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“Return from Paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ngala Lodge

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Ngala Lodge
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4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   64 Atlantic Boulevard | P.O. Box 4091, Fajara, Gambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Fajara
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Bromsgrove, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Return from Paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

My partner and I stayed at the Ngala Lodge from 24/10/2013 - 01/10/2013. We had one regret in the whole time we were there - that we did not book for two weeks!

The whole Gambia experience is pure magic from start to finish and the Ngala Lodge is the icing on the cake. Our room was spacious overlooking the pool and the Atlantic Ocean with a huge balcony from which we watched Vultures circling, morning and evening. We have superb footage of a true tropical thunderstorm raging in the evening - an unbelievable sight.

All of the staff from Jenny the General Manager right down to the maids made us feel welcome and at home from the moment we arrived. The food is out of this world, Gourmet presentation, and huge portions. Jonathon the Chef grows many of the salad leaves and herbs in his own garden.

We owe our thanks to Habib, the hotels resident taxi driver for showing us the real Gambia from Monkeys to Giant Prawns on Paradise Beach to Serekunda Market, not to mention Tangier with all its sights, smells and sounds.

One word of warning once you have stayed at this hotel it will spoil you for all others. It is our intention to return to the Smiling Coast and the Ngala Lodge next year. The only difference will be that it will be for TWO WEEKS!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Oh how nice are you to write such fabulous things about us!! Thank you! We are delighted that you enjoyed your holiday and I will make sure that the staff see a copy of the review, as I do with all the reviews. The fact that you are planning to return says so much and the fact that you want to stay for longer says it all!! We look forward to welcoming you back to Ngala Lodge!
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330 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (120)
Date | Rating
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English first
Falkirk, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

This really was a fantastic holiday and a very special hotel.

We booked via Voyage Prive / The Gambia Experience & stayed for 2 weeks.

This was a 2nd attempt at our honeymoon after it was ruined by Thomsons last year and we couldn't have been happier!

Jenny (General Manager) provided great service , even before we arrived by taking the time to email us after we had booked to thank us for choosing Ngala and with a commitment to make our holiday very special. This commitment was MORE than fulfilled!

Its hard to pinpoint what makes Ngala so special although we can definitely start with the staff. They are a fantastic team, well chosen and all seem to have worked there for some time.They all really pull out all the stops to make sure all guests are as happy as they can be.

The location of the Hotel is ideal and the gardens are nothing short of wonderful. Peter (owner) has his pieces of art on show, tastefully decorating the grounds of the manicured gardens with lots of places to chill and enjoy the coastal views, sunbath, read or watch sunsets .

The breakfast service is almost heavenly ! Very serene and well thought out. Fresh juice every day, tasty food great coffee, daily specials = a great way to start any day!
Room service was also superb. Ice delivered in what felt like seconds any time we called for it.
The restaurant is billed as the best in 'The Gambia' and of that there is NO DOUBT!
5 star food at any time of the day and exquisitely presented on every occasion... tasted not bad either! LOL every other night there was local entertainment which just added so much to the great ambiance.

Overall we were delighted with every element of Ngala Lodge and have already recommended it to many of our freinds and family. It is everything a hotel should be and so much more!

Special Thanks to ; Jenny , Malik , Pa , Jaweng, Mo , Ansu ,

Room Tip: Try to stay in an Atlantic Suite if possible however all rooms are beautiful Also the 'Romance...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Thank you both for your fabulous review!! we are delighted that you enjoyed your stay as much as you did - we certainly enjoyed having you around! My one regret is that I didn't get to say goodbye to you at the end! You were gone before I knew it. That only means, of course, that you have to come back again!! Take care and I look forward to welcoming you back!
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Chelmsford, England, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

They lived up the the nickname the smiling coast as the staff make this hotel an amazing experience. The setting is stunning, the rooms are world class and the food is sensational. Gambia is a unique and special country and this hotel is the perfect base from which to explore.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Thank you Ben for your short but very sweet review! It was a pleasure to have you to stay and we look forward to welcoming you back!
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Chester, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013

We stayed at Ngala lodge for 1 week 10 through 17 September (booked via Gambia Experience) we will definitely return. The experience from first contact with Gambia experience was almost seamless perfection - there was one small glitch air-side of Gatwick airport which we reported to our rep (Kevin - he really does do everything!) and it was resolved and compensated.
The hotel is a paradise and we found that we didn't need (or want) to leave the grounds Peter (the owner) and Jenny (the general manager) have have a fabulous relationship with the staff (who seem to adore them) and this results in a really comfortable atmosphere. The staff are attentive but not intrusive their timing on returning to where you're relaxing to check if you need anything is spot-on. food is 5 star and served by happy well trained and attentive staff in the exquisitely located restaurant. Our suite (#1) was elegant old colonial style with a feeling of worn-in comfort with full facilities and fully serviced daily. Attention to detail was impressive they even spotted that my wife's birthday was while we were there and without any prompting made the day special from the moment we stepped into the restaurant for breakfast and finished with a birthday cake after dinner. The staff gathered round and sang happy birthday to her for breakfast and after dinner. No need to carry money with you in the hotel - you just sign for for your use which is totaled every day and you pay at the end of your stay. Cash is best (they prefer sterling) and easy travelers cheques OK but credit cards can be problematic.
Peter & Shirley Green

Room Tip: our suite (#1-Brabo) was on first floor and was excellent with balcony but next time I will try to g...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, September 27, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful review! It was a pleasure to have you stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lower Farringdon, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

I recently travelled to Gambia for business, choosing the Ngala Lodge for my 4 nights stay.
With the accommodating and friendly staff, the superb cuisine, spacious room, ocean views and private balcony, you cannot help but forget you are away on business. From the moment of my arrival I was relaxed, making it very difficult not to treat the Ngala as a home away from home and a holiday destination. I did feel guilty at leaving everyone at the office for such a fantastic destination. Talking to colleagues from the Jacuzzi on the balcony was difficult, even more so from the sun lounger on the beach.

