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“Perfect in every way”
Review of Ngala Lodge

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Ngala Lodge
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Certificate of Excellence
london
2 reviews
“Perfect in every way”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

This was our second stay in Ngala Lodge, we found it so wonderful last year that we visited again
in late January. For us this is a first in many years of travelling as we have never gone to the same place twice. But as soon as we returned home last year we decided to come back. The suites are spacious and well appointed. The gardens are beautiful with fantastic views over the Atlantic and you can always find a peaceful area to relax. To round it off the food is brilliant. Hats off to chef Jonathon, Jenny the manager and the entire staff who can not do enough to help you.

Room Tip: If you want to lie in bed and look up to the sky try the penthouse suite.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank jwalkers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 16, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a pleasure having you to stay again 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.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Lincoln, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed February 14, 2013

It would be very easy to use just one word to describe Ngala Lodge: perfection. However, Jenny and her team deserve so much more. From the moment you step through the gates, you get the feeling that you have entered a very special place. You receive the warmest and most genuine welcome from all the staff, no matter whether it's the restaurant staff, gardeners, maids or security staff. We cannot think of any way in which the staff could have been better. Their friendliness and happiness were wonderful to experience, and they were always ready to help in any way they could. Jenny told us that the day before we arrived, Ngala Lodge was awarded fourth place in TripAdvisors Top Ten Hotels for Romance in Africa. As the only hotel in The Gambia included in this award, doesn't that just say so much? Also, try to name another hotel where the general manager meets you on arrival and tells you all about the hotel. This really does give you a sense of how important you are to them and that you are not just 'another guest'. The accommodation is fabulous, very clean, very spacious and well appointed (we stayed in Suite 18 "Agnes", which is a wonderful suite, with a fabulous balcony overlooking the gardens and the Atlantic). The gardens are an absolute delight and a real credit to the gardeners. The food is delicious and beautifully presented. Jonathan Groves turns out dish after dish to perfection. As for the location, Ngala Lodge is situated on a quiet road just a 10 minute walk to Bakau, and just a little further to Cape Point (both well worth a visit). We feel very privileged to have spent a week at Ngala. It will always be very special to us and we can't wait to return (like so many of the other guests who return time after time). So, to cap this all off, if you are sat at home looking to book a holiday to The Gambia, then you have just found perfection. Anything else and you are probably accepting second best. Enjoy!

Room Tip: Try the Atlantic Suites for something special.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Ian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 16, 2013
Ian - thank you so much for your review! We are all delighted that you had such a good time here with us. Come back and see us soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kidderminster, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2013

Ngala Lodge in the Gambia certainly lived up to it's reputation for offering a relaxed atmosphere with wonderful peaceful gardens, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. What's not to like, your every need attended to in a low-key unobtrusive manner, smiling friendly staff and a very personal welcome on our arrival. Jenny the manager was there to meet us and made us feel very welcome. Nothing appeared to be too much trouble. The staff are what make Ngala Lodge so special, it would be very hard to single out any one person, as every each one went out of their way to make our stay special. Thanks guys! We were lucky enough to have booked Atlantic Suite 18 'Agnes' which comes with a private outdoor jacuzzi and a large balcony with sunbeds, and stunning views through the trees to the Atlantic, our very own 'Treetops'. The room was spacious and light with huge picture windows, a wonderfully comfortable king-sized bed with a separate walk in dressing room/kitchen area and another annexe bathroom with large walk in shower. Peter, the owner has stamped his own individual style throughout, and we found his style quirky and a bit 'tongue in cheek' and it is this style that has made this intimate hotel into something that people will remember. After all, who wants to visit the Gambia and feel that they could be anywhere in the world. We enjoyed some memorable times sipping sun-downers whilst relaxing in our own jacuzzi after a hard day sunbathing. It would have been very tempting to have stayed wrapped in the tranquility of Ngala lodge, but we did manage to tear ourselves away to see a bit of the real Gambia. We managed to awaken before the birds and enjoyed a trip to Makasutu, arriving at first light for the dawn chorus, exploring the mangrove creeks in a traditional dugout canoe. Absolutely magical! Our second trip was to the ancient trading station of Albreda and the village of Juffure taking in the Museum of Slavery continuing to the original home of Alex Haley's ancester 'Kunta Kinteh' or better known as the 'Roots' trip. We would have liked to have seen more of the Gambia, but we will have to return to see more of the country and people. Ngala did tend to seduce us into relaxing and making the most of the wonderful surroundings. We enjoyed relaxing on sunbeds on the wonderful wooden raised decking area whilst the Atlantic ocean washed beneath at high tide. The food at Ngala was first-class and to be honest we had to pace ourselves to do justice to the evening meal. One small suggestion, Jonathan, we would have welcomed a lunchtime menu choice, e.g. small sandwich so that we could eat all of the delightful courses on offer of an evening. The evening entertainment was enjoyable with a mix of music to suit the atmosphere of this intimate hotel. This was our first trip to both the Gambia and Ngala lodge and we hope to return before too long. Incidentally, thanks to some pretty good wrapping, giraffe made it back to Blighty intact. Thanks.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 14, 2013
Thank you so much for your fabulous review! We are delighted that you had such a good time and look forward to welcoming you back! (I'm pleased the giraffe made it back safely too).
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 10, 2013

