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“Good value in a great location” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Champagne Castle Hotel

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Champagne Castle Hotel
4.0 of 5 Cottage   |   Route R600 | Champagne Valley, Winterton 3340, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
London
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Good value in a great location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2009

We stayed in a Superior Mountain facing room which was spacious and had a great view. Definitely worth the extra cost. Some of the standard rooms looked small and dark.
Champagne Castle's location is excellent as most of the walks start from the Hotel so you have the choice of longer demanding walks or, as we did, ones lasting 2 to 3 hours getting you back to the Hotel for lunchtime.
I had a couple of treatments at the Spa which were good and priced very reasonably. Having read other reviews, I did book before arriving which was just as well as the Hotel was full for the first two nights of our stay.
A word of warning. We arrived to find that we were not expected until the next day in spite of the fact that I had my reservation fax with me clearly stating my correct dates.. A possible disaster as there was a major Music Festival taking place in the area. Fortunately there was one room left but we did have to change rooms the next day - not an ideal start. A couple of days later I was in Reception to overhear another party with a problem having requested an upgrade to a Superior Mountain facing room by telephone and been told it was no problem and then no record on their arrival. Clearly reservations aren't Champagne Castle's strong point so would recommend your double checking all the details before your arrival.
Wireless Internet is available in the reception and lounge areas at a charge. There is a terminal if you don't have a laptop but I couldn't get it to work.
Considering all meals, mid morning coffee and afternoon tea (beware the cream scones - they are very tempting!) the Hotel is excellent value for money. Ask for an 'over 60' discount if you are eligible. Plenty of food with a wide choice. Inevitably when served buffet style it tends to be 'warm' rather than 'hot'.
If you go expecting 4 star accommodation and 3 star food but plenty of it then you won't be disappointed. We would stay there again but only in the top grade room as before.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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152 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (53)
Date | Rating
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English first
Perth, Western Australia
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2009

We booked a superior mountain view room for our last three nights of a three week holiday. Very disappointed overall!

Drive:
It was a reasonable drive from Durban (2.5hrs). Beware at one stage we thought we saw a sign said that it was in 9km time, but it was actually about 18km along that road - go well past Champagne Sports Resort and keep going!

Accommodation:
We arrived into what was a newly renovated superior mountain view room (#92). Disappointingly it was on the ground floor, but that was not a big deal to us. Whist the room was clean & spacious, there was certainly nothing flash about it. We had numerous problems:
- no working phone - i got the idea the phone hadn't been working in ages & would bet good money it probably still isn't working now. They sent someone to fix it on our THIRD request, who fiddled and then said he couldn't do anything till Monday which was when we left.
- we had two single beds pushed together, made up as single beds, with a king bedspread over the top of them. Went and complained to reception only to be told that all rooms only had single beds - i.e. there are no double/queen beds in any of the superior rooms. Didn't ring completely true to me so sms'ed my sister who had stayed here before in the same superior rooms and she was reasonably certain they had had a king. Repeatedly complained (three separate complaints over two days, final one ending with 'we are not sleeping in a single bed tonight, so sort it') and then they made the two single beds up as a double bed. Not as comfortable as they had placed a velour blanket under the fitted sheet which kept folding into wrinkles, but at least we werent hemmed in tiny single beds.
- Our toilet leaked water (by this stage we no longer bothered to complain as we were fairly certain they wouldn't bother to do anything about it!).

Activities:
- we were bored to death by the end of our first day as in bad weather there really is little to do at this resort except enjoy the views
- the view is gorgeous and the hikes start literally just near the swimming pool. The hike ot the sphinx is lovely and takes about 2.5hrs. Beware when we were there there had been massive rains and it was actually quite sliippery.
- otherwise there is pool, ping pong, swimming pool, darts........and i cant remember a whole lot else. Unfortunately it rained whilst we were there, so hiking was only done on the one drizzly day, swimming wasn't possible & the rest didn't appeal. In bad weather beware you may become very bored, as without swimming and hiking there is not much to do, and no good books in their tiny shop either!
- the Day spa was booked out and not taking bookings for the entire duration of our stay - so we couldn't even go there to relieve our boredom with a massage. So book in advance if you wish to use it.
- the internet was not working for the entire duration of our stay. Each time we popped into reception to ask if it was working yet - because we couldn't use our faulty phone :-) - they just shrugged and said 'no'. Minimal explanation as to when it would be working, if it ever does!!!

Food:
- the meals are all buffet and all served in the restaurant. Remember it is a collared shirt and no jeans/shorts etc at dinner time.
- the dessert buffet was fantastic, massive choice of items & delicious food - but barely anything is labelled as to what it is. The main courses are labelled on a sheet which is stuck at the beginning of the buffet, but desserts are not explained much bar maybe one particular item and then 'a selection of home made desserts' - so it is an absolutely lucky dip which can result in a fair bit of wastage and is dangerous to someone with food allergies.
- i found the entree and main meals to be of ok standard but not great, quite often your carvery style buffet. Breakfast was quite good, but poor fruit selection.
- all drinks are charged for bar the ones in dispensers at the buffet - which was water at dinner and some cordial-like fruit juice.
- the actual bar itself was generally dead and you had to almost hunt down staff to serve you. After that service was fine and drinks were good.

Overall, i found the staff to be reserved and unhelpful, the accommodation to be ok but not brilliant & really feel that unless you are into hiking, or have good enough weather to enjoy lying by the pool, you will get bored here very quickly!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2009

We arrived in anticipation of enjoying a comfortable country experience at Champagne Castle.

