We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Burgled and inadequate management response” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Coco Ocean Resort and Spa

Save Saved
You added Coco Ocean Resort and Spa to your Saves list
Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Coco Ocean Resort and Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   1 Bamboo Drive | Kombo Coastal Road, Bijilo, Gambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Bijilo
UK
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Burgled and inadequate management response”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

The Coco Ocean resort is a well maintained luxury hotel. We stayed in one of the delightful luxury detached Beach Villas. However issues arose which mean we will not be returning. One event in particular destroyed the last three days of our holiday
On Sunday 20th January at 05.45am, 3 days before our departure we were burgled whilst asleep in our villa. I awoke and almost caught the burglar however he slipped out of my grasp and escaped through a small sliding window located behind a full length curtain. I was unaware of this window. The burglar took the two Kindles we had been reading in bed, as well as a watch and phone. I tried ringing reception but the phone was dead. I ran through the grounds to reception to get immediate assistance. However the receptionist refused to contact management saying he had to wait for them to report to work. I asked for security and found that he was sleeping on a sofa outside the reception. He had to be shaken awake. The guard refused to ring the police saying we had to wait for management. I then telephoned Joyce of our travel agent, Gambia Experience, and despite the early hours she immediately drove to the hotel via the police station where she collected three officers to investigate the crime. Joyce acted as intermediary and we were very grateful for her professional assistance. On returning to the bungalow I found that the window lock of the hidden window was broken/tampered with and therefore although having the appearance of being locked it was not. This lock can only be accessed from within the room giving rise to the possibility that one or more of the Coco staff could be involved. This suspicion was also shared with me by the Coco management during a subsequent discussion. Our beach villa had become a crime scene and so the Management who had then arrived transferred us to an inferior room having a faulty safe so we then had to wait in the room with our valuables until it was replaced instead of trying to relax in the sun. During this dreadful day the hotel owner who previously appeared to be very hands on failed to make an appearance and check on our personal situation. On Monday 21st January I eventually met up with the owner and asked what he was going to do about our financial loss taking into account the possible participation of his staff or the negligence relating to the window lock and lack of security. He advised he was looking into it but failed to make us any concrete offer of recompense. Despite expediting a response to my claim from several of the management team, in the end I was forced to deduct the value of the stolen goods from the final bill with an offer that any payment from our travel insurance would be returned to them less the excess. We were not offered any credit for having an inferior room for the last two nights of our holiday. The hotel staff all offered profuse apologies for this terrible event however when it came to taking financial responsibility the hotel was conspicuous by their absence. The hotel Owner should have immediately offered to make good the £420.00 loss and transferred us to a secure room of at least the same quality; we could then have moved on and put this distressing experience behind us. However their financially defensive attitude dominated the last three days of our holiday making us wish that we were back in freezing Britain. During this period Coco did belatedly offer to pay for the Spa treatments we took that day.
Finally I understand from new Guests that the welcome speech starts with “We must tell you we are not responsible for any loss of valuable no matter what circumstance”. If this is the only lesson learnt from this burglary then management of this so called best hotel in the Gambia are failing in their duty of care to future and current clients. Finally well done Gambia Experience but shame on the Coco management who made no attempt to reduce the negative impact on us of this criminal event.

Room Tip: The Beach villas are well designed. However they are vulnerable to burgalary so do check window and...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coco Ocean M, Owner at Coco Ocean Resort and Spa, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
May I firstly offer our sincere apologies that you were a victim of a burglary whilst staying at the hotel. Whilst we realise this does not diminish your distress, we would advise that an incident of this nature remains an extremely rare occurence.

We note you were unhappy in the manner in which the matter was handled by the Management team and we can only say how sorry we are. Please rest assured that following this incident we have undertaken a review of training for Management and a review of our security. Measures have been put in place to increase security in vunerable areas and some of the CCTV cameras have been re-sited.

We would ask you to understand that we are unable to offer you any compensation without the police completing their full investigation. With regard to any refund due for the last two night's of your stay, we will ask The Gambia Experience to contact you directly.

We will update you with any results from the police as soon as we receive them to your private e mail address.

May we again apologise for this incident. We are extremely sorry that this should have occured at our hotel, particularly after installing the CCTV and carrying out extensive training of security over the summer in order to be ready for the Winter season and ensure that an event of this nature would never occur.

us
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

257 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    141
    76
    20
    14
    6
See reviews for
23
163
6
28
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Canada
Top Contributor
221 reviews 221 reviews
187 hotel reviews
Reviews in 168 cities Reviews in 168 cities
244 helpful votes 244 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

I stayed here for one night, while passing through on my way to another country.

This is truly a remarkable place. I'm going to guess that the main hotel building was built back in the '30s or '40s. The rooms are HUGE, with 15 foot ceilings. The hotel has been kept fully up to date, whilst at the same time preserving the ambiance of the colonial past. The clientele at the hotel consists of older (50+) Europeans, and it is common to see gentlemen wearing jackets to dinner, and ladies wearing smart dresses to dinner. Heck, you almost expect to see Humphrey Bogart walking by in a white dinner jacket.

Beds are comfortable, the place is clean, and all the expected amenities (coffee machine, etc.) are provided in the room. Room decor is delightful and respects the traditional architecture of the property. The hotel is located in a quiet, peaceful location. Security appears to be excellent.

Food at the restaurant was very good, both dinner and breakfast. Service was professional, albeit somewhat slow.

The only problems with this hotel are those which are inevitable in sub-Saharan Africa, no matter where you go or how much you pay: The internet connection (free wireless) is slow and was unreliable, the staff move slowly and are not too clever, and the public computers are old, out of date, and full of viruses and trojans. If you need to print something in the business center, put the document on a memory stick, then burn the memory stick after you have put it in the hotel computer. Don't even dream of using the memory stick again in your own computer unless you wrap it in a condom before putting it into the hotel computer.