This was our first visit to the Gambia, and we could not have chosen a more perfect hotel. I celebrated my half century at Ngala, and achieved my amibition of celebrating whilst eating lobster and drinking a pina colada - classy!!!! The staff and service were amazing - and the food deserves a special mention - some of the best we have had anywhere in the world. We will certainly be back - thank you Jenny and the whole team.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Wendy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 14, 2013
Thank you very much, Wendy, for your great review. It was a pleasure to have you here as our guest and we look forward to seeing you again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
south-east-uk
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

We stayed in Atlantic Suite 18 “Agnes” this was considerably more expensive than the standard rooms but to have a large terrace which actually got the sun in January it was worth it, we also had a view through the trees to the Atlantic. The room was spacious and had 2 sofas a dressing /kitchen area and a walk-in shower, the basin was really high and meant that we always got soaked when using it aside from that issue it was fine.
There is a full sized fridge which can be stocked from the bar daily/whenever and pay up front for all of the items but we chose to visit the local mini market. This was not a problem and fresh milk was supplied daily as a bonus.
At the welcome meeting we were advised that the hotel was non smoking other than on your own balcony/terrace, this was reinforced in the information in the room which clearly stated the restaurant was non smoking. Unfortunately we had the need to question this when a couple were seated near us after we had placed our order for dinner and we had been told by the waiter that they wouldnt be allowed to carry on smoking. The gentleman was smoking a cigar, she had a cigarette and he had actually questioned if it was ok to be allowed to smoke at table.
We asked that our meal be put on hold until this was resolved, but the food arrived so we sent it back. We were then asked to move table, despite making an early reservation and eating there all week. We chose not to move - for medical reasons mainly - and the waiter tried his best to help us by offering to book a table at another restuarant! By this time our order, which included roast duck, would have been inedible as it was sitting for about quite some time back in the kitchen. The Chef came out of the kitchen, didnt approach us at all and asked a waiter what the problem was. He then stormed up to us, loudly and rudely stated that people were allowed to smoke on the terrace and we should move or go. He then made a hasty retreat into the kitchen ignoring us completely. As we were hungry and upset we asked what else we could have from the menu that was quickly made. The report back from chef was that he wouldnt cook anything else for us and we had to eat what was waiting for us (congealed as it was by then) or go away hungry and he would still charge us for the meal! We were treated like spoilt children who are told to eat their dinner or go to bed hungry. This is not what top end hotels should do to their guests and he completely ruined the holiday for us at that point. The waiter/restuarant manager was embarrassed and upset for us and offered to talk to chef and in the end we were offered a bar meal (burger and chips) and my partner decided to eat her curled up tuna salad to keep some level of compromise. The following two nights we had a table laid on our balcony and our own waiter service - wonderful, peaceful and the views of the ocean were better. Moral of the story is - beware the 'big sell' on rooms at this hotel, ours was the only Atlantic suite to offer privacy and some sun at that time of year, and the mark-up in price in hefty. Jonathan may cook good five star food but his manners and customer service is akin to a burger van (and the burger wasnt that good either). The acting manager listened to our complaints next day, as did the tour rep (who was excellent, by the way) but she insisted that the information given was different from that in our hotel guide. Despite this experience, this hotel is good 3 - 4 star standard (in UK terms) with good food and generally very good service from all the staff. Its child free and quiet, except for a short 'entertainment' most nights until 10 pm or thereabouts.

