Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa, Serrekunda
Reviews - Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa
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Historical Traveller Reviews of Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa
In general I have to agree with other reviews.
The gardens are totally uninspired and the whole place generally lacks atmosphere. The staff are only keen if they are selling you something or are receiving a tip. Pool was FREEZING and the food was below average for a 5 star hotel.Choice at breakfast limited and evening meals poor.
The Hotel is in the middle of nowhere. We found the only saving grace to be the ping pong table but the broken bats, although reported to reception, were left in a state of disrepair.
We went for the weather which was superb, however the Sheraton Gambia would not encourage us to return.
What a horror!from PeglegSussex
There are steps everywhere, several staircases without any handrail, the only staircase which has a rail has it on the wrong side.Not an hotel for disabled or one with any walking problems.
Good beach, no hassle.
Food terrible. Truly. The buffet meals might grace a 3* or less hotel. The poolside restaurant is better but totally uninspired. We couldn't wait to move on to our next hotel. Our last meal in the restaurant took 1/2 an hour for the starter to arrive, an hour for the main course, which turned out to be a rice dish with reheated prawns and warm rice. Having sent it back another half hour produced a plate of the same lukewarm dish. We gave up.
Good in partsfrom crowbird
t faultfrom sasr
Xmas Holfrom snowshillwitney
There was also a poblem with our bill so beware and check it in plenty of time before departure as we did.
We went on to the Mandina Lodge which was excellent as i will write a review for them
Room for Improvementfrom Oldbear28
There is not much to do around the hotel, once you have finished sunbathing, and I believe they need to extend their facilities/entertainment to cater for residents into the evenings.
The main problem is inconsistency, one day you get something, the next day you do not. I appreciate it's a new hotel, but the staff have a little to learn to bring it up to 5* status. Fellow travellers who have been to the Gambia before, said it was not their best hotel they has stayed in, and I would probably look at an alternative if I decided to go to the Gambia again.
Nice holidayfrom sterussell
Just back from Sheraton and all in all pretty pleased with the set up. As usual, all the staff attentive and cant really do enough for you.
The hotel Manager Jennifer has a big job on getting the staff to adopt to the Sheraton ethos, hey but this is Gambia we are talking about!
The rooms are furnished to a very good standard and lots of extras you would expect of a 5 star hotel. The food is good and the breakfasts are excellent. For Gambia, the food is fairly highly priced though.
Tip; Don't use the phone in the hotel as the cost is extremely high. I used it for two very quick calls to UK as my mobile went down and it cost £10!
The hotel is quite a way from Senegambia, and costs about 200 dalasi each way by tourist taxi (£5). If you use the local yellow taxi it is 100 (£2.50) dalasi each way. For the more seasoned traveller, use the bush taxi and it will only cost 10 dalasi each way (20 pence). Just take bush from outside hotel up to turntable (roundabout to you) and then another to the strip area. each ride is 5 dalasi each.
We felt that the hotel needed to become a bit more Gambian, if that doesn,t sound too silly. It felt like a new hotel and needed to find its feet a bit. It still has a very corporate feel about it and this may suit some guests, but we felt it took away from our experience a little bit.
The pool and beach area is great and there is no bumsters about as the beach is somewhat private. Although the pool is freezing as no heater.
All in all I would not put anyone off going here although it is a little out the way.
As usual, the weather cannot be faulted and generally the people are fantastic, despite the odd one attempting to overcharge for something like a taxi ride, if they think you are a new face.
Tip; always haggle and never accept the first price for anything.
PS; there is a djembe drum for sale in the hotel shop for 5000 dalasi (over £100). You can buy the same from the craft market in Sengegambia for no more than £20.
Question? Would we go back....................................................Yes, as it is excellent value for money and we think Jennifer and her team will make the changes needed to make it an even better experience next time.
Fantastic hotelfrom SherbertWade
Rooms; the rooms were excellent - very clean, modern, nicely laid out, spacious, big king-size bed, loads of hanging space. It has a separate toilet and big double, walk-in shower, which is nice. I think all the rooms are sea-facing so we had a good view of the Atlantic and a small terrace.
Value; we booked the holiday as a package through Thomas Cook (£700 each) but found a couple who paid £500 each for the week. I think we could have got the holiday cheaper but I still think we got very good value for money.
We will definitely consider going again and maybe next time, we will book flights and hotel separately. Also, one week probably isn't enough - we will try to go for ten days or two weeks next time! The food was slighly cheaper than UK prices but it was EXCEPTIONAL. There are few different restaurants, inside and outside, and the food is unbelievable - this really made it for us.
