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“Old, Tired and Neglected” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Belmond Eagle Island Lodge

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Belmond Eagle Island Lodge
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4.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Xaxaba Island, Botswana   |  
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Dubai
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Old, Tired and Neglected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2014

During our safari trip to Botswana we stayed at 3 lodges - Chobe Chilwere, Vumbura Plains and Eagle Island, each for 2 nights.

Eagle Island was our last lodge and we had just come from the awesome Wilderness Vumburua Plains. Still first impressions count and ours were poor. The rooms are old and tired, things like the hot water broke and needed constant maintenance. It wasn't just the fabric of the place though, the staff seemed lost and lacked focus. The manager was somewhat scruffy and unshaven and perhaps this rubbed off on the staff - no doubt he was a wildlife expert but not a hotel manager.

The food was average at best.

The safari itself was interesting being all boat based but you definately see a lot less that at Vumbura or Chobe - also you can see hippos at those places too. The guides though were excellent and really carry what is otherwise a mediocre operation. We did the trip to the local village but not recommended unless you want to but some overpriced baskets.

As we booked a complete package we didn't see the individual rates however on a rack rate basis Eagle Island was about 90% of Vumbura Plains and 200% of Chobe Chilwero - we were astounded to learn this and thought it must have been the cheapest.

The saving grace though is the sunset view from the bar - drinking g cocktails and watching the kind of sunset ony Africa can produce.

I really hope the owners invest in this place - both the people and facilities.

Room Tip: Wait until they refurbish.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LouisePheiffer, Manager at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, responded to this review, July 3, 2014
Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us.

We apologize for the disappointing experience you had at our lodge, this is most certainly not our service standard, and the points you raised are valid and we are in the process of addressing them.

We have recently employed a new General Manager for the Belmond Safari lodges, and also a new food and beverage manager. With their combined experience and passion, the lodge will be living up to it's high standards again soon.

Belmond is investing in the properties, this extensive renovation will be taking place early 2015.

Some of the neglect at the properties are due to the animals that roam free, the hippos often cross over to the public areas, and they do cause a lot of damage. The accumulative damage is visible and with the refurbishments, we will look at how we can limit the damage done.

We realize that we cannot change your first and lasting impressions of the lodge, but we did take your review to heart. Please also extend our apologies to the guests that were traveling with you.

Best regards
Louise Pheiffer (on behalf of General Manager, Karin Van Zyl)
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64 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
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English first
Zurich, Switzerland
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2014

We had a six day safari in Botswana and visited all three Belmond Safari lodges. Of all three of them this is the oldest and actually in need of repair and updating. More so if you have been to the other two beforehand. The safari was amazing and it is quite an adventure to go with the boats in search of hippos and all the other animals. We saw elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, eagles, hippos.... It was very impressive. The highlight of our trip was the flight with the helicopter over the Okavango Delta. The pilot was very friendly and explained all the things that we saw. Also our guide Jacob was very knowledgable and he also went fishing with our older boys. They had a fantastic time. The sunset bar is very nice although in the morning there were still glasses from last night around. Sitting around the fire in the evenings and telling and listening to stories was very nice. It was the perfect family holiday

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LouisePheiffer, Manager at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, responded to this review, May 23, 2014
Dear Amaya A,

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us and that you enjoyed your family holiday with us. You are correct in stating that the lodges need some tender loving care. Eagle Island Lodge will be receiving more than just tlc, but a whole refurbishment.

The helicopter safari is indeed an experience of a lifetime, the pilots we use at Helicopter Horizons are extremely passionate about what they do. We will extend your review to them as well.

We do hope to welcome you and your family back to the camps again soon.

Best wishes,
Louise Pheiffer (on behalf of Karin van Zyl, General Manager)
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midlands
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

