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“An unforgettable experience”
Review of Emdoneni Lodge

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Emdoneni Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

From the the time we entered through the gates until the time we left, we were met with the friendliest of service from every staff member that we had the pleasure of meeting. Nothing was ever too much trouble. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to make use of the newly renovated Spa ... a pleasant experience from start to finish. The meals were tasty and were more than adequate both on the A la carte and Buffet side. Our getaway was a surprise for me, orchestrated by my husband. We were booked into the Honeymoon Suite, a short walk from the main lodge. It was perfectly situated for an undisturbed, tranquil, romantic getaway - we couldn't have asked for better. The unit was clean and comfortable and lacked nothing, from the kettle to the bottle opener to the soaps, body lotions, towels, gowns, slippers, tea, coffee, milk, mini bar supplies etc, etc. A beautifully prepared bonfire was set up, ready to be lit on our return after dinner. Sadly we were not able to use it due to the strong winds that evening (luckily there is always next time). From our porch we were lucky enough to see the Cheetah's playing the fool with one another in one of the enclosures, a short distance away. We also got to witness some of the animals up close and personal as they did their grazing around our little unit. A further bonus, adding to the lodge's perfect location, is the short distance from Hluhluwe Game Reserve. All and all a wonderful experience. Thank you Emdomeni for an unforgettable stay. We will definitely be back in the not to distant future.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Paris4meandu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmpleMedia, Public Relations Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hi Paris. We feel so blessed reading this review. Thank you for complimenting us on so many aspects of the lodge. This is what is keeping us going! We love that you loved the new spa! Please visit again.

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3 - 7 of 275 reviews

Reviewed 10 September 2017

We received a friendly Zulu welcome to the Emdoneni Lodge. The accommodation is in a great location and very comfortable.
Meals were of a higher standard than the similar places that we visited.
Best of all was the Cat experience when we we able to interact with the four cat species that they have.
They do return animals to the wild although some are not suited for this.
We had singing by the staff after dinner one night.
Top marks

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmpleMedia, Public Relations Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 September 2017

Hi Robert. Thank you for giving us a full mark score. We are so happy to read that you enjoyed all the offerings at the lodge. Our guests love the singing by the staff during dinner and we are glad that this was also enjoyed by you. Please visit again.

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Reviewed 10 September 2017

High hopes given its cat habitat and dedicated staff. Nice private villas with gardens, but a long way from reception and no phone - so a huge walk for help if you were even mobile. Non-functioning refrigerator. Same with air conditioning. Leaking from either toilet or shower in bathroom. No basics like tissues, face washers/flannels. No overnight replenishment of the paltry amounts of initial tea/coffee sachets provided on Day One. Single towel left on bathroom floor for replacement as advised remained there for the next morning - on the floor. It was necessary to walk a long distance to lodge laundry at reception. Once there, it was as if you were presenting the lady with a bag of dead rats. Despite assurances from the manager that their practice was to return it to the room, it didn't happen so I needed to approach reception to check and was chastised for my belief about delivery and my tardiness in collecting it myself. On another occasion (no phone, no room service), I walked to the bar to request a bottle of house wine to take back to my room. Despite the fact that the Lodge was fully booked, I was told that they had no house wine available as they had run out. I had no alternative but to choose a more expensive bottle. I was told flatly: "You don't need glasses." I certainly wasn't going to ask for an ice bucket and possible delivery after that instruction! Just when you felt that your own experience was an aberration, our group requested the national liqueur Amarula after our meal, only to be informed that there was none available - this despite there being at least 80-100 tourists in their dining room. Staff were later observed sniggering from the bar in our direction. Having said that, the buffet food was good. During my stay, I attempted to make incremental payments towards my daily expenditure in advance of checking out upon departure. This request was tersely refused. For a place that promised so much, the good experiences were totally extinguished by the majority of staff being rude, disinterested, argumentative, lazy, and openly scoffing at guests. What a shame.

Stayed: August 2017
Thank Hetty B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmpleMedia, Public Relations Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Thank you for privately contacting us via Facebook and apologizing via email to our staff. We appreciate your honesty.

Herewith final feedback to your comments :

We didn’t receive any complaints nor negative feedback during your stay from any of our other guests which makes it all a bit surreal.

Your tour guide also completed his evaluation form - all were good and he even complimented us on our friendly staff. We always make sure to communicate with our guests and guides to make sure that during their stay they are 100% happy. As you know in this industry, things can go wrong but this wrong for us is very weird.

You should be made aware of the fact that we aren’t a hotel, but a lodge in the bush, with beautiful chalets in nature. And yes of course you have to walk a bit further to reception but I am sure it is worth it.

Unfortunately we do not have telephones in our rooms. As confirmed by you, you received your bottle of wine with glasses and ice bucket as per your request.

We don’t supply face cloths, we never had. This is a personal item which we believe guests need to be informed on.

We didn’t receive any complaints about a leaking toilet nor a leaking shower. And I can assure you that, after consulting with maintenance and the housekeeping, that the toilet nor the shower were ever leaking.

The amenities are being replenished daily, in the morning. However guests are always welcome to ask for more stock at reception.

Towels are being changed every morning, with no exception of your room.

