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Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Certificate of Excellence
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Back for a second visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2013

My wife and I holidayed at the Ocean Bay over Christmas & New Year 2012. We enjoyed it so much that we returned for two weeks at Easter 2013 and weren't disappointed. We had booked through Cosmos as we did last time but on arriving at the hotel they had no record of our booking. The reception staff were full of apologies and promised to sort it out. Twenty minutes later the duty manager showed us to our room (right by the beach) and asked if it was satisfactory, it was. We saw lots of familiar faces among the staff, many of whom recognised us and remembered our names. We had a wonderful, lazy, relaxing two weeks and are already planning our next trip there as soon as possible. Last time we went on half board but this time we only went B&B which was better value for money we thought and it encouraged us to eat in many of the local restaurants (mostly good, one, the Chinese, never to be visited again.) We would definitely recommend the Ocean Bay to anyone looking for a relaxing holiday in the Gambia.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alistair R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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909 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Blackpool
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2013 via mobile

Visited The Gambia for the first time and have to say what a great time we had (I have travelled to many African countries on business previously).

Transfer from airport to hotel was only 30 mins or so and getting through the airport was pretty straight forward.

Greeted at the hotel with cold lemon grass tea (local speciality) and many Gambian smiles :-)

Hotel room was clean and spacious with plenty of power sockets (2 pin)

Bathroom and shower are a bit tired but the shower works really well and water was always hot - worth noting that the hotel will be getting a facelift from mid May and the bathrooms are on the agenda for updating.

Beds are very comfy as mattresses are new as is the bedding.

Breakfast in excellent and you will need to check in with Sulay who does a wicked omelette and poached eggs.

Beer is cheap c.£1 a bottle but check in with one of the waiters who will get you cold bottles delivered to your room for 35 dalasi a bottle (beer is lager called Julbrew 4.7 alc vol).

Many restaurants near by and would highly recommend Taj India, Calypso, Hungarian, Chinese and the on site Ocean Clipper but it is a little pricey compared to the others but the decor is nice and A/C always on.

Lunch round the pool is easy, good choice and reasonably priced.

Bring sterling with you and change in the hotel 50 dalasi to pound - really easy and less hassle than outside.

Guides - talked to them but never used one as everything is quite easy to work out and get round.

Pool - clean but quite cold but great given that average temp was 90 degrees.

Wifi - free all over the hotel complex but better reception in the lobby.

Sunbeds are fine, recommend tipping one of the pool guys to make sure you get the same beds every day (near the kids room in the corner is best, sun all day!)

All in all good hotel in need of a bit of attention which it will get this year!

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Shane73Blackpool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Biggar, Scotland
Level Contributor
19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2013

Back to The Ocean Bay Hotel. It’s just the same as last year, (check out our last visit Feb 2012).
The most important thing about The Gambia is its people. Wonderful, welcoming and friendly people. Get out there – meet the real Gambia. Use the official guides across the road from the hotel. Ask for Sam (Sambujang) he will help you to enjoy the sights and sound of the area – he’s a great guy. Down at the hotels beach you get a chance to meet more fantastic characters – ‘ML’ the juice man will bring you freshly squeezed fruit juice of your choice for only 50 dalasi each – wonderful!!. For lunch, have a large plate of fresh fruit prepared for you and delivered to your sunlounger by the wonderful Fatou ‘No.6’ from the Fruit Ladies stall. Take time to chat to the beach traders – they won’t hassle you, but look at there wares – this is their livelihood, and a small purchase means so much to them – Ibraheim is a real character who will come over a shake your hand and chat.
In the evenings you have got to visit one of the many wonderful restaurants within a very short walking distance from the hotel. They are all different, and all fantastic value for money – have fun, be adventurous and make up your own mind
I hear that the hotel is closing during the off season for an upgrade. I’m looking forward to seeing what the changes are when we visit next year.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Margaret H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
middx
Level Contributor
93 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

We have just returned from this hotel.We had an excellent time there.There is a mix of Germans,Danish,British and Dutch tourists.

