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“bush luxury… instant relaxation”

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andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Durban
Level Contributor
55 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“bush luxury… instant relaxation”
Reviewed October 15, 2009

My boyfriend and I had a wonderful 2 nights at Phinda Rock Lodge. We had previously stayed at Phinda Zuka last year and were looking forward to another bush experience.

Our host, Richard, did explain on arrival that Rock Lodge is the last of all the lodges to be upgraded, which is due to happen early next year. Although some of the decor is a little dated, it isn't shabby and didn't affect our experience of luxury. Our room was spacious and airy, with lovely views.
One thing I found odd was the toilet, which was sort of open to the world, and I could hear people chatting on the balcony upstairs quite clearly whilst on the loo. Made me wonder what they could hear… :)
Our bed was very comfortable during afternoon nap time, but for some reason we battled to settle down at night. Can't place my finger on exactly what was the problem, but I think there may have been an issue with the air circulation in the room so it was stuffy. This probably would have been rectified by using the air-con, but we preferred not to.

Meals were so plentiful and fresh and delicious. I especially loved lunch, a platter of yummy salads to share with your partner. Sooo good. In fact, after the first night I felt quite ill from all the overindulging, I'm definitely not used to being so well fed and having a drink with every meal, but it was a treat.

This experience for me was the ultimate in luxury. Everything is taken care of and the most difficult decision you'll be faced with is white wine or red?

Game drives were very enjoyable, although Spring is the rainy season, so we did spend most of our game drives in the rain, with ponchos on. We survived, but it wasn't ideal. That didn't stop us from seeing sub-adult lions playing right next to our vehicle.

The lodge only has 6 'cottages' and so it is small and intimate, and a very relaxing and luxurious way to spend a weekend. What a treat.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank noodle12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Bournemouth, UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2009

We stayed in Phinda for 4 nights - we were due to be at Vlei Lodge throughout but they had unexpected construction going on, which was very noisy, so at our request they moved us to Rock Lodge after the first night. Our guide, Sibu, was fantastic and really focussed on what we wanted to do and look for on our game drives. We had fantastic sightings of cheetah, lion, rhino (white and black), and many zebra, giraffes, antelopes etc.
Rock Lodge is unusual - it is built into the mountains, is rustic and has a Tuscan feel to its decor. The rooms are large and self-contained, with plunge pool. The catering was good and we were fed far too much! The vegetarian cooking could be better though. The service was not quite so attentive as Vlei Lodge, but Andy , the Vlei manager is exceptional. Go to Phinda, you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Julieanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level Contributor
48 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2009

having been to the top safari lodges and knowing the reputation of the owning company now called &Beyond, we were more than disappointed immediately we arrived. We had stayed at sister lodge Ngala which was stupenous. The public areas were claustrophobic and run down and did not boast that open luxury feeling that was promised and expected. We actually left without even looking at the rooms, not wanting to spend an expensive few days in that atmosphere.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
3 Thank Yendys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Luis Obispo CA
Level Contributor
19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2008

In reading some of the previous reviews, I must come to the conclusion that Rock Lodge has recently been renovated because it was delightful during our stay! The rooms are extremely comfortable with earth colors that perfectly fit the surroundings. The sitting area and the bedroom afforded lovely views and were stunning in design. The large bathroom was functional and both the indoor and the outdoor showers were highlights of our stay! The pool has several comfortable seating options; unfortunately the water was too cold (perhaps installing solar heating would be wise?) It was private and relaxing. The main deck for dining was stunning and the cuisine was very good, especially the varied lunches. Little extras were evident, like a smoothie waiting for you after the game drive, and a very attentive host who ensured all our room service dinners were enjoyable. The game drives were excellent and we enjoyed getting to know our local ranger, Lucky.
Phinda was the highlight of our 3 weeks in Africa and we recommend a few days at Rock Lodge after a few days at Phinda Forest as a must!

  • Liked — Lovely accomodation that perfectly fits its surroundings; great game drives
  • Disliked — leaving (they even packed us a snack for the road as a surprise)
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank scfphoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casciana Terme Lari, Italy
Level Contributor
17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2008

We have spent three nights in Phinda Rock Lodge, coming from Ngala and Dulini; in the last ten years we have been in many lodges in South Africa and neighboring countries.
We were quite disappointed with our stay and I wrote to CC Africa to express our disappointment. “ …. food not at the requested level, despite an excellent service. Housekeeping very good with a very clean room, but maintenance unsatisfactory (impossible to close the windows etc. and so
to avoid the mosquitoes inside the room); on the first day and night the walls were hot inside the room due to a not effective insulation, so the air conditioning was mandatory but it was blowing the air exactly on the bed so we had to choose to become cold (as we did!!) or to accept the heat ….”.
I agree completely with Laura 2459, finding that nothing has changed since 2005; unfortunately I’ve read that feed-back only AFTER my stay in Rock Lodge.
Pindha Rock Lodge is one of the most expensive lodges, but you can find a better stay spending the half.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Food, maintenance and training of the staff
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank ReGaude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boxmoor, Herts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2005

Phinda Rock Lodge is just fabulous! Honestly, can't fault it at all, service was first class - ALL staff remembering both mine and my girlfriends name within just a few moments of arriving.

Good food served in either your own room or with the other guests in the dining room.

Excellent game viewing - we saw giraffe as we lounged in the plunge pool!

One thing though.. we left Phinda and went to the new kid on the block; Thanda Private Game Reserve..... and it was better!

But if you have booked Phinda, rest assured you are in for the time of your life. If you are going to Thanda you may have a slight smug smile on your face when you arrive!

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank jwoll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge

Property: andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge
Address: Phinda Private Game Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Phinda Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
AndBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge looks out over its own lush valley, like a small private castle amidst a tangle of wild African sights and sounds. The suites of this intimate and romantic lodge cling dramatically to steep cliffs with views across the valley. ... more   less 

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