The Rorke's Drift Lodge holds a 4 star rating, but many aspects of the facility fall very short of what we expected from such a facility.
The setting is magnificent, the access road terrible, the furnishing and fittings generally of a high standard. But...........
We were a party of 4 adults, 2 married couples all in our 70's. Although we are family, we were not prepared for a family suite consisting of a very pleasant bedroom and two narrow children sized beds in an open area next to the small entrance/lounge area. We had to share one shower and one separate toilet. The suite access is through the lounge are, so we could not leave the bedroom without going through the other "bedroom",
The shower had no soap dish or shelf, the toilet spray provided didn't work and the toilet sometimes had to be flushed 4 times to clear.
We had a slight accident on the second night and my husband bled onto the fitted sheet, as his skin is very thin. We apologised and asked for the sheet to be changed. It was removed, but not replaced, so he slept on the mattress cover.
The food was poor. Breakfast was identical every morning, with left over fruit salad dished up each day. By the third morning the bread was very stale and only suitable for toast. The evening meals were inferior quality, hot food served on cold plates, with no choice. Every meal was plated and generally done on the cheap with no choice.
The manager/general factotum Charles is a pleasant man, but within half an hour of our arrival he informed us that he was leaving due to a difference with the owner.
The weekend we were there we never met nor were made welcome by the owner who was hosting a large family party, no doubt occupying the better accommodation.
The tour, conducted by the owner's husband was very interesting, but he had booked 6 adults on the tour, to travel in a Pajero. The other couple had to take their own car and we wonder if they were given a discount? The tour was very long and exhausting, although Paul certainly is passionate about the history and knows his subject.
As this lodge is deep in the country, we would not have complained, except for the fact that with a four star rating, we expected better.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
I feel that we must respond to this review as it has been written in such a derogatory tone and is largely untrue, unfair to my staff who try their very best to give excellent service at all times and as a result may affect their livelihoods. The review is not reflective at all of what Rorke’s Drift Lodge offers.
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1. Firstly, we must apologise to the reviewer for the fact that the soiled sheet was not replaced. This was unforgivable and the relevant member of staff has been severely reprimanded and may in fact lose her job because this does not conform to the standards of our establishment. The broken air freshner container was instantly replaced the moment we became aware of the problem and the staff member responsible for checking the rooms has also been reprimanded as this too is not acceptable. We have not previously had a complaint around the toilet and we thank the reviewer for bringing it to our attention, but we feel that this complaint could have been dealt with directly with management at the time.
2. We also need to sincerely apologise to the reviewer that Charles, our manager, involved them on a personal level. He was under strict instructions not to discuss any personal matters with guests and this aspect is indicative of why he has left our employ. We feel that this conduct is most unprofessional and inexcusable.
3. The reviewer, it must be pointed out, does not appear to be the guest who made the booking. At the time of booking they were offered a choice of all our rooms as we had no other booking for that weekend. They elected to choose the family suite – the description of which is on our website giving a full breakdown of how the unit is put together. They did not inform us of their ages at the time of booking and they were informed that they would be sharing a bathroom.
4. The beds in both bedrooms of the suites are standard single beds and they are not children’s beds.
5. The food we serve is of a high quality and yes, there is no choice, as we have a set menu service. However, when confirming bookings we always ask our guests if they have any food preferences and they therefore have the opportunity to inform us of dietary requirements before arrival. Our bread is freshly baked every day in our own kitchens and therefore we could not possibly have served the same bread for 3 days in a row when we had 12 guests in residence. The kitchens could not bake bread for 3 days and store it. However, because our bread is freshly baked in our own kitchens it is not soft bakery bread but crusty wholesome homemade bread. The food was indeed plated as is the practice in most top class food establishments. We offer a 3 course meal every evening and I personally know that on the Saturday night Charles served a traditional braai that consisted of rump steak, loin lamb chops and boerewors – none of which is “on the cheap”.
6. The reviewer has completely misspeculated the “family” party. It was indeed a family party, but it was our “other” manager’s engagement party and it was his family that was in residence. They were in rooms of equal quality to the reviewer’s as there is no essential difference in quality in our rooms.
7. The reviewer also mistakes the fact that the “owner” did not speak to them. On Saturday night I walked into the dining room while the reviewer’s party was at dinner and went over to the table to greet them. I was however, completely ignored by them. Then, on the following morning I was the one whom the reviewer very acidly informed that the air freshner was not working. I also later in the day ran into her husband who when I greeted him simply grunted a not very friendly reply at me.
8. The tour booking was also completely misread by the reviewer. The other couple who were on tour with the reviewer’s group had not confirmed their booking and arrived without a confirmation. We were therefore only expecting 4 people for the tour. We, at great trouble and discomfort to the manager’s family, moved one of their party into our staff accommodation and gave the room to the unexpected guests. They used their own vehicle and of course were given a discount (however, we do not think that this is any concern of the reviewer). The breakdown of the tour was explained to the party member who booked the tour and it is also on our website in detail and therefore the reviewer had the option to skip the tour if they did not want such an intensive day.
What this reviewer has not made any mention of – on their day of arrival they took the wrong road (missed the turnoff) and came down a road which we certainly never recommend for our guests to use. The result of this was a flat tyre. Charles, our manager, drove to Newcastle on the Saturday morning 110kms away to collect a new tyre for them so that they wouldn’t have to drive back to Durban without a spare. She also does not make mention of the little extras that we give our guests that they would not get at another 4 star establishment such as a goodbye gift of bottled water and handmade chocolate truffles for the road.
This review has been written in such an acidic tone that we truly hope that other guests wanting to visit Rorke’s Drift Lodge will see it in the light that it has been written and will not allow it to influence their decision to visit our Lodge where they can expect and will get superior service. After all, we were finalists in the AA Travel Awards for 2009 and have now been selected again in 2010.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.