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“Too Expensive and Rude Staff.”

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Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Too Expensive and Rude Staff.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

Scenery is nice, clean backpackers with good communal area's. Unfortunately Staff, especially two women who seemingly run the place are EXTREMELY rude and unprofessional. Always yelling. The rest of the staff don't really seem to care about service/their jobs and are pretty useless. Mouldy toast 2 days running and expensive dinners. Completely ruins the atmosphere of what could be a cool place!

(The bald guy is great, if you need anything, ask him!!)

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank traveller861321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
smokingdragon, Public Relations Manager at Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
Hi there, the two women that you speak of have spent 16 years building the place that you seem to enjoy so much. They will be pleased that you find the place "cool."

They don't actually work or live on site so they won't be ruining the atmosphere too often. The staff work hard and potentially you caught them all after an intense staff meeting with the "two women". Staff meetings are set up to ensure that everyone does their job so that you guys have everything you could possibly wish for. You were there around new year where 2000 people had attended the New Years Eve Festival so it would have been HECTIC generally.

There is a new chef so "mouldy toast" has been taken off the menu. Glad you enjoy the bald guy, maybe we will take him off having fun with the guests and move him on to the job of working in the office then the two horrific women can stay away more often?

Happy travelling
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324 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2013 via mobile

My partner and I stayed here in November and the place is full of druggies. Food not amazing and quite expensive. Wouldn't come here again but the rooms are nice. We did do the hike with them and that was good :-)

Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Travelaholic2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
smokingdragon, Guest Relations Manager at Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
Fantastic that you enjoyed the rooms, great that you enjoyed the hike. The tours are great indeed. The food has changed completely since November as there is now a fantastic new 5 star chef who has worked in top lodges throughout Africa.

Druggies? No idea about any customers taking drugs. This is very unusual as most people are up at 06h00 in the morning and back late. Tours and activities are encouraged not "drugging." Customers usually come to our place to hike, this is why we have a lot of pensioners and young families staying here. But saying that we cannot be accountable for the behaviour and habits of customers.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2013

We stayed here for 3 nights and did two of the tours- Lesotho and Amphitheatre climb.
On arrival we immediately felt uncomfortable as the lady checking us in (she appeared to be in charge) shouted at her staff for bringing here lunch while she was busy.. And shouted at guests for speaking too loud while she was thinking!
The food is nice at times but far too expensive for what you are getting, R125 for a three course "gourmet" meal which was actually not very good. There is nowhere in the area, especially if you don't have your own transport, to go eat instead.
Trips are also very very expensive at R560 per trip! We did better trips throughout S.A for under R200.
We travelled from Capetown to Joburg over three months so have stayed in lots of places, and here is by far the most expensive and no where the nicest.
We would however recommend the Drakensberg area as it is very beautiful.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank 12345678512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
smokingdragon, Guest Relations Manager at Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
If you stayed for three nights and enjoyed the tours you must have fundamentally liked the place. I am sure that the woman in the front would not shout at people for bringing her food and scream because people are talking. The hostel is very popular and thus very busy so the front reception can get quite noisy. A lot of time and effort is spent trying to answer questions that are asked of us all. It can be very difficult to even think when more than one parallel conversation is going on especially when the dialogue is in a multitude of different languages. Apologies if you interpreted the request to allow the receptionist the time to speak to another customer as being rude.

Regarding the food. There is now a brilliant new chef who has completely upgraded the menu and he can barely keep up with the demand for food at the moment so present customers SURELY must be happy with quality and price otherwise they would not be coming back for more.

Regarding the trip. There are many trips available in South Africa some (like bungy jumps, sky-diving or shark cage diving) which cost over R2000 for a few minutes or even seconds of thrill. Then there are trips that cost very little (like hiring a bike or a fishing rod) that might take all day to complete.

Amphitheatre offers many, many different activities. From FREE hikes from the doorstep, to shuttles to the park in the Drakensberg foothills @ R50 a shuttle to full day, high altitude experiences where we charge R560 a person. We have all the offerings, all are very well priced and expertly run and are VERY BUSY because they are good value for money. Just be careful as a customer NOT to compare apples with pears. In other words compare the price of our CHEAP trips with OTHER cheap trips that you have done elsewhere. If you choose something more pricey then compare with MORE PRICEY ACTIVITIES elsewhere. Rather stick to our enjoyable CHEAPER trips. Tours are very carefully priced ensuring that customers get good value as well as a good price BUT ALSO that guide's and equipment are of highest quality. Then there are also the community funds and running costs to take into account. It is all about balance.
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Travelers are raving about these Jagersrust hotels

Columbus, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2013

Well, what a surprise. These people that work here suck. The place is awesome. You do have to buy everything; wifi, water etc. There is not an easy way in and out without your own transportation, so go grocery shopping beforehand. They are rude and talk down to you. They fought with eachother openly and yelled about the tab system not adding up on someone's bill. They tried to persuade us NOT to do the shuttle into the park, because it was obvious we were the only ones who wanted it and they didn't want to waste the time. After being called indecisive and idiotic, we took the shuttle. The shuttle was supposed to pick us up at 4:30p.m. as assured by staff and driver, 5:30 rolls around and I start to get nervous because the park is closing and I am a girl thinking I may be stuck there overnight because I didn't bring a phone. They eventually did come later. A girl there also had both pairs of her shoes stolen, but they offered no help. A guy, while there, tripped on there stones and practically broke open his face, and they offered no help other than that they don't want to get blood on their towels. The views are great, the bedroom clean. The people awful.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank 574meganm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
smokingdragon, Manager at Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
Great that you acknowledge that the place is awesome, clean and the views are great thanks for that.

