Sitting on a tiled bench in nothing but a paper g-string is not how I would normally picture the start of a day’s pampering but that is exactly how my morning at Coco Ocean Resort & Spa began; I was there to enjoy nearly 3 hours of utter self-indulgence, in the most luxurious hotel in The Gambia, West Africa.
Coco Ocean Resort & Spa
With Moorish white domes shining brightly under the African sun, against a back-drop of a deep blue sky, the Coco Ocean’s Moroccan themed design is opulent and elegant. By a stretch of sandy beach that goes on for miles, this is The Gambia’s most luxurious hotel and as would be expected the restaurants are excellent, swimming pools numerous and the attentive staff seem to outnumber the guests.
The Spa has a tranquil and calm ambiance with its own indoor swimming pool and a good range of treatments including their signature hammam, a centuries old, traditional Moroccan steam-bath and cleansing therapy. This is how my morning starts and after an hour of washing, scrubbing, steaming and simply relaxing my skin feels as soft as a baby’s. I expected to feel awkward to say the least, dressed in nothing but a pair of paper panties as a stranger washes me but I don’t. The experience allows me to revel in a moment of pure self-indulgence. This is ‘me time’ at its finest. And along with the layers of dead skin, my cares and worries are washed away. Unlike the traditional hammam that you would experience in Morocco itself, at Coco Ocean you do not share your steam room with a host of strangers so while it’s not quite the authentic experience it is probably better suited to the average self-conscious European such as myself.
At last emerging from the steam with my new silky soft skin, I’m shown to one of nine ocean view treatment rooms for my hot stone massage. For another blissful hour, my expert therapist kneads me with the heated pebbles and any remaining tension in my body and stress in my mind, floats away.
To finish, I am shown to a white leather recliner by the spa’s pool with a view across the Atlantic Ocean. I’m offered a refreshing cup of herbal tea before another excellent massage therapist weaves her magic on my feet.
After over two and a half hours of perfect pampering I leave the spa feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I’m almost floating as I wonder down to the sandy beach, breathing in the sea air with a gentle breeze caressing, my now silky smooth skin.
And the cost…
Moroccan Hammam D1,100 (60 minutes)
Hot Stone Therapy D1,600 (60 minutes)
Foot massage D900 (45 minutes)
With the current exchange rate being around 70 Gambian Dalasi to the British Pound this is excellent value and well worth every penny.