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“Heat issue is ridiculous at this price”

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Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 13, 2013

The Sopa lodge is a beautiful hotel on the rim of the crater. I wouldn't normally choose this type of large, chain hotel but given its location and the other choices available, we felt it was the best option for a quick descent into the crater. Upon arrival we were greeted with cold juice and warm towels. The lobby is beautifully decorated and all of the employees were extremely friendly. We had room #3 which was on the bottom.

The room was large and clean but didn't have much of a view. This was fine as we didn't have a lot of time to spend looking out the window anyway. We went to the bar for a drink before dinner. The bar has a fireplace in the center with four sides so that four different fires can be built. We were freezing, even in the bar area, so we picked a spot right in front of the fireplace. They had lit some coals in the fireplace but only the puniest of flames was burning. I asked the waiter if they could do something about it and he looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently to them, one little flame was a fire that was supposed to warm a room. We then head over to dinner where you are seated up against huge, cold picture windows. Again, in the center of the room is a giant fireplace. No fire whatsoever. It's just full of wood carvings. No heat in the rooms either other than between the hours of 1930 and 2130. After that, you get a hot water bottle in your bed. This actually worked out okay but only because we slept in all the clothes we brought. Don't get me wrong...I was prepared for cold at the crater but at the price of this lodge per night the lack of a simple fire in the fireplace is ridiculous. Every other place we stayed had fires at night and they were nowhere near this cold a setting. But what really makes me give this lodge a lower rating is that the guides don't even get a hot water bottle in their beds. THE GUIDES HAVE NO HEAT WHATSOEVER! I think that is disgraceful. How much does a hot water bottle cost? Seriously!

Food at this hotel was good and plentiful. We were served a very tasty three course dinner and buffet breakfast. Staff was attentive and friendly.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank zihuatcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 12, 2013

The view from the lounges, dining room and bedrooms were unbelievable. Very disappointed I didnot have time for a dip in the pool. The food and service were excellent. I would just like water provided at the diningroom table. The decor was superb . And all this was rated standard. Shame the road into the lodge had not been graded for sometime.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Worldtosee46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2013

Nice setting overlooking the crater. it's a rather large lodge with a few hundred guests. The buffet dinner with international cuisine and barbecued meat was delicious. Staff was friendly.

it's cold up at 2000m high. Bring a warm jacket!

Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
2  Thank Carol S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

This lodge really is beautiful, and along with all of the other SOPA lodges, a really consistent high level of customer serivce. Big bright smiles everywhere you go and everyone is more than happy to help. We had one waiter in particular, Joseph, who was fantastic, and always remembered our names and would always have a joke with us. The views from the lodge were stunning. I would imagine the views from some of the rooms would have been amazing too, ours was kind of down the end a bit, and the view was pretty obstructed, but that did not bother us as we weren't in the room all that often.
The only gripe I have with the lodge is that on our second night there, as there were a few members from the Indian consulate staying there with their families the lodge decided to put on an all you eat buffet of really bad indian food. There was no other option of food, it was either Indian or you went hungry. If I had wanted Indian food, then I would have taken a holiday to India instead of Tanzania... It was just a shame, because all of the other meals were of such high quality, but the Indian food was really terrible (and not because I don't like Indian, I happen to love it!)
Overall though, a great lodge!

Room Tip: Try to get ones as close to the main lodge as possible
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank JustinP3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2013

Sopa is big and not very personal (except for the unexpected hug from our porter!) but it’s reasonably priced and the views are beautiful. It's a shame the clouds didn’t clear a little more for us. The location is fantastic for an early entry into the Crater.

After a few nights of very little water pressure and then 3 nights in an eco-camp where hot water had to be requested, the huge showers here were exactly what my friends and I needed. The rooms are very large and had everything we needed.

I would not recommend running a bar tab, just pay as you go. None of the staff knew which drinks were on whose tabs and that caused a lot of confusion as we were trying to go to dinner.
The dinner buffet was extensive and tasty.

We arrived late in the afternoon and left early the next morning to go into the Crater. It would have been nice to spend some more time here to relax in nice surroundings.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Kellie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2013

Sopa lodge has a lot of staff which are very efficient. I will get on to the negative points first. 1. It gets very cold at night and heating is rather limited with hot water heaters which do not fill the room and in some rooms don't work. 2. general maintenance, a lot of the rooms are getting run down and are need of refurbishment. 3. Hot water policy - absolutely absurd especially if one wants to eat a buffet dinner at the allowed time as the water is off by the time you get back from the dining room - introduce a later cutoff. 4 Never saw the masai dancers that were promised and stayed multiple nights and every staff member gave a different excuse for why it wasn't happening or the time changed. And the best one - 6. THE BOTTOM ROOMS ARE ABSOLUTELY AWFUL AND LOOK OUT ON EXPOSED CONCRETE AND GRASSED RETAINING WALLS, IF YOU ARE PUTTING PEOPLE IN THESE KIND OF ROOMS YOU SHOULD OFFER A DISCOUNT you however cannot control this when you book but they may try and move you. We did complain and were given a complementary bottle of wine (which is not much on the price of a room for 3 people if the rate is 500 dollars).

The good/better

1. There was WiFi and it worked well 2. There was a variety of food, buffet had a lot of options but most are cold or lukewarm and generally bland, the food on the set meal night is better. Even the Indian food was bland except for the lime pickle and the property seems to make a lot of dishes catering to Indians. 3. lots of drinks options at the bar and the coffee shop was good.

I guess there a limited options if you want to stay on the crater rim so unless new properties are developed not much is going to change. My take home point is that I would stay outside next time as I don't think it was worth 500 dollars or perhaps would just stay 1 night to cut costs.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Busybeejay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2013

We stayed one night at Sopa and absolutely loved it. The food, service and the view were the highlight for this hotel. Our first choice was Serena but it was fully booked and i was glad that happened. Like the previous reviewer, i did not mind the hot water restrictions. The rooms might be slightly outdated but were clean and huge. The big windows with the spectacular views from the rooms are to die for. It was cold at night and they put hot water bottles in our beds- so nice.
The staff was attentive, professional and i don't have a single complaint about them. Our head waiter Freddy was awesome. I have travelled to resorts in the Caribbean and recently to a five star resort in Mexico and the staff here were the best. I loved the food, was glad to have ugali, spinach.They had bbq meat outside, i liked the idea- it was tender and tasty. And oh yeah, this is the only place i ate at where the soup, porridge was hot and stayed hot. I kept on remembering that whenever i ate at the other lodges- how did they do it at Sopa?
I find if you go to a place with high expectations you get disappointed- i was going to Sopa expecting to get second best, and it was a nice surprise. Would definitely recommend and would love to go back.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Shehnaaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Address: Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range: $554 - $707 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
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Also Known As:
Ngorongoro Sopa Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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