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Lairds Lodge Country Estate
Ranked #1 of 3 Harkerville B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Bath
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Perfect”
Reviewed November 2, 2008

As a Chef and Hotelier I am generally a critical guest but in this instance I have nothing to complain about, my whole experience was positive.
From the moment we arrived we were treated like long lost friends, management and staff here are proffessional and accommodating, with nothing being too much trouble.The gardens are beautiful, big herbacious borders and well tended lawns.
The rooms are spacious, well appointed with quality toiletries, a very good hospitality tray and lovely little touches like the fudge on my pillow at night.
We only dined here the one night of our four night stay and had we known the standard of food we would have eaten there every night!!!
The Guest lounge is warm and comfortable, we almost fell asleep in front of a roaring fire with a freshly brewed pot of tea and coffee.
I have just read the comments of "Let Down at Laird's Lodge" and believe that they should be totally disregarded, as a four star lodge this place excells ( we have a 5* with Gold award and Lairds is every bit as good!!)
Kindest regards to everyone there for making our stay so enjoyable

Billie and Kevin

  • Liked — Pretty much everything with Staff just topping the list
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LavenderBath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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551 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Scotland
Level Contributor
109 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2008

Superb 2-night stay in beautiful surroundings with a real welcome.

The accommodation (we were in the stable block) was large, spotlessly clean and well equipped. We had patio doors overlooking the garden and lake - just beautiful.

We enjoyed breakfast at the large table chatting with the other guests and were conscious of the effort put in by all the staff to ensure that guests were carefully sat next to others that that would engage with. We ate in the lodge one night and were put at a side table with the only other under-50 couple in the hotel, which was very thoughtful and ensured much better chat than it might have otherwise been.

Can't recommend it highly enough!

  • Liked — The welcome
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Fi-W-Scotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2008

Stayed here 2 nights in Jan 08 and overall can't help but give it 10/10 in all respects.

The placed is simply charming , possesses the "wow" factor and the standard of the rooms , the food , the service and especially the staff are faultless. We ate in each evening and though the menu is limited they do ask you in advance if there's something you don't particularly like and even deduct from the fixed price menu the cost of any item you wish to skip if you don't want all the courses.

The host Werner went out of his way to socialise with every single guest and was incredibly helpful in imparting his local knowledge.

This place provides stunning value for money and as a bonus the Knysna Elephant Park is very close by and well worth the visit.

  • Liked — Style & service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank b737
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex, UK
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2008

We stayed here in May, and had a wonderful time. We thought the room was of a high standard and beautifully deccorated. I was a little sceptical about the dinning before we stayed, but felt sitting with other guests added to the experience, the food was of a high standard, and so was the service, nothing was to much trouble, and the little touches, shortbread and the hot water bottles were lovely.
We loved our holiday in South Africa and can't wait to return, this hotel will be on our list.

  • Liked — It had the the feel of a family home
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hallerons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 26, 2008

On arrival we were greeted to a warm South African Welcome, check in process quick and we were shown to our room and settled very quickly, all rooms are really spacious and are quite tradiotional in style but with a contempoary feel due to the bed linen and fabrics and the finishing touches, I loved the room we entered via the courtyard and our balcony opened onto the grounds at the back and were so secluded and private.
The breakfast is as a few comments said is lovely and the fruit and yogurt is on your table waiting for you and they will cook your hot food to order no complaints here breakfast was fab,
As for dinner in the evening wow what can I say food is presented well and is of a really good standard,
The wine cellar is fantastastic, we attended a wine tasting evening and was luck to sample some great wines from the cellar,

Stayed April 2008
Helpful?
Thank AGTMICH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wickham Market
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2008

We stayed for two nights in May in the stables, my sister and husband next door. The room was very spacious and clean with nice touches, my husband loved the shortbread. Thought the teddy bear hotwater bottles where great when you returned to your room at night. The meals where good, and it was nice talking to other guests at the large dining table. The staff where very helpful and polite in fact could not fault anything. When we read the previous review before we went we where a little worried, but we neednt have been as all was great.

  • Liked — The Room
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Paulinebotting
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 31, 2008

My wife and I spent 3 nights at Laird’s Lodge in March and it was the only accommodation (out of 6 on the Garden Route and Route 62) where we were disappointed in the standards of quality and attention to detail. The fit and finish of the Deluxe Garden Room we were assigned was in our opinion, substandard. While we can not comment on the Deluxe Rooms situated in the main house, nor the Deluxe Courtyard Rooms, as we never did see them from the inside, we can say from the moment we entered our “Deluxe Garden Room” we were disappointed.

