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“back to the sunset” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sunset Beach Hotel

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Sunset Beach Hotel
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Kotu
Certificate of Excellence
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“back to the sunset”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2014

this was our 3rd visit to the sunset out of 6 to The Gambia. we had a lovely time again, nice to see Margaret restuarant/bar manager still there as helpful as ever,and Bobby ,entertainments, just a pity not more people joined in with the activities. rooms were cleaned daily,fresh towels & clean sheets every 3/4 days. ALL STAFF were very friendly ,not rude & yes although english is spoken well, they will speak in their native tongue. food was fine nice choice on the menu & buffet 3 course evening meal for 550 dalasi. taxis fixed prices to differrent places, but there are plenty of places to eat on the doorstep, paradise bar for cheap african meals to chicken & chips. captains or ninka nanki's for some lovely fish/steaks/chicken cuisine. tandor for a curry. looking for a relaxing/culture holiday then look now further .

Room Tip: a6 end bungalow noisy sunday nights due to disco from hotel next door,& boys drumming sometimes...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank davesue64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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333 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (78)
Date | Rating
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English first
ryde
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2014

The weather was great but we did miss the sellers on the beach as now the army have stopped
Its a pity because the locals have to make some money as its a short season.The beach shack we use is Juffureh try one of their chicken sandwiches they are very very tasty

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sparkyRyde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2014

This was our 7th visit to the Gambia and the 2nd to this hotel. Had to be moved to one of the bungalow blocks the first year as the ground floor room had zero sound proofing and we could hear our neighbours breathing!. Made sure we got a bungalow room this year, but had to be moved again straight away as the toilet leaked over the floor and the aircon remote did not work. As usual though, the staff were great and friendly and very fast to react to any problems. My wife and I have dietary issues and can't eat gluten or dairy - would definitely recommend the chefs here as they have catered wonderfully to our needs and neither of us have had a reaction.Unlike the Kombo next door, which is why we swapped. Would also recommend Rama for a massage in their spa. We slept really well and didn't see a mosquito all week, probably because they spray regularly in the grounds. A solid 3 star hotel, good value for money and all extra charges are explained clearly at the outset, so no misunderstandings.

Room Tip: Get a bungalow room away from the pool - A to C blocks. Unless you like to have the entertainment in...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank meanioni999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014 via mobile

My family and I stayed at the Sunset Beach Hotel over Christmas and New Year. We stayed at this hotel last Christmas and loved it so much we returned this year, much to our disapointment. The hotel is small, clean and quiet. It is 3 star so it would be unfair to expect any more. However, the thing that made the holiday brilliant last year was the entertainment guy. However he was laid off in summer and another guy replaced him who was awful. Everyday he filled the board with all the activities for the day. Waterpolo aerobics darts bingo dancing. But did'nt actually do any of them. I have been to the Gambia 10 times and have never known such a lazy member of staff. If you have kids, I wouldnt recomend this hotel they would be bored stiff!

The bar snacks were lovely and fairly cheap! There are a few restuarants a few minutes walk away if you fancy it. Alibaba is a personal favourite. Drinks are fairly cheap in the hotel however they are cheaper if you venture out to the local bars.

As far as getting hassle when you go out, it was suprisingly very minimal. We are used to the hassle as we have been for going to Gambia for years, but it is daunting the first time you experience it. My advice would be to be polite but firm. Have a chat if you want just be warey of getting too involved. Theyl do anythin to earn a few bob and many people fall for the tricks of the "bumsters". It is inportant to stress that this is only the minority. On the whole people are very friendly.

Overall i had a great relaxing week. Thats exactly what I wanted. If you are after something with a bit more going on I would recomend the senegambia area rather than sunset beach at Kotu.

Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank lindsayanne1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Albans, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
71 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

Visited 16th to 23rd December 2013

Although this is created under the ‘Sunset Beach Hotel’ label it really covers Kotu in general.

Hotel for the price and its 3 star rating hard to find fault. We were in one of the bungalow blocks (5 separate rooms per block) and found it near perfect – large room with bed (2 x twins pushed together), wardrobe, luggage table, desk with chair, TV and fridge. Loo, washbasin and shower were housed in a separate room (watch the water as the hot can be very hot!). We did not bother with AC or fan as the mozzie screens on all windows were perfectly capable of stopping all intruders. Having an effective through draft negated the heat and we slept fine with just a sheet to cover if necessary. Indeed, throughout the holiday we never saw a single mozzie. Hotel staff were superb without exception, in particular, the gardening staff.

Currency exchange Best travel with a wadge of £20 notes as ATMs are not readily available and often are out-of-order. At our time of travel the hotel was offering 59 Dalasi to the £ whereas the official exchange on the main road outside the hotel had a rate of 63. And Lama Lama at Dominoes will always go 0.5 better.

Breakfast was plentiful and good – even had corned beef hash one day. Slightly disappointed that they could not do a masala type of omelette (with chilli, tomato etc) rather all on offer was cheese and/or onion. But, the breads and fruit etc far makes up for any slight misgivings.

O.k. the pool is small but plenty of sunbeds and the Atlantic Ocean is just outside. The hotel gardens are superbly maintained.

Banjul airport not as bad as you may think. The bars, duty free and snack outlets all take sterling – including coins! 2 x brandy’s for £2.50 can’t beat it. And, curiously, there are two duty free outlets; one sells Bombay Saphire at £12 and one at £14 !! suggest you use the cheaper one. Do also take the stairs up towards the 1st Class lounge where you will find a small but good value souvenir shop on the staircase landing.