First the positives:
Bakau is a lovely location with craft market and crocodile pool nearby.
The hotel has a big pool and plenty of sunbeds.
Good choice of food at breakfast.
Rooms are a good size.
The showers are hot and work well.
There is a large clean and sandy beach.
Generally staff are friendly and helpful.
There are only a few bumsters and the area is well-policed.
There are few mosquitoes.

Now the negatives:
The bathrooms definately need updating.The grouting is stained and the toilets sometimes flush and flush.We finally worked out how to stop ours!
We had a nice room with partial sea view but some face a wall.
We had one waiter,Esse who insisted on cash despite it being a cash free hotel.

We will definately be returning!

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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jclaire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
durham
Level Contributor
152 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2013

We enjoyed several days of glorious weather at Ocean Bay hotel from 2nd - 13th March. This four star (Thomas Cook) rated hotel is at best three, but if you bear this in mind you won't be disappointed. Room and bathroom (including towels) were rather tired and needed updating and maybe made a bit more comfortable and cheerful - decent seating other than the beds! But our toilet flushed everytime and we only had one day without hot water.We enjoyed sitting on our terrace and watching the birds feed - the grounds, pool and beach area are lovely. Breakfast time was predictable but still enjoyable - the guy who cooked the eggs worked very hard and cooked your eggs any way that you chose, don't forget to tip him. Sadly the waiter and waitress skills were sadly lacking for such a highly rated hotel, it seems that they had perfected the art of looking your way and then totally ignoring the fact that you were sitting there. We weren't harrassed on the beach - if we didn't want to buy something we just politely said no. But we had amusing banter with Papa as he tried to flog us his wares - quite successfully too! Maria the fruit seller had her hooks into us from day one and we enjoyed several plates of luscious fresh fruit from her. We also enjoyed many refreshing glasses of fresh juice from Daniel and Alex, the Juice sellers. We were pleased that we stayed on a b and b only basis as this ensured that we experienced virtually all of the local places to eat, although the prices varied we didn't have a bad meal - except once - the food was lovely and the service very good - but alas the consequences were dire - all part of the Gambian experience! You will be approached every time that you leave the hotel, sometimes we required their help but when we didn't we just asked to be left alone and they duly obliged with a smile. If you need a friendly taxi driver go to Happy Corner and ask for Mandu - all fares negotiable. No need for excessive tipping when you think that the average daily wage is between £1 - £1.40, the Gambian people that we had the pleasure of meeting were grateful for any amount which we thought reasonable. We exchanged our money locally, not within the hotel but in the surrounding area and always received a good rate.
We once again had a memorable holiday on the Smiling Coast - relax and enjoy the experience!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank the_clerk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent
Level Contributor
84 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

