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“A little disapointing” 4 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

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andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
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5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Leeds, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“A little disapointing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2007

We stayed here for one night whilst on Honeymoon on safari in northern Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The location is amazing, set on the crater rim of the famous Ngorongoro Crater. This was by the most expensive part of our honeymoon, but the view we were expecting made us splurge anyway. Unfortunately, our view was obscured by two other guest lodges and trees as we were set back from the edge (Room 23 in South Camp). Having checked the map of all 3 camps it looks as though we were one of just 2 lodges with such poor views.

The lodge itself was truly amazing for furnishings and decor. However, we were also let down by a lack of hot water in the shower (it gets quite cold at 6pm up on the crater rim) and some misunderstandings over alarm calls by the staff (the level of English appeared worse here than everywhere else we stayed).

Having said that the main reception and dining area at the South Camp and food were all fantastic.

In summary, an amazing experience, let down by a poor view compared to every other lodge and some poor service. At these prices everything should have been faultless and the stay here ended up being the only time on Honeymoon we felt let down.

  • Liked — lodge
  • Disliked — view
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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441 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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LONDON
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2007

Magical, simply stunning. Everything from food to views to service is easily the best ever experienced.

For a honeymoon or any romantic occasion it's perfect. Our butler ran us a bath sprinkled with rose petals just as we walked through the door after a "hard day's" safari.....my wife liked this. So I did too.

The food and wine really beats expectation but it's not this that you go for. It's the bewildering strangeness of the place - dangerous water buffalo roaming the garden, even more dangerous maasai warriors escorting guests around the grounds (with the poshest accents in Africa), the freezing cold and icey air so high up on the Rift Valley in the middle of summer and the early morning starts for the crater blanketed in mist so thick you'll think the Dementors are about to attack....such is the Harry Potter-ish nature of the lodge - the huts resemble Hagrid's from the outside and a sumptuous palace on the inside.

My wife wishes me to say also that the electric blankets and the indoor fire were her favourite parts. This kept her warm. Which was great. For me.

Stayed June 2007
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
315 reviews 315 reviews
129 hotel reviews
Reviews in 129 cities Reviews in 129 cities
467 helpful votes 467 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2007

[--]
Suites:

Absolutely incredible rooms--or several room areas connected together. First, there’s a little anteroom that we liked to call the “empty glass room”, because we would put our empty glassware there for our butler to pick up whenever we finished a round of drinks. Your morning wake up service (drinks and cookies) was also left on that table. The main bedroom area had a king size bed with enormous headboard, huge floor to ceiling doors/windows, and a small desk, there was also a wood-burning fireplace and two club chairs/ottomans in one corner. The next room was the bathroom, which could be blocked off by opening the wardrobe doors and fastening them together. Huge waterfall tiled shower, lovely free-standing bathtub, twin pedestal sinks, makeup table, and another floor-to-ceiling door (and the ceilings were HIGH!). Then there was another tiny room (like the “empty glass room”) that held the toilet. I don’t think there was a bidet here. The rooms are not spaced far apart, and due to the elevation of the landscape, it was nearly possible to see from our deck into the next rooms water closet (and there were no curtains or wooden doors provided for some of the windows--but other windows did have them). There are zebras and cape buffalo right on the property (no fences), so be sure to call your Masaai guide (there are phones in the rooms) for an escort to the main building. The animals will come right up to your deck and front door. (Each room has a larger deck off the bedroom area--use the four cushions provided at the end of your bed to set up a comfortable spot on the wooden step/bench--and a smaller deck located off the bathroom. Toiletries are provided in these neat, refillable glass bottles with cork stoppers (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath salt scrub, shower gel). Massages are available (not included: about $40 for 1/2 hour and $60 for an hour). Robes and slippers were provided; umbrellas too. There is a lovely wooden/glass box filled with chocolates/sweets, and glasses with brandy/sherry in the fireplace area. There was an electronic safe, and the rooms could also be locked with a key. The rooms get quite chilly in the late evening/early morning. You’ll definitely need slippers to walk around (not bare feet), and the fireplace and electric space heater are necessary. Your bed will also contain a dual-controlled electric blanket, which will be turned on for you during the nightly turndown. (We found it too hot with the electric blankets, however, and turned them off.)

