. The waiting staff were not particularly friendly or helpful (although maybe you could put that down to the 12 hour shifts they were working without a meal break!). In that heat that would be enough to make anyone lose enthusiasm! Basically, you pay for a cheaper hotel & what you get for your money is reasonable."
- Travel date: Tue 9th of June 2009
worst hotel in gambia
"If you go to Gambia because of the wonderful people and scratch beneath the glossy surface of the Palme Rima it has a very ugly underside.We love the gambian people and chat to them the way you do.The staff would chat but would be looking over their shoulders because they can be sacked for chatting to the guests.This nasty attitude of the Lebanese and indian management was demonstrated by two nasty incidents.
One time my wife and I were walkin out of the hotel and stopped to chat to a young boy of about 19.We asked how he was and he told us he had a head ache for 2 days.I told by wife to go and get some paracetamol.She returned and gave the boy some paracetamol tablets in a packet with instructions of how to take them.
Two nights later we saw the boy and he told us an indian overseer had seen us giving him the paracetamol and suspended him for 3 days for begging.I said I would speak with the general manager but he begged me not to as if I did he would be sacked.
The other incident occoured when a gambian lady we have known for three years was going to go out with my wife and I.The lady had been to a wedding and a naming ceromony and so arrived at the hotel hot and sticky.I invited her to use our facilities to refresh.Within 2 minutes of her entering our bungalow an arab security guard hammered on the door.He shouted GET HER OUT SHE IS NOT ALLOWED IN THE ROOM.I replied yes give her 5 minutes.no now he screamed. Our dear friend of three years was very embarrassed and upset.
I complained to the general manager and was told that the arab guard would apologised but it never happened.
Had these incidents not occoured I could have forgiven the fact that the toilet did not flush and it took three days to rectify the fault and the fact that the bathroom door did not fully shut and the breakfast was possibly the poorest of ant hotel I have stayed in.
I will go back to gambia next year but not to this hotel.The same opinion was given by many of the guests we spoke to
- Travel date: Sun 29th of March 2009
Tatty & Jaded
"We travelled to Gambia on Christmas Day for two weeks staying at the Palma Rima Hotel. Our first impressions were that the hotel was ok . We upgraded before we went to a bungalow (19C) which was near the back facing the perimeter fence. The bungalow was a good size, clean and the shower worked well and the maids came in everyday and cleaned . My only complaints about the room were that the flyscreens on the window had lots of big holes in so we were unable to have the windows open as due to the vegetation surrounding the bungalows mosquitoes were prevalent night and day and of course this made the room very stuffy. Air conditioning was available but at an extra cost of Â£210 for the fortnight. The bedding had seen better days and is probably long overdue replacement. Also the lock on the patio door was very flimsy and there were signs that someone had tried to force entry previously. Having said that it was the cheapest holiday on offer to the Gambia at the time so we werenât expecting the Ritz.
The Entertainment Team were sacked half way through the holiday (not a great loss!!) but obviously trying to save money. The swimming pool was big but again down to penny pinching the filters were not switched on during the day and hence the pool was always full of dead flies. We visited the Senegambia Hotel and what a difference, it was only then that we realized how tatty and jaded Palm Rima is. Surely it wouldnât take much to money to bring the standard up to scratch?? Breakfast â well we knew what to expect (or not!!) from other reviews and not being âbreakfastâ people we werenât unduly bothered but I would say that it wasnât easy to get the toast and egg !!! We didnât eat and drink any other meals in the Hotel as we found these to be quite expensive compared to outside the hotel. Having said that the Xmas/ New Year Gala meal that was provided free was superb.
Towards the end of our first week whilst in our room with the lights off in the early evening, a security guard knocked on our door with an unknown local person on the pretence of trying to sell us business stationary (???!!!) both times they were told we werenât interested. We reported this to the hotel management and the Tour Rep as this âlocal personâ should have not been in the grounds and we got the feeling that this was just a ruse to see if our bungalow was occupied. Then in our second week over the course of a few days there were 5-6 break ins in the hotel complex (all in the dormitory block) which like us faced the perimeter fence. The perimeter fence is in a bad state and it must have been easy for the culprits to enter the complex. There are security guards dotted all over the accommodation areas and the question must be asked how the break ins occurred in the day time with two security guards looking after the dormitory block. Also during our stay there were 3 muggings outside the hotel and this is due to the fact that are so many opportunists and bumsters hanging around outside. The bumsters are a major problem outside this hotel and as a result many people did not leave the hotel unless necessary. The beach is a few hundred metre walk from the hotel and you had to run the gauntlet of the bumsters everytime. We were quite adept at getting rid of them but it just winds you down having to go through the rigmarole every time you leave the hotel. The road beside the hotel running down to the beach and a few bars and restaurants is unlit and very dark at night - we took a torch and felt a lot safer. Some of the guys outside the hotel are friendly but there were quite a few that were quite menacing especially at night. I think the Palma Rima Hotel should address this problem if they want guests to return.
I personally would not return to the Palma Rima because I think it is being run into the ground and the owners are taking the money out and putting nothing back into it. The security is a big issue and needs addressing. The Hotel management and the Tour Reps played down the incidents whilst we were there obviously not wanting adverse publicity .
- Travel date: Sun 18th of January 2009
"Second visit to The Gambia & Palma Rima by 2 granddaughters, 2 daughters, wife & myself. First visit was Feb 2007
Resort has the largest pool in the Gambia. Dining arrangement have changed from last time when it was serve yourself & a lot of wasted food. Chefs now serve the food and amounts are sufficient, but if you want somemore, then there is no problem in 'second time around'
Staff are polite and friendly. Say Hi to Moses,Solomon,Osman & Saikou for us.
Tourist Police are very helpful and have tighter control on 'Bumsters' (aka street & beach sellers. A firm but polite NO will also do the trick"
- Travel date: Sun 18th of January 2009