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“Surprisingly good” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Smartline Palma Rima Hotel

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Smartline Palma Rima Hotel
2.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Badala Highway | Kololi beach, Kololi, Gambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 9 Hotels in Kololi
Norway
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

Having tried our several hotels in the Gambia during the years, Palma Rima has become one of our favourites. we did not expect it,. since it is mainly a charter hotel, in the mid-range. But unless you want to stay direct at the beach (where taxis are much more expensice)
Staff at Palma Rima is professional, friendly and helpful. Guests are mainly brits, many of the all Inclusive (haven't tried that, since the kitchen seems to be the less good part of the hotel. But many restaurants within walking distance).
Pool is big and clean, but stay away from the rooms in the block (rooms are small, and noise from the entertainment in the evening might disturb).
Choose Bungalow rooms, a bit more expensive, but which are spacious, airy, clean, simple and quiet. Small TV on the wall. AC is available, but expensive (electricity is expensive in that country). every Bungalow room has a small veranda - ask for a room where the veranda lies in the shadow, 'cause sun is too hot.
If you have a cheap flight, you may save money by booking the room direct from the hotels own website.
No hustling in this hotel, apart from monkey families that may pass by in the afternoon. Five minutes walk from the beach. On one side of the hotel you will find rice fields and palm wine tappers all the way down to the beach. On the other side the main road is not far (but traffic does not disturb), and on the main road is is eady to find a cheap local taxi. Well stocked supermarked across the street, with reasonable prices. wonderful holiday both for singles, couples and for families with children.

Room Tip: Stay away from the rooms in the block by the pool. Choose a Bungalow room inside the area
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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545 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (184)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Polish first
  • Any
English first
Birmingham
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

Stayed here for a week in feb, first time in Africa, we were on a charity school trip so I really didn't know what to expect. First of all The Gambia is well worth a visit, beautiful coastline and the most lovely people. Be sure to explore further than your hotel to see the real Gambia.. remember it is a developing country and so some standards may be different to European destinations....but please get out there don't just sit by the pool! Palma Rima offers great value accommodation, the bungalow rooms we stayed in were spacious with comfy beds, hot showers, were clean and cool in the evening, the surrounding gardens were beautiful. The pool was clean and great with plenty of sun beds. Food is also very very good, we were shocked at how much variety there was...always catering for the less daring of British travellers. Evening meals always had 3-4 options were tasty and very good. Breakfast also offered lots of choice, toast, bread, bacon, beans, pancakes, fruit, cereal etc the staff are also extremely welcoming and friendly. Our waiter Omar was a credit to the hotel. If you need transport we recommend Njogu www.thegambia-taxi.com he was an excellent and reliable guide, he can cater for short trips, airport transfers or take you around the country to explore. Overall Palma Rima was a great place to stay, cleanliness and friendliness out doing many 4stars I have stayed in. A brilliant base to explore the wonderful country..

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Swindon, United Kingdom
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

we returned to the palma rima for the closing week on 22nd april after a fantastic 1st trip there in feb 2012, we had stayed in contact with a couple of the staff and were very much looking forward to seeing them again we were not disappointed they were waiting for us when we arrived at the gate it was very moving, the hotel has improved slightly and they are now about to refurbish the dining area and the cell block, we stayed in a bungalow again which now has decent TV's to be fair the only time it was switched on was for the news when we were getting ready in the evenings, as it was the last week there were not that many guests so we had the freedom of the amazing pool and never had to wait for anything, the staff were amazing so genuine and warm and always smiling, we had no problems with bumsters outside and were left alone when we ventured out of the hotel, the only disappointing thing was that the hotel was shutting down so you could not buy ice-cream we had to go out for that which we did not last year and the shop was almost empty, we were all inclusive and again found that we did not get the choice as we had done before except for breakfast we had to order our food when we got to the dining area to be fair to the chefs the food was always presented lovely and there was plenty of it but there was not the atmosphere, one tip to the owner you should listen to your staff they have some great ideas also the chefs they should be able to create their own menu's after all these are the guys that are spending time with the guests and they listen to the feedback, if this was our first trip here I think that we would have been put off and would not have returned but as we had such a great time last year we knew it was not the staff's fault, I would not recommend the last week of april if you like library quiet then go for it but a few more guests would of been nice, we are booked to go back in November, the reason is the staff they make the holiday perfect, we have never had a problem with any of them and they can all be trusted they value their jobs to much. it was great to see the monkeys again too cant wait for November, don't expect luxury its basic but all you need, anyone that dares to moan about this hotel go out and visit a compound then you will see how hard life is for these lovely lovely people.