Room Tip: Number 18 (Agnes) in the Atlantic Suite although the maintenance is a little lacking on the balcony...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank workhousekids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 10, 2013
Thank you for your review.

We discussed the issues in full during your stay and I regret that they remain unresolved for you.

All here strive hard to ensure that our guests have the best possible stay with us and the results are reflected in our many positive TripAdvisor Reviews, the TripAdvisor Awards that we receive and the number of guests that return to Ngala Lodge.

It is unfortunate that we could not meet your expectations.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stafford, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed February 4, 2013

We stayed at Ngala during the Christmas and New Year period and were so pleased we did. What a fab time we had. It was just what we wanted, quiet and tranquil with fabulous views over the atlantic ocean.
The Staff couldn't do enough for you, they always greeted you with a smile, from the gardeners, bar staff, and housemaids; to the manager Jenny, who organised a fantastic Christmas and New Year's Celebration (we can still hear the bagpipes ringing in our ears).She was always around to look after you. Babba, the assistant manager who ensured things ran smoothly and last but certainly not least, Jonathan our fabulous chef who served us the most amazing 'a'la carte' menu during our stay. Got some useful tips on cooking too! All staff we met paid great attention to detail and treated us like members of their family.
As mentioned on previous reviews Habib is a local font of knowledge, working with the hotel he will take you anywhere you want and is excellent value for money. We found the Southern Gambian trip an excellent experience which took us right to the heart of the people.
Rooms are all quirky and nice and spacious and there’s plenty of space to chill on the beach decking or garden.
Our only gripe was that smoking was allowed on the terrace (outside eating area). As we are both anti smokers, we were very disappointed that we weren't able to use this facility. We feel strongly that this could easily be addressed, as there is a lot of garden space surrounding this area where smokers could go.
Having said that, we are joining the band of repeat guests and are looking forward to seeing you all very soon. If you like peace and quiet, and great food, you won't be disappointed here.
P.S. Thanks for the Papaya Jam!
Karen & Greg.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong with any room!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank karen g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
Thank you for your kind review!! It was a pleasure hosting you over Christmas and the New Year and we are glad you had fun!! (The sound of the bagpipers is still ringing in my ears too - but that's because someone showed me a recording of it last night!) As to the smoking on the terrace we have decided to make it a non smoking area. Smoking will however be permitted in the Wing Lounge. I hope this helps and we look forward to welcoming you back to Ngala Lodge very soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2013

We can't add any more to previous glowing tributes to Jenny and her fantastic staff team. They all share the best mix of professional/spontaneous attitudes which enables guests to feel relaxed as well as cherished in the surrounds of Ngala Lodge. Our only plea to those who have yet to enjoy a stay here : please, please, please make sure that you get out and about. Meet local people, buy local gifts. And if you're thinking of bringing any educational supplies for local schools (pens, exercise books etc), buy them in The Gambia instead. This is a very poor, developing country and we can all help the economy by buying locally. Do your bit for the country and it will make your stay at luxurious Ngala Lodge even more enjoyable. Thanks.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank alibot789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
Thank you for your very positive feedback! It was a pleasure to host you and we look forward to seeing you again in the future!
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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

Property: 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 5 Hotels in Fajara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Ngala Lodge 4*
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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