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Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
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348 - 353 of 997 reviews
Reviewed January 22, 2014

Where do I start ? The hotel and staff are lovely but the only problem is as soon as you walk out of hotel you are hassled by the bumsters . They just will not take no for an answer . DO NOT trust anyone of them , all they want you to do is listen to their sob stories so that you feel sorry for them and give them money. They think that all Europeans are a soft touch . One bumster calls himself Prince ,he drives a taxi but is very convincing at gaining peoples trust . DO NOT under any circumstances believe him . He even asked my wife if she wanted a massage and a night to remember whilst I was at the loo ! He is just a fraud and a cheat .They say that they are official tour guides but they ARE NOT . The Rising Sun bar does lovely and cheap food , MR Bass bar is frequented by bumsters who wait outside ladies toilets and harrass them . My wife felt very imtimidated by having 3 of them put their arms around her , we never went back . DO NOT trust any of them ,they are thieves , cheats and untrustworthy , they are a disgrace to the Gambian people ,who by and large are very nice people with a big smile on there faces . Back to hotel , we upgrade to deluxe room which had a comfy bed , mini bar , tv and belcony which looked onto next block ! but the beach is only feet away , which is perfect for relaxing because no bumsters are allowed onto it . All in All The Gambia is not for the 1st time travellers and an experience to say the least . My partner and I will never return .

Room Tip: upgrade to deluxe rooms .
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Paulpekaclarke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2014

Excellent hotel for the money paid we booked on a B&B basis and it proved to be the right thing to do, with many well priced resturants in the cape point area we were spoiled for choice. The so called bumpsters outside the main entrance were a bit annoying following us wherever we went but we soon realised a back gate existed so we nipped out of that and through the next hotel the Cape Point to the main road no bumpsters ;-) the only meal we took at the hotel was breakfast everything else was much more expensive than outside including a beer which is almost double what you pay in a Resturant outside the hotel.

The best meal we had the whole two weeks there was at the Clay Oven Indian restaurant serving top quality food and wine, this Resturant is found about 10 mins from the hotel in a place called Fajara, we took a yellow taxi who charged us 400 Dalasi for the trip there and back. Overall a very enjoyable holiday one last thing on the beach a 50 Dalasi tip to the boys who put out the sun beds will reserve your favourite spot on the beach they will put out your bed and mattress towel etc Staff very friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: Ask for a first floor ocean view we had room 122 great views
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Clunique
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2014

