18 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Very Good Hotel excellent people
"Stayed at the Sunset Beach Hotel Gambia for 12 nights really great holiday. Excellent service from the date we checked in. Hotel staff were excellent especially in the restaurant. Food was great & so was the service.
Our room was comfortable, roomy & clean. I expected a run down hotel in a manky condition but was pleasantly surprised. The location if the hotel was brilliant right on the beach.
The bumsters on the beach are less of a problem these days due to the army being present. Everyone who appraoches a tourist now, has to have a card stating that they can work on the beach.
I recommend that if you stay at this hotel, go and visit the boys to the right of the hotel on the beach. They are a great bunch of poeple, friendy & welcoming. Go & have a freshly made juice made from real fruit from Moses, Kevin, Lamin & the others. Go jammin with Lamin at night & take a tour or go body boarding with Lamin Gassama aka Tribeca Surf. These men all have permits from the Gambia Tourist Authority & are permitted to approach tourists, please note that they are not bumsters. Ask one of these people to take you on a tour & see the real Gambia not one that has been put on by a tour operator, you end up by paying far less this way & see real people. We went to the monkey park at Bijilo, Sacred crocodile pool, Paradise Beach, Cape Point & Banjul's Albert Market. On our last day, the juice boys on the beach next to the hotel threw a party for us, a fire on the beach, music & a bbq.
In all a really great holiday, good value for money & brilliant people. Im going again in September. The only downfall of our holiday was coming back home "
- Travel date: Fri 26th of March 2010
"Arriving at the Sunset Beach Hotel was luxrious and welcoming after half a days travel.
Warm air against your skin avenue of pam trees with red and yellow exotic flowers lining the path, along with the view on to the Atlantic Ocean with golden sand is the picture from your bedroom window, no other words to describe it but absolute Heaven.
- Travel date: Mon 30th of March 2009
My first holiday and the BEST
"This was a holiday i will never forget it was amazing sun sea and sand what more can u ask for. Before we went we read some reviews and sort of dreding going, well i was as it was my first holiday and the reviews wasnt always good and people were saying it wasnt clean and that they got things stolen from the hotel.
When we arrived at sunset hotel everyone was so helpful and friendly. Our room was basic but clean and tidy, it was lovly as we was in a bungalow right in front of the sea it was truly out of this world.
I would like to think that i would go back one day but would go with a couple of guys as it was just me and my friend and found it hard to walk out of the hotel without being hasseled by the locals. It felt a little scary as we were two young women with loads of men surrounding us.
Overall it was amazing just gotta be strong and so NO we found it hard but you just ignore that and enjoy your stay there. "
- Travel date: Fri 13th of February 2009
I got a week stay at this hotel and like...
"I got a week stay at this hotel and like the other reviews say, itâs not the best of hotels but I did actually enjoy my stay there. The rooms were basic but they were clean and the maids came regularly.
The staff at the bar and dining area are always polite and the food was different but very tasty. I never had a problem finding something I liked.
I went on a boat trip and it was reasonably priced, you got dinner and as much drink as you liked and the boat stops off so that you can swim finished off with a beach stop which was nice.
A holiday is what you make it and I made this holiday enjoyable so please donât be put off by the bad reviews.
- Travel date: Wed 11th of July 2007
We went to the Sunset Beach hotel as a p...
"We went to the Sunset Beach hotel as a party of 4, myself and wife and sister in law and husband.
We landed at Banjul airport about 3 in the afternoon, after being on an air conditioned plane for six hours going into the Gambian sun was fantastic, like standing in front of the biggest hairdryer on earth.
On the way to the hotel I thought the guide was a bit sarcastic to the locals, but I suppose he had a job and thought he was better than the rest.
Everybody in reception was very nice and sorted our room out very quickly. That was bad, as we found out when we got into our room; it was cramped dirty and over the restaurant.
The next day we saw my sister in laws bungalow and immediately my wife went to reception and demanded a change of room which they organised within 2 hours (strangely my sister in law was jealous because we had a sea view and a balcony , which is what we booked).