We booked this trip 9 months ago and were really looking forward to this once in a life time trip .
Orient express properties are luxury and top quality,is what we were told by a very reputable travel agent BUT This was anything but that !!
The whole place seems to be falling apart ...starting with our lodge where the doors had 1" gap all around ..maybe to welcome the insects and mosquitoes you dont want invading your room....when pointed out, the manager said the place sadly was in total neglect by the head office and maybe by 2015-16 they might refit the entire camp ???? So until then we pay nearly a $1000/- per day per person & except it it as is. The mosquito nets over the beds were all coming down from the top...I suppose they want to make sure that we make a good meal for the mosquitoes. Could'nt believe that the hot water etc does not work properly, the common lounge area's ceiling etc was also in a sad state. I dont understand why management there cannot atleast tidy the place and make it cleaner and smarter ? There is plenty of staff doing absolutely nothing that can be put in good use and create a better atmosphere for the guests....who think are coming to a nice camp and once there cannot go anywhere else. We asked for cheese ( on dessert menu) and were told there isnt any...and this carried on for the 2 nights we were there, on the second night we met a young lady who was the new F&B manager for all 3 Orient Express Camps,I mentioned this to the manager & the F & B manager ...that why put it on the menu if not available? The reply was that the planes had not delivered any but will soon be coming ...AND the very next morning there was a platter of cheese for breakfast... when saying our goodbye's .. I sarcastically said to the manager " Enjoy the cheese that we couldnt have " first of all he didnt reply ...then when I said it again he said the F & B manager had brought some with her ???? I really wish they would pull their socks up and improve the standards as they were atrocious . Food was Ok . place is extremely sad looking with very poor management team in place.
The Delta is lovely but that is definitely no thanks to them.The Guide we had was very good . tried our hand at fishing etc .good fun !

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 3 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.
LouisePheiffer, Manager at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, responded to this review, April 4, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to review Eagle Island Camp. I am sorry to hear that your experience at our camp was not living up to your expectations and have addressed the issues raised to ensure that future guests have an excellent experience.

Our F&B Manager sure does have her hands full at times - it does happen at times that we do not receive our orders in time due to flight delays from suppliers and we do not have the capacity to hold large amounts of food stock. You are correct by saying we should've removed this from the menu.

I have just been appointed the new General Manager at the camps, and will be sure to look into these issues you raised.

Thank you for your kind words regarding your guide and for the positive review you wrote about Khwai River Lodge.

Best regards,
Louise Pheiffer - on behalf of General Manager Karin Van Zyl
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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2014

It's been a while since we journeyed to remote Eagle Island, but the memories remain. Flying in a single engine bush plane above the treetops, we observed a herd of elephants before touching down on the rustic landing strip. After a brief jeep ride to the hotel, we were greeted by the staff, who sang a traditional welcome song in Setswana, the local language. Eagle Island is a revelation. So named because of the Fish Eagles that subsist on the abundant fish in the waters, the place is remote, but hardly uncivilized. The outside of our cabin looked rustic, but the inside was quite elegant, with no shortage of amenities. Everyone from our wildlife ranger to the chef to the "skipper" of our watercraft were top notch. Sightings of hippos, giraffes, baboons and elephants were frequent, even from the veranda of the lodge. The Eagle Island Sunset Bar, perched at the end of a dock, affords a timeless view of the blood red delta sunsets. In the midst of the wilderness, you will feel safe and appreciated at Eagle Island. A note about Botswana: while it may seem isolated, wifi is available at most locations, and even a remote village had solar panels and a satellite dish. The people are educated, civilized and have a high degree of social sophistication. Go!

Room Tip: All rooms afford a beautiful delta view. In the middle of the wilderness, there is no lack of things...
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  • Stayed August 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baden, Switzerland
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

As an experienced traveller I can't be amazed easily. But the camp exceeded all possible expectations. From the beginning (a great welcome singing from the whole staff) to the end I had the most wonderful stay. The staff is lovely, well trained and professional. The food experience is marvellous and the accomodation just without words. Waking up watching hippos up close and going to bed with lion's roar is the perfect bush experience. The game drives by vehicle as well as by boats were unforgettable, thanks to extremely skilled and wonderful guides. I recommend this camp warmly to all honeymooners or couples for an anniversary. A stay you will never forget.

  • Stayed December 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jeanmav@mac.com
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2013

Our trip to this beautiful camp in Botswana was awesome! Rooms were beautiful and the service staff was excellent. I loved that it was a water only camp, only traveled by motorboat and canoe. It was so beautiful, saw lots of beautiful birds and animals in and out of the water. Peaceful and very relaxing!

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Eagle Island for 2 nights and very much enjoyed our time there. All the staff were wonderful, very helpful and guides very knowledgeable and entertaining. Boat trips are great and we did walking safari too, watched large (over 400) herd of buffalo. There's lots of hippos and elephants and millions of birds.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond Eagle Island Lodge

Address: Xaxaba Island, Botswana
Phone Number:
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #40 of 68 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Belmond Eagle Island Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A secluded retreat hemmed by the lush waterways of the Okavango Delta, Eagle Island Lodge provides complete luxury on remote Xaxaba island. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Eagle Island Camp By Orient-Express Hotel Okavango Delta
Belmond Eagle Island Lodge Botswana/Okavango Delta

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