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“From Mali to Senegal to SenegalStyle!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast

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SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast
Ouest Foire, Cite Africa, Unit 13 | Close to Airport/Beach/Downtown!, Dakar, Senegal   |  
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AFRICAN DRUMMING for 2!
Ranked #4 of 59 Dakar B&B and Inns
Dakar, Senegal
1 review
“From Mali to Senegal to SenegalStyle!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

I have stayed at Senegalstyle 4x and I am here in Senegal now on another trip. I am a satellite technician for a tv company so I bounce around wAfrica a lot. I am not staying there now because she's full but I have in the past and I never wrote a review and she asked me to. I am doing so now because looking at these two below is not the experience I have had.

First of all, I am African. I'm Senegalese but went to school in the US from 14yrs on. I know how irritating it can sometimes be when your have no French or it's not very good (like mine!). I get by and speak Wolof of course and I can stay anywhere I want and bill the company, but I stay with Sineta & Jonathan when I can for one reason, HOME. I'm always in hotels but I don't know anyone there and the passive aggressive staff (at some places) are paid to be nice so when you ask for something, they pretend to like you, then talk about you when you walk away!lol! I speak in English so they think I don't know wolof! I don't have to deal with that at Sineta's place. She's always happy to see you, asks how your day went, listens to your stories, she's more like a mom than a person you are paying to take care of you. If you want to discuss current events or find out what's going on in town, she knows about everything and goes toe to toe with you on politics so don't dish it out if you can't take it!

I love staying there but if you want sheets changed every day or drag her good towels to the beach, she doesn't do that. My mom didn't at my house when I lived at home, I don't do it now and no one else I know does either. Who can honestly say they change their sheets and gets a new towel every single day? That's an incredible complaint to have when staying at a guesthouse a HOME STAY GUEST HOUSE. Read the advertising - it's not a hotel.

The wash lady (a person, not a machine) comes on Sundays and I know that because she washes my clothes too when I'm there. She does a great job and everything is hung outside to dry. There are clothes lines in the back that can clearly be seen from the garden so to suggest that the wash lady should be washing not only all the clothes from the week, but sheets from all the beds slept on by the same person, (not different people - of course they get changed as people leave but if I'm there a week, unless I do something like spill some coffee, she makes the beds and leaves on the sheets I had the night before). And I'm ok with that!!!

Hotels yes, homestays no. That's not how it works in Senegal in private homes. Wash weekly one day, iron the next and African woman has a job instead of being replaced by a machine and life is good.

I didn't plan to do a review about sheets and towels but looking at the other ones, they tried to make it sound like the place is dirty unkempt. Nothing could be further than the truth. As one that routinely gets fussed about taking shoes off coming in, I know first hand that she's meticulous about what matters like food quality, health issues, public places within the house being neat for everyone to enjoy and bathrooms being clean. Oh, there IS TOO an ensuite bathroom with a foot bath even and as she said, the photos are right so I don't know why those girls are saying there are no private bathrooms here.

That is certainly not true.

My recommendation is and always will be 5 out of 5 for Sineta and Senegalstyle - she does an amazing job with what little she charges us and shares with everyone freely. I am an African that is mostly American, she is an American that is mostly African and we get along splendidly. Looking at the other reviews it looks like everyone else loves her as much as I do. Those two needed to stay at the RAadisson because slamming her about sheets and fried bread (French toast??? that's American!) is totally unrealistic.

When I look at a review all I want to know is if the kitchen where my food is being cooked and the overall place is clean. Are the bathrooms clean and in good repair. Is it cool and well ventilated in the summer? Is it in a good neighborhood so I don't have to worry about safety issues? Is it convenient to transportation?

The answer to all the above is YES so don't sweat the small stuff.

And the tours are great and the price is good for this area so again, I totally disagree with those two. They cost $130 basically for long day trips to the villages outside of Dakar, round trip, 6 to 8 hours, with an English speaking driver and guide. If you go with 3 or for people and split the cost it's very cheap. If you go by yourself, it's stil very cheap because the convenience and avoiding the hassle factor makes it worth it.

I've paid $20/$25 for every tour I've taken and I have no problem with that and don't understand what they are complaining of. Should they be free or what? $10 tours for 6 to 8 hours outside of Dakar? Totally unrealistic. Not in Senegal.

To sum this up, Sineta is human after all, not a machine and she does an amazing job all by herself. I'm Senegalese and I know for a fact every single household here has at least one maid and/or cook. She doesn't have any domestic help other than the wash lady. I asked her why and she said it's because she can clean faster and better. It's true I have seen it so leave her alone when she needs it and let her do her thing.

Just treat her and her staff as you'd like to be treated and you'll have a great time!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sineta G, Owner at SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, June 5, 2013
Hello and GREETINGS from SenegalStyle!

Thank you for your kind words and for writing this review. I asked him to write a review for me because I felt the last few (negative) reviews from people who stayed at the same time were unfair and unbalanced, given the fact that the man who caused the discontententment at the time, never fessed up to what really happened. He has now given a half hearted mea culpa, saying he was 'lucky' and basically the other two girls were simply being untruthful about the cost of the tours.