We immediately called the Reservation staff regarding the possibility of changing rooms. The lodge manager Wern, graciously came to our room to explain there were no other options available for our 3 night stay. Actually, Wern put it back on us saying if we had checked in earlier he could have done something about changing rooms for us. But because it was so late and other guest had already arrived, there was nothing he could do. Well, we were in Plettenberg Bay by noon; however we had been advised that check-in was between 3pm – 6pm, so we waited until 3pm before arriving at the Lodge. Therefore, it became our fault that we could not change rooms. So then we asked if we could change rooms perhaps the next day, and we were advised that was not possible as nothing would be available. So we decided we were stuck with the room and would make the best of it.

Well, easier said than done. The Deluxe Garden Rooms looks just like a barracks, consisting of 4 rooms in a row, set out in some trees with a gravel path to get you there and absolutely nothing resembling a garden once you arrive. (Would also like to mention it was quite a trek from the car park.) Outside the French doors at the far end of our room was a stone terrace and beyond that was a shared green space and a pond. Certainly no profusion of flowers you would expect from the description “Deluxe Garden Room.”

The stones on the terrace were SO slippery, it became a safety hazard. On the sunny day we arrived, when my wife and I first stepped onto the surface, we both slipped due to the heavy buildup of slime and moss. A quick pressure wash would have cured the problem.

In the room itself, the general appearance came across as positive—it photographs beautifully. But a closer look below the surface shows inexpensive materials of construction, low quality furnishings, and dirty/stained drapes. The room had no clock, no radio, and no TV. Not that a TV mattered, but at least a clock would have been nice. Shouldn’t a 4 star have at least one of those, if not all three? The installation of the wall tile in the bathroom was poor; the vinyl floor covering was the inexpensive type and very stained only to be covered with floor mats. The sink basin was constructed of basic plywood and the door hinges were loose and hanging.

The furnishings in the sleeping area of the room were again very basic in nature; plywood headboard, plywood armoire, plywood desk/table with two drawers, one of which was stuck shut, a beautiful (at first glance) oversized round table with lovely table linens. Having almost knocked over the table a further investigation revealed the table was just a small cheap pressboard circle, some wooden spacers, and then a huge piece of pressboard on top causing it to be very unstable and top heavy (see photo). If you leaned on it in the slightest, it tipped and would fall over. Very unsafe. The ceiling was nothing more than painted plywood with wood strips at each joint. It reminded me of my parent’s refurbished garage from the 1970’s. While some of this you can understand, upon inspection, it just comes across as ‘cheap’, and in my opinion, certainly not 4 stars.

Throughout our entire 14 day tour of South Africa, we encountered very warm, welcoming, and gracious host-owners at all of the guest houses where we stayed, except for Laird’s Lodge. While we found the front of house generally very friendly and helpful, we found the opposite to be true with regard to the owners. It was very disappointing that Laird’s Lodge was the one location where the owners never were around to say hello or introduce themselves. Another observation would be my concern about the hours worked by the front of house staff. It seemed we saw the same staff at breakfast, thru the day and into the dinner service which ran late into the evening.

While Laird’s Lodge label themselves as 4 star accommodation and 5 star food, we would say each is one star too many. The Garden Deluxe Room being 3 star and the food being 4 star.

The one night we dined at the lodge the food was good, but not spectacular. We had many other more remarkable meals throughout our travels via the Garden Route and our time in the wine district of Franschhoek. The breakfast was ok. Again the staff was very friendly, but the hot entree’ was a different chef’s special every morning. We would have preferred choices. We know we could have probably requested special breakfasts, but didn’t feel comfortable doing so. We also must comment that the fruit plates were prepared in advance and set out at every table before the guests even arrived for breakfast. I must say I wasn’t really comfortable with that as there were flies (as can be expected anywhere). We would have preferred the fruit plates kept in the kitchen until our arrival at breakfast. There was no netting covering the breads, meats, or cheeses on the sideboard at breakfast, although the juices were covered. We also thought it very strange that the moment we completed our plate of fruit, the staff removed the plate, and notified the kitchen to prepare the hot entrée and within a no more than the blink of an eye, it was served. Way too fast in my opinion. The first morning we sent the dish back while we enjoyed our coffee and muffins. I must say the muffins were very good to the point we asked for the recipe to be told we could not have it.

