The Chimp Eden Hotel had the worst service I've ever encountered at a hotel, and it was so bad that it wound up ruining our entire experience. Do NOT stay at this hotel!
When we stayed at the Chimp Eden, we were the only guests and we only stayed for one night, and yet the hotel was completely incompetent and unable to handle all basic hotel service requirements. It took them 30 minutes to check us into our room because they couldn't find the key. Also, even though we were the only guest, the room we requested and confirmed 2 days before was somehow "unavailable." The normal desk manager wasn't there during our entire stay, and the woman checking us in usually works in the kitchen and clearly knew nothing about the hotel and was painfully dumb. Due to her incompetence, we wound up missing the beginning of the first chimp tour, which was the sole reason for our stay at Chimp Eden so we were incredibly disappointed. A few hours after the last chimp tour of the day, we were scheduled to have dinner at the hotel, and nobody was around to tell us where the restaurant was located. We walked around for 20 minutes, but couldn't find the restaurant or anyone around the property. As we walked, we even screamed "HELP" as loud as possible, hoping someone would hear us and help out. Nobody did. Finally, we went back to our room and called the main number and someone answered and directed us to the restaurant. Dinner that night was disgusting and absurdly priced. Dinner at Chimp Eden was one of the most expensive meals we had on our entire trip, even though we stayed at all luxury hotels and Relais and Chauteax properties with critically acclaimed restaurants, as well as the top independent restaurants in all the parts of the country that we visited. There is no excuse for charging such expensive prices for South Africa and then serving barely edible food.
Seeing how bad and slow the service was during check-in, as well as how hard it is to find someone to help you, we asked if we could pay and check out that night for our stay so it wouldn't ruin the activities for the next day. We didn't want to miss any of the morning chimp tour and we needed to leave the hotel immediately after the tour so that we would be on time for our safari. The lady working didn't know how to do this, so she told us to ask someone else the next day. The next morning, we had breakfast (disgusting again) and spent over an hour trying to check out and pay. Nobody could figure this out and kept directing us to someone else since they didn't want to do it themselves. We threatened to not pay at all if they took so long that we miss the chimp tour, and this motivated them to at least try to help us check-out. Due to their incompetence, we AGAIN missed the beginning of the morning chimp tour, which is the only reason to stay at the hotel. The hotel had arranged in advance for a driver to pick us up immediately after the chimp tour and drive us to our safari lodge in Sabi Sands. Aggravatingly, they were incompetent and didn't communicate to their guards that the driver should be allowed into the property. So our driver (that they arranged!) was at their front gate trying to be allowed inside to pick us up for over an hour, even though the entire time we were following up with the hotel and asking them to find out what happened to our driver and alerting them that we would miss our safari that we paid a small fortune for if the driver didn't arrive soon. It took over an hour for them to figure out what was going on and we wound up missing our safari due to their incompetence.
As we were leaving, the owner of the hotel happened to be walking by and heard my husband complaining. She offered to give him some wine as an apology for the incessant mistakes. He asked instead that a donation be made to the chimp institute (it is owned by separate management than the hotel) and she promised that she would make a donation for 1000 rand ($130) and guaranteed to follow-up immediately with proof of the donation. We never heard back from the hotel with confirmation of the donation, and emailed them about the donation to follow-up. It has been weeks now and they ignore our emails and fail to fulfill their promise, and it is completely clear now that they have no integrity. While the Jane Goodall Chimp Institute is incredible and was one of the most fascinating parts of our visit to South Africa, the Chimp Eden Hotel is awful and uses the chimp institute to allure guests and make a profit, but it does not care about the well being of either the chimps, nor the hotel guests. I highly recommend avoiding the Chimp Eden Hotel, but I do recommend visiting the Jane Goodall Chimp Institute for a fascinating tour, but definitely stay at a different hotel. Since transportation around Nelspruit is expensive, and driving seemed easy, I recommend renting a car.