This review sounds like a 'Sineta rant' because that's kinda what I did since Mohamed had contacted me but we were full! The 'I am not a machine and neither is my washlady' is classic Sineta and exactly what I say all the time! haha! Glad you understand that and understood that yes, sometimes it gets hairy but give me a minute and I'll take care of what I can. If I can't, I'll say I can't and keep it moving.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for explaining what homestays actually are from an African perspective, perhaps some people don't understand the concept. I know in some countries, like where I come from, with the exception of exchange students, we don't have a culture of having visitors stay in our homes as extended family members.

I appreciate you keeping it professional, breaking down the various 'systems' and family dynamics here in Senegal and telling the other side of the story quite well.

I also want to let you know you are ALWAYS welcome here at SenegalStyle!
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75 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Paris, France
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

We book through AirB&B and when we received the confirmation, SenegalStyle asked for more money ( in a separate mail not by AirB&B) telling us that this was not the price that we should pay. So we receive a separate Paypal invoice!! WEIRD! All is paid in advance!
I agree with AKRasnikov in SenegalStyle you do not feel as if you paid for a room for your stay, you are there, as a nonpaying guest and all services look like a favor as you need to thank them for your room, for cooking breakfast and dinner for talking to you for organizing the tours and pickup ( things that you pay for)
Pick up at 3h30 p.m for 23€ for was very expensive knowing that a taxi charge 2000CFA (~3€) from Airport to SenegalStyle
Breakfast and dinner was not GREAT, eating fried bread and cheese with fries with a glass of water is not great food/Dinner according to me!!! or mash potatoes with unknown sauce The only nice dinner (burger) and breakfast (pancakes)was on the first day that’s all.
My friend and I slept on the floor on the first night because the house was full and we booked at least 2 months before. Bad organization??
We had the same sheets we used when we slept on the floor the first day and we slept in the same sheets for 7 days. YES we slept on the floor where everyone in the house could see us as it was in the way to the bathroom and kitchen!!!!!
We put a mango juice, in the freezer that mysteriously disappear and by magic came back in the morning even the son of the owner looked everywhere in the freezer and found nothing!
In another comment my friend Neila expressed what she didn't like and comments and critics are not accepted by the owner. Who by time could be nasty and rude to people.
Beware people the tours are very expensive with SenegalStyle. Just go out and ask a yellow cab driver to drive you to where you want to go, it is so much cheaper. There are guides everywhere.
For example we went to Bandia for 35000CFA for both of us instead of 70000 (or more) with SenegalStyle tours, plus, we got a private tour around the park.
The entrance ticket or boat ticket is apart and not in the price you pay for the tours. So the tours are only the price for the driver and guide!
I have been in a lot of guest house around the world this is the worst i got, way worst!!!
We did not tell anything at the time because we wanted to go home safely and not create a big fight.
There are no private bathrooms for each room. No towel. That was not mentioned at all and we got the surprised when we arrive.
Senegalese people are very nice people. But this place is a joke!
The only Thanks went to Ismail (the driver) he is such a lovely man, kind, polite! Unfortunately everyone in the house was not like him!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sineta G, Owner at SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, May 8, 2014
Hello and GREETINGS from Sunny Senegal!

I am responding to this review about a year later because I wanted to see what others (and you, gentle reader) would have to say after this, good or bad and because sometimes time and space gives more clarity.

Obviously, this girl was unhappy, but she never left, cancelled her reservation or asked for a refund. As she said, she booked here two months in advance and YES, we are full a lot of times, that far ahead and I'm not going to bump other people to accommodate late comers. They can book somewhere else until we have space or take the garden room or sleep on the couch if we're full when you arrive- it's that simple.

They were here for seven days, the first night sleeping on futons because we didn't have space, and she agreed (at the time). We have a laundry service and change sheets once a week like everyone else does in their own home. When we had rooms clear out I simply moved all their personal items and bedding into the new room and set them up. When they arrived back in the evening they were all moved in and good to go.

In reading over the rest of it, let me clear up the rest because what's missing is the proverbial 'rest of the story.'

She says, I told her she would need to pay more money for a second person because she booked thru Air Bnb and they assume that one person is renting one person. Here at SenegalStyle we charge by the person (20,000cfa a night, including breakfast and dinner, pp) and she did... that's weird on her part, not mine. She PAID so obviously she agreed with the terms of the arrangement. That's even more 'weird' and interesting isn't it? Do you know why she did it? She agreed and paid more since she couldn't afford to stay in Terrou Bi Resort Hotel for a week like the rest of her friends because that's where everyone else and their wedding party were staying. She said she and later her friend, were young girls fresh out of college and they didn't have the $450 a night for TBi so she BEGGED ME to let her stay with us even after I told her we were full. She claimed they would be 'flexible' they 'weren't picky' and 'wouldn't be a problem' - I know, big warning bells should have gone off in my head! haha! I've been doing this long enough to know better but I went along with the fantasy image painted for me during numerous emails and telephone calls.