Having our rooms so distant from the main house made it somewhat laborious coming and going. Returning after dark, (whether you ate at the Lodge or somewhere else) you must walk back to the accommodation via a poorly lit, unevenly graveled walking surface (in our opinion). The following morning we had to make the same journey, only this time it was pouring rain, there were no umbrellas in the room (lack of attention to detail) and the gravel path just stops once you get to the edge of the yard of the main house, so then we had to walk on muddy, slippery grass until reaching the stone walkway to the front door.

We found conditions in the Guest Reception toilet in the main house to be marginal. There was no soap dispenser, just a communal bar of soap sitting on the rim of the sink. There was no toilet paper holder, the rolls were scattered around the room on whatever surfaces were handy, and again, a community hand towel that was lying on a table, as there wasn’t even a towel bar to hang it on. How sanitary is all that? Once again, lack of attention to detail.

All in all in looking back at a previous TripAdvisor review, I have to totally agree with Banyon, February of 2007. This was by far our worst experience in South Africa and the most expensive (per night). The expense far out weighed the experience.

We had such a disappointing experience I felt compelled to share this face to face with the manager, Wern, prior to departure. I would not feel good writing a review such as this without personally sharing the comments with him. Wern was very good about the comments/feedback, to the point where he left to get a note pad in order to take notes of our conversation. I certainly would have also been happy to also share my comments and opinions with the owner, but again, he was not present.

We did receive an email back from Laird’s Lodge after our meeting with Wern. In it, they addressed all items one by one and we (as did the other “dissenter” on TA) received the message that the lodge shuts for a month in June and all repairs/issues would be addressed then.

But in the scheme of things, if you want to be recognized as a 4 star (or better), why would you wait until the shut-down in June to take care of issues? Shouldn’t there be a maintenance policy in place taking care of the day-to-day things that arise. Shouldn’t the guests who stay BEFORE June be entitled to experience the same quality as those who stay AFTER June?

Two nights prior to our scheduled arrival, we had called and extended the reservation from 2 nights to 3 due to an earlier-than-anticipated arrival in Plettenberg Bay and our desire to stay an additional night at the lodge based on all the positive reviews in TripAdvisor. We made a mistake. I am sure that someone from Laird’s Lodge will dissect this review just as was done with Banyon’s review. All we can tell you is how we felt and the experience for us. The whole feeling of the place was not one that was uplifting or joyous, as we had felt at other accommodations. We left as we arrived, not particularly pleased.

  • Liked — generally speaking the staff were helpful
  • Disliked — no contact with owners, not a good value for price paid
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Traveln2zz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AliMur, Owner at Lairds Lodge Country Estate, responded to this review, May 5, 2008
After much soul searching and after long discussions with our staff we have decided it would be in the interests of all who read the comments on Trip Adviser to present our side of this rather unpleasant diatribe, rather than ignore it totally.

We have absolutely no objection to receiving
" CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM " in fact, we request all our guests to let us know if there is anything they can suggest that will enhance their current or future stay. We have many returnees and really appreciate their input.

We operate on a 70% returnee / referal basis.

On their arrival - at 4.30pm not 3pm - they requested to be moved to a 2nd floor room with a view of the pool - If they had, as stated done their homework on the Lodge web page as well as on Trip Adviser, they would have known that we are not a multistory, 120 room chain hotel but a small
( 15 room ) personalised COUNTRY HOUSE. Our GM did his utmost to try and shuffle rooms - but all guests had checked in by then and being 100% full - was unable to move them.

These guests discussed various concerns with our G.M. on their departure. As mentioned, notes were taken and the points raised

then compared to what has actually been written in this report are somewhat different.

Apparantly, their main concern was with regard to our safety complience. We believe that Traveln2zz is after all Head of Safety for a large multinational gas company and is obviously extremely conscientious where safety is concerned.

Fortunately for us - our fire & safety inspector arrived 2 days after these guests departed and we discussed all their points. We fully comply with South African law.

We immediately followed up with an email and mentioned we were more than happy to send them the report, if required.
( No response at this stage )

What was perhaps not taken into consideration is that rules and regs for a single story Country House in South Africa are not the same as for a
multi-story 100 roomed Hotel in the U.K. or the U.S.A. ( Perhaps the preferred type of establishment for these guests )

There are a few Hotels of this type in Plettenberg Bay and maybe they ended up at the wrong one.

We acknowledge that there were some areas that needed attention prior to their arrival. We admit that problems do creep in from time to time especially during a very hectic season and yes, we also admit that we are not 100% perfect all the time.