For business use, the internet coverage was fantastic, Skype, youtube, hosted desktop, general browsing, everything worked surprisingly well and not what you tend to find in other hotels. The facilities in general are very good.

Everything about Ngala is a 5 star rating. It is rare to have such a good balance. When I travel, sometimes the food is great but service is awful and vice versa leaving you disappointed, but not here. Staff are amazing and make it a great experience, very open and inviting. I learned a lot about their culture and their lives in a very short space of time. I haven't experienced that anywhere else.

I regret I couldn't stay for longer. Next time I stay (on holiday this time!!) I'm stealing the chef. I miss his work most of all.

Room Tip: Take an Atlantic suite
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, September 27, 2013
Thank you for your great review! We have recently improved our internet and wifi coverage and we are glad to hear it worked for you! We aim to make all our guests as comfortable as possible, whether they are in the Gambia for work or for pleasure. Do come and see us again!
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Lagos
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
149 helpful votes 149 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

I stayed at Ngala Lodge with my husband as a weekend getaway from Dakar.

Before i review the lodge, i wish to warn all readers. If you live in Dakar and wish to visit Banjul from Dakar, NEVER do the road trip!! Our experience was the worst road trip ever in my life. Bad roads, malfunctioning Ferry services all contributed to a terrible trip. 8 hours from Dakar to Banjul and 17hours from Banjul back to Dakar!!

Now to Ngala Lodge, as i travel professional, i always want to choose the best rated accommodations for myself so that i could share with my clients.

The reservation process was ok and the rates were pretty decent. We were on half board and paid a total of £300 for 2 nights plus extras for the suite

Positives
• The lodge is situated in a peaceful and nice neighborhood close to the British High commission.

• This Sea front property has a super gorgeous garden with excellent sea views and a private beach. We went down to the beach in the evening and it was one of the highlights of our stay. Calm and beautiful. Very romantic. Beware of the slope leading to the beach as well as vultures (they did their stuff and didn’t disturb us)

• I loved the bed! Very comfortable with a mosquito net. It was really cosy. A real love nest

• The internet facilities of the lodge is very impressive. There is Wi-Fi almost everywhere including the gardens

• We were welcomed with complementary fruit and pound cake which was nice


Not so Positives

• While the bedroom had air-conditioning, the living area had no air-conditioning. For guests from Europe who want some warmth after a cold winter, this may be fine. But for a West African who constantly deals with the harsh heat and humidity, its suicidal not to have air-conditioning!! We had a spare fan in the room but it was largely ineffective!

This was not acceptable to us at all

• The restaurant and TV lounge were also equally hot. Even though it was it the garden, it was so humid and hot and the fans were of little help. There were also a lot of flies that prevented us from enjoying our meals. I’ll suggest that the hotel management do something about this

• The TVs in the living area is past due for changing. It hardly functioned well and the channels were pretty limited and boring. There would have been no complaint about this if the TV was bigger and clearer even if there were 2 channels. Nevertheless we were able to watch the Premiership football match in the garden lounge

• We didn’t really enjoy the breakfast. It was ok but we’ve eaten better. The dinner was much better.

In all, I would not recommend this for those who are mindful of heat and humidity.However if you wish to experience the natural African weather, then this place is for you.

I also see some reviewers describing the lodge as luxurious....Well this does not conform to what i regard as luxury!!!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, September 11, 2013
Thank you for your 'mixed' review!! The road trip from Dakar always was challenging and appears, because of ferry problems, to have got an awful lot worse! We now advise guests not to use the ferry because of health and safety issues. As to your particular comments we are an 'outdoors' style hotel designed to make the most of the climate. Our cliff top position usually means that there are cooling sea breezes through the restaurant and grounds. We are not usually affected by flies. All the bedrooms are air conditioned. The Manor suite living rooms are not but this has not previously been reported as a problem, perhaps you were here at a particularly humid time? The TVs (only provided in the Manor suites) are also not so old (although not brand new!) and should pick up a range of channels. The satelite dish is new.
So I'm sorry that we did not meet your expectations but agree with you that we are more suited to visitors looking for an African experience.
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Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We have a fantastic time at the Ngala Lodge last month. The Agnes suite was truly amazing, you could definitely swing a cat!!! Possibly a whole pride of lions. The staff were very friendly and polite and the service was brilliant. They made our holiday very special, thank you. I honestly cannot fault anything...apart from the weather, which had nothing to do with the lodge. We did travel in the green season so we expected some rain, but my goodness it certainly can rain I Gambia. The food in the restaurant was delicious. We were planning to eat at different restaurants but only went out once as the food at Ngala was so good. I would recommend Ngala to anyone wanting a quite and peaceful holiday.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny F, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
Thank you for your review. We are glad you enjoyed your holiday and we appreciate the feedback. Perhaps we'll see you again at Ngala Lodge when there is not so much rain!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngala Lodge

Address: 64 Atlantic Boulevard | P.O. Box 4091, Fajara, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Fajara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Fajara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ngala Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1995, Ngala Lodge - an intimate, child free, boutique hotel of just 18 unique, magnificent suites, set in tropical gardens, overlooking the Atlantic is the perfect place for a romantic break. Recently voted the 4th most romantic hotel in Africa by TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards, with arguably the best restaurant in the Gambia, our guests find it hard to leave.Ngala Lodge - where romance isn't just for Valentines Day! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngala Hotel Fajara
Ngala Lodge Gambia/Fajara

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