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“5 Wonderful Days In Dakar, Sengal” 5 of 5 stars
Review of SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast

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City Sonatel 1, Villa 32, Dakar, Senegal   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 78 Dakar B&B and Inns
Sacramento, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“5 Wonderful Days In Dakar, Sengal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

My husband and I traveled to Senegal with our two children, 13 and 16. It was our first trip (his 2nd). He stayed at Senegalstyle before and brought us back there because it was cheap. (My husbands words, not mine!). I wouldn't say 'cheap though because that implies bad quality and I found everything from the decorations, beds, food, cleanliness very nice. It's not a 5 star hotel and there are plenty more expensive places in Dakar. I looked online before we decided to revisit Senegalstyle, well, because it was a lot less expensive to rent a place that included meals and tours together. The photos are exactly as the rooms looked when we arrived and she keeps the place very clean.

My overall view of Sineta, her son and the drivers for the tours is very positive. Of course it's her house and she has her ways of fitting everything in to a 24 hour day. I don't know how she does it but she took wonderful care of our family and aided in helping us have a wonderful vacation in Dakar and I'm still smiling!

Like she says in all the emails (oh, LOTS of communication from her before during and even after we left she sent an email asking if the trip back was good!) She told us everything we need to bring (which helped us save lots of money) and what to expect ahead of time, including bringing our own beach towels.

Senegalstyle exceeded my expectations which were high because my husband had been there before!


TIPS: My teens loved the garden room, the 4x4s, camels and turtles at pink lake and the wildlife park. Fortunately we paid everything in advance or we would have gone thru more money at higher exchange rates once we got there. Being able to get up, eat breakfast if there was time (she packed meals for us a couple of times because we had to leave early) and going with our driver every day to go to a different place made it very easy for us. I didn't have to think or decide what to do, Sineta helped us plan all of our day trips and arranged for our driver to take us and pick us up from our daily outings. We just went had a great time and came back for dinner. Having Sineta take the stress out getting here and there made this the best vacation I ever had!

I Highly Recommend Senegalstyle...You Won't Be Sorry!
Cathy Thomas

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cathy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Piraeus, Greece
Level Contributor
74 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

Stayed at SenegalStyle for 9 days (8 nights) during May 2013.
Certain things are very good such as the tours. I booked almost every tour through Sineta ie: Lac Rose, Bandia Reserve and Plaze Popenguine, City Tour. It comes out very affordable if you share with other people, I was able to share with 3 more people the first 2 days and with 2 during the rest. Yet it is becoming very expensive if you book the tours just for yourself (solo traveling is expensive anyway).
Another great thing is the professionalism, friendliness and effectiveness of the 2 drivers/ tour guides Senegal Style has. Both Ismael and Moustafa were simply perfect, answered every question about the places we visited and made the trips fun and even more interesting.
There were times however we felt embarrassed and unsettled with the rude way Sineta would speak to them (guests should NEVER witness any of this).
The location is good because it is close to the airport (just 10 minutes by taxi, will cost you CFA 2000) and within 15 minute walking distance you can go for a swim in the ocean in BCAO beach).
The place has 3 rooms. Only one has private bathroom. The other 2 must share one bathroom together with the owner's room. I was lucky enough to move to the room with the private bathroom when 2 rooms were vacated - I need to thank Sineta for that - however I would really appreciate if I had better information about the lack of "en suite" bathroom of the room (writing that I would have the Indigo Room is not enough I believe).
I totally agree that it is not a 5 star hotel and you get what you pay but bedsheets were never changed during my 9 day stay, nor was I never given a towel (I was lucky enough to have brought mine). I believe that at least once a week linens should have been changed and at least be given a towel (maybe not for a stay of 2-3 days but definitely for longer periods).
The food issue: a cup of tea and a piece of cake does not constitute breakfast by no means. An omelet (with not even a slice of bread) does not constitute breakfast either. A plate of rice and meat without any water, juice (never mind a slice of bread or a salad specimen) does not constitute dinner as well.
I know it is a guest house and I expected the minimum yet even the minimum was hard to get.
Senegal style needs a lot of improvement and its potential could be wasted very soon if the appropriate measures are not taken as soon as possible.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank covaltio
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, July 3, 2013
Hello and GREETINGS from SenegalStyle!