We do however strive to deliver what we claim - ie. to offer 5* food & Service at 4* prices. We believe from comments received on Trip Adviser as well as on our web site and in our guest book we succeed 99% of the time.

The bedroom windows had been left open during a rain storm by previous guests. Our housekeeping staff discovered huge water stains on the curtains. We called in our our carpet and upholstery cleaners and managed to remove most of the water marks except for some at the base of the curtains - on checking with our laundry service we where advised because of the weight and length of the curtains (3.8 metres high) they would take 4 days to wash - this would entail closing down that room.

( Not an option, when you have confirmed reservations and are operating at 100% capacity.)

The Lodge is a Cape Dutch style Country House - set on 24 acres. Part of the property is landscaped with lawns and pristine gardens, others with indigenous fynbos plus forest, ponds and dams.

The garden rooms overlook gardens, lawn, dam and some forest, and are very quiet and peacefull. Access to these rooms is via a gravel path through part of the forest and gardens. We have landscaped part of this area and left the remainder in its natural state. Specifically because its pretty impossible to landscape 24 acres of ground....and we don't want to anyway. We believe it has its own charm.

Two points that we take offence to is being told that the furniture in the room is substandard and that we overwork our staff. What they failed to mention is our top of the range beds, embroidered percale linen, antique mahogany sofa chairs and top of the range carpeting. Our rooms are all different and have an African colonial feel. We do not belong to a Hotel Chain with identical furniture and rooms.

As far as overworked staff is concerned : We employ 27 staff members over season (for 30 guests) so no they are definitely not overworked. Obviously they are not aware of shift work or split shifts.

SA has very strict labour laws which we adhere to and for the record, we have a number of employees who have been with us since inception and others for 4 to 5 years. We think this speaks for itself.

We are very conscious of flies (don't you just hate those buggers.) our cold meats and cheeses are only taken out at 08h15 just before the start of breakfast, we are however not in Australia and the flies are not a major issue in South Africa.

It is regrettable that we did not meet these guests - it is pretty much impossible for us to be at the Lodge 24/7 and that's one of the reasons we employ a G.M.

A few months ago we did a survey asking our guests if they believed their stay would be enhanced with clock radios, TV in the rooms
and air-conditioning. No-one asked for clock / radios and TVs. A few suggested air-conditioning. We listened, and aircon has now been installed in all the bedrooms.

Almost every single point that was raised could have been rectified or explained, if we had only been told about the problem there and then.

We have had a staff meeting regarding their comments and all our staff members are totally amazed. Other than asking for a 2nd floor room, they appeared to be happy. NOT ONCE during their stay did they inform our GM or any other staff member that they were unhappy.

We believe that half the problem was that we were unable to move them closer to the main house
( because we were full ) and that it rained for 3 days......

We have learned over the years, that in the hospitality industry, you will always get someone who for whatever reason does not see the bigger picture, or is hell bent on trying to cast dispersions on something they have absolutely no knowledge about.
We are also all fully aware that there are certain people who travel around the world with the attitude that if they make waves or cause unpleasantness they will generally obtain some form of discount or in certain instances receive a total refund. Fortunately for us we don't get
these people very often.

One last point - If they were so incredibly unhappy - why did they stay for as long as they did. This is beyond our comprehension.

According to our reservations manageress, the reason they arrrived early, was because they were not happy with their previous accommodation. If we had only been told on the second day that they were unhappy, we would firstly have tried to resolve any concerns and if unsuccessfull we would gladly, as with Banyan, refunded their money, wished them well and arranged for them to go elsewhere.

One thing we pride ourselves on is that every single guest who leaves the Lodge leaves happy...

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lairds Lodge Country Estate

Property: Lairds Lodge Country Estate
Address: N2 National Road | 8kms from Plettenberg Bay, Harkerville, Plettenberg Bay 6600, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Plettenberg Bay > Harkerville
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Harkerville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Lairds Lodge Country Estate 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The gracious Cape Dutch homestead offers distant mountain views, wide open spaces, a secluded pool and gentle walks on the 24-acre estate. The individually decorated rooms convey a feeling of tranquil elegance and include neutral colors, percale linen and specialized toiletries. Perfectly positioned to explore the Garden Route, from the Wilderness to the Tsitsikamma forests. Superb breakfasts and convivial gourmet dinners, specializing in seafood and game dishes, are served in the Colonial dining room or cozy wine room. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lairds Lodge Country Estate Hotel Harkerville
Lairds Lodge Country Estate South Africa/Harkerville

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