So what she doesn't say in the review is that she knew full well we were full/more full with additional bodies BUT I felt sorry for them. I always do and whenever I go 'above and beyond' I get bitten in the butt later! haha! I need to stop being compassionate towards people that don't plan ahead but anyway, since we are the lowest price English speaking b&b in this French country and it was two single girls, I went ahead and allowed them to come here.

If they didn't like the accommodations that I had arranged for her, she could have left the first night she arrived. Instead she is pretending here that she didn't know we were full and would have to stay in the garden room (see photos - it's fully covered with mosquito netting, clean, open to the stars and they had two 10" thick futons and not sleeping 'on the floor,' naked butt to cold hard concrete like she's making it sound). Heavy sigh.

Many people request the garden area and I sleep there in the summer. She could have taken the couch or gotten a room somewhere else, she didn't.

Again, look at the property photos and you'll see that it's quite nice and it's actually the best room in the house in my opinion!

The rest of the review, addressing small problems that crop up in any homestay where common areas are shared, it is what it is. By mentioning mango juice that was lost and then found... it's just petty, and yes, other people walk around and you see them, we see you, no one is invisible because you book a room at Sineta's house. Let me make this clear, SenegalStyle is a homestay and not a 100% isolated hotel where you never see another person that's staying here the same time as you. I open my home to share with visitors to Dakar - it's not the other way around and I think that's what she never understood and that's why she said she 'felt' like it was a more of a home and says in part "in SenegalStyle you do not feel as if you paid for a room for your stay, you are there, as a nonpaying guest and all services look like a favor" but then complains because she felt like she needed say thank you when I cooked and serve dinner and breakfast. Perhaps she doesn't do this normally but most people would never, ever write on a public website that they didn't like saying 'thank you' for personal services to the person giving them. Not a tip mind you, just a thank you.

I'm not even going to respond to the rest other than clear up some inaccuracies about tours because I don't want others to believe what she is saying is true and budget unrealistically. If you are dealing in US dollars, Dakar is very expensive because of the exchange rate. Our car and driver service (with an English speaking translator/guide) is €65 for all regions 1/2hours outside of the city. That's two people you are paying for,(driver + translator) gas and the vehicle itself, to be divided by up to 3 people. That's €21.5 euro. This is what she's complaining about specifically when talking about Bandia Wildlife Park, which she/they had the opportunity to go to with other guests but chose to go to Terrou Bi and hang out with the rich people at the pool. No problem, I get it, we get it but don't blame me later because you didn't go with the group and split the costs! lol!

If you go to Bandia by yourself you not only have to pay for transport (which she said she paid about $82 for but had no translator/guide with her). What she forgot, (she keeps forgetting that the devil is in the details and she's giving no details!) when you arrive at Bandia you have to hire their Safari truck which is 40,000cfa Senegalese money/about $85, the tour guide at Bandia is 5,000cfa/$12 and the tickets are 10,000cfa/about $23 per person.

So she actually paid $117 at the wildlife park itself PLUS her taxi to get there ($82) and so the total was $199 plus the price of the ticket $12 for her friend.

$211 is what she paid.

Had she gone with the group that had prearranged the tour it would have been divided between the six other people staying here instead of her and her friend.

Of course, I get the negative review about their rates because, well, SenegalStyle is an easy target so no matter what happens in Dakar, even if it isn't under my roof, we get blamed for it. It's the nature of the hospitality business!

I'm glad I took this all in stride and just let our work and organization speak for us and waited a year to reply. We've continued doing what we do and our TA review matrix shows us at 93% with the average for all hotels in Dakar (including the major ones!) being 84.3% so we're doing more right than wrong. With regard to the way I interact with our employees, I live here in Africa/Dakar and I know the local customs. Someone from outside cannot ascertain whether or not my methods are effective for my environment or not other than looking at other TripAdvisor reviews for SenegalStyle TOURS! or SenegalStyle African drumming. We have the 'Certificate of Excellence' for tours and are rated #1 under 'Things to Do' for our African drumming lessons.

I for one will never slack up on our staff and guides to insure that they arrive on time, the visitors get where they need to be and are back for dinner in a safe and timely fashion. I will never apologize for working my butt off to make sure that happens and always thank our staff when they do. If there is an unnecessary problem I recognize that as well (even when our guests do not). Bottom line folks: People spend a lot of money on plane tickets and visas to come to West Africa. For many it is their one and only time they will have the opportunity to visit. It is a very heavy responsibility to bear on my shoulders but I have done it successfully since 2008.

Normal people would want everything to go as smoothly as possible with their room accommodation and tours and that is who I enjoy catering to - all normal people are welcome at SenegalStyle! Thank you for your time and I look forward to meeting you here at SenegalStyle in the future!
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Paris, France
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

Disappointing! The appartment is nice as shown in the photos but not a guesthouse, no private bathrooms, no clean towels at your disposal, the breakfast is very basic: tea with some industrial cake, you have to buy your coffee! If you wake up a bit late (after 10.30) or want to leave a bit early (before 8), you risk not to have your breakfast! The first night, we were surprised that no room was available (we booked at least 2 monthes in advance), we slept on matresses on the floor! Very professional!
Djembe courses and 'tours' are nice but expensive, if you can do them by your own, it is much cheaper. The taxi service from the airport to the "guesthouse" is excessively expensive (23€ instead of ~3€!!). Most of the proposed 'tours' don't include the fees of the guide, parc entrance... I am not against people who want to make affairs and earn money, but when it turns to exagerration compared to the 'quality' of the service, it makes you feel like a silly tourist..

Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sineta G, Owner at SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, May 16, 2013
Hello and GREETINGS from SenegalStyle!

To address the first thing she says: "The appartment is nice as shown in the photos"

So let's be clear that I am not deceiving anyone as to the condition of SenegalStyle. The rest of this is another case of someone not knowing how to say 'thank you for picking us up in the middle of the night from the airport, getting our money changed, explaining how to get to and from various locales around town, letting me stay in a safe, clean, comfortable environment with no flies or mosquitos to worry about, thanks for saving me money on tours and trips by being able to split the costs with 2 other travelers and most of all, thanks for the great food for breakfast and dinner, again, saving hundreds of dollars in meals had I stayed somewhere else".

Also, "Thank you for not making me and my friend stay in one room (with two beds) like we asked for originally and letting us each have separate rooms at no additional charge."

This lady traveled with another female companion that contacted me about our sharing a room in our homestay accommodations. They were going to a wedding that was at Terrou Bi, a very nice but posh (expensive) hotel here in Dakar that's about $300 a night on the low end. They were here for 7 days. Staying with the rest of the wedding party would have cost them $2100 plus meals. As they couldn't afford that, after much back and forth they opted to stay with us.

Our rates by the way are 15 Senegalese dollars a night. Take a look at the house photos (she even says they are accurate!) and you tell me if you could find a place in your country like this for $15 a night. I'm from America and I KNOW I cannot live like this for $15 in the States!

This is another case of Champaign taste on a mango juice salary! That's an inside joke - one night she put mango juice in the freezer. Another guest put his items inside the freezer as well and her juice slid somewhere else. She went CRAZY, screaming and walking back and forth muttering and basically lost it... over some mango juice. Here in Senegal, we SHARE and here at SenegalStyle our guests have to SHARE WITH EACH OTHER, to get along. I found it the next day, frozen, (so no I didn't replace it!) underneath some bread. When I gave it to her she wasn't even embarrassed about the scene she made and didn't even apologize for basically accusing me and my son of stealing her juice.

Alas, this is sometimes what it's like and I am glad I have the opportunity to expound on the other side of the story. Some people who come here (for 15 Senegalese dollars a night) and get it 'twisted' as they say and think they are not just renting a room but my entire house, and that I am their 24 hour personal cook, and domestic servant. I'm not - slavery is over and I had to prove it to her by making her clean up her own bloody mess that she left in a heap in my KITCHEN TRASHCAN. Ladies, I think you know what I'm talking about. Who does that? This woman did so you can see, her behavior was not normal anyway.

Nalia is also one of those people that thinks I should provide all the extras that they are NOT paying for and complained in this public forum instead of to me. She didn't because she knew ahead of time what to expect as I send out notices in the mail before and after booking about what to bring in our airport instructions, how you can save money on tours by splitting the costs with others in our touring flyers and I am very specific about meal times.

Sleeping in until 11 or later was her personal option and gratifying to me because I assume that if you are sleeping that late you must be quite comfortable in your surroundings and very, very tired. Isn't that the point of a vacation from work? So that's the 2nd thing... she says the place is just like it's advertised, and she got a lot of sleep. That's great - what's she complaining about? That I don't fix lunch? But this is a bed & breakfast, that's what I advertise! I was up early every morning and making breakfast from 9am to 10:30am for not only her friend, I had 3 Russian guests and a very nice man from Greece that plied me with chocolates every chance he got! So she was the only one sleeping in late. The days she got up before 11 I let slide so what she said is untrue, 11'oclock and later, I'm outta here. I've got stuff to do.

They had a key and there's a pizza & chicken place right around the corner.

The one day they did an early tour before 8am I bought some of our wonderful local Danish, cut them into neat triangles, heated them up and put them in separate plastic bags for the road. I also put frozen water in my personal insulated carrying bags, and found colors for them that matched their outfits even! (I have a LOT of these bags!) That's called being courteous. What she's complaining about is called being unappreciative.

With regard to her comments about most of the tours not including park fees... um, I don't own the wildlife park. They have a big sign at the front with all the fees and I have a photo of it on the flyer. If you contact us to take you out of town to the wildlife park for example, when you get there you pay THEM. I suppose I could add the costs for the park to the tours but why? Then she would be asking me how much this is and how much that is and saying I was trying to take advantage of a 'silly tourist'!!! I can't win, I swear! haha! Instead I include it in the touring flyer, which obviously she read or she would not have known that we do the tour in the first place... right?

The only other park fee she paid was as Turtle Village 3 Senegalese dollars... really?! And she's complaining? We bundle this tour with Lac Rose (Pink Lake) so people can support the turtle 'farm' and conservation efforts over there. It's just a nice green space and it's pretty cool so we add it to the tour to Lac Rose, getting 2 trips in one. Anyway, she is again not telling the truth here because we pay the boats man and guide fees at Lac Rose. Again, it's in the flyer and I told them ahead of time online what the fees were because as she said THEY PAID IN ADVANCE.