Room Tip: recommend the bungalows they stay cooler
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2013

The best part of this hotel is without doubt the swimming pool! Beautiful and large - the biggest in The Gambia. Beatifully warm and clean.
The rooms in 'cell' block are basic but adequate. The best views are pool side but the rooms at the back are definitely cooler especially on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The bungalows are good size but very hot so you would probably have to buy aircon/fan about £6 a day. The lovely girls will try to do what you want, to clean or not. Change towels when you want them to you may have to ask for a bath/shower mat. The food is pretty plain but not too bad. I stayed bed and breakfast. There are plenty of restaurants close by or down on the Strip about 350/400dalasi - £7-8 for a generous mail meal. Deserts are not really made.
There are lots to do if you are not too hot. Hire a taxi or be brave and take a local taxi which is very cheap. Get a guide, this can be arranged outside the hotel gates and is very good value. Don't forget to tip the guides and others as this makes up their wages which are very low. Buy (and eat) the fresh peanuts these too are cheap. The fruit and veg market across the road are also good but don't forget to make friends with the owners and then they will help you!!

Travel around the Gambia and visit the sites don't stay in the hotel 'compound' all the time meet up with the real world and visit the locals in there own homes they are very friendly!!!
Most of all have fun and enjoy your holiday.

Room Tip: Rooms in main block are lighter and hotter at the pool side. At the back the few is poor but rooms...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

Tried Palma Rima for a change from Palm Beach. Great location short stroll to lovely beach. Loads of bars opposite. Staff very polite and helpful. Stayed in a bungalow although booked standard room but they closed them for refurb so got a bargain - only problem we encountered was signing our gambian friends in and out every time - would be easier if they issued a pass to visitors at the start of holiday !!! Food a bit basic in hotel and expensive compared to outside. Hotel is part all inclusive which is a shame as it takes custom away from local businesses who only get a 6 month season so don't agree with this. All in all would stay here again.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manchester
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

Just returned from an 11 Night at the Palma Rima;
First and Fourmost you HAVE to remember this is a 3rd world country!!.
The Hotel needs a big facelift(which is starting in Closed season..as we left).
It is very clean...staff sooo friendly(beware they dont do anything for nothing),they will ask when you are going home!!!....then you are given the sob stories.....Just be Polite and firm ans say NO:
We went All Inclusive......DONT!!....the selection of food very limited...ie; every day...Breakfast Eggs and Beans!!.
Go B&B....lots of good Restaurants.......Miss out The Come In....I was Ill and it was awful;
Try Henry's or Churchills.....Steak Pie.chips/pots and veg approx 3 quid;
Local beer.....less than 50p bottle;
use Tourist taxi from outside hotel......agree price first;
Do thr ROOTS tour...amazing.
Take pens/pencils/sweets for children....they have NOTHING apart from smiling faces.
DONOT pay for the First Class Lounge on return.......we paid 32 Pounds were promised 2 alchoholic drinks + unlimited soft drinks, sandwiches/bagels ect.....yes we got a sandwich...cost 5quid; ans 1 drink and a coffee
Beware the Bumsters outside Hotel ect....a really firm NO! should do the trick;
These points aside we did enjoy hols;
We would return but not yet......many more places to see.

Room Tip: If you are prone to Mozzie Bites (I am) dont waste lots of money on "Mozzie Sprays....Use AVON...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swansea, United Kingdom
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

My wife and myself go to the sunshine coast once a year and have done for the last eighteen years and each year it improves. The last number of years we have stayed in the Palma Rima. Its basic but clean and the staff are friendly, it also has the biggest pool in the Gambia.. We only stay b&b in the hotel as there are good restuarants, within walking distance or a short taxi ride away.If you stay in the main 'block', floors 2&3 facing the pool are the best. The hotel is a central location for a day trips, dont be afraid to venture out and use the taxis . The green tourist taxis are safe and we can reccomend Derek (Modou Bar), he is normally outside the Bucarrabu bar on the main strip in Kololi.We have known him for over ten years and he picks us up from the airport. He charges 500 Dalassi which is cheaper than transfers with tour companies. He is very reliable and can take you on various excursions within the Gambia and Senegal.If you want a reliable taxi whatever time day or night tel (0022) 07740883.

Room Tip: try to get a pool view if you are in the main block
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Smartline Palma Rima Hotel

Address: Badala Highway | Kololi beach, Kololi, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kololi
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 9 Hotels in Kololi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Smartline Palma Rima Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Smartline Palma Rima Hotel an exquisite hotel providing standard hotel servicers that will satisfy you and your family vacation. We offer one the of most comfortable hotel services in the country concerning largest sports and entertainment that will blow your mind for another visit. We are approximately 180meters to the Beach. Our breakfast is a buffet style with a large selection of cold and hot food also lunch and dinner will consist of good selection of international and African dishes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Palma Rima
Palma Rima Kololi
Palma Rima Hotel Gambia
Palma Rima Gambia
Smartline Palma Rima Hotel Gambia/Kololi

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