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“Beautiful but boring” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Areena Riverside Resort

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Areena Riverside Resort
4.0 of 5 Cottage   |   Farm 694 Portion 7 | East Coast Resorts Road, East London 5259, South Africa   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful but boring”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

Stayed at Areena as part of a tour group loved the look of the place and the accommodation was very comfortable. They have an fantastic bar with great staff and I even got to know their giraffe Abby. Only down side was there was no activities available to do but canoeing because there was only one guide available and he was busy with a group of school children who had already booked. Because we did not have any other transport we were stuck at the resort with not much to do. The Manager offered to make sure this did not happen next time we visited however I'm from Australia I may not be back. Was really looking forward to the quad biking.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AreenaResort, Public Relations Manager at Areena Riverside Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
Thank you for your review. We are very sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience. Please accept our sincere apologies. You will be pleased to know that we now have at-least two guides on duty every weekend to ensure this does not happen again. We do hope that you will be visiting South Africa again in the future, and that you will pop past for an amazing quad bike experience!
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56 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    6
    4
    0
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27
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
monza
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

We often visit Areena on our travels around South Africa and it is a stunning well kept secret. Their cabins are simple, very clean and ideally situated along the river. The wildlife, I was going to say around, but the real beauty of the place is that the wildlife is "in" the Areena resort - walk out your cottage and you can bump into Ostriches, Tortoises, Nyla, Peacocks, guinea fowl and a host of other "friendly" (remember they are "wild animals" so look but don't touch) animals. At Areena you can have either a tranquil peaceful time, lazing on the evening cruise along the river, eating great meals in the restaurant or you can get the full adrenalin pump, game viewing on Quad bikes - where if you are lucky Abby the Giraffe who thinks he is a human will come and say hi - really up close and personal - the staff will protect you from his over zealous advances don't worry), absailing down a fantastic kranz (cliff) or zipping along the ama zing zing - zip lines. Not enough space here to list all the other activities available. Hosts Karen and Ted are really special people who will give you a warm South African welcome. I love this place!!!

Room Tip: the cottages are all lovely - ask for one of the cabins furthest from the reception if you want to f...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AreenaResort, Public Relations Manager at Areena Riverside Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
What a wonderful review, thank you so very much for the stunning words! We are very happy to hear how much you love and enjoy our resort, and your appreciation and love for the wild animals that roam freely is just wonderful! We hope you will be visiting us again soon in South Africa!
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Cape Town, South Africa
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

My partner and i had a spare night after a busy long weekend. Locals advised us to try Areena - and it was wonderful. Local birdlife was abundant, and by staying in the wooden cabins at the river, we felt like we had the river all to ourselves. We didnt even leave our cottage to sample all the adventure activities, but chose the sernity of our balcony and bottle of red wine instead.

Room Tip: Choose the cottages at the river.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AreenaResort, Public Relations Manager at Areena Riverside Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
It is so delightful to hear about your wonderful experience staying with us! Thank you for taking the time to write this stunning review. We hope you will be back for a visit again in the near future, maybe this time you can enjoy some of the adventures we have on offer, or just relax with a pampering in our new spa!
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Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2011

My Family and I have been going to Areena since I was 13 years old. Im now 29 and have been to many places. I must be honest never have I been to a place that even remotely comes close to Areena. The fact that a family with teenagers would relgiously go back year after year must give you a understanding about this place. Areena caters for all, to name a few- Hiking , swimming , game viewing , quad biking , fishing, canoeing , activities and many many more - but its the people who make this place unique. Those who have been to Areena find themselves coming back and friendships are made. If you want a place where you and the kids can let loose and enjoy , look no further .... I will be continuing to go back and so will my family.... Thx Areena and the wonderful Rathbones....

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AreenaResort, Public Relations Manager at Areena Riverside Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
Wow what a wonderful review to read, thank you so much! It is always such a pleasure to have you here! Over the years we have made some amazing friends with the families that visit us regularly. We pride our-self's on caring about all our guests, after all this is where good friends meet! We look forward to your next visit, soon!
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2011

My friends, family and I recently visited Areena Riverside Resort, our booking was for 7 days and we arrived after a long drive from Durban, exausted!
We were met by friendly and helpful staff who checked us in and showed us to our rooms. We stayed in their Hotel en suit rooms and were very impressed with modern and stylishly decorated rooms.
The Restaurant supplied us with meals almost eveyday, and we enjoyed the peacefulness of sitting on the deck while enjoying our meals, while overlooking a stunning natural river with buzzing bird life! It was gorgeous!!
Areena has plenty of activities to keep you busy, from a quad bike safari in the Game Reserve, or a paintball game with the family, to paddling 2km down the river to the beach!
We will deffinately be back to enjoy another relaxing weekend..... especially if our kids have anything to do with it!
Areena is an amazing destination...... nestled in a beatiful and quiet valley, it is the perfect getaway!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AreenaResort, Public Relations Manager at Areena Riverside Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
Thank you for the amazing review! We are very pleased that you had such an amazing stay with us and look forward to your next visit, hopefully soon!!! We now also have a spa on the premises for you to enjoy a lovely pampering while your kids enjoy the adventures!
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South Africa
Top Contributor
210 reviews 210 reviews
121 hotel reviews
Reviews in 117 cities Reviews in 117 cities
165 helpful votes 165 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2010

I stayed here by chance when passing thru the area.

It would be an ideal place for young families looking for a safe place for some adventure activities.

They have their own wild game park, paint-ball arena, volleyball, river canoeing, archery, tennis court, quad bike tracks, swimming pool, zipline, and more. You can canoe down the river for 1 hour and out onto the beach. There is also a bar with satellite TV and restaurant that sells a basic selection of meals.

As for accommodation, they have camping but also some self-catering rooms. The rooms are quite nice but a bit dark in terms of natural lighting. The only negative was that you have to request towels and house keeping is an extra charge, which seems very odd for a holiday resort!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AreenaResort, Public Relations Manager at Areena Riverside Resort, responded to this review, April 25, 2013
It is very pleasing to hear that you ended up here by chance and enjoyed your stay so much! We are very sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience, please accept our apologies. You will be very happy to hear that linen and bath towels are provided, only swimming towels are not. Thank you for taking the time to post such a great review!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Areena Riverside Resort

Address: Farm 694 Portion 7 | East Coast Resorts Road, East London 5259, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > East London
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 36 Specialty Lodging in East London
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Areena Riverside Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated only 23 kilometers east of the East London city centre Areena Riverside Resort has become a sought after holiday and corporate destination.Nestled on the banks of the Kwelera tidal river, is the Eastern Cape's best kept secrect. Areena offers everything from well grassed camping sites, self-catering accommodation, adventure village and game reserve, conference facilities, to an upmarket family style restaurant and pub.Areena is the perfect place for fairy tale weddings, conferencing, corporate teambuilding and school and church camps.At Areena, there is always something for everyone! ... more   less 
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