"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.
- 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 ($50 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, (OPTIONAL) 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