I ask you, if you have already saved 1/3 to 1/2 off a day trip out of town because you are going with other people, would you complain about paying for a ticket to Turtle Village?

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job! haha!
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

"Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find out what is near," said Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. I've traveled widely, and this quote has never felt quite as true as it did during my time at Sineta George's "Senegal Style" home. What I found near, in this case, was a throwback to the way people used to experience the world when taking a journey.

Once upon a time, before Hilton and Howard Johnson made luxury travel an industry, people came and went under much more informal circumstances. Trains, ships and carriages took time, and, consequently, rooms were rented and negotiated based on individual needs. These arrangements required mutual courtesy from both patron and provider. Innkeepers offered hospitality and privacy; and purchasing a room, whether for a night or a year, meant treating the homeowner with courtesy and respect. The formalities of hotel stays -- even the variables TripAdvisor readers use to make choices -- reflect fairly new social inventions.

If you are new to Dakar and seek authenticity in people and places, I strongly recommend SenegalStyle B&B. I stayed with Sineta and her youngest son, Jonathan, for two weeks. I left for a few days to a few other West Africa destinations before finishing my trip in Dakar, and saw several other guests come and go during my visit. I chatted with people from four continents and seven different countries. The only type of traveler I did not meet while staying in Sineta's home was a family with children. Beyond that, I met all types.

Perhaps you are taking a vacation to be coddled, spoiled and pampered. In this case, Sineta's home is not your style. Overindulgence is not the game here. If a spa is what you want in Dakar, fork over the cash for the Des Almadies or Radisson Blu. If you want to stay tucked in a tourist bubble, SenegalStyle B&B is not for you. Nor, frankly, are you worthy of it.

I wanted a place where I could get a good night's sleep and a good meal. I wanted to interact with interesting people; to question and challenge my own assumptions; to connect the world through someone else's eyes. At SenegalStyle B&B, I got exactly what I was looking for.

There's more I could say -- about my admiration for Jonathan's confidence and quiet maturity; or about the fun of intelligently debating international politics in Sineta's salon; or about the exceptional Southern/Senegalese fusion food Sineta can probably whip up in her sleep (think Africa meets Atlanta) -- but I don't want to spoil it for you. If you're looking for value and quality, you'll get it. If you want an experience -- well, ask the Universe to give it to you.

If you are reading this review and looking for a place in Dakar, there's no need to travel a long way over the Internet. Just take Coehlo's advice and find what is near. If your heart is open, I suspect you will be more than fulfilled.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 5 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.
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

I want to start by thanking Sineta, Jonathan, Ismail and Ali for making my Spring vacation an exciting and wonderful experience. I really enjoy every moment spent in Dakar.
I learned a lot from Sineta about the Senegalese and the culture. Mixing and mingling in the markets, tour to Goree Island and full day journey to Touba were among my favorites. I want to note the exceptional care I received from Jonathan. He is such a delightful young man who made sure everything I booked was provided in the most professional and conscientious manner. Sineta was a gracious host, wonderful cook and very kind.

I also met occupants from other parts of the world and it was unique to sit and share travel, as well as life experiences. I hope to return to Dakar some day and Senegalstyle will certainly be my first stop. Here again thanks a million!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

I stayed at the Senegal B&B for 4 nights. I'm a single adventure traveler, anglophone from the USA. I visited Lac Rose, the University, Just for you (jazz club), Goree Island, African Renaissance monument, Bandia Wildlife Park, Drumming with Ibou at Ngor, baby beach, and misc. markets. This was a unique experience!


Pros:
-B&B was clean, safe quiet, and close to the airport/markets/shops
-Staff and tour guides are very personable and laid back, hard workers!
-Staff know the city very well
-Drumming with Ibou at Ngor was a blast! (he's a great teacher)
-Sineta has a great sense of humor and there will be no dull moments!!
-Ouest Foire is safe and bustling neighborhood in Dakar
-There are guards outside the B&B that check on you, and help the best they can. NO fear!

Cons:

-The airport pick up service isn't necessary. SenegalStyle is up the street (7min drive max), and easy to get to by cab or bus. Anglophone or francophone, if you have a brain and the address, someone will get you there for $10 or less(if you are willing to travel).

-There were no wattage conversion plugs, so I couldn't use a blow-dryer or curler. I ended up wearing a beanie the entire trip because I couldn't style my hair which was annoying. (Senegalese pride themselves on looking good, and you should try to do the same.) Bring along a plug/watt converter!

-Details of trips/tours were a little hazy at times.