Let's start with the comment that you have to buy everything here. Hmmm are we not supposed to charge for things???... the complaint is about buying bottled water and wifi. I have never been somewhere that doesn't charge for bottled drinks??? In rural areas like ours where we do NOT even have PHONE LINES and cell phone reception is terrible, you are lucky to get internet at all. BUT we have actually installed a SATELLITE system which is EXTREMELY expensive BUT VERY FAST. We HAVE to charge for every bit of data going either way. The urban internet cafes in SA charge the same price for use of their MUCH CHEAPER ADSL lines. We charge R10 for 15 minutes.... is that a rip off?

Okay then there was the issue about the shuttle to the park. WHY would we be discouraging anyone to do the shuttle? If we didn't want to offer shutttles then they wouldn't be on offer. What happened on this day is that we practically BEGGED on hands and knees for these customers to tell us what they were doing as they DID NOT have their own car. WE were trying to get them out and about for the cheapest price and they simply DID NOT let us know what they were doing.

The rule is that the shuttles and tours LEAVE AT SET times in order for us to assist as MANY people as possible. Phew we tried and tried and eventually the shuttle had to leave and then as soon as it left out the gate with the driver at the proper time, the customers emerge and tell us that they actually want to go. This meant having to send an extra vehicle and extra driver (at our expense.) Actually we should have stuck to our guns and refused to put on an extra shuttle that day. BUT even though we did, the customer was still not happy....... what can one do? By the way nobody called her idiotic.

Because the shuttle left late we gave the customer an extra 40 minutes for the hike......... BUT she was not happy with that either.

A man grazed his chin outside, this customer rushed in and asked for a towel and when the woman in the front office said "hang on let me go to him with a bandage filled with ice." the client says "don't worry just give me one of your bath towels" so the woman at the front desk says "we have special bandages in our first aid kit and anyway I want to get him ice as well. Don't mess up a new bath towel when I have first aid stuff specifically for FIRST AID!" she is then told that she did not care enough............... just couldn't please this customer no matter what we did.
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Potchefstroom, North-West, South Africa
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2013

The view from the Amphi is priceless. The dorms are very clean as well as the kitchen.
It would have been a great stay if the employees would have been more organized, we waited 30 minutes to pay as they were not able to manage, and if they would not have pressured us to book trips through them. One employee even recommended us to stay longer and not go to another lodge as it would be the same. To give a bad word of mouth about another hostel is more than unprofessional.
But all in all, it was a nice stay.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Irina Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Level Contributor
84 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

The location is stunning and this could be a wonderful place. I arrived on the Baz Bus. As others have mentioned, the staff immediately attempts to book you on expensive tours and seems focused on other ways to get you to spend as much money as possible. Internet, bottled water and bike rentals are grossly overpriced. The 3 course dinner is the only option unless you have a car or brought food. It was mediocre and twice what I routinely pay for much better food. After the presentation of tour options, we were not even shown our rooms or given a tour of the place. I didn't know until I was leaving that there was a library and tv area upstairs.
The grounds are very nice and there are some nice amenities like the pool, nature trails, bar area. The dorm room was fine but again the focus is on getting as much money as possible so the small room contains 3 bunks as well as a double bed in the loft. There is no space for belongings and little space between the bed and bath. Unlike some others, I did feel the room and other areas were clean
The tour to Lesotho was interesting but again over priced. At 560 each for 15 people one would expect more. The lunch was extremely basic. The van was very crowded and at one point we had to get and walk while some of us pushed the van. The guide texted on his phone while he was supposed to be translating for the medicine woman. He also texted while driving. One of the tourists asked if she could give cookies to the children. She was told to give it to the second guide who would pass them out. He never did but instead took them with him.
I would not stay here again especially without my own transport. This could be a good place but needs changes in management and customer service. .

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank lovinsc_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

I loved the location of the place : it is just mind-boggling and it is a really nice hostel (albeit a bit expensive), but the staff is just terrible. I arrived to do the hike on the rim of the Amphitheatre and the manager told me, they were not organizing the trip the next dayh although they confirmed it to me earlier on by phone. When I told him, he told me, I must have misunderstood and immediately suggested me staying longer and changing my travel plans, which I was not able to do. When I went back at 5pm as he asked me to see what the possibilities where, he was extremely rude (I already explained you this before) , dismissed my questions on how I could find another way to do it and in the end even ignored me. Another one of the staff, tried to sell me another tour, in which i was not interested and then called me a little baby.for not following her through. When I told her this was a bit harsh, she started calling me names. I never encountered a rude staff as this ever. The next day, we were 3 people to do the tour and went back to the manager, because he promised us earlier that he would organize it if we had 3 people and he simply told us that he was not having the discussion again and walked off. In the end, it went especially to drakenburgs to missing some of the most beautiful landscapes because the staff are only interested in selling their own stuff. And to add insult to injury, on the last day, they actually tried to charge me for transport, I did not even take.

I am pretty sure if a new hostel opens u next door with a better service, they are out of business.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank rezkiyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge

Property: Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge
Address: R74, Jagersrust 3354, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Jagersrust
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Jagersrust
Hotel Class:5 star — Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The venue is really amazing. The lodge is found on a stunning 300 hectares of land near the foot of the Amphitheatre (Royal Natal National Park) and Cathedral Peak. The Mpande River weaves through the lands. There are buck, small mammals and a fantastic array of wild birds near the 2 dams and a picture postcard view from the lawn, a 360 degree panorama that takes in the entire Northern range from the Amphitheatre all the way to Cathkin Peak. The lodge is a base from which you can explore different sections and all the highlights of the Drakensberg Park each day. Built from stone, thatch and wood, the place is like an artist's sculpture with stained glass, metal and wooden carvings, mosaics and beautiful indigenous rockeries. ... more   less 

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