As an introduction to the largely boutique-style accommodation in Gambia, Coco Ocean Resort & Spa has great standout.
Renowned as one of, if not the best hotel in Gambia, Coco Ocean Resort & Spa has gained a number of accolades. It won Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards in 2012, and quickly won us over too.
After a flight from the UK taking just under six hours and a short 20 minute transfer domes, central to the hotel’s architectural style, came into view. The Coco Ocean Resort & Spa sits in extensive grounds and has been constructed to an intricate Moroccan-style architecture. All this without losing its west African roots – evidenced in local-styled handicrafts and animal prints.
Lovingly crafted, it has a wide array of facilities and choices for the discerning visitor, including split-level infinity pools, a courtyard for all-day dining, a Thai restaurant, shaded beach cabanas and two bars serving a range of cocktails, international beers, wines and spirits.
On the second day of our stay we visited the spa. It was a colourful and airy haven, with wide open spaces, a Thalassotherapy pool, hammam, and numerous treatment rooms. We were there for a Moroccan hammam and foot massage. Our two expert therapists, Vijaya and Awa, expertly rubbed, scrubbed and soothed away any tensions we had. For over one and half hours we surrendered ourselves to indulgent and blissful relaxation.
Our spacious two-tier, deluxe suite was also delightful. It had free wi-fi (though Gambia’s wifi isn’t always the fastest), air con, wardrobes secreted away behind a wall, plenty of shelf space, a large dressing table, a bathroom and second toilet, two sofas, a large balcony, television, safe, fridge, tea and coffee facilities, and a welcoming plate of fruit and biscuits.
Quality at the Coco Ocean Resort & Spa
An extensive breakfast was served in the Courtyard Restaurant – a wonderful outdoor dining area around a central water feature. And as guests of The Gambia Experience, breakfast was always accompanied by a glass of bubbly. This perfectly complimented the relaxed setting, amid refreshing waterfalls and fountains.
The one word which constantly came to mind with Coco Ocean Resort & Spa is quality. Whether it be in the restaurants, cocktail bar, it’s elegant grounds, the swimming pools, decor, facilities, attentive staff, or dining options, quality was the byword. The hotel understands that the needs of its guests and ensures that they are not only met but exceeded.
As seasoned travellers to luxury hotels we would say the Coco Ocean Resort & Spa, compares more than favourably with others we have visited.
But whenever we travel, and wherever we stay, we love to seek out real experiences beyond our lavish accommodation. On this occasion we hired a local taxi and guide and headed to the town of Serrekunda where we visited the local market, before heading to the fishing village of Tanji, to watch the catch being brought ashore while a seething mass of people gathered to trade. These are experiences we’ll be writing more about, and we’d recommend as a taste of the real Gambia, beyond the tranquility of Coco Ocean Resort & Spa.
- Don’t miss your tea at the hotel – The Gambia Experience guests receive a bite of cake and fruit around 5pm. But don’t worry if you’re not at the restaurant, a waiter will come and find you.
- The nearby Senegambia strip has a small selection of bars and restaurants – some of them very good. However you will find lots of young Gambians, largely men, who want to be your friend and show you around in the hope that you’ll give them money. This can put some people off, but be firm with them and they’ll soon disappear.
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