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“A little piece of Africa above Romney Marsh”
Review of Bear Lodge

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Bear Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 20, 2012

Spent a long weekend here with my wife and 3 children aged 3,4 and 8 to celebrate her birthday. We were very lucky to have mid to high 20's temperatures all weekend which added to the feel of looking out over an arid plain rather than the Kentish countryside.

The accommodation was perfect for us, two separate bedrooms as well as a living room and a cabin style bed giving space for up to 6 comfortably within the large Safari style tents. All tents have a deck at the front with far reaching views out over Romney marsh and to the sea beyond.

As well as free access to the park during your stay and free entry to Howletts zoo near Canterbury guests are also given free tour evening activities, which for us included a sunset Safari, Tiger feeding and small cat feeding, with fascinating talks form the parks wardens.

The Staff onsite were friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Behind the tents there is a lodge/restaurant where we ate for two nights out of three. One might was a la carte and the other evening there was a Mongolian BBQ. Both were excellent and reasonably priced..

If you can't do the real thing this is as close as you will get to the safari experience without going to Africa, for young children it was a fantastic experience and my 3 year daughter keeps asking when she can go back a month later.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank beetleboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2012

We've just returned from our 3 night 'safari' at the Elephant Lodge, and we can't priase it enough. We booked the lodge after seeing the mock-up in the animal park at the beginning of the year. In September, a long weekend for us and our four teenagers was suprisingly affordable - particularly when you consider that a day entrance to the animal park for all six of us would cost in excess of £100. The lodge was fantastic - all the fun of camping without the drawbacks. Full size 'proper' beds and our own toilet and shower as well as a fridge and kettle were a definite advantage, and the view over the elephants and across the Kent countryside to the sea was a selling point on its own. We were happy to eat in the site restaurant, and the teenagers loved the Mongolian Barbeque experience. The breakfast was a little pricey and disappointing, however. The evening animal talk and safari were great and the days spent in both Port Lympne and Howletts animal parks were great - our youngest daughter came home with over 1,000 photos to bore her friends with!

Our only problem was with our neighbouring tent, the occupants of which forgot that the 'walls' were made of canvas, and drank, played cards and swore quite loudly into the night. If our children had been younger (as some others in the lodges were), I would have been very angry rather than just a little annoyed.

Having said that, we will definitely be looking to go again as we had such a brilliant time.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Nikki S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

Our family of 5 (children of 24, 19 and 16) all really enjoyed our glamping experience. My husband had organised it as something different for my birthday treat.The tents are very comfortable and the views from the site are fabulous. On one side, a mountain cat taking his nightly walk in the tree walkway, in front of the tents you look across for miles to the sea; look down and you can see an elephant and to the right, cheetahs.

The food in the restaurant was good; the Mongolian bbq was delicious and different.

The nightly safaris are excellent and all the staff are very friendly and the talks interesting. A brilliant place for young and old.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank KAliceG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2012

Location Location Location! On a Summer evening, sat on your tent terrace you could easily imagine you are looking over the plains of Africa.

Service Service Service! Was first class. Everyone we had contact with from the Rangers, Management, Waiters & Waitresses and Chefs - all were top notch.

Accomodation Accomodation Accomodation! Was such fun!! You have to experience it ;-)

Kids Kids Kids! They loved it! and because the Lodge gounds are very safe and secure mums and dads can enjoy dinner in the club house after a busy day while the kids enjoy the freedom to play.

Room for improvement? As a passport holder and regular visitor to the zoo I sometimes pop into the marketing tent and I have found some of the staff manning the tent a bit austeer. This is a shame because I got the impression the Lodge would be snooty but that is not the case. It is very friendly and guests are made to feel very welcome.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Trish_Gooch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2012

We booked two tents at Elephant Lodge for a hen weekend and it was brilliant! The staff were really friendly and helpful throughout our stay and the safari with Barry was great. The tents are really comfy, we took our own toaster so we could have crumpets for breakfast! but the fridge was an ok size and there's a kettle and crockery too. We booked dinner up at the mansion on the Saturday evening and had a brilliant time. Sam and her team really looked after us and the food was delicious. All in all a completely different, relaxing and very fun weekend!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Rachael J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2012

