11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Lovely holiday going back soon
"Had a lovely weeks holiday in the Bakotu Hotel. Staff were really helpful. Although not a birdwatcher enjoyed a birdwatching trip with George who works from the hotel. Lots of excellent restaurants nearby. Very clean no worries about upset stomachs etc. Loved the fruit ladies on the beach. Rooms basic but adequate, comfy beds cool. Breakfast basic but all you need on a hot day. Cooked breakfast available if you want one for an extra charge. Thoroughly enjoyed the week, booking 2 weeks for Feb 2014.
- Travel date: Thu 18th of July 2013
My little peice of heavan
"superb place, totally different experience,wild monkeys,crocs, good food,friendly people,nice and hot."
- Travel date: Thu 13th of March 2008
Great place for interesting experience
"Came for a 2 week relaxing holiday, but enden up spending less time on the beach and more time exploring the country and its beautiful people.
Found people very friendly and generous. We were invited home to our local official guide to celebrate Tabaski! He took care of us and hanging with him made that others outside the hotel left us alone - were friendly, but did not try to "steal" us away from "our" guide.
The staff at the hotel were very friendly and always ready for a chat.
Had lots of lovely fish and lovely fruit.
- Travel date: Fri 25th of January 2008
A Great Hotel
"Myself and my wife and son have stayed at the bakotu hotel for the las two christmas and new year periods and have had a fantastic time there, the staff are superb and friendly, the setting inside is beautiful and the rooms although basic they are very adeqate, the food is good and the captains table is exellent. Iwill be staying there again for sure."
- Travel date: Tue 22nd of January 2008
Calm oasis in the middle of hectic Kotu
"I stayed at this hotel when I went out to the Gambia for my sister's wedding. It was my first time in the Gambia. The hotel always felt calm and welcoming after hectic days. The gardens are full of amazing birds and monkeys regularly parade around the paths. I liked the fact it was smaller and did not try to provide me with lots of "organised entertainment" that the bigger hotels lay on. The staff were always friendly. The breakfasts are a bit on the basic side, but you can add to them from the menu for a small extra cost. The day my sister got married, she got ready in my room and we had some photographs done in the hotel gardens. When the staff realised she was going to her wedding, they brought flowers to give to her. Then what seemed like the entire staff led her out to the door, dancing as they went. It was really unexpected and a wonderful start to her wedding day."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of November 2007
First vsit to Gambia
"Having used trip advisor a number times to check out accommodation we thought it was time we submitted a review.
Have just returned from a trip to The Gambia. We went with Gambia Experience and chose to stay at Bakotu. The brochure description is accurate, especially about the continental breakfast although when a guest complained they did offer alternative to bread rolls and cheese.The "occasional visits" from loud local entertainers occured every night, but they did stop at 10.30.
Although the room was basic it was clean, and the staff are very friendly. We had to stay an extra day because of technical problems with plane and Gambia Experience promptly arranged accommodation for us at Kombo Beach, which is across the road from Bakotu. It was ok, but we were glad we had chosen the smaller more relaxing hotel for our holiday.
We decided not to go on tour operator`s trips but use local guides. Outside the hotel on our first morning a British couple introduced us to a guide. He was a bird watchers guide called Alieu (Alex) Barry who has his own website [----]. He was very good and he introduced us to the people and bird life of The Gambia. We went on trips with him to Abuko; a visit to his former primary school; a canoe trip; Brufut Wood and Tanji. Although we had some interest in birds before our visit to The Gambia he certainly had made us enthusiasts by the end of the trip.
We found all the bird guides we met on our strolls down to Kotu bridge very friendly and knowledgeable. Bumsters are part of the experience, and we found them all good natured. When we were out on our own and approached by bumsters we usually found that by saying we had a guide, and naming him, soon made them go away. We had also made friends with a fruit seller and mentioning her name reduced the hassle on the beach.
We found The Gambia a very relaxing, friendly place and hope to make a return trip sometime."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of February 2007
Simple but comfortable and pleasant accommodation
"Bakotu Hotel has mostly bungalow type accommodation. Bakotu Hotel and Bakotu self-catering apartments are not the same thing, though next to each other.
GOOD POINTS. The accommodation was comfortable and clean and maids were doing an excellent job to keep it that way. All windows had anti-mosquito nets. The staff were friendly and the grounds were very green and lush. The pool water was crystal clear. The hotelâs two restaurants, Captainâs Table inside the hotel and Boss Lady outside it, served tasty meals, though choice couldâve been more varied. The hotel has a convenience store but prices are comparable to those in the UK.
BAD POINTS. As soon as you step outside the hotel, you are approached by numerous bumsters offering all kinds of services and/or stories with only one aim - to get some money out of you. Nevertheless, local bumsters are not allowed into the hotel or its restaurants and youâre not likely to be physically assaulted, unless you ask for it, of course. There are ways in avoiding bumsters and you will learn it pretty quick. The inclusive breakfast was little too modest and didnât change much throughout the week. Remember, that Gambian people like to take their time and service might appear slow, hence GMT - Gambia Maybe Time.
Overall we enjoyed the stay and were sad to leave. If not for bumsters, we would definitely return to Bakotu Hotel again. For more information visit [----] but note that their email service is not functioning and make sure you take with you the Rough Guide book The Gambia."
- Travel date: Tue 20th of February 2007
Ok but not great
"I booked this hotel after booking a last minute flight. I have travelled extensively and therefore am not naive in terms of visiting what is a Third World Country. The plus for this hotel is that I they were helpful on the phone when I wanted to book. I had emailed about ten hotels without response; others I had telephoned but couldn't get much sense out of the staff. January is high season for Gambia and quite a lot of other hotels were full.