***Sineta was very helpful. She went as far as selling me a bar of face soap, because she saw I was having some skin trouble. However, she can be a bit unprofessional at times. For example we were scheduled to leave for a tour to Goree Island at 8am. I asked her twice the day prior, what time we were supposed to leave and she confirmed 8am. The next day she woke me up at 7:15 saying the tourguide had been waiting on me since 6:45am. WHAT?! I hurried up and got ready, and was dressed and ready to go at 7:55am.When I realized her or the guide wasn't ready yet, I pulled out my laptop to check my bank account balance, and she said nastily “Is what you're doing absolutely necessary right now?! You're embarrassing me!!” By then it was 8:00:38secs (I know because I was looking at my laptop) I felt really confused and embarrassed myself. I noticed she can be nasty to her staff at times, but I didn't expect her to treat a customer like this. Not entirely professional, but if you can handle a bit of disorganization and insensitivity, Sineta is a perfect match for you!***

***I paid $60USD for a package/day tour of Goree Island, the African Renaissance monument, AND a tour of DOWNTOWN (near the palace). None of the tours include the actual tickets to the sites (says that in her brochure) I NEVER got the city tour, because she said “we didn't have enough time”. We spent a big chunk of time having a $28USD family style brunch at her friends restaurant; tasty, but also not included in the price of the tour. As it turned out, the truth was, the rest of the group wanted to go back to their hotels, and I was the ONLY one left waiting on the city tour. When I confronted her, she said, “well, we basically saw the city when we walked through the markets. There's really not much else to see!” What?!! I still paid for it! I didn't make as big of a fuss as I should have, but beware of derailments in the itenerary.***

Other than that, it's a decent deal if you're a solo adventure traveler, you want to explore on your own a bit and need a quiet safe place to crash.

My experience at SenegalStyle in a nutshell? Unforgettable!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sineta G, Owner at SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
Hello and GREETINGS from SenegalStyle!

I am saddened that this guest chose to accentuate minor mishaps (she actually blew up her curling iron and hair dryer plugging 120v items into 220v walls) instead of celebrating the fact that she came here on a budget of $300 and was able to stay 4 nights, travel to all the places she had on her 'bucketlist' and more, participate in drumming lessons that she didn't pay for (more on that later), eat at 2 fabulous restaurants (and taking home 'a plate') and join in group tours, paying only half the price she should have, by her own admission.

Still she's not happy.

Fortnately I have the opportunity to clarify the remarks made against my character and management style here in this forum.

#1 - under the 'pros' listed, she mentions that she participated in a private group drumming lesson we were doing as a part of a team building workshop for a local business. I invited her along because she told me she was a musician and student (not true, she was no longer in school and had dropped out) and I thought I was being nice. She knew the prices for private lessons, (20,000cfa for two hours) with our Master Percussionist, Ibou Sene and as she said this was one of the things she wanted to do, I let her come to our group drumming session as it was cheaper for her than paying individually and it was being held at a great venue on the beach. Also she could have lunch or dinner there as well as she had opted for the B&B plan that did not incorporate meals.

No good deed goes unpunished.

She ended up doing four hours of lessons with Ibou (the group was 2 hours late for their session) and skipped out of town without paying him A DIME. Ibou is privately contracted, and, like all musicians, he isn't on a salary. If you ask a music teacher of any kind to teach you their craft, they expect to be paid. Ibou thought she gave me the money, she pretended she would pay later, but didn't. When you are talking about helping 'poor' Africans on one hand and then not paying for services on the other... it's sad but that's what really happened.

Yes, I guess that's a 'pro' for her when I look at it in retrospect but it's really a 'con' in the grand scheme of things.

#2 Airport pickup service - do NOT let this post fool you! She makes it sound as if there is a taxi waiting on the runway for you when you arrive and in 7 minutes you are here! What most people don't realize is how much work goes in to your airport pickup BEFORE you arrive.

I send out airport instructions asking the visitor to read and follow them to the letter. I also ask for photos and send the client a photo of the guide picking them up. Sometimes people come out of the gates and start walking all over the place - if they don't see our guy standing by the door we can at least pick them out of the crowd if we know what they look like and they, in turn, know what OUR guy looks like and don't get taken advantage of by a con man.

No one else does that.

I also request that you and send me an sms message so that I know that our telephone services connect and I send you one back, long distance, as well. Sometimes we have dignitaries coming into Dakar and since the airport is small the police will just shut it down and no one comes or goes anywhere until the VIPs are gone. That's why I ask you to do this, so I have YOUR number in my phone and can simply send a message if there's a problem on my end or, vice versa if there's a problem on yours. If your luggage is lost there is an english speaking guide there to assist you with the paperwork and sort everything out, even going back later to retrieve your things with you.

Again, no one else does that.

People in America are not on the GSM system and generally speaking, don't get international phones before coming. If they do pay for international service on their I-phones, it does not work. I will say this again, IT DOES NOT WORK. If you try the service before you leave, you will know that ahead of time, but most don't. On the other hand people sometimes think that since they don't know anyone, they don't need a phone. Au contraire, if you miss the flight or are delayed, how will you let us know? In her case, she didn't even try to borrow a phone and call or send an email and our guide ended up waiting 2 hours for her at the airport. She doesn't consider that worth getting paid for apparently and didn't appreciate that he took her to get her money changed from euro to local cfa and guided her thru the throngs of tourist touts that would have pounced on her that late at night. Afterwards, had she been alone with a partial or incorrect address, not speaking french and in a taxi, how would she find us? How can I send a message with instructions to people who don't carry phones? She insisted she didn't need a phone and refused to bring one. It's easy to sit back now and say it's a 7 minute trip and you don't need airport pickup but that's because she had it. If she didn't she'd be singing a different tune, still lost at the airport today because she didn't even take down my cellphone number!