It was our first time visiting Gambia and had mixed feeling about it all. Booked this hotel as its is advertised as 5star!!!!! Was told to expect 3/4 i would have to say your pushing it at a 3 star. Our flight was with Thomas cook quite cramped seating but in-flight films going out but nothing on our return.We paid for a deluxe room after being told the room are very basic. On arriving at the hotel after a good transfer we were given room 403, the room itself was large with a huge comfy bed and big bathroom but our view consisted of a white side of a high building basically looking at a high wall!!!! Not what we wanted...We straight away went back to reception and asked to be moved. We were moved the next day to room 206 which overlooked the beach granted we looked through the rails at the beach but still a nice view. The electrics kept tripping in our room every time we turned the air con on the electrics failed, one maintenance guy actually pushed a stick in the electric box to stop the electric going off again!!!!! The rooms are well spent and in need of decoration. The beach has plenty of loungers and the staff are generally happy to help with your towels and covers for the loungers at a price!!! The sea was disappointing and I only once stepped in to the water and came straight out as the water wasn't clean and several dead fish lying around on the shore was off putting.The pool is large and clean but very cold on first entering so not many people go in it but after a couple of minutes its lovely.The breakfast in the hotel is lovely plenty of everything do try the wonjo and baobab its great and is served at breakfast we ended up buying bags of them both to bring home as we felt so much better drinking them both.The staff were friendly and work hard. The hotel has happy hour for cocktails at the pool and beach bar but they continually ran out of drinks for the cocktails and soft drinks not good some a large hotel. We had heard just before we arrive that the hotel had been taken over by a company called Red Crok and we believe the staff have all had there contracts changed and prices had increased for food and drinks not a good move. We didnt go for the Thomas Cook meeting as we prefer to do our own thing on holiday. We arranged one day out with one of the maintenance guys we paid him 20.00 gbp for the day. We visited the monkey park that is great to experience being so close to them and then to the crocodile park which isnt much i wouldnt book the day trip for it as there is not much there apart from a little museum of African instruments. We were lucky enough to see the JuJu tribe dancing around the streets in senagambia. we joined them on the streets and danced with them while we videoed it an experience i wont forget they are so friendly and welcome you to join them dont be put off with the large knives that they all carry even children.The market........... Well its a shock lol very very busy market and selling everything buy your wonjo and baobab from here its def an eye opener but we were led to the craft market at the back and it was nothing but hassle hassle from them and as much as you like to keep your patience with them it was hard not to be rude to them. I understand they need money but the constant pressure from them does start to annoy you. When you come out of the hotel till the moment you return you will be pestered and pestered they run up to you and want to take you places or walk with you!!!! We ate at several places and the food was always lovely and very tasty we ate several times at Mr Bass and Surf and Turf and Smiling Coast all very cheap. We were warned about this but didnt realise how bad it was, they even come up to you while your eating and want to sit with you yes no harm done but to be honest we dont go to sit with strangers while having our dinner. They are friendly but its hard to judge whether they are just wanting to chat as most want money from you. Do be careful of the scams I had read it on a previous review and was aware but my partner fell for it. They tell you they work at the hotel either gardener or security and that they have just got married and that they want you to meet his bride and family and they will be very convincing and walk you through all the shacks and streets keep telling you its only around the corner luckily my partner realised what was happened and tried to return to the hotel but getting lost and thought then that he had put himself in a dangerous position, don't fall for it generally most are friendly but you do still feel intimidated by them all almost making us not want to leave the hotel. And for this reason we wont be returning to the Gambia. The people blame the president for people not returning we disagree and think the pressure they put on tourist is the reason. If you just want sunshine and a lazy holiday its ok.....

Room Tip: We had room 206 thats on ground floor but overlooking the beach would be better on the first floor. Originally had 403 that overlooked a brick wall with no view at all and quiet a few of the delux rooms dont have any view at all.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LancashireCefer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014

Rooms & hotel
Lovely hotel, clean rooms with ample space & small fridge. Cleaned daily, nice balcony etc no problems there. Good location, enough restaurants in surrounding area without being to busy, hotel right on beach.
All staff at the hotel are wonderful, so helpful with any request you have, can't fault them.

Trips
The bumsters outside their hotel who say they are "employed by the hotel" & are "official tour guides" are NOT! Do not go with these people, they will con you out of your money, we took one trip with them, wish we hadn't. They were not informed of the local area at all & just came along for the excursion and walked with us. Also sit with you during lunch, which is awkward! No need of them whatsoever, trip was terribly disorganised & we were totally over charged.
My advice would be to decide what trips or areas you would like to go & book with a local taxi driver. You are only paying for the transport then & you can buy a good guide from the hotel shop which will provide you on necessary info for trips.
If you are too nervous to do this then stick with Thomas Cook for your excursions, though all the taxi drivers were wonderful, no problems at all.
Local ferry to Senegal where they have a safari park costs roughly 100 Dalasi- However this is mostly used by locals, not very clean & very sporadic in times so be prepared! If your not prepared for this then we saw Thomas Cook customers on smaller speed boats.

Restaurants
In cape point are roughly on the same par & enjoyable. There's an Italian up the road, right up on its own which was wonderful- eccentric owner who added to the experience!
Senegambia definitely have the best restaurants, Scala & Paradisisio are the best by far but for Scala you will have to book early, taxi costs around 500 Dalasi to Senegambia after a bit of negotiating.

Handy tips
Make sure you take hand sanitation gels & wipes etc, some of the toilets are not that clean so they will come in handy!

