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“PERCHED ON A RIM OVERLOOKING HEAVEN. UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE” 5 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

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5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
umbria, italy
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“PERCHED ON A RIM OVERLOOKING HEAVEN. UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2011

What a lodge! Like no other, a rare experience in a rare location - seemingly afloat above the crater with ever-changing views from EVERY window. There is a permeating sense of luxury - with a permeating sense of Africa in the woods, colors, architecture. Sitting by the fire (prepared by our butler while we were finishing dinner) in oversized leather armchairs in the suite with a hand-carved African wood box of a beautiful assortment of quality chocolates and a glass of the finest sherry was the ultimate African moment.

The game drive into the crater was unforgettable...but returning to relax and linger at the lodge was also a highlight. Drawn baths with rose petals greeted our return from the drives - the view of the crater from the free-standing tub was unobstructed and heavenly!

This is a VERY SPECIAL PLACE.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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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412 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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Cairns, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2011

As the last stop on our safari circuit, we were really pleased with Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. From the moment we arrived, we were looked after and were amazed by the eclectic surrounds and interesting design of the hotel. The rooms are spectacular and very romantic. Each afternoon our fireplace was lit ready to give us great ambiance and warmth, so each day we ordered some drinks and sat to unwind in front of the fire. They enjoy excellent views into the crater and have a pleasant atmosphere. The environment up so high is a nice change from the dusty plains on safari - there is a fresh rainforest feel up in a wet tropical cloud forest. The service was great and special touches were overseen by the manager, such as champagne and roses when we returned from safari. We had become a bit tired of game drives after almost 2 weeks in different game parks, so our guide and the manager arranged for us to go out and visit a Masai village and see the museum recording the discoveries of Australopithicus (early man), which was a great day and something uniquely different for us to enjoy. The restaurant served good food, but sometimes the cooks didn't get it quite right. Our only suggestion is that &Beyond invest in good quality, comfortable mattresses to match the rest of the hotel's quality and price tag. Otherwise, our stay and game drives were memorable and we throughly enjoyed Ngorongoro.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

The Crater Lodge was the last lodge on our safari having also stayed at Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp and the Bilila Lodge. All were great, but we were so glad we chose to end our safari with the Crater Lodge. It was a perfect end to a perfect safari experience (planned by Sharon of Africa Dream Safaris). Absolutely everything was wonderful...the food, the service, the room, the view, the entertainment. We couldn't have asked for me. If you are going on a safari to Tanzania, you must stay a night at the Crater Lodge and even better if it's at the end of your safari. We loved it!!!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Woodstock, Vermont
Top Contributor
226 reviews 226 reviews
86 hotel reviews
Reviews in 131 cities Reviews in 131 cities
438 helpful votes 438 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2011

Let me commence this review by saying I run a hospitality business so tend to be very observant, and also accept that price can equal quality, but price doesn't always deliver. Also we stayed during one of the cheapest weeks of the year.....

You cannot fault &Beyond who run the place for their professional approach, great website, superb staff training and overall ability to be a cut above the competition. However they charge bug bucks for the majority of the year and I feel they are not delivering as well as one might expect.

Firstly...the design is original and was constructed with flair and imagination. Each cottage is unique, spacious and quiet. Impossible to try and describe!!! The location is fantastic overlooking the crater and all the staff could not be more accommodating. However the place is looking tatty. In our room the bath tub overflow was breaking down, the outside doors were warped, the railing on the balcony dangerously loose and a few light fixtures simply did not work. You do have an individual wood burning fireplace but no media system and the wi-fi only works in the main lodge. For the standard price that is not acceptable....and I do know the place is located in the middle of nowhere but satellites cover nearly all the planet! I'm not a media junky but a little music or a TV to watch a DVD on is not unreasonable.