Serrekunda market Ignore the Taxi Mafia at the Hotel entrance and walk the 200 yards to the bridge where you will find Lamin Jarju and his mates with their Tourist (Green) taxis. The Hotel Mafia want 600 each way + 100/hr waiting = 1,300 (£21) for an hour’s shopping! We got the return trip plus a guided tour for 500 total (£8). The main market is mostly fruit & veg and fish (wet and smoked) + the odd live chook! Very smelly and very, very busy. If you are after material or jewelry stick to the outer streets – we picked up a bolt of waxed cotton (10.5 mtrs x 1.2mtrs) for under £9 – a total bargain.

Eating out Frankly by day three we had worked our way through the local menu – Chicken/fish Benachin, Domoda, Superkanja, Chicken/fish Yassa – all o.k. but not rushing back to! We did notice a severe lack of veg provided with a main meal but did have very good veg salads. The fish however is superb – barracuda, lady-fish, butter fish and snapper are all excellent – do try. One plus point is that most outlets provide a choice of rice, spuds or chips – do try the chips; they are mostly hand chipped and very good. Recommendations are: facing the sea from the back of the hotel turn left over the creek* - Kunta Kinte & John Raymond; right of the creek – Dominoes; inland – Boss lady, Ali Baba and the Tandoori Indian. Never tried Sailor’s or Captain’s Table as we quite liked people watching on the street. The Tandoori Indian with it’s upstairs area (fine as long as next door’s generator is not operating) is stunningly good – well up with U.K. large town Indians. Ali Baba is also good value but their chips are sadly the U.K. style reconstituted type.

* Kotu creek. Easily crossed at lowish tide but do take care; counter intuitively when not quite low tide it is best crossed at its widest point (nearer the sea). When just too deep you need to turn right out of the Hotel front, cross the bridge then take the right road down to the Palm Beach Hotel – there is a path down through the right hand side of the hotel which takes you to the beach.

Birds. Stunning, even if you are not into bird watching you cannot fail to be impressed by the variety and number of amazing birds. Do get down to the outside breakfast area about 08.00 to watch the Pied Kingfishers dive for their breakfast, else, just lie back and wonder at the Kites and Vulture’s wheeling around in the sky. And, do watch out for Bee Eaters on the telegraph wires. At the end of the Hotel road you will be greeted by the many bird watching guides plying their guided walks – fine if that is what you want but a bit wearing. Early on we met with the self-styled Gambian Bill Oddi (Yanks) and did find that whenever one of the others chatted us up a quick reference to having met Bill Oddi and they backed off. I did inform Yanks that he might be more up-to-date changing his sobriquet to Simon Barnes or Chris Packham.

Annoyances Mainly the non-stop hand-shaking and chat expected of you by just about everyone. We try not to be xenophobic and take great pleasure in fully experiencing any country that we visit. Hence a walk along a beach or through markets is normally a must; here, however, the constant invitations and ‘must sees’ took most of the pleasure out of it to such an extent that we did not shop as much as would have liked too.

We are experienced travelers (India, Thailand & Sri Lanka) and have never met with such persistence anywhere. Even when leaving from the Hotel and turning left down the 200 yards of road to the dead end by the market – you are invited to take a taxi!

Fact is that Gambians are a ‘handshake’ nation, this is not necessarily a friendship thing rather it’s how they address a fellow man (mostly a man thing). I watched one Gambian remonstrate with a coach driver and he made a point of shaking his hand before starting a verbal onslaught. If there are any Gambians on your flight you will note that on landing they shake the hand of all in their near vicinity. Personally I much prefer the Asian Namaste or SawasDee – and not hand touching!

We did get the feeling that we were being ‘groomed’ at times and this did make us avoid certain establishments. Being adopted as ‘my new mum and dad’; overt explanations of hardships, working away from home, that the season was less than six months, sleeping on the ground sending money back home if affordable etc etc. Maybe true but don’t over milk the tourists please it can be counter-productive.

Thomas Cook airline – a joke. Classifying a 6.5 hr flight as not longhaul to avoid providing free food, decent seats or any in-flight entertainment is a travesty.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MandMStAlbans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

We chose Sunset Beach Hotel in Kotu for our first visit to The Gambia. The weather was fab, rooms were very basic but free from mosquitos, the staff very pushy and in your face all of the time, food in the hotel was not great. There are quite a lot of restaurants outside the hotel, we found the Captains Table to be the best, however it was very unpleasant just getting to the restaurant, the locals were continually hassling you and it was very intimidating. We had a few trips during our visit, the boat trip up the mangroves was a very relaxing day this was with Thomas Cook. We went on a jeep safari with Lams Tours, there was no jeep just a 4x4, we saw monkeys , crocodiles, local family and gave them rice, then we went to Paradise Beach which was fab, after this we went to see the fishermen arriving back with there catch of the day and visited the smelly fish smoking factory. We have traveled all around the world and The Gambia is the worst country that we have been to for continued harassment, we will probably not return again, the county needs to learn how to respect visitors to their country and let them, have a relaxing and enjoyable time experiencing their culture.

Gwen and John visited The Gambia from 24 December to 31 December 2013

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Gwen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2014 via mobile

great location as hotel backs onto the beach. Short walk to several restaurants. Staff are so warm, polite and welcoming. Accommodation is very clean and well kept.good value for money. Only down side. Is that entertainment finishes too early.

  • Stayed December 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunset Beach Hotel

Property: Sunset Beach Hotel
Address: Kotu Stream Road, Kotu, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kotu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Kotu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Sunset Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 97
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We would like to welcome you to The Sunset Beach Hotel! Situated right on the beachfront, guests can take in the colorful sunrises and experience breathtaking sunsets over the ocean during their stay with us. Both management & staff are keen to ensure superior customer satisfaction to all of our clients and offer everything from classic three-star elegance to modern-chic comfort. The Sunset Beach Hotel - More Than You Bargained For! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunset Beach Kotu
Hotel Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach Hotel Gambia/Kotu

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