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“Battlefields and more” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Three Trees at Spioenkop

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Three Trees at Spioenkop
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Rhenosterfontein Farm | Hambrook Village, Bergville 3370, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Gocek
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Battlefields and more”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012

A wonderful location, a warm friendly family atmosphere, good lodges and wonderful tours, not to mention great food, all sum this place up. But don't come here if you don't like children, extended family and dogs - they are all part of the place! Simon and Cheryl are great hosts and nothing too much trouble. This was our first visit to this part of South Africa and we would certainly come again. Simon's Battlefield tours (Spioenkop and Colenso) brought to life the awful battles that took place here between the Brits and the Boers and were very moving. We also enjoyed a great walk in the private game reserve. The emphasis of this place is on an Eco-friendly approach which is admirable apart from leaving the room towels rather grey and unappetising! Sorry about the Fitness Centre rating which is inappropriate, can't get rid of it on the web site ...

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, August 10, 2012
Thank you so much for your great review, and apologies for our delayed response but we have now finished building and finally moved into our own house so our family is based slightly away from the main lodge now, although our kids do come over when we have other families with kids - no worries about the fitness centre rating - if anyone asks us about it we have 6,000 Hectares of it!! Will share your review with the staff who will appreciate your positive comments!

kind regards - Simon and Cheryl
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140 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

This is a welcome respite after a longish drive over dirt roads. Our bungalow (#6) was private with a breathtaking view of the plains (where we watched rhino) and hills. Our hosts/owners were delightful and helpful, and the guided tour of SpienKop was well worth it thanks to our guide. The food and main lodge are exceptional, and the accommodations simple but extremely comfortable. My wife and I would love to stay there again.

  • Stayed January 2012, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, February 18, 2012
Thank you for your wonderful review - we really appreciate your posiitve comments - Thankyou, and I do hope we will be able to welcome you back to Three Trees one day!

Kind regards,

Simon & Cheryl
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Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

Over Christmas 2011 I travelled with my family (4 children aged 4-14) and another family to South Africa. While I was born in SA it was the first trip for everyone to Africa other than for myself and my wife who visited with me in 2003. We enjoyed a fabulous trip and enjoyed safari, diving off the kwaZulu coast, Cape Town and the 'Berg. Three Tree Hill was a true treat as part of our trip. Don't expect 5 star service but do expect a lot of attention, a lot of warmth, fantastic food, great views and fabulous surroundings. Simon and Cheryl you have an absolute gem here! Thank you.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, February 18, 2012
Thanks so much for your fabulous review - inspiring and motivating for us and our staff here - much appreciated and I hope we will be able to welcome you all back here one day!

Kind regards,

Simon
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London
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2012

I seem to be in the minority here but for me & my husband this lodge did not live up to the glossy images we'd seen at the time we made a booking. Accommodation is in a hut type structure with corrugated iron roof, the bed mattress was uncomfortable where the springs had started to come through, the bathroom towels were so stained they looked as though they'd been used to mop up tea and the pool was so neglected (lots of detritus and battered loungers) and desolate that we were disinclined to spend any time there. Despite the high costs of £160 pp there is no refrigerator in your room either - this proves highly frustrating in sweltering temperatures when your only option is to walk all the way up to the main lodge to ask for some bottled, refridgerated water (the only other option to attract attention from your room is to blow a whistle in case of emergency). Drinks are not included in the over-inflated 'all inclusive' prices either so you get billed for these too when you leave.
For this money we also expected a certain level of service akin to what you receive at Fugitive's Drift. However, while the hosts are amiable and friendly, you are expected to muck in with their family at most meal times. We found this disconcerting and awkward at times. On occasion you want to have a quiet meal with your partner but instead we were often left feeling we'd gatecrashed their family time with a mixture of small toddlers and older relatives joining guests on a long table. We would have been happy with this if we were paying lower prices but at these costs it seemed at odds with the 'luxury' label attached to the description of the lodge. The food was very good and we have no complaints there but this is really a 2 star establishment masquerading as a 4 star luxury lodge and as a result we left feeling as though we'd been mislead and ripped off. Had we known the reality of this experience we wouldn't have booked a stay here.
We also stayed at Fugitive's Drift during our holiday and thought this was a much better option if you're looking for a mix of game reserve and Zulu war history. The standards were much more in line with what you'd expect of a luxury lodge and we were made to feel more of a guest.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, February 11, 2012
Dear Christine,

We were devastated to hear that you had such an unsatisfying time during your stay at Three Trees and must say that we have never had such a bad review before.  We pride ourselves on our hospitality and standards and although we have the odd hiccup from time-to-time as much as anyone does, when someone isn’t happy we try to address their issues immediately so as to ensure that they enjoy their visit with us. 
 
The construction of the lodge is in keeping with the Anglo-Boer war period, which is one of the main attractions for visitors to the lodge.  A key part of this architecture is the corrugated iron roofs.
 