We were escorted to our room - a rondavel. I immediately queried the room allocation at reception and was told extremely firmly that I had booked a superior room and the rondavel was a superior room. I explained I had called from the UK re the room type and I had been assured I would not get a rondavel (I have a personal hatred of thatched rooms after a previous experience with creepy crawlies). After a 7 hour trip from Cape Town, I really should have stood my ground but I didn't want to put a dampener on our 2 nights stay. The rondavel was comfortable with no creepy crawlies in the roof. The downside is that it was very dark with huge bushes in front of the windows blocking any view of the mountains (which is the main purpose of visiting the area) and no patio or balcony. The room we expected had all of the above!

The food was okay and there was plenty of it available at the buffet. Champagne Castle has a reputation for good country cooking however we feel for our taste we thought it wasn't up to the talk. I was a bit disappointed to pick up items from dinner in dishes for lunch the next day. The chefs should be a bit smarter than that.

Sitting on the hotel balcony enjoying a drink whilst the heavens present an astounding light and sound show with the Drakensberg mountains as the backdrop is a fantastic experience - the thunderstorms are truly amazing in this area of outstanding beauty.

Our overall experience was okay but it should have been great as the prices are certainly not cheap.

Would we go back to the hotel - not sure, probably not.
We accept you pay a premium for gorgeous location but in our opinion the hotel needs to try a lot harder on most fronts.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2008

My fiance and I stayed here for 5 nights in November 2007. We had a fantastic stay and would highly recommend this hotel. The setting is stunning and there are lots of actvities to keep you busy (a daily hike, tennis courts, swimming pool, lawn bowls, board games etc etc). The rooms have been newly refurbished and are large and clean. I'd highly recommend seeing the Drakensberg Choir (perform Wednesday afternoons in school term) and this was a definite highlight of our stay. The food is great but be warned there is plenty of it! We'd love to go back at some point in the future and have already recommended Champagne Castle to family and friends.

  • Liked — The rooms
  • Disliked — No wireless internet
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2008

My brother got married here so we had little choice regarding where to stay but I would highly recommend Champage Castle for a few nights stay during a trip to South Africa. 3h drive from Durban. Mountains are stunning.

Lovely large clean well equipped rooms. Food excellent- buffet style with lots of choice. By the time we had our breakfast, morning coffee +scones, lunch, afternoon tea + shortbread and then dinner we were in danger of our wedding outfits not fitting!

Unfortunately it rained the whole time we were there so we could not make use of the swimming pool and sunbeds or numerous walking trails. Did however enjoy the entertainment of the local Baboons who resided in the grounds! Spa treatments were half the price of those in Britain and worth pre-booking as can get busy especially if weather not too good.

Lots of accommodation nearby, mostly self-catering/time-share resorts. Suggest booking DBB and relaxing. The self catering lodges looked large and luxurious but there was a lack of shops to buy provisions so you would have to be well organised.

Main complaints: The bar was quiet later in the evenings and we felt we were holding them back from closing for the night at times. Also, trying to book the accommodation was hard work as they seem to be very relaxed about finalising details and completing the booking. Suspect it would have been quicker to phone to book rather than do it by e-mail.

  • Liked — Food excellent
  • Disliked — Bar: too quiet after 930pm and staff made you feel uncomfortable
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norway
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2008

This hotel has a great location at the foot of the mountains. We realized that a lot of other accommodations advertised as "Drakensberg" is actually not "right by". We had a nice view from the balcony of the room, and there were 2-3 hiking trails on the mountain side that started right by the hotel, you didn't need to drive. (I would recommend the walk to the Sphinx). It was a very relaxing place, and nice rooms. We were happy with the meals, which were buffets - the meal times were fixed but you could also order room service outside of these hours. I also did a body wrap at their spa - excellent. But there was only one person attending at the spa, so since it was high season I only got one treatment having wanted three, so should've made bookings prior to arrival.
The only thing that we did not like so much about the hotel, was the courtesy of the staff. They very often made us practically feel like we were bothering them when approaching them to ask about things.

  • Stayed January 2008
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2007

We stayed at this hotel in July this year for 4 nights.
It all seemed OK, and the food etc was excellent.
However, they are busy with extensive renovation work, so what should have been a quiet and peaceful stay, turned out to be ruined by continual drilling, shouting, etc. All the building is happening just outside your door. In the introductory letter, it stated that noise will not commence until 8am, no noise at lunchtime, and quiet again by 4pm. I don't think so, the jackhammers started at 7am, and continued to late into the evening.
We complained, but received non-committal shrugs ("like we care").
Considering to high cost of the hotel....

After we left, we realised one of our party had left a jacket in the cupboard, so we called the hotel a couple of hours after we had checked out. In fact, we called a total of 12 times of the next few days, and spoke to various staff members (each one seemingly less interested than the one before). By the last call, when it was finally possible to speak to a "manager", we were assured that "the jacket was not in the cupboard, and no, we don’t have any problems with theft". Yeah, right.

Would I recommend this hotel? Only if you like staying on a building site and like having your items taken from you!

  • Liked — Food
  • Disliked — Service, Noise, Theft
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.

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Additional Information about Champagne Castle Hotel

Address: Route R600 | Champagne Valley, Winterton 3340, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Winterton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty lodging in Winterton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Champagne Castle Hotel 4*
Reservation Options:
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