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“Not up to SATOUR rating!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hans Merensky Hotel & Estate

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Hans Merensky Hotel & Estate
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5.0 of 5 Resort   |   Club road | Phalaborwa, Kruger National Park 1390, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Not up to SATOUR rating!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2012

Definitely not 4 star at all, lacking: service; provisions; facilities ( especially the hotel rooms) and staff!!

Room Tip: Only go for the self catering units
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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16 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Cookham Dean, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

What a stunning place (when you find it as it's a bit out of the way although that's a bonus really). A golf course where the "Beware of crocs and hippos" signs on the golf course were actually serious. Loads of hippos in the lakes, several crocs, giraffes, warthogs and monkeys etc seen on he course.

The hotel was quiet when we were there but the staff were just so lovely. Nothing was too much trouble and they even sang "Happy Birthday" to me at my table. Food superb and decor stunning in all the public areas. A real genius designed this place.

A new General Manager went out of his way to be helpful at every stage and the ranger on site was always happy to discuss the wildlife and arrange some great trips for us (Kruger safari and Olifants river boat safari)

The course was not in manicured condition but that didn't worry us as the greens were good and the wildlife on view just added to the great experience.

My wife adored the spa too.

Definitely recommended and will go back later this year. I did see the comment about the almost empty pro shop which was correct when we were there and was surprising as the sales potential of logo shirts etc is huge.

Room Tip: Try for an updated one with flat screen TV etc
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  • Stayed March 2012, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxfordshire
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2012

We are two of the lucky few to have experienced the lifestyle getaway of Phalaborwa, the gateway to the Kruger National Park, which is just a short drive from this wonderful hotel...We enjoyed a truly wonderful south african welcome,upon our arrival, and our stay was that of pure enjoyment and relaxation, just to lie by the pool and the staff always willing to offer you service from the bar etc, all the staff were friendly and management could not do enough to be of assistance when we needed anything either...This is the ideal place to stay when in Phalaborwa and i would stay there again and not think to look elswhere.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2011

Hans Merensky estate has been built on grand scale, and the number of hotel rooms continues to expand. However, having been there several times, I note that many areas of the construction have not progressed much in several years - for example there is supposed to be a gym and a big outdoor swimming pool but both have been in disrepair for many years.
The golf course is excellent, and the estate is a spectacular experience (one can go looking at game including giraffes, impala, hippo and crocodile from your golf buggy around the golf course).
However, it appears that they are not getting enough business, and therefore quality of various facilities varies a lot, and maintenance is not always prompt. Service can also be quite mixed.
Go, but with low-ish expectations, and enjoy it as a rustic bush experience with touches of grandeur.

Room Tip: Take the lodges, not the hotel rooms...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Northampton, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2011

It's like a ghost town. No one was staying there. There were cob webs everywhere. The heat in our room didn't work. We didn't even want the room to be cleaned for fear that we would be robbed. Nobody was friendly or helpful. The internet was down for the entire stay. The pro shop was completely empty. There is nothing to eat on the menu. There is no safe in the room. There is no spa at all! The pool was very dirty, like a sandy bottom almost. It's not the luxury resort we were sold. It's terrible and unsafe. This is the first time I've ever felt the urge to write a review because it was so awful.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2010

I am one of the lucky few South Africans to have experienced the lifestyle getaway of Phalaborwa. The gateway to the Kruger National Park! Here are short stories of the trip, a window, maybe even an inspiration for your next trip? Forget going overseas, this is one of those 101 things to do before you die. It’s a must for your bucket list!

There was something magical about the air. A tractor with a small trailer carried the baggage from the plane to the humble airport building.

Jimmy, our driver from Sable Tours, informed us that this would be a relaxing trip and that it was referred to here as the “Slowveld”. He also gave us information about the local lodges – like having a personal tour guide! Next stop, Phalaborwa – and hour away! The roads are quiet and there are very few spots on the road that have a yellow line. Jimmy explains the Hoedspruit way of life, the lodges and how everything came about and came together. They have one doctor, half an optometrist and one specially trained paramedic. Everyone living here knows about living in the bush and surviving the bush. Jimmy tells us how his granddaughter is a keen wildlife fanatic and a brilliant tracker!

On our way we encounter real life wildebeest and bush pigs. I see these huge clay towers along the road and Jimmy informs me that these are termite mounds! These mounds are almost twice my length – we do not stop to take a photo as I don’t see chance for something that could build something bigger than me.