Common Areas: What can I say? Everything is true! It’s OVER THE TOP! We had room number 8 in the North Camp, which was midway between the dining area and the end of camp. North Camp would be the best choice, I think, if you have any mobility issues. The farthest room in South Camp required walking up a hill. We didn’t really see Tree Camp, but I think it was probably hilly as well (although the smallness of it may have helped). I requested North or South Camp prior to my stay, but perhaps Tree Camp would have been the better choice. There are a lot of rooms in North and South as compared to Tree, and we missed the more personalized service that we got at our previous (small) camp, Bateleur. The service was good, just not as personal or personalized. There was a curio shop which had a computer if you wanted to purchase internet time. There’s no pool at Crater Lodge, but don’t worry--there’s neither the time nor the hot weather to use one. (I can’t believe I almost didn’t stay there because they didn’t have a pool! What a fool!) Be sure to use the restrooms in the lobby/dining area--and don’t forget that you’ll have to go outside and via a wooden walkway to the restroom building. There is a common sink area, but separate rooms for men and women (look above the doors for the appropriate character--I missed it the first time and ended up in the men’s room instead). Cocktails were held in the lobby/lounge area from about 7:30 to 8:00, but we missed them both nights. It seemed like the time to chat with the other guests if you were so inclined.

Food: The dining room is lovely, with formal service. The meals were very elaborate and formal--and delicious. The current chef is from Oregon, and trained somewhere else in the United States (we think he said San Francisco)--it was our first and only encounter on the trip with someone on staff who was American). We had one really unique lunch here--ask to be seated out on the deck if the weather is nice. It’s too cold to eat out there for breakfast or dinner, so lunch is your only option. Breakfast is a cold buffet (e.g., juices, fruit, bread, cereal, yogurt, meats, cheeses), followed by a hot entree (if desired); too much food for me so early in the morning.

Electricity and Water: There are plenty of outlets in the rooms for recharging. Don’t forget an adapter (you will need the 3-prong English/Great British adapter for all of Kenya and Tanzania--not the Africa adapter); a converter was not necessary. There was 24-hour hot water here, but the electricity was turned off from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm and then again from 12:00 midnight through 3:00 am (or thereabouts). There is 24-hour hot water.

Laundry: Laundry service is included, and the Crater Lodge actually has washing machines and dryers, so you’ll receive a 12-hour turnaround or so. If you’re going to have laundry done, this is the place--I felt terrible asking someone to hand wash my unmentionables. And by the way, they do “smalls” (underwear and bras) at the CC Africa camps, unlike many other places that I heard about online. Laundry is returned in a neat wicker basket, wrapped in a satiny bag, tied with a ribbon, accompanied by a rose. It looked like a gift!

Game Drives: You can only do ONE game drive per day at the Crater Lodge, but it can be a long/extensive one, with a box breakfast and lunch to take along if you desire. I think the “morning” drive went out from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm, and the “afternoon” drive went out from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. You must stay on road in the Crater, under all circumstances, so binoculars and telephoto lenses are a must if animals are far away. This was the most crowded park of our safari, but not overly so. Another couple we met described the Lodge and park as touristy, but we disagreed; it was just more dense with vehicles and people. There are two restroom facilities in the Crater, but there might as well not be. It was my first experience with squat toilets: there’s a porcelain plate with footprints on the floor of each stall, and you squat and go--not easy!