Stayed here for 1 week last week. Hotel, agree with all other reviews. Bit tired but clean and a good base for a good price. Gardens & grounds beautiful. People lovely. This was our 1st trip to Gambia and will return.
Money we changed ours up at hotel mainly, on the 1st night one of the waiters in the hotel did it for us so we could get on with our dinner (we had just arrived) very trusting of us - we didn't worry too much but he returned with the 50 delasi to the £ hotel rate (We think he might have nipped to Mr Bass to get 52 - but we didn't mind saved us worrying) We tipped him as well so he was an extra happy Gambian! People do say change your money at exchange near Mr Bass to get the extra 2 delasi but to be quite honest the hassle you get on the way with people trying to get you in their shops it wasn't worth it. You do get hassled from the front of the hotel wherever you go even if you have had a guide and mention his name - or say polite no thank yous - it is quite wearing every night but once your in your chosen restaurant it's ok and generally on the way back of a night no hassle.
We ate at the chinese, very good food, good wine & beer and the Taj was good as well big screen in there as well, so good atmosphere once again good food and wine. Our bills on both occassions were between 1000 - 1200 delasi with couple of hundred tip. We also had an amazing lunch at the Calypso, once again wine, beer and fried garlic prawns around the same. You can eat really cheaply if you want to but we enjoy food and wine so we spent a bit more - so it ended up a more of an expensive holiday that we first thought it would be. We also tipped well as we had good service and that's how these people earn their money. The hotel food was fine and good value considering in buffet you can each as much as you want for about £20. Wouldn't go all inc though as you would get bored with food selection. Breakfast was fine everything that you could have on offer was there. Service was good. Do check all your bills carefully though outside the hotels there were a couple of occassions where items were charged twice! Once pointed out they were soon removed though. Also ate at the Clipper, strange experiance as it was pretty empty and food was not that amazing but perhaps it was a one off.
We stayed mainly on the beach, the hassle you get there is a little less and we became friendly with the juice guys and sat with them having a chat. We used Opa there as our guide instead of the "official" guides out the front as he was less pushy and didn't try and sell himself. He took us to the fish market and the alligator park, and it was good and we are glad we did it but this is how it went for us.. walk to atm... hassle by lady dressing me up in sarong I didn't want, managed to get away but still felt sorry for her... walk to fish market really interesting guy showed us round that worked there and wanted a donation and to write in his book, fair enough 500 dalasi seemed reasonable...on past lovely little children in the streets asking for sweets - Opa told them off in Mandinka... alligator park 50 delasi each to get in then a donation inside of 200 delasi... onto some ones house to play the drums and be sold a drum necklace 200 delasi.... Finally and this isn't a complaint as we really enjoyed the whole experiance we asked Opa what he wanted for his guideing he said make me happy.... 1000 delasi...
The fruit ladies make a lovely plate of wonderful fruit and once you get talking to them they hope you'll leave them some clothes for all their famillies and babies. You have to always go back to the same fruit lady or juice person don't worry too much about remembering there name they have an amazing photographic memory and will certainly remember you!!
Gambian people are lovely - poor but very happy. The whole week did seem to become about money - begging - then The Gambian experience wanted donations on the way home... Then Monarch wanted some charitable donation on the Plane.
Happy Hours are worth going to both at the reception sitting watching front of hotel in the evening sun & down at the beach bar a bit later - it was quite chilly down there so do pack 1 jumper! I only had the jumper I travelled in but it was welcomed down at the beach bar happy hour.
Would certainly go back though now we feel we learnt a few things. Would definately go back to this hotel as well. Give Gambia a go it's a wonderful experience. Embrace the people they love to talk - just be aware that every day is hand to mouth for them. I'm hoping when we return Opa and the juice guys will remember us we spent a lot of time sitting at their bar sipping juice.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sallyhatesflying
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2013

We're still on holiday at the moment at the Ocean Bay Hotel in Gambia (22nd March to 5th April 2013). The hotel is great and well recommended, but actually owned by the Gambiam government, so it does get a lot of state functions and support. The hotel next door closed recently and did not pay its staff when it went bust.
I think the employees at the Ocean Bay get a good wage by Gambian standards because of the government backing, and there are certainly a lot of staff on hand. I feel that the official guides that hang around outside the hotel hoping to get a bit of work from the tourists inside get a raw deal though. At first these guys seem a bit intimidating since they are very persistent when you step out side, and I'm sure this puts a lot off people off ever leaving the hotel, but why come to Gambia if you are just going to stay in the hotel and beach? It's best to choose one of these guides and the the rest will leave you alone when they know you're theirs! They may even give you a bracelet with your name on so the other guides will see that you already have a guide. They know exactly how much the hotel charges for the various trips (day trip to Fathala wildlife reserve in Senegal, 'Lazy Day' boat trip etc.) and will always give a better price and put a lot of effort in to please you.
You can tell that life is really hard for them 'on the outside' and once the tourist season is over there will be no work them. No benefit of welfare from HE President Jammeh here.

Room Tip: Not too near the pool or on the ground floor unless you want these locations for a reason. There ar...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lofty L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

Property: Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
Address: Kofi Annan Street, Cape Point, Bakau, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Bakau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 195
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Also Known As:
Ocean Bay Hotel Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel And Resort
Ocean Bay Resort
Ocean Bay Bakau
Ocean Bay Hotel Gambia
Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort Gambia/Bakau, Africa

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