Coco Ocean Resort & Spa is the most elegant hotel in The Gambia, I’ve ever been to. It’s beautiful. Whether staying here or visiting for the day, residents and non-residents alike can enjoy its spa facilities which are very reasonably priced and far less than you would pay for the equivalent here in the UK. We all deserve a bit of pampering so indulge in a little ‘me time’ and treat yourself to a visit to Coco Ocean Resort & Spa in The Gambia.
Disclaimer: I have visited Coco Ocean Resort & Spa, Gambia several times both for work and for pleasure. Some of the following spa treatments, and meals I paid for, while others were complimentary for review purposes on behalf of The Gambia Experience. I have never stayed at Coco Ocean but have seen many of the rooms and suites and spent the day there on several occasions.
Coco Ocean Resort & Spa, The Gambia
With Moorish white domes shining brightly under the African sun, against a backdrop of a deep blue sky, 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, the swimming pools numerous and the attentive staff seem to outnumber the guests.
Coco Ocean Spa
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 first morning at Coco Ocean Resort & Spa began; I was there to enjoy nearly three hours of utter self-indulgence.. I have since returned to Coco Ocean to have a Swedish Massage and an Aromatherapy Massage. They were both superb and I can highly recommend any of the different treatments I’ve enjoyed here. Read on to find out more.
The adult-only Spa has a tranquil and calm ambience with its own indoor swimming pool and a good range of treatments including its signature hammam. The changing facilities are spacious with plenty of shower cubicles, a sauna, steam room and an ice plunge pool. All guests are provided with their own bathrobe, slippers, towels and a large locker. As well as a good range of massages,. Other treatments on offer include reflexology, facials, manicures and body wraps. The therapists are all fully-qualified and come from The Gambia, Morocco, Thailand and India.
The first treatment I tried at Coco Ocean’s Spa was their signature hammam, a centuries-old, traditional Moroccan steam bath and cleansing therapy.
I expected to feel awkward, to say the least, dressed in nothing but a pair of paper panties as a stranger washed me but I didn’t. The experience allowed 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. After an hour of washing, scrubbing, steaming and simply relaxing my skin felt as soft as a baby’s.
Unlike the traditional hammam that you would experience in Morocco, 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 Brit such as myself.
Hot Stone Massage
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 – based on an ancient Native American tradition, perfect for healing and relieving tension. The heat of the stones penetrates your muscles without the need for vigorous movements, 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. This foot massage is not only very relaxing but it stimulates the body’s own healing ability.
After over two and a half hours of perfect pampering, I leave the spa feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I’m almost floating as I wander down to the sandy beach, breathing in the sea air with a gentle breeze caressing, my now silky smooth skin.
I have recently returned to Coco Ocean to enjoy a Swedish Massage. This European-style treatment uses small circular kneading as well as deeper, firm sweeping movements to relax your muscles and stimulate blood circulation. My therapist, Maimuna, was again excellent and massaged my entire body including my face and scalp. She only used a little oil in my hair so washing it wasn’t strictly necessary. I found the massage extremely relaxing and my back, in particular, felt wonderful.
I have also had a dreamy aromatherapy massage at Coco Ocean and would thoroughly recommend it. It is a perfect choice if your main aim is relaxation. This is the best type of massage to combat stress and anxiety,
Deep tissue Massage
While I have not had a deep tissue massage at Coco Ocean, I am confident that these would also be excellent. This type of massage can work wonders on stiff and sore necks, shoulders and backs. This massage goes deeper, so if you have found yourself sensitive to the pressure some therapists use, this may not be suitable for you.
If at any time during a massage you feel any discomfort do tell your therapist. While a good therapist should be able to read your body language they are not mind-readers.
Which type of massage to choose?
If your main aim is relaxation and fighting stress then opt for an Aromatherapy Massage. If you have tight, knotted shoulders, back and /or neck then a deep tissue massage may be more appropriate. Most recently, I choose a Swedish massage which sits somewhere in the middle.
Thai, Balinese and Hawaiin Massages are also available. I can see that I am going to have to return to Coco Ocean Spa, next time I am in The Gambia. I’m more than happy to go back again and experience them all so I can update you on the massages I’ve yet to experience here. Feel free to thank me n the comments below!
How much does a massage at Coco Ocean Spa, Gambia cost (December 2022)
- Moroccan Hammam D1,300 (60 minutes)
- Hot Stone Therapy D2,000 (60 minutes)
- Foot massage D1,200 (45 minutes)
- Swedish Massage D1,700 (60 minutes)
- Aromatherapy Massage D1,700 60 minutes)
- Deep Tissue Massage D2,000 (60 minutes
With the current exchange rate being around 70 Gambian Dalasi to the British Pound this is excellent value and well worth every penny. What’s more, Coco Ocean guests who book their holiday through The Gambia Experience get 10% off selected spa treatments.
For more information or to request a spa brochure, please email [email protected].
With prices at Coco Ocean being so reasonable, it is well worth paying for a taxi to get there from your hotel. Booking your treatment in advance is essential and I’d recommend arriving early to enjoy the facilities. Please keep in mind that there are a lot of roadworks around the resort areas at the moment which are causing some considerable delays.
Relaxing at Coco Ocean
Both before and after my most recent visit to Coco Ocean’s spa I spent some time relaxing by the beach in my own cabana. Bliss!
Dining at Coco Ocean
The hotel’s Beach Restaurant, is also open to non-residents, provided you book in advance. While you shouldn’t have a large meal before or after a massage, I’d highly recommend finishing off your treat with a light meal here. The restaurant is open all day and in the evenings you can also order from the menu of Safran Restaurant (African. Moroccan and European cuisine). There is also a Thai Restaurant ay Coco Ocean which is open in the evenings only.
I’ve eaten at the Beach Restaurant a couple of times and have always been impressed by the food. The service can be a little leisurely so do allow plenty of time. During the day you can relax in your own cabana overlooking the sea, and eat here if you wish. In the evenings, the terrace of the Beach Restaurant has a fabulous view of the beach and the sunset.
Above, the Beach Restaurant at Coco Ocean and, below, the view from the Beach Restaurant’s terrace at sunset.
Check our my guide to Where to Stay in The Gambia
Rooms types at Coco Ocean
Coco Ocean is the perfect hotel or celebrating a special occasion such as a wedding aniversary or honeymoon. The three-tired swimming pool is beautiful leading down to a sweeping lawn which in turn takes you down to the sea and the Beach Restaurant. The hotel grounds are spacious, calm and peaceful.
There is a wide range of suites available (88 in total) all elegantly furnished, bright and spacious with white walls and splashes of colour. My preferred suites are the seven sea-facing Club Villas, the four Royal Suites and the three Beach Houses. A second pool is exclusively shared between the guests of these suites (and seven non-sea-facing Club Villas).
Each Sea Facing Club Villa has a large outdoor living area and sleeps up to three people. The Royal Suites, are large ground-floor apartments, each with its own plunge pool, a separate bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a dining area and a kitchenette, as well as an additional shower. They sleep up to four. For the best views, however, opt for a Beach House. These have an open-plan layout, sleep up to three people and are located directly overlooking the beach with a private terrace and garden area.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend the Junior Dome Rooms as, while they are all light and spacious, they are not guaranteed to have any outdoor area. All other room types have either a terrace or balcony.
Facilities at the Coco Ocean Resort & Spa
- Tiered swimming pool, plus a private pool for Club Villa, Beach House & Royal Suite guests
- Spa with Moroccan hammam, steam room, sauna, ice plunge Pool, and thalassotherapy pool
- 3 restaurants, a coffee shop and a bap
- Baby-sitting service (by arrangement)
- In-room dining/room service (payable locally)
- Tea and coffee-making facilities
- Safety deposit box
- Bathrobes, slippers and toiletries
Coco Ocean Resort & Spa is a beautiful hotel whether you are staying here or simply wish to visit for the day to enjoy the excellent spa facilities and restaurants. This is the perfect place for relaxing and escaping the hustle and bustle of The Gambia. The hotel staff are very welcoming and helpful.
For more information on Coco Ocean visit The Gambia Experience.
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