This review is actually during the same time period of the 2 other reviews (negative) by some girls that this reviewer displaced while he was here. The short story is, since they were young and he was an older man, he begged me, literally offering chocolates (that I refused - I won't be bribed), to switch their rooms with him when our other guests left, (a family of 3), claiming to have all kinds of personal health problems, and me being the trusting person that I am, I thought he was telling the truth, fell for it, and moved them to two separate rooms, a bonus normal people would appreciate (instead of sharing the one large one that has en suite bathroom). Now he says (I) we 'need improvement' yes, I need to not be a soft touch and be tougher when it comes to room changes!

He's right and it shouldn't have happened and I should have made him stay where he was, period. He knew full well we were full and he was getting the last room which WAS NOT the Mali room and should have stayed in the Indigo room, the one he paid for and agreed to.

I send a lot of newsletters out to everyone doing any type of business with SenegalStyle that includes who will be here, where they come from and what they will be doing. This is so everyone knows how full the house will be and what trips they can join in ahead of time. Also, I sent him photos, as he said in his review. We were all on the same page coming in - the girls knew ahead of time we were overbooked and would be in the garden room (it's not 'outside' on the floor but inside the house, very comfortable and more importantly, they agreed ahead of time because they needed a place to stay!), he knew he got the last room, the Blue Indigo room and the Russian family had the larger room, the Mali room and Indigo rooms.

This week turned out badly because even though he pretended at the time, saying that he would 'help me out' if they neg'ed me on TripAdvisor - I knew they would and said as much to make sure he understood I was putting my online reputation on the line, he is not an man of his word, nor did he tell the others that he manipulated me into giving him their room. Instead of standing up and telling the truth like a man, he simply let me take the heat for the room change and resulting exaggerated reviews that came with it.

Never again - I have only myself to blame but it is obvious that this is an anomaly in our otherwise positive guest experiences and I am hoping those reading this will see it in the context that it is given. A snapshot of one very busy week during a very busy month at SenegalStyle HomeStay GuestHouse.

Reviewing the complaints with an open mind lets you see clearly the flip side of the problem... if I am trying to serve 8 other people at the same time SOME ONE INDIVIDUAL should have stepped up and said, 'can I help you with the drinks?' or 'do you need me to run to the corner for bread?' (which the Russian man was doing but when he left, instead of this man stepping up to help, he sat there doing nothing). Now 2 months later he asks for bread... why didn't he ask at the time or simply offer to get it?

With regard to drinks with dinner that one night that they all 3 seem to have etched in their brain, I personally took them to a store that sells bottled water wholesale. Each of them got a case. If I forget because I'm human, to bring out drinks because some people wanted seconds (which is what happened) although they are all pretending that they didn't eat WELL here, they did, and between running back and forth to the kitchen for this and that, I simply forgot. I did remember when I came back to clear the dishes and I said 'oh, I forgot your drinks' THEN THEY SAID, 'that's ok, we got our water!' If you say it's ok, for me, since I am American, speak and comprehend English quite well, then it's ok. If it's ok, it's OK and I continued clearing dishes!

It's a simple matter and not a reflection of anything other than selective memory. Don't say a month later that I forgot water with one meal! In any event, I serve southern style iced tea made from local organic antimalarial leaves every day. I make it in the morning (hot) serve with breakfast and put the rest in the freezer so it is ice cold by dinner time. It's not a big deal - it's an oversight. When I remembered, they already had their water. Done deal I kept it moving - it seems to me they are just looking hard to find things to complain about.

In any event, Mr Reviewer, thank you for your input and I appreciate your concerns about the improvements you feel are needed here in my HOME. Just to be clear, SenegalStyle Homestay Guesthouse is first and foremost, my HOME. Emphasis is added in caps, I am not yelling, so we understand each other. To continue, this is where me and my son LIVE as well. We are not going to move out of our house to brush our teeth nor change our eating and living habits in exchange for extending our hospitality to visitors choosing to stay with us, usually because of #1 our reviews, and #2, the price. Most people have no problem with us living in our own home and although now you are acting as if you had no idea we would also be here, that is in fact totally disingenuous. The reason I say that you did know what you were getting in to is because you in fact, brought a gift for the house, which is what you do when you come to someone's home (no one gives gifts hotel managers because it's a different model!). It also made me believe you had manners, now I know differently and I was wrong.