We were concerned to hear that there were springs coming through the mattresses.  I can assure you that following this feedback we have inspected all our mattresses thoroughly, and have found them all to be in very good condition, with no springs coming through.  In fact, many of our guests compliment us on the comfort of the beds.
 
We do acknowledge that our hand towels are not of the standard that we would like and these are being replaced shortly.  However, all the other towels we use in our rooms are as good as new.
 
The position of the pool deck is very private, intentionally so, in order for guests to take in the spectacular scenery and also afford them some tranquility in which to unwind.  The pool deck was refurbished in December and although twigs and leaves from the overhanging acacia tree do sometimes drop in, the pool is cleared of this every morning first thing.
 
Refreshments are readily available at any time of day and chilled fresh water is topped up in your flask in your room each morning.  Lowering as much as possible our Environmental Impact is one our key philosophies here and the installation of fridges in each of our rooms would be contrary to what we are trying to achieve, and would affect both our Green Leaf as well as our Fair Trade Accredidation status.  At any time however, we do deliver chilled beverages to guest rooms, and would have done this with pleasure if you had requested this as we do for any guest.
 
In terms of the cost and expectations of what is included,  Fugitives Drift is a wonderful establishment owned and run by a dear friend of ours, and we wholeheartedly recommend it.  However, what they offer is very different to Three Trees and the difference in our rates and theirs does reflect this. (Their rate is 50% higher than ours)
 
Three Trees is a family-owned and run lodge, and many guests appreciate the family and homely feel they experience when they are here.  This is in fact what we sell, and nowhere in our literature do we say it that we have a formal environment.  During your stay here, there was family visiting and we do have 4 children, whom you will see around the lodge from time-to-time.

On your first night here Cheryl hosted dinner, with a full paying Scottish couple, as well as a travel agent who was here on a site inspection, and on your second night you requested an early meal, so we provided you with your own private dinner.  If you had expressed your discomfort we would have been more than happy to provide you with private dining throughout your stay. We have done this often for other guests in the past and it carries no extra charge.
 
We only wish that your views had been raised with us at the time, so that we could have at least addressed your concerns.  The standard at Three Trees is 4-star and we are regularly inspected to ensure that we maintain these standards, by which we stand and are proud.  However, we are not a formal, luxury hotel, and are so sorry if this is what you were expecting and were disappointed by.

Kind regards,
Simon Blackburn
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Warwick, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2012

We are resident in the UK but travel in SA on a regular basis with our 3 young children (2,5,7) and Three Tree Lodge is one of the best places we have come across. Fantastic scenery, fantastic location, really well set up for adults and children, great food and a good wine list what more could you want. Simon and Cheryl are consummate professionals who know exactly how to help you and the family enjoy the best of South Africa, from Cheryl organising a sand castle competitions to Simon explaining the history of the area. They and their family real make your visit something special. The first thing the kids asked as we drove away was "can we come back next year" to which I replied "I hope so".

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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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Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, January 31, 2012
Dear Gavin - thanks so much for your review! Inspiring and Motivating to us and Staff alike, and I hope we will get to welcome you all back here soon! Kind Regards Simon and Cheryl
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Leiden, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2011

We were at the lodge with Christmas and it was awesome. Great hospitality, very friendly people, food excellent, wines superb, etc. Great to unwind from the city and work. The game tour with Simon was exciting and made some great pictures. Cheryl has the hospitality in her blood: you feel immediately "at home". Not to forget the mother of Cheryl who is very friendly and adds to the charm of the lodge. Definitely can recommend it.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, January 5, 2012
Hi Guys - thanks for your review which is highly appreciated from our side, and I do hope we will be able to welcome you back at Three Trees when you're next in SA!
kind regards - Simon & Cheryl Blackburn
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2011

We stayed at Three Tree Hill Lodge for just one night on our way back from the coast but wish we had been able to stay longer. We did a half day tour of the battlefields with Simon, which was extremely informative. The best thing about the lodge is that it has such a relaxed atmosphere, and yet the service and everything else was so professionally delivered. The food was excellent - we'd go back just for that. The view from the rooms was superb. We couldn't fault anything!

  • Stayed November 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tomtomsa, Owner at Three Trees at Spioenkop, responded to this review, December 13, 2011
Thanks so much for your great review - we do really appreciate the feedback, and I hope we will be able to welcome you back here one of these days.

kind regards - Simon and Cheryl
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Three Trees at Spioenkop

Address: Rhenosterfontein Farm | Hambrook Village, Bergville 3370, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Bergville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Bergville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Three Trees at Spioenkop 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set against the magnificent backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains, overlooking the secluded Mfazimnyama Valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve and in the lee of the famous hill, Spioenkop, lies Three Trees lodge. Perfect half-way stop between Johannesburg & Durban, only 27km from the highway (N3)Spectacular scenery, locally grown Country-style food, fine linen and superb hosts makes this lodge the ideal environment in which to escape and unwind. This intimate luxury lodge is owner-managed by Simon & Cheryl Blackburn whose passion for Africa fills every corner. Guests are welcomed into their home, and invited to experience the warm hospitality in their family run lodge. ... more   less 
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