Alcohol seems to be expensive in The Gambia, whilst fruit juices etc. are cheaper. We racked up quite a bill some nights, with the double-vodka's but still marginally cheaper than the UK.
Location; the Sheraton is in Brufut Heights. There didn't seem
to be much in Brufut Heights, other than a few new property developments, however we didn't venture of the Resort very often (you don't need to!), other than to go to the Senegambia Strip (tourist place), on a few evenings. The hotel even lay on a shuttle bus into SeneGambia which is completely free and travels down to SeneGambia twice a day and takes about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can order a taxi, which costs about £12. We took the minibus down on a few occasions and then got a taxi back, which is an experience in itself!
The Sheraton Gambia is situated right on the coastline, so the beach is literally 30 seconds walk from the hotel. It's also secure, so you won't get hassled whilst you're on the beach. It's a really nice, sandy beach and you can also walk right along the coastline, if you want to.
Cleanliness; the hotel and the rooms were exceptionally clean. They clean daily and provide loads of fresh towels and bottles of water every day. It probably helped that the hotel was practically new, when we stayed there but there seemed to be cleaners everywhere, helping to keep everything spotless.
Check In / Front Desk; we were well received when we arrived at the Hotel. They checked us in quickly and gave us a drink, when
we arrived. Generally, they were very helpful and helped with queries throughout the week, including changing currency. Check-in and check-out was painless.
Service; service was exceptional. In typical Sheraton-style, everyone went out of their way, to make you welcome and attend to all of your needs. Everyone was smiling all the time and the staff were very welcoming. Special thanks for Heruna and Basiru - these two guys are brilliant! Service was impeccable and we were thoroughly impressed.
Recommendations; there are bugs and mossies around in The Gambia, so make sure you take your Malarials (eg. Maladrone). We used "Jungle Formula" cream also, which kept the insects and mossies away at night. Recommend buying some anti-bacterial handwash (from Boots), so that you can keep cleaning your hands, especially when eating and after handling the local currency (dirty notes). This should avoid getting Banjul Belly, which is the last thing you want on holiday!
Also, there was a small gap under the door of the hotel room, where small bugs can (and did) come into the bedroom at night but you can block this up using a towel, at night. We did this and they didn't bother us after Night One!
We would definitely recommend the South Gambia tour - you go out big Swiss Army trucks and drive around the Gambian outback, where the roads turn into dirt tracks and houses turn into mud huts and tin shelters. You can also visit a "compound" and see how the locals live, see how "Palm Wine" is made, visit a local school and sample some local wines, on a banana plantation. This is a really good trip and well worth the £35.
Everyone goes on about Ali Baba's (Restaurant in Senegambia) - it doesn't look anything from the outside but the food is OK. There's also a bar/disco behind the restaurant, which is quite lively - especially on Saturday night. Also quite interesting
watching all the middle-aged English women, who have coupled up with their Gambian Gents for the week! There's a nice restaurant called Sherillan's which was VERY good and we would recommend.
You can get your own taxi from Banjul Airport to the Sheraton Hotel - these are plentiful at the Airport and not expensive.
It will cost you about 12 quid and takes about 15 minutes.
I don't think they have MOT's in The Gambia and the taxis don't appear to be very safe so if you don't feel comfortable getting in a car which is falling apart, perhaps arrange a transfers to/from the Airport. The Sheraton is very close to the Airport though and we just grabbed a taxi, when we got there.
You can change your currency into Gambian Dalasia in Senegambia - you will get a better exchange rate, rather than changing at the hotel.
In summary, we had a fantastic stay at the Sheraton Gambia. The hotel was clearly 5-star, very modern, very clean, nice rooms, friendly and helpful staff, fantastic private (secure) beach. And if you like your food, you'll be chuffed to bits with this place - breakfast, lunch and dinner was amazing! If you're planning to go to The Gambia, we would definitely recommend choosing the Sheraton Resort & Spa. We will definitely be going again!
Quality and style on the beach!from Degsy007
Sheraton in the Gambia - tranquil, beautiful... and isolated!from londonbunny
As no one has posted a review yet on the new Sheraton hotel, and we see people on Tripadvisor are looking for info, I thought some early photos and information could be useful to everyone. It opened at the end of May 2007; it is up and running fully, although they are still building rooms on the right hand side; the Spa is not complete yet, and bulldozers were still bringing sand and soil up to the gardens as we sunbathed. This did not however detract from the beauty of the architecture, the fantastic empty beaches and the level of service from the staff, which was outstanding. (Special thanks to Ebrima at the pool bar and to the towel boys)!!
