The best hotels in Gambia

Nov 19, 2019 | Africa, Global travel, The Gambia

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(Last updated on: 02/04/2020)

Knowing which are the best hotels in Gambia can be a challenge (trust me, I know- I stayed in one that I would NOT recommend). Reviews can be few and far between and many are outdated. As a big travel fan of The Gambia and someone who has travelled there multiple times and planned a student residential visit (which required A LOT of research!), I feel that I am in a fair position to share with you my list of the best hotels in Gambia.

Why travel to The Gambia?

The Gambia is a popular holiday destination with families, couples and solo travellers alike. It offers a laid-back pace, beautiful colours and scenery in every direction, and year-round warm weather to boot. Whether you want to sunbathe, go sightseeing, explore historical sites or be at one with nature, Gambia has something to offer every type of traveller.

Flights to The Gambia are reasonably priced and only 6 hours from the UK, making it a great option for some winter sun. The country was served mainly by tour operators Monarch and Thomas Cook, but since neither are around anymore, there are some amazing bargains to be had! If you’re looking to save some money on your travels this year, then The Gambia is the place to go!

Footage from the beach in Kotu.

The best hotels in Gambia

The Gambia is a long thin country, with only a small coast line. Whilst some people do choose to stay inland, most commonly for trips to Gambian eco resorts, the majority of tourists will visit the Serrekunda area, which encompasses the two main tourist resorts of Kotu and Kololi.

Whilst I cannot personally claim to have stayed in every hotel in The Gambia, I have stayed in a few. I also spent months planning a student trip, which required a lot of research into accommodation standards, prices etc. So, based on my own personal experience and research, here is my list of the best hotels in Gambia.

Alternatively, use the map below to see which hotels in Gambia are available on your travels dates, and take a look at the reviews on booking.com.

Booking.com

#1 The Tranquil Star, Tanji

The Tranquil Star, Tanji

With its affordable price and rave reviews, this is definitely one of the best hotels in Gambia. If you’re travelling on a budget but still want something a bit special, this is for you. The luxurious rooms are complete with private bathrooms, free WiFi and stunning views from the balcony. The peaceful setting of The Tranquil Star makes it perfect for a relaxing break.

There is free parking available if you have hired a car to travel around Gambia. The hotel has a hot tub and spa facilities on-site, too. They can arrange an airport shuttle service, and rooms come with a safety deposit box and a TV as well as air conditioning, ironing facilities and room service options.

TOP TIP: the hotel caters to special dietary requirements on request. It may be worth getting in touch ahead of your stay to see what they can do for you.

The hotel has BBQ facilities and plenty of outdoor seating, and fitness classes, beauty services and walking tours of the local area are available too. Bijolo Forest Reserve is just 1.9 miles away, and Cape Point beach is around 10-15 minutes away by foot. Taxis are easily available for exploring the sights of the local area, too. Past reviews praise the attentive staff, wonderful food and serene surroundings.

CLICK HERE to book a stay at The Tranquil Star

#2 Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort, Bakau

Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

If chilling out and doing little else is on the cards for you, then this is absolutely one of the best hotels in Gambia for that. With a beach on the doorstep and a large swimming pool, stunning grounds and plenty of indoor/outdoor seating, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking where to sit down and relax.

The hotel has free WiFi, televisions in the rooms, and a fitness centre and spa area. There is air conditioning, and you can check in no matter what time you arrive. There are palm trees everywhere too! Day trips to Senegal are available from the beach if you do want something to do other than simply relaxing, and there is a market nearby too.

TOP TIP: within walking distance of this hotel, you’ll find the famed Calypso Restaurant – popular with visitors for the crocodiles in its pool!

Previous reviews of Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort praise the cheerful staff, the cleanliness of the rooms and hotel in general, and the great location.

CLICK HERE to book a stay at the Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

#3 Kololi Beach Resort, Kololi

Kololi Beach Resort

There is so much on offer at Kololi Beach Resort, which is what makes it one of the best hotels in Gambia. The amenities are endless! Rather than individual rooms, there are apartments and villas on site sharing a pool, bar, restaurant and more. There is a spa, free WiFi and parking, on-site shops, babysitting services, BBQ facilities and plenty of outdoor seating spaces.

Not far from the hotel you’ll find nature reserves, a beach, bars and restaurants, museums and more. The airport is only 8 miles away, too. Evening entertainment is on offer, as well as sports and games during the day. You and your family will never get bored. You can often spot monkeys and exotic birds in the grounds of the hotel, too!

TOP TIP: there is a golf course nearby, making it the perfect location for a golfing holiday.

Guests of the hotel have previously raved about the fantastic sea views, good food, helpful staff and great range of excursions.

CLICK HERE to book a stay at Kololi Beach Resort

#4 Kotu Island Lodge, Kotu

Just a fifteen minute walk from the nearest beach and entirely covered in lush greenery, this is the perfect base for exploring Gambia. There is a bar and à la carte restaurant, free WiFi and parking, beautiful garden areas. The lodge offers plenty of space to kick back and relax. Taxis are easily available for further exploration, and there are shops and restaurants within walking distance too.

The Gambia National Museum is around a 10 minute drive away, with the Bijolo Forest Reserve less than 2 miles from the lodge too. An airport shuttle is available for the 8 mile drive from Banjul International, and there is a 24-hour front desk.

TOP TIP: the gardens of Kotu Island Lodge are full of beautiful birds. Keep your eyes peeled at all times to spot some rare wildlife.

Previous guests agree that this is one of the best hotels in Gambia. They praise the helpful nature of the staff, the abundance of breakfast options and the immaculate cleanliness of the lodge.

CLICK HERE to book a stay at Kotu Island Lodge

They’re the best hotels in Gambia!

Gambia is a beautiful part of the world, with so much to offer and a climate that makes it an ideal holiday destination at any time of year. Hopefully this look at the best hotels in Gambia has been helpful for you if you’re planning a trip to the area! 

Almost-empty beaches, blue skies, palm trees, smiling locals, colourful markets and incredible biodiversity… These are just some of the main reasons to visit Gambia, and you really won’t be disappointed.

1 Comment
  1. Carl Wright

    Seen the post on your Twitter Hayley. Thank you for sharing. The Gambia is a country I know so little about, so I really never have thought much of visiting. Amazing looking accommodations. Everything looks so clean and tidy!

    The Tranquil Star looks the most appealing with the Bijolo Forest Reserve nearby.

    Reply

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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