Peace of mind and organization BEFORE you arrive, that's what you pay us for and the fact that she thinks it was nothing proves that we do our job so well she didn't notice a thing.

If you google 'Arriving at Dakar Airport' and read some of the horror stories, you get the real picture of what could happen when you are a late night arrival, disoriented and suffering from sleep deprivation from too many connecting flights, have no telephone, no idea of where you are,what time it is and don't speak the local language. This is why I started SenegalStyle Airport Pickp and Taxi Dispatch Service in the first place, If you arrive in a stress free environment and everything goes well, you will enjoy your stay in Senegal. If you experienced craziness at the airport, your time here will be remembered negatively or at the very least you will be saying,'everything was great, except my arrival at the airport!

That's not a good look for my adopted home town of Dakar!

#3 'There were no wattage conversion plugs' - I already aluded to the fact that she blew up her hair appliances. I have been in Senegal a long time so maybe things have changed but I was not aware that regular people in the rest of the 220v world, which I am, have voltage regulators built into their wall sockets on the off chance that someone from the US may plug in a 120v appliance... There are voltage regulator boxes that you can buy yourself and bring with you when you travel but that was her personal mistake not mine and in fact, she didn't say anything about it until after she complained that the sockets weren't working and showed me her flat iron. (I do have to admit I had never seen a flat iron, I'm from the hot comb era!) That's when I pointed out to her that the sockets work fine, her hair iron just blew up becase it's 120v and the rest of the world is 220v.

The fact that she would reinvent this story here on TripAdvisor blows my mind. . . so we're even!

What does exist is the instructions on the product itself that says 'only use in 120v sockets' and they assume you know that the rest of the world is 220v and you won't just plug it into a socket in another country.

#4 'Trip details are 'hazy' and if you can stand a bit of disorganization and insensitivity, Sineta is a perfect match for you!' - because I was trying to help her see and do as much as she could on the limited budget she had I added her to other group tours so she wouldn't be alone and the fees would be cheaper than paying for individual trips. They scheduled the tours to start at certain times and no, I wasn't going to let her make us look bad, showing up late becase she wanted to use the internet. I still don't know what she could possibly be thinking... I wasn't rude (does that sound rude to you? I asked a perfectly reasonable question and told her they have wifi at the hotel).

If you reread the passage, she says she asked me what time she was supposed to leave 2x and I said 08:00. (Her and the guide) Whats the problem? Nothing but publicly reafirming my punctuality. If I invite you to join a tour, have the courtesy to be on time. Making other people late is rude.

My people came here first with the van to get her and then they were going to pick up the rest of the group at King Fahn hotel at 8:30. She was joining a prearranged prepaid tour to Goree Island, lunch at an expensive restaurant she would have never chosen for herself, (not my 'friends' restaurant. She doesn't know me or my friends! She just got off the plane the day before!) and a city tour. We were supposed to pick them up at 8:30am and she said her computer clock said 8:00... that's what time I said they would leave so there's plenty of time to make the appointment at 08:30 at King Fahd.

Again I ask, so what is the problem?

Clearly she was going to makie us late because yes, my guides were there early, (not 6:45 tho who does that??) and by 7:35 she was not up so I knocked on the door. It was not at 7:15 as she says here or she would have had time to check her banking information earlier. Considering she blew up her curling iron or whatever and was wearing a hat she would have had plenty of time! lol!

So again, this proves, contrary to what she said at the end, I was on her about being on time, not embarrassing me with our group tour and they were out the door and at King Fahd at the appointed hour. That is NOT disorganization or being rude, that's keeping solo travelers who want to join groups on task and involved with others and their activities so you can see everything in Dakar at group rates whenever possible. I think the word she was looking for but couldn't bring herself to say was 'thank you.'

I have helped out many solo travelers who appreciate this extra service. It is too bad this reviewer doesn't see how badly this reflects on her.

The city tour alone is 30,000cfa//$60 and she only paid 15,000cfa/$30 and is STILL COMPLAINING after I told her several times she saw everything on our tour but the Presidential Palace downtown. It looks like every other white house in every other country in the world. She was on THEIR tour, had seconds and thirds of THEIR FOOD at the restaurant, (I told her to order off the menu as the meal was expensive but by her own admission again, she only paid $15 - everyone else paid $30+) and after doing the rest of the tour THEY opted to go back to the hotel. By this time it was almost 6pm and had a strenuous 10 hour day of tours.

See what this got me? This is what President Obama calls a 'learning moment' and now I truly understand what he means. She didn't miss anything really and it's always people getting stuff for free or cheap that complain the most. She is right about one thing, her encounter with our drum instructor will be unforgettable for him, along with the members of the group tour she joined the second day, complaining about virtally everything from the condition of the boats at Lac Rose, the tour at Bandia wildlife park (she saved $75 on that tour alone by going with a group and she's complaining here that she still had to pay for her ticket!) and then she opted out of the Joal tour because she didn't want to pay the 3,000cfa boatsman fee. That's about $6. She caught another one of our tours coming back to Dakar, skipped out on Ibou's drumming fees, left 1,000cfa for the soap and 1,000cfa/$2 for the driver that brought her back to Dakar early.