Surprise at Crater Lodge: DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THE SURPRISE!
One day after lunch, when you return to your room, the butler will have drawn a lovely bubble bath for you, surrounded by rose petals. When you see that the tub is half full, you might add just a bit more hot (really scalding!) water to top it off, but don’t forget about the water displacement that your body will cause (therefore, DON’T FILL the tub to the top). I thought that I knew better than my butler, and filled the tub to the top with really hot water. Not only was it too scalding to sit in, but I would have flooded the entire room. The butler closed the drapes to the door/deck, but it was nicer with them open (particularly since the time coincided with the afternoon power cut), and I also lit the candle that was near the bath. A really relaxing afternoon! Crater Lodge also gave us a bag of coffee beans on our last night.

  • Liked — Unbelievable suites!
  • Disliked — Liked it all
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glendale, CA
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2007

Stayed at Tree Camp -- and most rooms there have great views (contrary to one former reviewer's experience). We were in room 28, which has a fabulous view of the crater. Room 26 also looks to have fine views. But room 24 has no views, so avoid that. If you stay at South Camp, Room 23 looked great as well. Also at North Camp, Room 12A is basically a honeymoon suite that is more private and also has great views.
Also at Tree Camp, Room 30 is right next to the dining room, so you might get noise. (as are rooms 4 and 5 at North Camp; and room 21 at South Camp)
We thought the location was one of the most beautiful in the world. The service was excellent (but the butlers are NOT exclusive -- as advertised -- instead each one serves three rooms, but that didn't really bother us). Food was first rate. We loved the smaller dining room at Tree Camp -- it was more intimate and we were able to talk easily to all the other guests.
Can't rave about the place enough. I will be recommending it to anyone who intends to travel to Africa.
Our guide was first-rate and we saw lots of great game. Since there have never been poachers or hunters in the Crater, the animals walk right up to the vehicles. We saw a pride of lions after a kill; wildebeest fighting; black rhinos (but in the far, far distance); elephants feeding; and hyenas greeting one another. I think the Crater has the best game viewing in Tanzania.

  • Liked — The incredible location
  • Disliked — There are many, many vehicles in the Crater, so you'll run into congestion!
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2007

In what was a very memorable trip this was the tops! Who could have thought such luxury would exisit in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing to fault with the Crater lodge. It has to be one of the wonders of the world situated in the mist of the most beautiful and wonderful place on earth.

We had our own personal butler to attend to our every need for the entire stay. When we walked to and from the dining hall (oh what a meal!) we were escorted as there had been a large water buffalo who decided to plant itself right by our doorway. We stayed for 2 nights we should have done more as every day in the Crater was new and exciting experience.

If you go to Tanzania this a a must!

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2007

We stayed at the Crater Lodge for two nights in June 2007 and had a wonderful experience.

As mentioned in other reviews, the hotel is fabulous, the staff is fantastic and the food is delicious. We had a memorable stay and would highly recommend it.

  • Liked — The view of the Crater was fantastic
  • Disliked — Crater is very crowded, but there are many other attractions in the area worth seeing
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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London
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2007

I'm not sure there is much point in writing this review, given the rave reviews so far. However, I have to congratulate Samson and his team for making our 3 night stay so special. This really is a unique hotel in a truly special place.

The food and service are exceptional, the rooms and views are fantastic. We celebrated both a honeymoon and birthday during our stay - we picked the right place, romantic dinners, birthday cakes and even the Jambo birthday dance !

Our guide book said visit this hotel even if you need to take out a mortgage - how right they are - a very, very special hotel.

Tips:

The CC Africa shop is a little expensive - unless it is something unique to this shop, you may want to buy elsewhere.

It can get a little cool on this side of the crater - so you may want to make sure you have a sweater handy.

The slippers don't fit people with big feet , haha !

  • Liked — Food
  • Disliked — All perfect
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Address: Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Steeped in romance, each stilted, handcrafted banana thatch suite at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is adorned with graceful antiques and unforgettable opulence. Ensuite bathrooms, with a centrepiece of fresh roses, feature huge showers and chandelier-lit bathtubs, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure breathtaking views from all around. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngorongoro Crater Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Ngorongoro Crater

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