But, having said that, I think you would have a hard time finding a better place to stay in Banjul, and I would certainly return here again, and I do recommend this hotel to others.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the main building. These rooms are HUGE!
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

We moved here from Mandina Lodges and were not that impressed despite everyone telling us it was meant to be the best hotel in the country.

We had a Beach Villa Sea Facing which was a nice room, good size with a huge outdoor garden although its under cover so not great for sunbathing.

The shower, for such a large and grand bathroom was tiny though, a little handheld thing that drizzled water out. Weren't impressed.

The first night we went for a drink at a pretty souless bar with the Matrix 2 playing on a big screen which was really odd and didnt suit the ambience of the hotel at all. Service was ok. We then went to dinner in one of the restuarants (spotting a cockroach sat on one of the tables on the way!)

We soon found that there were loads of these huge bugs everywhere and were surrounded by them at dinner...they jump and fly and land all over the place, crawling around...awful awful awfull!

We almost left the hotel it was that bad. As it was we went to the Serekunda Strip down the road (via our awesome taxi driver with his Bob Marley tunes!) and the holiday was transformed! The nightlife, restuarants and bars there are great fun and really busy, welcoming and great value. Highly recommend the African Queen and its sizzling seafood platters.

Back to the hotel, the pool areas are decent, we had a private pool area which was pretty quiet although the whole place does look a bit dated and the sunbeds weren't very comfortable.

Highlight of the time there was helping the local Gambian fisherman on the beach play tug of war with their nets...caught a huge load of fish and even a sizeable shark which was a great experience. Recommend some long walks on the beach too although look out for the pufferfish...I almost trod on one which would have been a bit of a ruiner!

Spa and breakfast were good.

Room Tip: Spend as much as possible as think the basic rooms looked pretty bad and even the Beach Villa we had...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Valencia, Spain
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Beautiful rooms, nice swimming pool, friendly service... I've been three times in this hotel and I always feel like coming back. Is far from town but there's not much to see in banjul. The restaurant is very good. I recomend the bamboo suites for couples and the vilas for group of friends.

Room Tip: bamboo suites for couples
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

Stayed nov to dec 2012 with friends. Hotel great and on the whole staff lovely. I did however have a problem with theft from the safe over what seemed a few days. Both myself and my friend had money missing. Be aware of your safe code and do not open safe when staff in room. I suggest a new code every day . To date our problem has not been solved.
Mary and staff all did their best to help and we thank them. Even after the problem I would return to coco ocean the setting is wonderful, to enjoy your holiday to the full just be careful.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scunthorpe
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

The location of this hotel is perfect on the edge of a far from busy beach our room was spotless and way better than we had expected the hotel had a taxi service which was reasonably priced you could get cheaper if you were looking for excitement (we did a few times and believe me no brakes and seeing the road through the floor was exciting) We did not eat much in the hotel it was a little expensive and we usually prefer to go local there was a huge amount of different places to eat 15 minutes walk along a deserted beach. The only dissapointment was breakfast dont get me wrong it was'nt bad but if you like a huge breakfast to keep you going till mid afternoon you wont get it here. Now heres the thing it was not unusual to see praying mantis in the room this did not bother me and my son found it fascinating but if all insects are "bugs" then you will have cause to complain though bug free hotels in Gambia may not actually exist, also when having a quiet drink on the balcony a fruit bat appeared out of the darkness and perched if thats the word for hanging upside down, in the tree only a few feet away from me that was a fantastic experience for me but if huge bats spook you keep off the balcony at night. The only slight complaint was that they had no record of us at the airport having booked a transfer which meant we ended up being transferred in two cars and Wifey and son actually arrived over half an hour after me which was a bit of a worrying start, everything was ok after that though

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CUMBRIA
Top Contributor
167 reviews 167 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
260 helpful votes 260 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

We have just returned from our annual trip to The Gambia. We stayed here last year - even in the same room as we love Gambia so much ( beach house room 72). What you must remember is that The Gambia is like a third world country, so if you want total luxury -- go to the Maldives or the like, however if you want to experience a whole different culture and be smitten -- then Gambia it is! At the Coco ocean this year 1. The safe only worked sometimes, 2. The lock was u/s on the patio door, 3. They forgot to collect us from the airport, 4. I had to be up at 6 in the morning to secure a sunbed by the pool ( beach houses),5. small bugs in the room. to name but a few things !! The question is will I return --- hell yes!! I did a bit of moaning and most of the things got sorted just wish they old do something about the unacceptable exchange rate and room charges! Now please don't let me put you off this place as there is no doubt that other places are exactly the same and can vouch for that. Without question this is the best place in The Gambia and well worth a visit. We went with my daughter who also loves the place and the people, she is sixteen. I am already looking forward to my next return and hope you all try it for yourself, one word of warning -- if you do you will be hooked!! Don't want to just single out individuals for there great service here as there are so many, but trust me most requests are dealt with very efficiently and without any hassle. Well done Coco Ocean see you soon.

Room Tip: The beach houses offer more room and a more private pool.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Coco Ocean Resort and Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Coco Ocean Resort and Spa

Address: 1 Bamboo Drive | Kombo Coastal Road, Bijilo, Gambia
Location: Gambia > West Coast Division > Bijilo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Bijilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Coco Ocean Resort and Spa 5*
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Tingo and Otel so you can book your Coco Ocean Resort and Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Coco Ocean Hotel Bijilo
Coco Ocean Resort And Spa Gambia/Bijilo

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Coco Ocean Resort and Spa, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.