We recently ran a Yoga and Healthy Eating Retreat at this venue. My event organiser had previously been to the venue on another retreat more than a year ago and also during the winter months. Unfortunately nothing had changed in terms of how freezing cold the rooms are and yet little has been done to make the guests stay pleasant in terms of heating. There are small panel heaters in the room but we advised all our guests to bring their own heaters which they did. Unfortunately we then had major electricity issues with the plugs short circuiting regularly and this happened with only two plugs being used so the heaters were also pointless. Our national electricity provider (as bad as they are) were blamed by the Managing Director (MD) in her response to us when it was only the plugs not the entire electrical board that wasn't working. In fact the first night we had no hot water and the MD once again blamed the guests ("of your own doing. Someone in your party had left the hot water running in the sink at the upstairs bar for most of the night, which drained the one hot water geyser."). Our guests hadn't even used this room as we had only just arrived so we weren't talking about the next day, we were talking about the night we arrived. This is indeed a lie as one of the staff that work there told us there was an issue with one of the two geysers. Apart from the cold water, no electricity and general bad maintenance at the venue we had a more disturbing experience which was so badly managed that I feel it necessary to advise the public at large.
During our last evening there was a break-in and someone had come through the one back door that had unfortunately had been left open by a staff member who openly admitted it and possibly an innocent mistake. We were grateful that we had a little Yorkie dog with us and if it wasn’t for her waking us up by barking and me having to shout out "who is there" and possibly scare them, as this intruder/s passed by our door, things could really have turned out badly. It was only when the intruder(s) opened the glass door that leads to the our bedroom suite and yoga studio that we woke up, thank goodness they hadn't gone upstairs first where all the guests were. This was indeed a rather frightening experience as we were the only two sleeping downstairs and these could have been armed intruders and now after shouting out we were concerned about our guests upstairs (one whose door didn't lock anyway as we found out afterwards).
We called the staff member who stays on the premises to see if it was him walking around at 1am in the morning only to be told no it wasn't and he immediately came through with his colleague and found that someone had indeed entered the premises through the back door. This venue is in a very remote area of South Africa and with a very high crime rate griping South Africa currently and specifically on remote farms one would think that security would be a major concern. Obviously one cannot take every possible precaution especially if you haven't had any problems before however once something like this happens and you are informed you would expect the manager to be a little more empathetic to the guests ordeal and open to suggestions however it was once again blamed on us ("there is a certain responsibility that lies with the groups that enjoy the freedom that comes with Guinevere. We live in South Africa - and it is mind boggling that any responsible event manager would retire for the night without locking all the outside doors."). Even though the staff member told us he forgot to lock the door which we accepted we get told by the MD that it is our responsibility to lock the outside doors. There are lots of very old doors and so easy to break in whether locked or not but to blame the guests is another cop out.
The police arrived about 15 minutes later and with guns out we searched the premises and thank goodness found nobody in the house. They then left and the staff member slept in the kitchen/lounge area where the open door was and I checked on him regularly as I felt for him. This all happened around 1am and as a result we had a very sleepless night jumping up with every noise and arming ourselves with a kitchen knife. All the guests were also woken by the police presence so it truly was a terrible evening on our last night of a what was supposed to be a relaxing Yoga Retreat.
Obviously no-one was expecting this however one would expect a professional emphatic response from management however all we were told was that it was the guests fault and ours and we were responsible for the cold water, the electricity cutting out and what is 'mind blowing' is that we were responsible for someone breaking into the premises too, obviously we were shocked enough by the experience and then to be told that it was our responsibility was unbelievable. Then to top it all, we informed other parties that also hold retreats there of our experience and that they must get the venue to increase their security and that they are aware of this, only to be told "You have caused us further damage by not addressing your issues with us first, and admitting your own shortcomings, before contacting our loyal clients." We are not quiet sure of our 'shortcomings' and also not sure why the MD wouldn't want us to tell others clearly trying to hide things.
If this was handled professionally the whole experience would have been different and this would never have transpired, however the response from management has been shocking and has left a very bad taste in our mouths and those of our guests so I will leave it up to you to make up your own mind but please do check with the venue as to what NEW security measures they now have in place for their guests before you visit this venue. Travel safe.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC