Avenue de la Mer
Plage des Cocotiers
Tama lodge is as good as it gets in Senegal and one of the very best small hotels in West Africa. We have visited about 10-15 resorts in Senegal and Tama Lodge is our favorite. The lodge really shines in three areas: customer service/attention to detail, local flavor, and the food. It was established about 11 years ago and the daughter of the man who built the lodge (Elizabeth) now runs it. She speaks French and also English quite well, which means it is also a nice place for Anglophones to visit.
The top selling point for us, by far, was the customer service and their attention to detail. Tama lodge does it right and is heads and shoulders above any other hotel in Senegal. Each and every employee was pleasant and helpful. Full stop. From the moment we arrived and were greeted by the parking attendant, friendliness and warmth welcomed us with every interaction with the staff. They went out of their way to make sure that we were happy and taken care of throughout our visit. This is a real rarity in Senegal and made our stay really wonderful. As an example of their attention to detail, we noted that each beach chair has freshly laundered sheets covering them (as opposed to ratty towels or just nothing, like most of the nicer beach resorts in Senegal). Also, the rooms are wonderfully designed in a local style, but then also have very nice and fluffy towels, and good toiletries (again, something that even nicer hotels in Senegal tend to overlook or mess up). Another example was that at breakfast, each table got its own little thermos of coffee so that there was always enough hot coffee right at the table. Again, they pay attention to detail here and it really shows.
The “local flavor” was also excellent. The entire lodge is made in a local design and completed by local artisans from Mbour. There is almost nothing from Europe and this really makes this place special. From the exquisitely designed rooms (where, I might add, everything works well — water pressure, A/C, etc), to the dining area which uses locally crafted wood tables, plates, etc. Also, it is right on the beach and the Tama lodge staff cleans the beach in front of their lodge. They have a private sun lounge area right next to the public beach, as well. The only possible downside is that they do not have a swimming pool or TVs in the rooms, but I actually really liked this as it added to the overall feel of being “off the grid.”
Finally, the food was excellent. We tried each of the offerings on the fixed menu the night that we stayed there and they were all delicious. Many hotels/lodges in Senegal look cool, but then underperform on either the customer service or the food. Tama looks great, and excels in all areas; the two cooks (both women) really put on a great meal (we had dinner and breakfast there, but not lunch).
As for the cost, it isn’t cheap, but then again one is happy to pay a bit more for this kind of place. We were very happy with the value for the quality we experienced. We really cannot recommend this place highly enough. It is not a big resort, but the boutique feel makes it something really special and truly unique in West Africa. We plan to return many times and to recommend to all of our friends.