I stayed at Leopard Hills for the final night of my honeymoon as a special treat for my wife. I am 100% confident that $100 (US) was taken from my wallet which was inside my laptop bag during the time that the laptop bag was taken from my car to my room (without my consent). My car was parked right in front of the lobby, and the staff insisted that we come to the lobby and sign our waivers and relax while they finished getting our room ready. As I am very cognizant of the high crime rates in South Africa, I was infuriated when I realized my luggage was transferred to my room without my consent, as I always choose to move my bags myself. My first instinct was to count the money in my wallet, and I noticed that $100 (a US one hundred dollar bill) was missing. I had just counted my money after removing my wallet from the safe at the previous lodge I had stayed at (Inyati Game Reserve) and the laptop bag had been by my side the entire time since leaving Inyati and arriving at Leopard Hills, so there is no other time that the money could have possibly been taken from my wallet. I immediately called the manager, Duncan Rodgers, and instead of offering me any kind of apology or compensation for this issue, he challenged me, talked down to me, addressed me by my first name, and basically blew me off. He stated he will "investigate" the issue with polygraph tests and get back to us in a month or so. I was both shocked and appalled by the poor costumer service, especially since all of the staff were fully aware this was our honeymoon. To top it all off, multiple staff members requested that my wife and I check out as early as possible so they could have our room turned over by 11 AM (the check out time) so that it would be ready for the incoming guests who were arriving at 11 AM, despite the fact that our room was not ready until approximately 2:45 PM on our day of arrival. If our room had been ready when we arrived, we would have never had this issue.
Leopard Hills is outrageously overpriced and the customer service was truly disappointing. We brought our friends and family to Leopard Hills as well, and despite bringing the lodge over $15,000 (US) in business they made us feel like second class citizens. We will not return to Leopard Hills. We also stayed at Inyati Game Reserve which is about 1km away and had an absolutely amazing experience at that lodge, which was reasonably priced (less than half the price of Leopard Hills) and provided the same game viewing, had superior game drive vehicles, and had genuinely friendly and courteous staff members.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write your feelings down on this issue, and far be it for me to attempt to change your feelings or challenge you on your factual content, I do feel that such a harsh review put out in the public domain, needs a response from us, as there are always two sides to situation.
Report response as inappropriate
Let me begin with the arrival. When your Party arrived at the Lodge, we were there to greet you personally, and you were with us when we unloaded your luggage from your vehicle and had Staff on hand to carry the luggage down to your Suite. As is our Policy, the luggage is carried by two Housekeeping Staff to the Suites, and in this specific case, as your Suite was not quite ready, our Executive Housekeeper was in the Suite getting it ready for you when the luggage was brought in, and she was in the Suite with her Staff until they had finish, whereupon she personally locked the door and returned to Reception to tell them the Suite was ready.
With regards to being made to wait until 2:45 PM on you day of arrival, I have to correct you in this regard. You arrived at 12:35 PM and the other Suites for your Group were ready, we did explain that your Suite was not quite ready, but would be very shortly. Instead of having you wait in the Reception Area, we offered you a drink up on the deck overlooking the waterhole. The Suite was ready for occupation just after 13:00 PM, but when we came to collect you, you were already sitting with the other members of your Group having some lunch. I personally came out onto the deck and chatted to you and your friends, and informed you your Suite was ready for occupation whenever you were ready.
To be fair, when you did eventually go down to your Suite, you did not call me at all, you phoned Reception, and I have to say, used some very inappropriate language and derogatory terminology to my Receptionist, and stated your entire Laptop bag had been stolen. My Receptionist came to me, very upset with the Language you used and the accusations you were making. As I personally had unloaded your luggage from your vehicle in your presence, I was fully aware that your laptop bag had gone down to your Suite, and this was confirmed when you phoned a few minutes later to say you had found your bag, but money had been removed from your wallet. It was at this stage you became very abusive to my Receptionist, and I phoned you in your Suite. My initial intention on phoning you, was to request we get together face to face to discuss your accusations, but as soon as you answered the phone, I can quite honestly say, I have never, in the 25 years I have been involved in the Lodge Industry, heard such profanity. The language you used to me over the phone was one thing, but when you began referring to my Staff in terminology that was not only offensive, but degrading, I must admit I did become a “little cross”. I am not proud of it, but our Staff have been with us for many years, and they have my utmost respect, there is no reason whatsoever to refer to them in such derogatory terms. It was at this stage that I stated to you that I would like to discuss this issue face to face in a calm manner, but I was not going to accept the language you were using or the abusive terminology that you were calling my Staff and insinuating derogatory comments about the Country as a whole, it was at this stage that the phone was put down.
When I met you at Tea, just before the afternoon Safari, you walked up to me and shook my hand and apologized for your behavior and language. We discussed the issue and I promised to carry out a full investigation due the severity of the accusations, I was not aware that addressing you by your first name was deemed by you as insulting, as you introduced yourself to me using your first name, if that is the case you have my apology. It has always been our policy on addressing our Guests on a first name basis, as we like to create a homely informal environment at Leopard Hills, and one of the reasons we have many return Guests who have become like members of our Family.
Subsequently we have carried out a full investigation as I stated to you we would, however I did not say that I would get back to you “in a month or so”, I said I would inform you as soon as we had some information. We have taken these allegations very seriously, and it has been a difficult process as these Staff Members have been with us a very long time, and we have never had any issues before in this regard. I can tell you that the investigation has categorically yielded no evidence whatsoever with regards to deception or dishonesty on behalf of my Staff. I did not want to communicate this in a public forum, but seeing as the accusations were made in this forum, I feel it only fair the Lodge has an opportunity to respond and make the results known.
We were very aware it was your Honeymoon, and had arranged all the special turn down gifts, including the Champagne Bubble Bath for your return from Safari, but you made it quite clear that you wanted no Staff near your Suite; as a result we respected this request.
With regards to the check-out time the following morning, it is standard policy that the Suites are vacated by 11:00 AM on the morning of departure to give us a chance to get them ready for Guests coming in, but wherever possible we try and accommodate. I am sure you will remember the only 2 members of your Group that were not departing early, we accommodated them gladly, and they remained in their Suite until 15:00 PM. We did not ask you or any of your Group to be out of your Suites before 11:00 AM as it was not an issue seeing as your departure time was scheduled to 09:00 Am.
You were here with your Group on a heavily discounted rate due to past association with one of our Staff here at the Lodge who kindly offered you this concession as one of his “perks” as an employee, sadly this has caused him great embarrassment.
On a parting note, I would like to share with you some feedback from other Members of your Group that they wrote on their feedback form on departure, and I write this as it was written on the form:
“Amazing Trip” Shout out: Steve and Richman were over and beyond, outgoing and helpful, never missed a beat, great job by all”
I do believe that the other articles written on this page speak for themselves and we have always been extremely proud of our TripAdvisor ratings in the past.
I am genuinely sorry you did not enjoy your brief stay with us, especially on such a special occasion.
Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.