I will take your points one by one:

*You said you were here 9 days - no, your time off was 9 days, you took one day coming and one day going.

That's 7 days. You were here for a full week.

*You said 'I booked almost every tour through Sineta ie: Lac Rose, Bandia Reserve and Plaze Popenguine, City Tour. It comes out very affordable if you share with other people, I was able to share with 3 more people the first 2 days and with 2 during the rest."

This is true and totally refutes what the other 2 reviewers that took the tours WITH HIM said - proving that these people are simply not being truthful. Another thing that's interesting is that all three on one hand say how wonderful the guides and drivers are and what a great time they had, but on the other hand the reality of the situation is they certainly didn't show it. Not only did they not even offer them a drink while they are working (they all had PLENTY of water), they never invited them to lunch with them or treat them as equals the entire time were are out. The funny thing that always KILLS ME when people say this is that they never gave them (nor offered) a tip for their services. They tip in their own countries but here, it's rare that anyone tips us. AND then they complain about the price they charge for their services. Compared to who? The large touring companies? If that's the case why did they book with us? They are free to go anywhere, but they chose to split the costs 3 ways, pay between $20 and $30 each and then get on TripAdvisor and say the tours cost too much when we're MUCH LOWER or they would have gone somewhere else! Haha!

The fees my guides and drivers charge reflect their time (usually 12hr days) an gas ($7 a gallon here). I assure you the prices are fair and reasonable for our region. You can't rent a car here for $9.99 like you can in the US because our economy is stronger and the market is higher. It is what it is, I don't set gas prices and people that speak multiple languages like our guides need to get paid for their expertise (English, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic and all the local languages).

Let me make something else very clear, visitors are always free to get a random person in the markets as a guide cheaper and hire a taxi on their own if they speak French and like that type of 'adventure' but most reasonable people who do not speak French prefer to have screened professionals guiding them on their tours and pay for that privilege. That's what I do - make sure the people that take my visitors out are professional and thorough and can communicate with them in a language they understand.

They also had the option of simply hiring a guide and taking public transport to where they wanted to go - they didn't. If the service was good, the guides were friendly, the trip was comfortable, they got there safely and returned back to Dakar in time for dinner the same way they left, then what's the problem? Oh, $20 was expensive. Right.

I organize the tours and assign the guides because ultimately I am responsible for guest safety when they are here with us. If everything goes thru SenegalStyle, from the initial booking to paying the drivers and guides when they come back, if there is a problem, I handle it right then and there. That's my style, this is my company and I'm the one who says how it is run. Since all public areas in the house are open, if you hear me 'handling' what I feel needs to be handled with our guides and drivers, again, it is what it is. I am not like these reviewers. I don't come back a month later and complain in writing online to my guides about what happened when doing a tour. I do it face to face and it's done... My people have to be on point at all times on these tours and when they aren't, I let them know, immediately.

He couldn't have felt too badly for the guy anyway - he didn't even offer him a tip...

*You said "The location is good because it is close to the airport and within 15 minute walking distance you can go for a swim in the ocean in BCAO beach)."

This is true and airport pickup, especially during the middle of the night, is HIGHLY recommended. Most roads are unpaved & unlit in neighborhoods and it's impossible to find anywhere in the dark, in a foreign country, at 3am in the morning. After you've stayed here a few days you learn the lay of the land and you can find your own way easily, but your first time in Senegal, schedule our airport pickup service!

* "I was lucky enough to move to the room with the private bathroom when 2 rooms were vacated - I need to thank Sineta for that"

He finally acknowledges that he was 'lucky' - he wasn't 'lucky' he whined about it until I gave in. I was very unlucky in not properly assessing this situation; I was trying to be nice and it blew up in my face. He said writing about what room he would be in is not enough... he is basically acknowledging that he knew full well what room he would be in and then asked me to switch rooms later. That's such a ridiculous comment I won't even address it further.

*"bedsheets were never changed during my 9 day stay, nor was I never given a towel (I was lucky enough to have brought mine). He was 'lucky' again. He also says 'I believe that at least once a week linens should have been changed and at least be given a towel (maybe not for a stay of 2-3 days but definitely for longer periods)."