The hotel arranged the pick up from the Airport. The driver was friendly and efficient and we paid him in sterling as requested.
Initially, the hotel reception staff were friendly. We were shown the room which was adequate. Unfortunately the bed broke as soon as one of us sat on it. This happened quite late and therefore the bed was propped up by a paint tin. Actually this temporary arrangement was Ok and it was dealt with quickly and without any fuss. We were moved to a superior room in the morning. The rooms are clean and comfortable.
The breakfast is pretty grim. Two bread rolls, three thin slices of cheese and a cube of butter. A glass of fruit juice was plonked down in front of you, together with either tea or coffee. This is not change for the entire week. There were other alternatives available, but at extra cost.
The pool bar staff have a tendancy not to have any change available.... As the hotel offers a currency exchange service this is pretty poor. It is a scam in Gambia that people will not have any change for you if you buy something. We found that if we declared that in that case we would not buy the item, the change miraculously appeared. I was not impressed that this occurred in the hotel and on more than one occasion.
We found that after our check in with reception, the service there declined. It was not just us - we witnessed the mediocre and uninterested service other people received. Waiting on staff were just as bad.
On the other hand, the cleaning and maintenance staff were a joy to deal with. They went out of their way to be helpful and friendly. I must make it clear that I am not only talking about the cleaner for our room - all the ladies were like that, so it wasn't merely a 'I'll be nice - they will leave me a tip" scenario.
Restaurants in Kotu are more expensive than elsewhere. The beers were Â£1, as opposed to 50p one could get by walking a little further. The food was a lot more expensive than I had anticipated but not prohibitive. Go to Kololi to eat and for a bit of life - Kotu is VERY quiet. We didn't suffer any problems with tummy bugs.
The bumsters are not really a problem if you are firm to begin with - they will move on to easier targets. We found a reliable, honest and friendly taxi driver and we used him to make our own tours and visits. There is a 'guide' culture in Gambia but we weren't interested in this.
The Gambia is a lot safer than other African countries. The people want the tourism and you will find children waving to you without an agenda. However there a lots of people wanting to make money out of you - some working on 'Projects' - childrens schools, health facilities, et al. Others have personal 'tragedies', etc. Use some sense - don't believe everything you hear. Don't let this put you off - The Gambia is a great place to visit, with many genuine, friendly people and lots to see and do.
Out of choice I will not stay in this hotel again. There are others in the Kololi/Kotu region that are much nicer for the same price. However, in all fairness it is not a bad place to stay."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of January 2007
loved the people
"our first visit to gambia but not our last. The staff at the hotel are great as are the locals.We went out with YA YA known as Big Belly and the tour guide Alpha. You will find big belly at the tables outsde the hotel, he will look after you and take you out into the country for a good price, get him to take you fishing, you will have such a laugh and good time especially if you take Alpha as well. The staff at the hotel are doing a good job and earn every penny, the hotel needs some money spending on it but it is clean and friendly and the monkeys do add a little something to your stay. If you want to know where the monkeys are in the day just ask the man in the blue hat (we named him the monkey man much to the delight of other staff) he can find them any time of the day. We intend to return to the Gambia asp. never have we been so chilled out, we took off our watches on arrival and did not put them on again untill we had to come home, try it and you will be surprised how we live by the clock at home. The bumpsters are no problem, they have to survive and after all we are in their country, just talk to them and ask about the gambia and you will be their friend for ever, and after all what is a few dalasi to us is a fortune to them. One last thing Alex in the stipey bell shaped had, does a great birdwatching trip. I could go on forever about the place, basically try it, do not have great expectations re facilities and be friends with the people and you cannot go wrong."
- Travel date: Wed 17th of May 2006
Sun, love and lovely people in The Gambia
"I spend most wonderfull two weeks in The Gambia. Our hotel Bakotu was nice and clean, an it was so great that every morning monkeys came to our balcony to eat breakfast with us. I was traavelling with my husband, and we really enjoyed Gambia. There was very warm (+30-33C) and sun was shining every day. There are kilometres of lovely "empty" beaches. It was great to walk in the shore. Local people were nice, though you had to say "no thank you" sometimes, because they were too friendly. If you want sun and peace of your holiday, go to Gambia. There is not many tourists, so it is the best place to be.
Food was very good (fresh fish) and not very expencive. We went for some trips and safari, but they were quite expensive, because the cost of fuel. I can only recommend warmely The Gambia to all people!!"
- Travel date: Thu 29th of December 2005
Nice basic hotel
"I was in Bakotu hotel in January 2005 with my father. If you go to Bakotu, donÂ´t wait for a five star hotel, but youÂ´ll find a very nice basic place to stay over. Our stay was very pleasant. We were warned about the lack of electrisity and warm water, but we had no problems with those. Even though, always take a flashlight with you when you go outside in the night; The African night is very dark! The room was very basic, but the bed and shower were good. No bug problems in the hotel. Unless you forget juices opened... The garden with monkeys was absolutely beautiful! One night we woke up to a knock on the door. I opened it, there was a monkey smiling at me :) . The restaurant in the hotel is not very flattering, youÂ´ll find better ones near by in the village. The pool is not very big, but cooling and the area around it is nice. People that work in the hotel were all very friendly and helpful. There are lots of bumsters outside the hotel. If you donÂ´t want them to bother you, donÂ´t say no, they donÂ´t seem to understand that word. Say maybe later or maybe tomorrow, that always works! But remember that the bumsters can also be good quides, you can ask them about life in Gambia and they love to tell and hear stories! We had wonderful time in Gambia, hope youÂ´ll have too!"
- Travel date: Wed 20th of July 2005