The Sheraton is built on a cliff; you are welcomed by a doorman (who carried our beach things down to the pool for us); you enter a fabulous marble reception area with views straight down to the ocean, then get whisked down to beach level in a glass elevator with stunning views! Main restaurant is on the First floor with an outdoor area overlooking the sea and pool, and down below you will find the pool bar and restaurant at beach level. Our 2 lunches there were superb - with a wider menu then we have found at any other Gambian hotel and some of the best enchiladas I have ever eaten (better than Mexico this summer)! The swimming pool is large and beautifully designed, with a reasonably shallow end about 3 feet deep, descending to a deep end, and has been built as an infinity pool with a fantastic view of the sea,and unlike any other hotel in the Gambia, there is no wall or fence between you and the ocean, although there are guards on the beach as usual.
We were taken on a tour of the rooms and looked at Sunset rooms in the Baobab wing and Palm wing, and also a beachfront suite. Furnishings are stylish and minimalist in a beautiful African style, with great use of dark woods, Sheraton beds and bed linens and open showers - excellent by Gambian standards. You also have satelitte TV and internet in all the bedrooms, room service and!!! - a seaview from every single bedroom - a real feat of design for the Gambia, which has been made possible by the sheer size of the plot of land that has been purchased.
The beach was absolutely deserted apart from a few fishermen, who somehow have managed to retain their shack on the beach right next door to the Hotel (see photo)! No fruit sellers, no bumsters, although personally we missed that aspect; and I am sure that they will appear with time. I can't do without my fresh fruits prepared on the beach by a fruit seller!
Downsides - at the moment, although it is only 15 minutes drive to "The Strip" at Kololi, there is absolutely nothing in the Brufut area - not one shop to purchase bottled water, snacks etc, not a craft market to be seen, it really is out in the sticks, and with the serious devaluation of the dalasi (from 55 to the pound when we were there in April this year, to 32 to the pound in October) - a cab ride to Kololi was 8 pounds one way - making bottled water more expensive there, then buying it at the hotel bar!! Our 9 year old son, my husband and myself got through 70 litres of water in a week, so not having access to a shop would have been a problem for us ( at 3 pounds a litre in the hotel, and only 80 pence in a local shop). However, with the new private villa development opening opposite the Sheraton, I have heard that they will be eventually developing a shopping area, but this could take 2 years. So be warned and stock up heavily when you take a trip to the Strip!!
Only other niggle was that we didn't really like all the sunbeds being on grass rather than on tile - it looks very pretty indeed, but irritates the feet and if you walk barefoot you take grass in to the swimming pool!
All in all, I cannot describe how beautiful we found the setting and the architecture of this hotel. We were dying to see it as we watched the building work in April, and we were not disappointed. You do need to bear in mind though, that it is really isolated, there is no organised entertainment of any description for children, only a ping pong table, so you need to have children like ours, who want to go out every day to the towns, markets, schools and wilds of the country to experience the real Gambia - not kids who are looking for noise, kids clubs or laid on fun!
We both think the Sheraton is going to become the leading hotel of the Gambia in a year or two, when the area develops a little more - if you are looking for total escapism, tranquility and a great base to explore the south of the country, you won't be disappointed. Just please, please remember to get out there and experience the culture, people and beauty of the Gambia while you're there. It is spectacular and extremely humbling.
Top Local Tips for Serrekunda
Bush Taxi Use the local Bush Taxi ,as it is so cheap and fun to experience.
Sun and Sand November to Easter, it is hot and DRY, lovely no humidity. But this is no upmarket area it is distinctly down market and cheap beer, nasty bars and cheap restaurants do not enhance the lovely beaches and the fine weather. Think of the worst 'British' resort overseas, with its tattooed, vest wearing, football crazy louts and this is Kololi the main resort in Serrekunda. Kololi should be flattened and built properly.
Trips Rather than pay the travel company to take ou to the local atractions speak to the staff at the hotel they will let you know a good taxi man (or get any of the green taxis) who will happily take ou wherever you want to go will oin you and give you some local tips, these guys are so friendly true "Smilin' Coast" residents.
Other names for Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa
- sheraton serekunda
- sheraton gambia hotel
- serekunda sheraton
- Address: A.U.Highway Brufut Height - Serrekunda - Gambia
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