We then stayed 2 doors away from relations and were next to the juice boys on the beach, which meant fresh drinks every day ( ok they charge Â£1 a go but they try to make a living, and can you get fresh (I mean fresh) juice anywhere in England for Â£1.
If you go to the Gambia and complain about being hassled then remember, if you saw somebody paying a monthâs wages for a meal would you feel disgruntled?
As for the prices, well we went into Senegambia most nights and 8 of us would eat drink and enjoy the street life for 4 hours and the biggest bill came to 3500 dalasi, about Â£70 ( we can drink) cheapest night was about 1800 dalasi Â£36, and we didn't stay sober.
Banjul market is a nightmare so if you donât like enclosed spaces stay away.
Were going back in November. Well sun sea and everything in the winter is fantastic.
To sum the holiday up I would say, if you want 5 star hotel and privacy donât go to Gambia. But if you want the best fun on earth then go and enjoy yourself."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of July 2007
I was quite excited about coming to Gamb...
"I was quite excited about coming to Gambia, I had travelled to many different countries and Thomas Cook said we would just love this place.
I knew it was a poor country before I left England but I had been given great assurance that the hotels were amazing.
Well what can I say except some of the hotels we stopped at to let passengers off where absolutely unbelievable and I was absolutely dreading getting to Sunset Beach as we were the last stop on the journey.
I was actually quite relieved when we arrived as it was not as bad as I had been dreading; however once we got to our room the smile was wiped off my face. The room really were bad.
There is basic and then there is dirty. It was awful and the neighbours next door were also out complaining.
It had been a long journey and I needed the bathroom that was also an experience. The toilet would not flush as the pull chain did not work and so the bell boy or whatever you call them (them that want your money for nothing) showed us that we had to climb on the seat put our hand in a cistern and flick a lever. Absolutely crazy!
It was an awful week and you could hear the neighbours every movement, lots of things were stolen, however I did get a safe upon arrival so I had no problem.
The hotel pool was a nightmare, it was not at all big and it seems that all the local kids use it so guests were very annoyed, including me.
They also say that you are on the beach and yes there is a beach leading down from the hotel grounds. Then you have to wade through a filthy lagoon thing to reach another beach and the sea. It was so hard work and Iâm glad my children were not with us.
The staff were pleasant enough until you wanted something from them and they then played thick and pretended that they did not know what you meant. Yeh right, they were not thick when it came to money.
Be careful if you leave the Hotel as the down and outs appear and well, just tell them to do one because they are so hard work. An older couple hired 2 as guides; they agreed a fee, had a lovely day, bought the lads lunch and left them at the hotel door.
All seemed fine however for the next 5 days they were demanding money off them and in the end it got very hairy so be warned these people are often pretty volatile.
Another con is the cheap fags, these guys appear on the day of departure, 4.00 for 200, and sounds great doesnât it. Hmmm well many are tempted, me included and itâs the same in the airport.
They get you buying loads then they get your suitcase open it up and demand whatever money they can see. Then if you do pay and keep them, get back home and customs have already been informed and are ready for you! So donât be tempted because it ends up costing you dearly.
I would have give this hotel a 2 rating however I found a nice Christian church and the people there were fantastic and that made my holiday. "
- Travel date: Thu 26th of April 2007
Okay so you want to go to Gambia? Itâs...
"Okay so you want to go to Gambia? Itâs West Africa, its 34c in February, what more could you ask?
Arriving at the Gambia, you are immediately hassled by people wanting to load and carry your luggage, they will expect money! You donât need a visa, or have to pay any entrance fee.
After a 6 hour flight, itâs off to the hotels. We stayed at the Sunset Beach, never been before, hadnât a clue what to expect. We stopped on the way to the Badala hotel, oh my god it was a state, the look on peopleâs faces!
The next hotel was the Palm Beach; it was like a prison from the out side, bars at the windows.
I said to my partner if ours is the same or worse, l want another hotel!