She was conveniently gone to the airport early when I arrived back home so I couldn't mention the drumming fees again, then had the nerve to ask me in email when I wrote to remind her, (which is what provoked this review) "oh, did I have to pay for that?'' ummm yes, Virginia, you have to pay for that.

There is no Santa Claus in Senegal.
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durham
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

My husband and I stayed with Sineta (owner) in Dakar back in November 2011. I start this review of SenegalStyle B&B this way because being there felt like visiting an old friend after all the communications prior to our arrival. Everything was just as advertised and more. Airport pickup, meals, sightseeing tours, Ali, Pape, Bada (guides) were all a pleasure and memorable. This is not a five star hotel, but a clean, cozy, well run bed and breakfast, with an energetic hostess who shares her inside knowledge about Senegal and Gambia. It is located in a neighborhood so you see everyday life of the people. People-watching from her ground floor window was one of my favorite and relaxing things to do. Great views from the roof of the building as well. I HIGHLY recommend SenegalStyle, especially if this is your first trip to Dakar and would like some personal attention with reasonable rates. I would definetly return, for Sineta's cooking and to visit my "old friend".

Room Tip: Front bedroom has private bathroom, is large.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sineta G, Owner at SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, September 12, 2012
Hello and THANK YOU so much for your lovely review!

It was truly nice to see you remembered with fondness, me, Jonathan and the gang so long after your stay! I appreciate your comments and honest overall impressions about our homestay guesthouse. No, we are not a five star hotel - there are many here in Dakar and that is not our market. We try to provide solo men & women economy travelers, volunteers and students taking French or Arabic in our language programs, and backpackers & adventure travelers with reasonably priced accommodations in a clean comfortable mosquito & bug free environment. (€63 for 2 includes BOTH breakfast & dinner, or €23 per person, no meals). SenegalStyle is perfect for layovers between flights and SenegalStyle TOURS! and SenegalStyle African Drumming are TOP RATED! (see 'Things to Do' here on TripAdvisor)

The tours you and your husband took with our bilingual guides (english, french, spanish, japanese) were all day trips so you were always back home in time for a quick shower and dinner at 8pm! I'm so glad you two had such a good time and thank you for being thoughtful enough to include the names of our tourguides and give them such a nice reference!

I hope you are able to make it back to Dakar in the coming years; we will be happy to host you again and have added several other tours, including co-sponsoring The 'Roots Festival' in February 2013 and organizing trips to the village of Juffurah, the original village of Kunta Kinte from Alex Haley's book of the same name, and James Island (another slave trading post), in The Gambia!

Thanks again for 'Doin' it SenegalStyle!'
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Additional Information about SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast

Address: Ouest Foire, Cite Africa, Unit 13 | Close to Airport/Beach/Downtown!, Dakar, Senegal
Phone Number:
Location: Senegal > Dakar Region > Dakar
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 59 B&Bs / Inns in Dakar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
NOTE: Pls contact us directly as the booking agencies do not have our calendar of availability. GREETINGS from DAKAR, SENEGAL, WEST AFRICA! Try something different and live with a REAL FAMILY! Our prices are now LOWER THAN EVER BEFORE! For travelers on a TIGHT BUDGET our HOMESTAY GUESTHOUSE MODEL makes Senegal an even MORE AFFORDABLE PLACE to visit for ECONOMY TRAVELERS & BACKPACKERS! Clean, comfortable and most importantly, BUG FREE! SenegalStyle HOMESTAY B&B is usually full so BOOK IN ADVANCE to reserve your room! Our rates make SenegalStyle perfect for PER DIEM Embassy & NGO TRAVELERS here for CONFERENCES & TEMPORARY WORK SCHEDULES! American Owned and ENGLISH SPEAKING, our guesthouse is NEAR EVERYTHING with only a 10 min walk to YOFF & BCEAO Beaches, we're close to Dakar Airport & offer BILINGUAL GUIDES(English/Italian/French/Japanese AND Spanish) who meet you AT THE AIRPORT, & bring you to SenegalStyle or accompany you to villages & other places outside of the city! Other Guest Services include our TOP RATED SenegalStyle TOURS & DAY TRIPS, NEW RESIDENT 'Welcome Wagon' Services, Taxi Transport and SenegalStyle FRENCH, WOLOF, ARABIC LANGUAGE Program & our Top Rated SenegalStyle AFRICAN DRUM Lessons! Schools INCLUDE room accommodation, 2 meals, laundry service & FREE WIFI so bring your laptop or other wireless device! TOP RATED TOURS for SOLO TRAVELERS & GROUPS made SenegalStyle the 2011 AND 2013 Certificate of Excellence Winner! Ask me about budget flights to Dakar and for late night arrivals, I STONGLY RECOMMEND our AIRPORT PICKUP SERVICE! SenegalStyle B&B HomeStay GuestHouse... You're in good hands at a GREAT PRICE! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Senegalstyle Bed And Breakfast
Senegalstyle Hotel Dakar

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