We stayed for three nights over the weekend a few weeks ago. Beat all expectations! The evening animal talks are fantastic. I've been to lots of zoos but this was first time I've seen all the animals really close up. They take you around at dusk when they are feeding the animals so you get a great close up view. The accommodation is really cool. Proper beds, a sink, fridge, log burner and hot shower... In a tent! The cafe is a bit pricey, but all the staff were excellent and there's a co-op shop near by if you want to get your own food in.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Siruarjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2012

My husband arranged a 3 night stay at the newly opened PortLlympe Elephant Lodge near Hythe. We had both just finished work and on arrival at the Lodge, the stress of work melted away instantly. The view from the tents are amazing, we had our 7 year old son with us, who soon made friends and was playing on the open field between the tents and the 'Lapa', there were outdoor games that were supplied for the children; and a good selection of board games in the 'Lapa' as well. There website shows the amazing interior of the tents, which are excellent and clean, it doesn't show the toilet and shower, which to my surprise is the same quality of a hotel one, so no worries there either. Definately do the safaris they are amazing and of course due to the animals habits, you get to see them, especially the small cats, on there feed when you normally wouldn't.
Waking up in the morning, listening to the animals and seeing the rhino being let out, and the elephant and watching the wildcats walking across there walkway, (down the end near tents 9/10 there are the wildcat walkways) its amazing :-) so different. If you have them take your binoculars. We also paid for a private safari with Rosie, a 9.30am one, definately recommend this as well, as a Land Rover gets to places the trucks can't, this was a birthday treat. Rosie is fab, tells you lots of info, however all the rangers were fab. As I love elephants she definately recommended I went to Howletts, it was well worth the visit, it's free as you get unlimited access to both parks during your stay, and if you love elephants they have a very large herd over there. On my birthday my friend and her children joined us for the last night making our numbers upto 8, it was nice we had the option to do this as well. Staff and food, all excellent. Reading other reviews some people say the Mongolian bar b is expensive for what you get? Well the prices of all the food are on par with any Beefeater/Harvester WITHOUT it being packet food, everything cooked fresh using fresh ingredients, and the Mongolian bar b is limited to the amount you put in the bowls, but the meal is more than substantial (the homemade flat breads and sauces are out of this world). (I think in this day and age we get used to eat as much as you like - then waste it all, and when people are limited it can be taken the wrong way). The food in the Lapa was good tatsy, and not wasted. The curry is fab by the way, so do give that a try if you can, but it's easy to get hooked to the Mongolian Bar B.
Thank you for such a fantastic weekend, I'm hoping we can return on our Wedding anniversary in October as I have fallen in love with the place.
May I say all the staff were excellent, more of a family run business atmosphere than employees, nothing is too much for them, one young girl Jasmine deserves a special mention. Excellent customer service/communication skills which you don't always find with young people today, do you do employee of the month? Hint Hint :-)

Room Tip: The safaris in the evening of course have to work around the animals, so some people ate early, othe...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank SeaHayley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bear Lodge

Address: Port Lympne Reserve, Lympne CT21 4LN, England (Formerly Elephant Lodge)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Kent > Lympne
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Lympne
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bear Lodge is a luxury 'glamping' experience in spacious tented accommodation, with stunning views over our brand new bear enclosure, out to the Romney Marsh and English Channel. Formerly known as Elephant Lodge, family and friends can stay for 1, 3, 4 or 7 nights on our secure gated site, with parking. 19 luxury tents with en suite facilities, each comfortably sleeping six people, surround our central Bear Lodge Clubhouse and children's play area. Inside the tents, there's a spacious living area, including the 'bear necessities' such as cutlery, crockery, a small fridge and sink, plus, separate sleeping areas with real beds and comfy mattresses. The on-site clubhouse restaurant has a brand new menu for 2016, including traditional South American dishes, to compliment the arrival of our bear pair. We've also fully refurbished our bar area and alongside our new cocktail menu, guests can sample our exclusive 'spectacled beer'. A stay at Bear Lodge, includes entry to Port Lympne Reserve and sister park Howletts, near Canterbury and additional experiences are available to book including private Ranger guided safaris, animal experiences, archery, fishing, cycling and zorbing, so every day can be filled with wild adventures! ... more   less 

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