The staff will wait on you hand and foot, bringing you tea and drinks etc. which we found a little overpowering. The poor chef comes to take each individual client dinner order which is bizarre? A good chef should be in the kitchen organising dinner, not being forced to down tools to chat to the punters. His lunches were far superior to his dinners and having one open sitting tended to force an unusual group of folks (each lodge holds 10 couples) to feel as if they have to socialise. After the first night we were positively anti social before dinner...not that any of the other clients were offensive (except perhaps in dress sense...does one really need a back to front baseball cap on for dinner....OK I'm a snob!) but there was little feeling of charm and exclusivity which if you are paying $1500 per person per night one might expect! Also there was no pool area...I'm not talking Olympic style here just a plunge pool for folks to use when they want a day at the lodge. The main lodge was impressive but it seemed to be underultilised as clients were encouraged to go out everyday. If you are paying for a great location why not accept some clients might just want to enjoy the amazing view and location? The best time we spent was after breakfast (no one was about) and when we returned early and place was deserted.....

The clientele were international...full of many honeymooners and sadly one didn't have an ability to escape them easily unless you stayed in your room. The music over dinner perfectly illustrated the 'corporate' approach...it was great movie themes....when I enquired if they could not put on some African inspired music I was politely informed that the music was prescribed by HQ in South Africa. Had some original African beats been gently emanating then the local ambiance would have been all the better. The dining room had 3 open eye level fireplaces which indicated a certain style that didn't come though as well as it might. The music we had was little better than upmarket elevator music. A shame....

The staff were all excellent and the drivers who take you into the crater were knowledgeable, incisive and all seemed to have personality.

As I stated I am very particular as I know from personal professional experience what it takes to get it right and after 12 years of operating I feel Crater Lodge needs a competitor...which it is not going to get. We arrived here from Palms in Zanzibar...where I could fault nothing.....and that place is usually half the price of Crater Lodge. I know it hasn't got the view/game drives etc. but it offers a similar level of international hospitality so much better. And the chef comes to chat after dinner......

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
680 reviews 680 reviews
129 hotel reviews
Reviews in 185 cities Reviews in 185 cities
1,726 helpful votes 1,726 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2010

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is absurdly expensive at $3,000 per night. The only justification for charging this much is that people pay it so why not - similar to all the &Beyond lodges we've stayed at. They just charge so much for what you get! That said, this lodge is fantastic. By far the best lodge experience of our 2-month safari. What makes the Crater Lodge so special is not just it's monumental setting on the edge of the crater with full views inside from every room, it's not just its exceptional service or that Zebras and Elephants are literally grazing on your doorstep inside of the camp. It's the incredible creativity that went into making this place. The lodge feels like a fairy tale, something right out of Lord of the Rings, nothing like any other lodge we've experienced.

Every detail inside the room and the lodge itself is attended to, the extraordinary thought and planning and creativity that went into this place is amazing. You really do feel like you're in a different world - some fantasy land where wildlife roams freely among humans and the mist parts to reveal a magical land far below. While I think that just on principle these kind of prices should be boycotted, the experience we enjoyed at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was one that will stay with us forever.

LOCATION - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is located right on the crater rim, right off the main road, in probably the best and most dramatic location in Ngorongoro. There is a tourist center a few minutes down the road where you can get gas for your vehicle, pick up a few items, and use the ATM (when it works). It takes only about 20 minutes to get into the crater from the lodge each day, down very narrow, rough, winding and steep dirt roads (the way out must be scary in rainy season). Don't arrive here in the dark.

ROOMS - The rooms are individual cabins, each with a dramatic balcony overlooking the crater. The rooms are all identical, rather than individually decorated, though I guess if you're only staying there once, it doesn't really matter. The rooms aren't huge considering the price you pay, but they are cozy and well appointed. Every detail is attended to, and the furnishings are of high quality. There is 24-hour electricity (a rarity for &Beyond lodges and much appreciated), and full-day hot water.

The bed was comfortable and heated by hot water bottles. There is a wood stove in the room for heat at night and just overall ambience. There is a standalone bathtub and a separate tropical rain shower. The hot water takes some time to heat up, but is pretty consistent. The room is a bit dark, but I suppose that's part of the ambience. There is a desk for working, though no internet access in the room unless you buy a modem from Vodacom or Zantel before you arrive. The rooms are charmingly styled, and feature an inner and outer door so you can receive your morning coffee without having to open the door, and also to keep a watch out for elephants prior to opening your door.