He was here 7 days, going and coming does not count. They were new when he got here and I took them off when he left (as someone else arrived). HE SAYS HE BELIEVES AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK LINENS SHOULD BE CHANGED. I do too and they were. Again, if he felt the sheets were dirty he could have simply asked. Going home and reflecting 2 months later on one day having no bread with dinner, I forgot drinks another time and I didn't offer him a towel when he already had one... gee whiz folks! I don't even know what else to say!

He didn't mind asking for a room change - he got that didn't he???

I asked him when he arrived if he had a towel (I send instructions that tell you to bring a towel and I even praised him for following them!) When he said he had a towel why would I give him another right then and there? Does this make any sense? Had he asked for another towel after 2 or 3 days he could have had one. Had he ASKED for bread the one day I forgot, he could have had it. Had he ASKED for a drink the one day I forgot it, he could have had it. Had he ASKED for anything else he wanted, he could have had it. Had he ASKED why I gave them our local Danish and a drink (in a bag, to go...) I would have explained that sending you off on an early tour in a car with pancakes and honey would be a bit problematic. It's much easier for everyone to have their breakfast Danish and drink packed to go.

They KNOW THIS so I don't even understand why they are trying to make it sound so bizarre! In fact, in the west it's called a 'continental breakfast' and that's standard fare at any hotel where you are paying more but they get to my homestay and complain about donuts and hot tea! I guess the expectations were more because of the great breakfasts and dinners I serve here on the other days, but because I packed them a quick breakfast so they would have something on the road, (trying to be nice, breakfast is at 10), they are complaining!

*Food - "The food issue: a cup of tea and a piece of cake does not constitute breakfast by no means. An omelet (with not even a slice of bread) does not constitute breakfast either.

I already addressed the tea and Danish - if you have an early tour and I fix you something that's it's in a bag to go it's 'breakfast.' You say 'thank you' and appreciate me being thoughtful and not making you starve on your way to your destination.

An omelet without bread... this is actually a bit disingenuous as they all knew why they didn't have bread. I made my Cracker Barrel style French toast the day before (what the other girls are calling 'fried bread' because they didn't know what it was), using the last of my homemade bread and didn't have time to get more baked. I TOLD THEM THAT and had he been trying to be helpful THEN instead of hurtful NOW he would have offered to get a long French bread loaf at the corner shop across the street. I didn't forget, I was out and having to serve 8 people had my attention more. He didn't complain about the omelet did he so contrary to what he's trying to imply, it must have been good!

*The other funny thing is he said the sleep quality was bad! haha! He selfishly ruined the vacation of those two girls by making up medical reasons for me to switch their room which then caused them to write negative reviews and bring down my TripAdvisor rating and then says he didn't sleep well! Lol! Was it guilt from looking those two in the face every day and pretending to be their friend, never admitting to lying about medical conditions and just and being a hypocrite? If he didn't sleep well that wasn't my fault. He got what he asked for.

I/we do a great job here at SenegalStyle, every day, and we usually bat a home run because of TEAMWORK. It's necessary sometimes that others chip in and help when CLEARLY they see I am serving alone and need it, what can I do?

I gambled that this reviewer would be a stand up guy, man up and admit to the girls that he was behind the room change shenanigans and tell the truth about the details in the negative reviews below. With the exception of the tours, which he did refute, taking the time to say I didn't bring water or bread... is so petty, whatever, anyway, as you can see, I made a mistake in judgment, gambled that he would be honest and lost.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dakar, Senegal
1 review
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
Helpful?
Thank Mohamed g
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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Paris, France
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 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
Helpful?
9 Thank Cynthia P
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
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 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
Helpful?
6 Thank Neila h
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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
Helpful?
2 Thank djdanelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 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
Helpful?
Thank PhD7360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about SenegalStyle Bed & Breakfast

Address: City Sonatel 1, Villa 32, Dakar, Senegal
Location: Senegal > Dakar Region > Dakar
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 78 B&Bs / Inns in Dakar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Number of rooms: 1
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 (€40 a night PER PERSON w/breakfast!) 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 will meet you AT THE AIRPORT, (€23) & 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, 2013, 2014 Certificate of Excellence Winner & 2015 TRAVELER'S CHOICE AWARD! 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 
Also Known As:
Senegalstyle Bed And Breakfast
Senegalstyle Hotel Dakar

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