Charity & schools
If you would like to give money to charity, then there are a number of local schools who are desperate for donations. Visit them before you buy anything, find what books etc they need and then buy to take back. Good book shop called Timbooktwo with pencils and papers etc owned by a very helpful English owner. This ensures that all your money will go directly towards the children and appeared to be a good way of donating.

Room Tip: All rooms appeared similar, we were very close to the pool but its very quiet in the night so noise was never an issue
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CWales2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

It was our first trip to Gambia and we really didn't know what to expect. I found another review previous to our holiday that was fair and very useful to appreciate what you will find in Gambia.

The hotel is by no means a proper 5 star like you would expect around the med. It is west africa and you need to keep this in mind. Having said that the rooms are clean, and the essentials are working (decent shower, air cond & clean sheets). If you are not happy with your room do not hesitate to request a move, it might take a couple of days to happen but worth it. Keep in mind that everything happens just not as fast as it would in England, people are chilled out and laid back.

The grounds of the hotel are nice; we didn't stay around the pool at all so can't comment, it looked good though. The beach is just perfect, although you need to get your beds quite early if you wish to be in a particular spot or guaranteed shade.

Make sure you take cash with you, and don't bother changing money at the airport, the rate is much much better on arrival. It's a poor country so be expected to tip left, right and centre but it's only a quid here and there to be honest. When you arrive at the airport a local will pick up your bags and take them to the transfer bus, then another one will load your bags on top of the bus. A pound coin each will do the trick.

There will most likely be a guy coming up with a big wad of notes asking you if you want to change money, the rate is not the very best but you can change 20 or 40 quids worth so you have a bit of dalasi in your pocket. It's convenient if you haven't got enough pound coins for the few early tips. Once you have checked in the hotel, you can go out to the right and about 200 yds down you'll find 2 or 3 bureau de change. I used "mr fix it" and the rate was way better than the airport. You can barter if you want but since the difference is only a few pence I actually didn't bother too much.

Things that are different from anywhere else I have been are the local guides, the fruit ladies and the juice boys.

Guides - they are locals outside the hotel, and you really want to pick one as you'll be ask who is your guide everytime you venture out of the hotel, once you have one he will meet you each time you come out and stop the others pestering you. Ours was Karl (Alkali - local name), blue shirt, looked like Tiger Woods :) . He was great and being a local it made the exploration of Bakau more comfortable.

Fruit Ladies & Juice boys - they are not always allowed to approach you whilst you are on the beach, the hotel security are keeping them at bay so you might have to go and meet them for yourself. It is worth it, and cost very little. Keep in mind that these people are very very poor, so your custom makes a hell of a difference to them. Juices are about £1 and the fruit plates £2, we had both everyday from Fatou (fruit lady) and Salomon (juice boy). Same as with the guides, once you have one they will be your allocated one for the rest of the holiday.

The hotel staff is great, soooooo friendly. Actually all Gambians are so friendly. Do not be worried, all they are asking is for a smile and a hello/how are you. It felt very very safe anywhere we went.

We were B&B and so glad we were. There's lots of restaurants outside the hotel and they cost very little. Most expensive night was £30 for the two of us, and we surely didn't hold back. You can easily find a two course meal with beers for £7 per pers. Beer is £1.6 a bottle in the hotel, but they hold 2 happy hour everynight that makes the beer 80p for two hours. Outside the hotel expect to pay about 50p/80p a pint.

Hungarian Restaurant (left coming out of the hotel) was the best for food, ambiance and price. Mr Bass, Surf & Turf, One for the Road, Doobidoo are all great places to go. The food is good in Gambia, either fish or meat. Barracuda was great, but I also had fillet steak and burgers that were lovely. And again for a ridicoulously small price.

I hesitated with the Sheraton Hotel and I am so glad I picked this one. Apparently the Sheraton might be a better hotel but there's nothing around it so you are far better off at the Ocean Bay.

Will we be back? most certainly... it's going to be very hard to beat this place on the same budget. This place is suitable for people who want to relax and do nothing, or people who want to explore and visit, it's got everything. Don't forget the sun cream!! :)

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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9  Thank L_D136567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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