I booked Eagle Island Camp as part of our amazing honeymoon and it was the only incredibly disappointing lodge on our stay. We came from some of the andBeyond properties as well as some locally run luxury lodges and our experience was in stark contrast to our other magnificent stays. At Eagle Island, the service was poor, the rooms, whilst we did like the plunge pool were totally geared toward older American tourists who have a complete disregard for the African bush - I mean who leaves the air conditioning running all day long and needs a shoe shine kit in the middle of Africa! The food, whilst plentiful was mediocre but it was mainly the service that meant that this place is not worth the money you pay for it.
I booked the private suite and thank goodness we did as if we hadn't we'd be sharing all of our activities with a bunch of old, rude, loud and obnoxious American tourists (yes the kind we all dread that give all of those nice ones a bad name). But our private suite wasn't so private when one of the guides let his guest come onto our balcony to film the nearby elephants (while we were in the plunge pool - not exactly our idea of romance). When we asked the gentleman to leave us in peace as it was our private suite he refused and said his guide said he could be there. The guide then vanished into thin air as my husband went to confront him.
When we first arrived, we were not informed that there would be a plague of bees sharing our lunch. I am allergic to bees. At the last place we were at, the staff were encountering higher than usual stink bugs, but told us at check in and gave us practical ways to avoid them. We were not bothered at all by these stink bugs because we knew what to do. In stark contrast, the staff at Eagle Island chastised me for swatting at the bees (there were 7 of them buzzing around me and my husband) and quite sarcastically offered to move us into the computer room for the remainder of our lunch.
As it was our honeymoon, I had booked a surprise private dinner. The other places we stayed bent over backwards to make our honeymoon special without having to even ask, or to pay for the privilege. I was therefore expecting something pretty special from our private dinner. Yes there was a table for two which to their credit was very nicely decorated and we had our own waitress, but our waitress was poorly trained (she stood one foot away from the table at all times so we felt like we couldn't talk privately or be affectionate in any way) and they rushed our meal so much so that we were finished a three course meal in less than 40 minutes! We payed US$120 for the privilege only to then be told that they do private dinners on the deck of suites for free.
Our guide was the only staff member who was very informative and was keen to show us the wildlife & surrounds, but you did get the feeling that along with the other camp staff, he really didn't want to be there.
One positive is that the helicopter ride is great and we had a wonderful pilot (he works for a different company so that made sense).
So, Eagle Island - go and stay at an andBeyond property and learn what true African service is all about, don't run air conditioning all day long and profess to be an eco lodge, and if you're going to pitch yourselves to couples looking for romance and not just tour groups train your staff in the need to make a trip private and special without making them pay through the nose for it. We won't be back, and as a travel writer I can assure you that I will be going out of my way to NOT recommend you to anyone less than annoying, american and geriatric.
Book the private suite or have to share your activities with others
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your feedback, and although we are disappointed that Eagle Island Camp fell short of your expectations, we value this input and the time you took to address these issues with us. I can assure you that every aspect of your concerns raised have been analysed by our management team are steps taken to rectify any short comings.
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I would like to respond to as many of your concerns as I can. Regarding your first point, about the guests who were in camp with you at the same time, if they had had been a bit over exuberant we apologise, we welcome a diversity of guests and embrace their various cultures and mannerisms, so if our other guests were a bit exuberant then we apologise. We will wherever possible attempt to limit the impact of noise on surrounding guests as we encourage a serene and peaceful environment at our luxury camps. You had mentioned that you had a guest and guide make their way onto your private balcony, this is totally unacceptable and I apologise for this, as this is the private area of the suite and we do not allow invasion like that, and we view this in serious light.
You had mentioned that the quality of food fell below your expectations? I can inform you that we have also recently employed a new F&B Manager, and we are confident she will make a great impact regarding the quality of the food, so thank you for highlighting this. We have also taken on board the need to request any allergies guests would have when checking in and this has been addressed and corrected/
Regarding the shared activities, we have a policy of low impact on the environment and hence we encourage our guests to take this into account, as we strive to maintain this diverse ecosystem. It is also a regulation of Botswana that limits the number of vehicles per camp to ensure our camps are eco-minded and environmentally conscious, but we will most certainly take your comments into consideration.
I hope that this addressed most of your concerns, and again, we really appreciate you detailed feedback and thank you for taking the time to write this feedback. Your experience is not what we, as Orient-Express, aim to achieve with our guests, and most certainly hope that should you experience an Orient-Express property again that you will get a true sense of what we stand for.
Warren Stone, General Manager at Orient-Express in Botswana
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.