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“Pure Bliss” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Botsebotse Luxury Retreat

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Botsebotse Luxury Retreat
4.0 of 5 Ranch   |   52 Zebula Nature Reserve and Golf Estate | Mabula District, Bela Bela 0480, South Africa   |  
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Midweek Winter Escape
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
“Pure Bliss”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Warm smiles greeted us as soon as we stopped at the entrance to the reception area. As we entered the lounge i was grabbed by the way the place is decorated. It is absolutely beautiful. It was so fitting to be in a tranquil space, away from all the city noise.

The staff is so ever helpful and the chef is outstanding.

I really loved that you could relax and just enjoy yourself.
Botsebotse was pure bliss.

  • Stayed February 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
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59 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Centurion
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Thanks for a wonderful experience that we had at BotseBotse. The accommodation was out of this world and just what we needed to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle from the city life, the game life was The Staff was amazing, always friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend Botsebotse for friends and family. Thank you once again. :)

  • Stayed February 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Breda, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

The variety of ratings for this place can be easily explained. This is not a place in the middle of the bush, it is a very comfortable lodge in a game reserve, with many other (residential) houses in the area. You can relax, walk or bike through the reserve and have very good food, but do not expect a game lodge as the name bush retreat perhaps suggests.
With the new chef being in place since a month, the quality of dinners is very good.
Lunch is a bit unclear, and we were even referred to Zebula main lodge for lunch by the personnel (where you have to pay for it, while it is supposed to be included in the stay) but talk to the chef and he will arrange a nice light lunch.
Another negative point is that many wines on the winelist were not available/could not be found, which was also true for some beers and cocktails. Logistics seem not to be in order.
Nevertheless the overall impression is very good, if you do prefer to relax and not make an issue out of the negative things.
We had a wonderful 9 course Christmas dinner, and the next day a Christmas brunch of unprecedented quality.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Frankfurt, Germany
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

Just coming in via Jo'burg Botse Botse is a convenient drive from the hub (2 hrs) and quite easy to find. It is part of a private Game Reserve at Zebula (Golfers, don't forget your clubs!) GC, where you have during the mornings and evenings Game strolling around the houses and the Golf Course (except predators). You can just have your walks wiithout being stressed out...The small and intimate lodge (hosts max. 8 people + children) is very cosy and quiet, so just let yourself be spoiled by the nice staff and Chef de la Cuisine, who was very helpful serving my wife with her menues for a vegetarian. Game drives can be arranged, so there should be no excuses for being lazy. There is even a small airfield closeby, for those who want to fly in, but airnoise is no issue.

Room Tip: No big difference in the rooms, they are at the four corners of the lodge.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Polokwane, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We had our year end management function at Botse Botse last week-end. What an awesome experience! Fantastic rooms, Absolute excellent service - the food was out of this world - They catered for a party of 17 the whole weekend - nothing was to much to ask. Professional staff - you guys were great. And from Modern Autohaus - a huge big thank you!!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

We have traveled extensively in South Africa and abroad and no place has not met our expectations as much as Botsebotse. We visited the place on a special offer and found the decor lovely, the place small and romantic, and the atmosphere good for a getaway from the city (don't be fooled by the photos though - they're done wide-lens, and the actual place is less grand). But every other aspect of our stay was absolutely horrendous. The quality of the meals would not pass at a 2-star establishment, the service was inconsistent or lacking, and while we had been led to believe that our special needs would be accommodated, no effort had been made to do this. If you want a weekend retreat from the city, have low expectations, and don't mind over-paying for a pretence of luxury, this might be the place. If you want a real luxury experience, with quality meals, attentive service, and a memorable stay, don't make the mistake of spending a cent at Botsebotse.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

The warm welcome we received along with the superbly decorated accommodation left us in anticipation of a wonderfully relaxed stay with personal attention to fulfill our hearts desires. Little did we know that this is where our long awaited pamper trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary would end.
In terms of service we found the general level lacking as well as indiscreet for an establishment of its nature and cost. We had personnel entering our space to collect bicycles from our private garden without knocking or letting us know they were coming, let alone asking if we were planning on using them, as we had requested upon booking.
We had to seek out someone to make us tea when trying to enjoy the common patio, and at no stage were any further refreshments offered between meals at that time or any other during our stay.