Finally we arrived only 4 of left on the coach, looked okay, accept for the swamp at the side of the hotel, and the so called security in grey overalls, they were about 18 yrs old!
Once inside, and feeling weary, we were shown our rooms. We were asked if air conditioning was to be paid for, about 15 pounds for the week, you donât need it. Its quiet cool at night.
l will say get a safe straight away, again about 15 pounds for the week, we had 200 dalasi stolen and 40 cigarettes because we didnât lock them away!
Now the rooms, on the left of the hotel, rooms are partitioned meaning you have a door between yourself and next door. We asked to be moved you can hear everything and l mean everything, as the walls are made only from wood.
The bungalows are better, but you can still hear next door talking, and the TV, you've been warned.
The hotel as the smallest pool l have ever seen, lâd call it a bath, usually full of kids, not on holiday there.
The staff are very welcoming, and pleasant, and will do anything for you.
However be careful, they are sly and will want your details to write to you etc. itâs up to you.
Going outside the hotel is a chore. You're met by scroungers and people offering you their services, be tough, tell them to go away, they will worm their way into the hotel and tell you they know everybody.
They donât, they hang around you all day once you allow them to con you. .l saw silly people inviting them into the hotel, feeding them, buying them drinks, and even saw them at breakfast.
Okay, they have nothing, its Africa, but ha ' your on holiday, you save all year round for it, do you really want the hassle?
I saw bumsters as they call them, with cars better than mine, latest mobile phones, l expect all the proceeds they got from the tourists.
The beach around our hotel, was plagued by the sea eroding the beach, but was also mixed with sewage; they did clear it with jcb diggers to remove it. Itâs a temporary measure, as you wonât defy nature.
When we first read the reviews about eating out, we were told that you could get a meal for two for 750 dalasi, not true, the Gambia is expensive, a lot for a country that as nothing.
You will need about between 300, 350 pounds, if your bed and breakfast.
Breakfast is good, and plentiful, drinks are expensive.
Your rooms are cleaned daily, but remember basic, no kettle, no thrills, bed, shower, toilet, wardrobe, but will add, if you ask for a double bed itâs enormous!!
Unless your going all out, on trips, jungle, moving around a lot, you really donât need jabs - save your money, we had upset tummies a couple of times, but relatively fine.
If its grey and overcast, please do cream up, l'm dark and l burnt, although the sun wasnât out for two days.
I told you whatâs what, itâs for you to decide.
Summing up, great weather, friendly staff, clean room, would l go back, when Thomas Cook, and the hotels get their act together, maybe."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of February 2007
Flew from Manchester, 6 and half hours,...
"Flew from Manchester, 6 and half hours, got through very modern airport in 10mins!
Coach to hotel less than 30 mins so far very good! Hotel a straight three star.
We had one bed apt with a/c, beautifully made-up beds, working shower with hot water and a u/s little kitchen with a great kettle!
Grounds beautiful, 20 yds from beach with a little lagoon adjacent.
Food very good for breakfast, swimming pool and bar fine - not as cheap as you think, beer about Â£1.50 a pint. Meals between 6 and 12 pounds in the resort.
Every member of staff friendly and smiling, all want to take you on some trip or other to supplement wages of Â£20/month.
Took trip to crocodiles, monkeys, school and village for Â£24 all in one day, much better than tour options. Local people in street try their luck but not too persistent as long as you say no firmly and often and keep smiling at them.
Local taxis about Â£10 return for European hotel area.
Malaria area so you need the tablets otherwise not very many insects, birds very varied.
Left with many happy memories. Airport bar beyond customs open air, good cheap food and great beer right up to when you get on the plane, not a moment of sun wasted.
Donât fall for the executive closed in option, for just another Â£15 pounds each, sir!
- Travel date: Wed 28th of February 2007
Wish I was still there
"Stayed 6 - 20th Jan, in an apartment, me, my hubby and two kids 6 and 9.