The air conditioner in your room was working perfectly. The aircons are dual purpose for cold and heating. I assume you had difficulties with the settings? A manual is provided in the rooms.

The standard arrangement is to hand in your laundry at reception and also be collected. Help is always provided.

We did not run out of our house wine.

Our staff is constantly complimented about their friendliness and helpfulness. I can vow with certainty that none of the staff will ever make the comment ”you don’t need glasses”.
Our staff is really humble, willing and hard working. They are trying their utmost best and always happy to assist.

We did ran out of Amarula, but we made a plan that we had stock for the second night.

We, at Emdoneni Lodge, strive for excellence in all area’s and especially accommodating our guests in a friendly and professional way.

Warmest regards

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Reviewed 14 August 2017

We had a good stay at the Emdoneni lodge but in my opinion it was overpriced for the room. We met 2 couples who said they got a discounted rate by calling the hotelL: they were South African though. The hotel also had some special packages but had only booked room, breakfast and dinner. We visited in the winter and stayed in a rondavel. the rooms were nice (nothing luxurious) and clean. Nice touch in the evening you found a short story on your bed on how the leopard got his spots or other local legends. We enjoyed the humor. The resort was well kept, and zebras and impalas were on the grounds.
The food was excellent for a couple of days: for those 2 days only 3 rooms were occupied in the hotel and the service was excellent: a la carte delicious dinners and breakfast. On the 3rd day, came a huge tour group and the menu was changed to a buffet for both dinner and breakfast. The food was varied but not as good as before for sure.
While there, we enjoyed visiting the Hluhluwe park. We saw most of the animals on that side of the park. The hotel is also located close to the elephant encounter project: we did not go but another family went and highly recommended it.
Location wise, the hotel is about 45 minutes from St Lucia. it looks close in a map but if you plan to spend time in St Lucia, i recommend staying in St Lucia (at least if you visit during the winter like we did). We spent 2 out of 3 days in St lucia: one the first day we got there and took a cruise. The cruise ended at 5pm which meant we had to drive at night to get to the hotel: not recommended to say the least... The next day, we went to visit the wetland park and Cape Vidal. Because we stayed too far from St Lucia, we were not able to take the tours offered by Heritage tour and some of them seem very cool especially at night.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Cristina T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmpleMedia, Public Relations Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2017

Hi Cristina

Thank you for the 4 star review. We are a little bit confused by some of your comments as the evaluation form you completed at the lodge is very different to this review (all either marked as excellent or good).

Please be advised that we are offering a standard 20% discount on our rates when a booking is made directly through our site. This special offer is applicable to all nationalities.

Please get in touch with us directly should you wish to discuss any of the issues raised above.

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Reviewed 11 August 2017

This was one of the highlights of our South African trip. From the moment we arrived and saw zebra roaming the grounds we were delighted. Our accommodations were comfortable but what really stood out was the excellent food. All the meals and wines were first rate. The location between the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park was perfect.

One bit of advice – we made the mistake of driving the N2 at night one evening. Not recommended: Too many large trucks, bikers, vendors, minibuses and walkers competing for space on a very busy un-lit road.

Stayed: July 2017
Thank tjl202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AmpleMedia, Public Relations Manager at Emdoneni Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 August 2017

Oh wow, what a brilliant review! Thank you for recommending our lodge, the food and wine offerings and location. It makes us proud to know that we are living up to our guests' expectations. All of the best!

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Additional Information about Emdoneni Lodge

Address: District Road 123 | Bushlands, Hluhluwe, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 32 Speciality Lodging in Hluhluwe
Price Range: HK$1,061 - HK$1,842 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Emdoneni Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Following the 2015 voting period, Emdoneni Lodge has won: Global Winner in the Luxury Game Lodge category of the World Luxury Hotel Awards. If you ever dreamt of getting close to nature, interacting with tame cats like Cheetah, Emdoneni Lodge is the place to visit! Located in the heart of Zululand lies Emdoneni Lodge. The lodge offers unique opportunities for the visitor, as you get up close and personal with local wildlife. From sitting by the pool watching Zebra, Nyala, duiker and impala in their natural Sand Forest habitat, to coming face to face with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cats at the Cat Sanctuary! Air-conditioned, en-suite rooms allow you to escape the heat of the day, and in the evenings you have a variety of meals to choose from at the buffet restaurant. Dinner in the Boma adds a different atmosphere as you eat under the African night sky, and get a glimpse into one of South Africa's great cultures with our Zulu dancers. End off your evening with a night-cap in our cosy bar or a chat in front of the fireplace. Your Zululand experience would not be complete without visiting nearby Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Park in one of the Lodges' game vehicles, or taking a trip to St Lucia to view some Hippo's and crocodiles on a lazy afternoon boat ride. Other activities on offer include Fishing charters, visiting the nearby Zulu cultural village, quad biking, horse riding or spending the day on the infamous Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay beaches. Emdoneni Lodge offers the visitor a chance to experience Zululand at its' best. Centrally located and close to the main attractions that Zululand has to offer! Not long dirt roads to travel on.... A Home away from home!Your hosts Louis and Cecillie Nel look forward to meeting you, and from all the staff at Emdoneni - Salani Kahle. ... more   less 
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