The set meal times were disappointing with the promise of 'rack of roast lamb' to be served medium rare upon our selection when asked, turning out to be 3 oily overcooked lamb chops fried in a pan on the stove with not a hint of seasoning in sight. Hard oily vegetables and a couple of roast potatoes. We also would have enjoyed another bottle of wine or night cap drinks in the lounge but these were not offered as the owner/manager had to rush out at 9:30pm to get home. It was clear we were to finish up and go back to our room, we went to the main hotel for a night cap instead.

Portions and quality are not value for money in an establishment of this purported level. We chose to rather eat lunch at the hotel the next day as after a meager breakfast with cold hard poached eggs we were both starving! We are still waiting to hear what is for lunch that day or what time it is being served.

The one redeeming factor as mentioned is the decor & place itself which inside is well appointed. Just don't spend too long in the shower as it floods (as we discovered). The fact that all the outdoor spaces are 'internalized' in their aspect so to speak -there is no actual view of the bush, only houses and roads all around, which defeats the object of calling it a " Luxury Bush retreat". This is by no means a true description.

In our opinion it is clear that a hospitality establishment of this nature should never be 'owner run' as this tends to lead toward a lack of professional training of the staff as well as a very biased view towards the guests and their needs.

We do not expect a response from the management/owner as it is clear from previous posts referring to same that nothing has changed and their feedback is always the same with a few edits according to the guests comments.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.

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Additional Information about Botsebotse Luxury Retreat

Address: 52 Zebula Nature Reserve and Golf Estate | Mabula District, Bela Bela 0480, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Bela Bela
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 28 Specialty lodging in Bela Bela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Botsebotse Luxury Retreat 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our discreet boutique getaway for the discerning traveler accommodates only eight guests offering a relaxed and refined experience, complemented by personal service and a wide range of exciting activities such as Spa, Golf, Eco Safaris and Big-5, all within a 15 minute radius by car. What makes Botsebotse different? Perhaps it is about the personal service or the luxuries that you enjoy so much such as breakfast in your PJ's in your own courtyard, a delicious picnic in the bush, a relaxing massage, a bottle of good wine, scrumptious food under a clear starlit African sky and fresh coffee next to a roaring fire.Or maybe it's more about the whole experience than one single thing. More about the memories you made, the occasions that you celebrated and the way that you felt at home. That's why people come back to Botsebotse Luxury Retreat again and again, because it feels like home - even for the first time. Inspired by African design and art, Botsebotse is a picture perfect boutique lodge build from stone, thatch and natural materials blending seamlessly with the surrounding lanscape. Luxurious indoor and outdoor spaces, rare African artifacts and tasteful decor combines harmoniously to provide a calming and comfortable sanctuary.The main lodge with its lapa, teak decks, crystal-clear martini pool, quaint teak hot spa tub and comfortable indoor and outdoor lounges is ideal for relaxation. Four luxurious spacious en-suite rooms accommodate only four couples at a time and are housed back-to-back in two free standing wings. The two wings are connected to the main lodge by a thatched walkway. Each room has a private screened courtyard, a lavish bathroom with a bath and shower, a private outdoor shower and undercover parking. All rooms have remote controlled air conditioning and heating, ceiling fans, comfortable Queen beds, refreshment stations, seating, flat screen televisions, DVD players, satellite TV, electronic safes and mini-bars. Room layouts are the same but the decor is unique to each room. All rooms are equipped with luxury amenities to ensure an unforgettable stay. Choose from the finest South African estate wines and enjoy culinary delights from menus created with the most discerning palettes in mind. Dine in in our dining area, on the outdoor decks, in the boma next to a roaring fire or a romantic private spot under a clear African starlit sky. Order breakfast in the privacy of your own courtyard and delicious light bistro meals or a picnic basket for lunch. Help yourself to complimentary home baked muffins and fresh fruits whenever you need a top-up snack. ... more   less 
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