Another brilliant holiday staying here, Sunset just as good as ever, two points though the pool, I guess as it was high season, wasn't as clean as before, probably from all the suntan lotion going in it and it was freezing, you had to get really hot and steele your nerve to get in or just jump in. Also, the beach is badly eroded now, at high tide you have to cross the stream to go left or walk along a narrow strip if high sand that was rapidly dissappearing while we were there to go right. the minister of tourism visited while we were there and they are going to do something to stop it apparently.
Breakfast was amazing, tomatoes and cucumber bread rolls jam or toast brown or white, pancakes( my son was delighted) with honey or lemon and sugar, porridge (like rice pudding to die for) scrambeled eggs beans sausages bacon fried eggs omelettes, cereal fresh fruit, orange juice sorrel juice, and tea and coffee served at the table.And you could eat as much as you liked, we didn't eat again until the evening, wer did go out but to be honest we will probably book half board next time and just go ourt for drinks, the evening was also a buffet affair, either international, african or italian, they also had a BBQ all were great and again you help your self to what you want, or you could have the special or al a carte, the buffet was 350 Dalasi half price for kids and the special 150. Cher was still there and looked after us and the room was kept very clean with clean sotf and fresh sheets and towels every day. Air con was included but not really needed, all in all didn't want to leave as usual and have already started browsing for next time.
Entertainment laid on every night but the same each week, this gives you chance to go else where, like one of the bars in Senegambia or along the beach, kids loved it and can't wait to return. All the staff are friendly and Harold is the entertainment organiser from bingo and water polo to Karaoke, the shop stocks a good amount of items and the suntan lotion is good too. Just along the beach are fresh fruit sellers who will prepare fresh fruit or juice and bring them to you to enjoy by the pool. Drinks are more expensive but you can always get them and put the in the fridge, and drink the, Julbrew is wonderful, 65 Dalasi at the hotel 23 at the shops so you can see quite a difference. Horse riding is also available on the beach and you can rent a fishing rod or boat too.
The only reccomendation I have is to either take or get some decent loo paper, its like sand paper and you don't need that especially if you get Banjul belly!"
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of January 2007
"Sunset beach hotel is nice and clean with great staff, the drinks are triple the prices for what you can get them for outside,good location with a lovley beach, you must venture outside the hotel though, you will see things and meet people you will never forget.
If you do wish to explore the gambia get a good loacl and you will not be bothered by everybody you meet, their are some great local guys on the beach at the LOCAL FISHING GUIDES stall,they will take you anywhere you wish to go ,look after you and get you anything you want for a quater of the price. "just look out for the St Georges Cross English flag flying"
As for taxis, walk to the top of the road towards Elton petrol station ,and get a local taxi "the yellow and green ones" as again they are a quater of the price of the tourist taxis "green ones".
One thing I must stress is dont be scared to go outside the hotel! Yes people will want to talk to you,be firm if they become a pain ,their are soliders everywhere in the tourist areas,the locals only have to walk wrong and they will take them away ,so you have nothing to worry about.
Go to the LOCAL FISHING GUIDES STALL on the beach between Sunset beach hotel and Kombo beach hotel get a good local to show you about and go and enjoy yourself ! " Alladin or Mohummed " They will ask for no money,but I think one good turn deserves another.
Bare in mind that the local wages is less then 50D "less then Â£1!"
If they are lucky enough......................
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of November 2006
"The sunset beach hotel is amazing. It is very clean, and friendly, with a lot of nice friendly gambian staff. The people are all so friendly, and cannot do enough to make you feeel welcome, and at home.
I used to come back to my hotel room to find flowers on my bed, which of course had been hand picked from out the beautiful tropical gardens.
The breakfast in the morning was very well organised, always having waiters at your beck and call, and the chefs were very helpful to cater for your every needs.
I throughly enjoyed my stay in the gambia, which is why i am going back next year. We have booked to gto back to the sunset beach hotel again, for the second time in a row!
Gemma form England"
- Travel date: Wed 17th of May 2006
VERY nice hotel
"Loved it. Nice people, good service. they even comes down to you on the beach :)
Very nice food! I recommend the sunburger !
- Travel date: Mon 27th of February 2006