At Hans Merensky we enter through the gates and our eyes fall on a huge thatch roofed entrance with doors at least 3 stories high! It’s something out of a movie! The staff or so warm and friendly, they hand us over our keys and remote and just as we turn to leave they ask us to sign the indemnity form. Yes, the indemnity forms! This may be a 4 star golf estate but it is next to the Kruger National Park and they do have wild animals walking around. They warned us not to walk around at night and to be careful in general!

A huge bed is at our entrance with thick white bedding. Air-conditioning and a ceiling fan are a “warm” welcome! A walk-in shower, double basins, big bath, 3 mirror dressing table are some of the luxuries available in the room. Our porch looks out into a green garden and is walking distance (safe walking distance) of the restaurants, pool and reception. After sipping many glasses of Amarula, we walk around to explore and familiarise ourselves with the layout of the hotel. There is a gift shop that I run into looking for trinkets and souvenirs.

We are greeted by the staff so warmly I almost feel like we are all old friends – Irene greets me so warmly I was under the impression we had met before! I later hear that this is how they greet all their guests and that each staff member is equipped with a walky-talky so they can communicate the whereabouts of each guest and make sure no one is left feeling unwelcome or unattended. Nothing is too much for these miracle workers. Your wish is their command – and there is nothing they can’t do! Here we are the King and Queen of Phalaborwa, the Beckams on vacation! By Saturday evening we pushed our luck by ordering our handmade, wood fried pizzas from the pool restaurant, drinks from the bar as well as coffee and deep fried ice-cream from the restaurant while sitting at the pond. No problem! And they didn’t bother us with different bills from the various places. It was all on one slip and charged to our room. “Charge it to the room” was a phrase I was born to say!

As we are from Cape Town when we saw the weather forecast for Phalaborwa, rain with a maximum temperature of 25, we thought cool but pleasant. Wrong! It was hot and dry and my fiancé and I didn’t pack swimming gear. Our driver Jimmy specially drove us into Phalaborwa to search through some of the stores for a swimming costume and shorts. He didn’t even hesitate when we requested the quick stop. He sat for an hour in the car and waited for us while we ran around the stores looking for a summer item in winter stocked stores!

As I’m sure most people already know, to book a game drive in the Kruger National Park, you have to book way in advance. The only drive we could find still available was a Braai Game Drive which just worked out too pricey for a spur-of-the-moment thing. The wonderful customer relations manager, Francois, offered us a “Club-cart-game-drive” on the golf course at dusk! We drove around and managed to see a crocodile (The Hans Merensky Golf Course is home to 5 crocs and have put signs up at the waterholes warning golfers of the Hippos and crocs) and a herd of Rooibok – To see these animals just after sunset was experience I will never forget. The trip involving the Golf carts made it really exciting as you could get close to the animals without spooking them.

That evening after dinner Francois came to inform us that he could take us out for a few more minutes as he believed there were some more animals out. He was right! We drove out in the golf carts and came across a Hippo! I wasn’t allowed to take a photo as we were in Golf carts and they didn’t drive fast enough to outrun a hippo should the animal decide to charge.

Nothing was too much for the staff working at the Hans Merensky. They bring a magic to the place that I hadnt experienced while travelling overseas! A custom game drive to keep guests happy was just to show how far these people would go to keep their guests comfortable and extremely pampered.

  • Stayed April 2010, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2010

We were there for a family vacation with friends and were firstly amazed by the beauty of the premisses, bur were then confronted with similar problems others have encountered. No welcoming other than handing us the keys over. A welcome letter without any explanation regarding the facilities or security guidelines in case of an encounter with a wild animal. Furthermore, no explanation was given regarding the golf or the food accomodation. We were assured a safari would be organized as booked in advance, but due to internal bad communication, woke up at 4.30 am for nothing. Finally we were robbed for a very large amount of cash in our safe in the room. None of the management would have the decency to help us, as they all kept blaming each other, none offered any compensation. The police of Phalaborwa told us it was the 4th time that month !!!
For a hotel wishing to offer 5-star quality it was not even a 2-star quality service

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hans Merensky Hotel & Estate

Address: Club road | Phalaborwa, Kruger National Park 1390, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 14 Hotels in Kruger National Park
Hotel Class:5 star — Hans Merensky Hotel & Estate 5*
Number of rooms: 89

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