The most bizzare beach resort I’ve ever stayed in

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

2/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Date of travel

February, 2024

Product name

Brenu Beach Lodge

Product country

Ghana

Product city

Brenu Akyinim

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Relaxation/Wellness

After a full-on, three-week tour of Ghana, Togo and Benin, we looked forward to sun, sand, sea and relaxation at Brenu Beach Lodge, around a three-hour drive from Accra with the final 30 minutes being down a rutted track.

On arrival there was a distinct lack of formalities: our vehicle was met, and our bags collected and carried to our home for the next 13 nights. Number nine was one of 16 sea facing, whitewashed bungalows, which had a large expanse of grass in front with grazing ‘sheepish goats’ and coconut trees.

Our basic room was light, clean and comfortable once we’d made a couple of adjustments: we used the desk chair as a makeshift bedside cabinet and the second bed to store clothes as the wardrobe was small. There was a large empty fridge, a TV and sofa for chilling during the heat of the day. Once we had mastered the AC it worked reasonably, although sometimes, the difference between 16 and 25 degrees seemed miniscule. WiFi was only available in the dining area/bar, but this provided a digital detox. There were no fripperies like a hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, or safe and the only complimentary toiletry was soap.

The bathroom had a shower with curtain, but the shower head was placed vertically rather than horizontally and couldn’t be adjusted. After two days of tepid showers, we found the hot water switch, but halfway through our stay, we woke to find no water. From then on, the erratic water pressure ranged from barely acceptable to a measly trickle, insufficient to remove the salty, sandy stickiness that clung to our bodies after a day on the beach. The issue was said to be due to the Ghana Water Company closing pipes to combat illegal mining. The bathroom lacked space and we kept our toiletries on the desk.

Apart from a weekend, when we were joined by two families, we were the only overnight guests during our stay. This meant there was no fighting for the four white plastic sun loungers which either had sections missing or were so cracked they didn’t recline. After a couple of days of complaining, two simple non-reclinable loungers were produced, but they were extremely low and getting up and down wasn’t easy for Silver Travellers. On our final morning, two beautiful handmade sunbeds arrived, but as there were no padded cushions, our last few hours of sunbathing were somewhat uncomfortable.

The 3km stretch of beach was well maintained, and virtually private, although access was granted to locals walking between villages carrying huge bundles of tree branches, large pots, or any manner of goods on their head. We enjoyed early morning pre-breakfast strolls in both directions, when the sand was firm, and temperatures low. Unfortunately, sunrise (6.15am) and sunset (6.15pm) went unnoticed as the Harmattan, a seasonal wind from the Sahara, meant hazy, cloudless skies.

On booking we were aware there was no pool, so the sea’s strong current and rip tide was a big disappointment. Having seen several visiting groups of daytime students get swept off their feet in the waves, we restricted ourselves to paddling, although on three days the waves subsided, and we felt confident enough to swim. The provision of beach towels seemed a slightly alien concept and required much searching of cupboards and were only changed on request.

According to the website, the resort was previously a restaurant serving award-winning food. The dining area/bar was outdoors, and small areas with thatched roofs and individual tables had been created, and it was pleasant sitting watching and listening to the roar of the tide.

Breakfast was a generous plate of delicious pineapple and mango, with a choice of eggs, although as fried and poached were served with hard yolks, we stuck to either an omelette or toast and jam and avoided sausage and bacon which always disappoint on holiday. A flask of hot water accompanied sachets of Nescafe which we drank black, as the milk was of the light brown evaporated variety.

There was a lack of light lunch options, particularly when salad items were unavailable for a few days, so we broke the monotony of tuna sandwiches with delicious lobster tails or fried calamari served without the promised lemon aioli.

At dinner, it was too hot for soup, and having enjoyed both the fish appetisers at lunchtime, our meal was a main course. After experiencing huge portion sizes on the first night, we began sharing a single dish with some being better than others. Again, many dishes or ingredients were unavailable, and we began struggling for choice, and ended up eating lots of lobster which was freely available. On two nights, I had chocolate ice cream which then ran out, and I suspect if I’d asked for strawberry more than once, it would have been the same.

The bar had a good supply of Club beer and Savanna cider (which only ran out on our last day), whilst gin had to be drunk with Sprite in the absence of tonic. On asking for ice, huge chunks were extracted from the freezer which barely fitted the glasses. On a positive note, a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc cost 110 Cedi or £7, less than we’d pay for a glass in London. Unfortunately, this ran out and we swapped on to the Chenin Blanc and when it followed the same fate, we resorted to Chardonnay. Dinner was served at 7pm, and afterwards, as there was little to do, early nights were de rigueur.

The most outstanding feature of the place was the ubiquitous Abraham, who never had a day off, and served all our meals and drinks. Due to his good English, he was unfortunately the first port of call for the many issues we experienced: as well as the lack of sunbeds and towels and low water pressure, we had two infestations of ants, one in the bathroom and another directly outside the bungalow. However, he remained cheerful and helpful with a ready smile, and a ‘yes please’. Echo offered fresh coconuts on our first day, and then charged us, managed our beach beds, and kept watch over the visiting swimmers who were braver than us (possibly because they were fifty years younger).

We were not told in advance that credit cards were not accepted but fortunately we had sufficient dollars to pay our drinks bill.

It is fair to say, this was initially a frustrating choice for the end of our trip, but having a resort and private beach to ourselves meant it was probably one of the most bizarre and unique beach resorts we’ve experienced.

Helen Jackson

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