FOOD - The food was enjoyable if not spectacular. Set menus were served individually at your table, rather than communal dining, which we appreciated. The only downside wiht the food was that the boxed breakfasts and lunches they provide for safari were of poor quality, not fresh, and even moldy in some cases. The food we had in the lodge was all quite good. Drinks are included in your room price, except fine wines and fine spirits. There is a choice of nice South African wines. One night they offered us dining in our room, but it's really too small for that - you eat right next to the bed - better to enjoy the lavish dining room with its five fireplaces.

SERVICE - Our butler, Safari, was outstanding throughout our stay. He attended to every detail, always served with a smile, and was with us from start to finish. Our room steward did an outstanding job as well, with little goodies set up in our room each night, and everything was perfectly arranged to make our stay memorable. It was strange that the manager did not introduce herself as such, which seemed to be a trend in all &Beyond lodges we stayed at, but we always felt well attended to.

BUSINESS - This is not a business place by any stretch of the imagination, but if you do have to keep in touch on the road, as we did, it is possible, though stressful. There is free wireless internet available in the lodge area. It is slow, but works for emails and the like. Forget Skype or File Transfers though. Mobile Broadband works here if you get a Vodacom modem prior to arriving. Safaricom did not work well for us here, though good in Kenya. There is cell and blackberry service most - but not all- of the time here on Zantel and Vodacom. No business center. There is a desk in the room for one person to work, but it is small and if you have two computers the second person will struggle.

GAME DRIVES - The vehicles they use are pop-top LandCruisers, the only &Beyond lodge in East Africa I think to use these. They are much superior and more comfortable to the open-sided vehicles they use in Masai Mara and Serengeti, both for game viewing, comfort and photography. The game viewing was great - we saw a cheetah hunt, two other cheetahs walking down the road, three black rhinos including a baby, 15 lions including 3 cubs, and a pack of 20 hyenas, all in one morning! Our vehicle was invaded by Vervet Monkeys as we stopped for lunch, so keep your top closed. Best viewing time is early morning or late afternoon - the Park opens at 6:00 AM, so plan your trip to be there then to have a better chance at a Cheetah hunt.

Everything about Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was enjoyable, we felt pampered the whole time. If they fix the box lunches and introduce internet to the rooms, it would have been perfect. Too bad about that price, it's hard to say it is worth that much.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northwich, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2010

When planning our trip to Tanzania which included Onsea House, Swala Camp, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Kleins Camp, Crater Lodge was by far the hardest decision.
Would the expense be justified? Well my wife and I decided it was. Beautiful setting, luxurious rooms and great staff.
Surprisingly I became ill with altitude sickness (I was not the only one), this is when the staff really showed how caring they are, nothing was too much trouble.
The daily trip in out of the crater is at times a little death defying, but we felt confident in our driver.
Lots of lion and big herds of buffalo and antelope (also great for birds). Look out for Babu a famous elephant with the most amazing tusks!

  • Stayed October 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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New York
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2010

After having missed our connecting flight, we arrived at the Crater one day late. It was quite disappointing since we ended up staying at a place in Arusha that didn't even compare and it hurt a bit losing out on experiencing one of the nights of our $3,000+/ night hotel. Vicky from &Beyond picked us up from the airport and gave us a mini tour on the way into the park and the lodge. She was absolutely lovely. Very warm and quite charming. When we walked into our camp, we were blown away. It was stunning! The views from BOTH of our balconies were beyond words. The first thing I did was jump into the huge shower and found...a hair dryer! Wahoo! Then, I ordered up lunch. The food was fantastic. I fell in love with Kingfish from that day forward. The Crater itself really is like a Garden of Eden with all of the animals in one open space. My favorite part was the flamingos...the huge moving carpet of flamingos. After hearing horror stories of how busy the crater gets, we lucked out. It was usually really quiet, maybe because we went right before the park closed.

When we returned from the game drive, our butler Moyo, greeted us with our G&Ts, candlelight, and a rose petal strewn bath. Very nice touch. And very welcomed after dusty days in the crater. The dining room is beautiful, although after coming from Cottars in the Mara, we quite missed sitting at communal tables and chatting with everyone. Although, at the same time it was kind of nice just having a meal to ourselves. Everyone seemed to go to bed early here, so after dinner we socialized with the staff instead over cocktails. They're terribly friendly and quite sociable!

Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
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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 3 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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