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riverrat205
Johannesburg, South Africa

Disappointing stay

3.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 Sept 2021
This is the third time we have stayed at Woodlands. I admit I was the client from hell as we had a large group who were constantly changing because of covid restrictions and illness. However, I thought their cancellation fees during a time that is difficult for everyone, were excessive. Everywhere else we stayed in Botswana and Zimbabwe were happy for the business and waived the cancellation fees. The water in the showers was NEVER hot and the lady we spoke to in the morning admitted that some of the geysers had been turned off. We ordered food which was excellent but were only provided with a microwave to heat it on request. I had emailed in advance and asked that each couple be given a separate invoice including their food and that any cancellation fees be billed to my account. We arrived late due to delays at the border and this was totally beyond the capability of the lady who met us. I asked if it wasn't possible to see the manager and was told that she had gone for the night. We were all left with the feeling that the money was more important than the service. I won't be recommending Woodlands again.
Date of stay: September 2021
2.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
2.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
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Mike and Anne West, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this review
Responded 30 Sept 2021
Good day riverrat205,
Oh dear how very disappointing to hear that after previous stays with us this one was not up to your expectations and that you feel we are not worthy your recommendations any longer. We apologise for any frustrations that were carried over to us from your delayed time at the border crossing into Botswana.
Our cancellation policies are in place for the survival of our business as once a booking is made the accommodation is then reserved for you and if cancelled and especially at very short notice, as was the case with one of your travellers, we in turn do not have the time to retrieve that accommodation to sell it again. Sorry about that!
If I may respond to your comments in order of their presentation then I would like to comment on the lack of hot water in the campsite area where you were staying. The evening was busy and both geysers on with control valves to switch over from one to the other as one gets emptied of the hot water. It appears the one valve was not opened in due time for which we take full responsibility and for which we apologise profusely. (Always safer to stay in an en-suite room with one’s own geyser and hot water especially on a first night stay in Botswana.)
I have been briefed on the situation with the meals that you ordered and which you found to be so delicious. The ladies were heating and delivering those meals as fast as the microwave could cope and they were doing so as a matter of normal practise for guests in the campsite who do not have their own heating/warming facilities! They are the same ladies who prepare and cook the meals and are very disappointed at the comment about their poor service and attention to your needs.

With regard to the request to prepare individual invoices for each couple - that request was only received the afternoon of your impending arrival and without the information of how much each individual had paid that request is impossible to fulfil. A bulk payment had been made by yourself and so we did not know who had paid what—one person is always easier to deal with as you so happily agreed with on your later arrival.
The people in your party, for whom you had painstakingly taken time to book and re-arrange for were so bitterly and almost angrily disappointed with the accommodation that you had booked for them!
Always so difficult to meet the individual needs of travellers in groups. You tried your very best!
A job that you had done so well right from the early requests for accommodation.

The manager was contacted at the time. She lives just 2 kms down the road and was more than happy to come back to help you. You told the reception ladies that you would handle the balance of payment together with the issue of the cancellation and you told the ladies that all your group members had been fully informed about the nature of the accommodation that was reserved for them by you and that their complaints were unfounded.
That particular area of our business (the campsite chalets) remain closed since April last year (2020 COVID) and were opened especially for your party. They are now closed and will not be available again till our business returns to some sort of normality. In hind-sight we should have kept them closed even after your continual requests to open for you.
We are very saddened that your experience here at Woodlands was not to your satisfaction and we trust that one day, after a wonderful trip through Botswana, you will find the grace to give us a second chance to try to meet your expectations?
We do look forward to your return trips when things are “back to normal” and we have a full compliment of staff and not the skeleton staff with which we are trying to run a limping business.
Thank you again for taking the time to comment and air your views and dissatisfaction.
I have had exhaustive chats with my loyal staff who always offer of their very best at all times. I am proud of them and salute them at such difficult times in their lives also.
Kind regards,
Anne West (Mrs) Owner

This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 1 September 2021

Good accomodation. Convenient. Well signposted. Beds could be more comfortable and it may feel one is less watched over if there were fewer instructions (I counted no less than 18 signs dotted around the room)

Date of stay: August 2021
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Amol K
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mike and Anne West, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2021

Hello Amol K,
Thank you so much for taking the time to rate & review us so highly. Glad you found the accommodation to be good, convenient and that you found us easily with the help of the sign boards. So sorry to make you feel as though you had someone watching over you with our little messages and instructions dotted around the room -- We have found it to be a thorough way of communicating bits and pieces about the business in case some things were not communicated on arrival or during your stay. Not all guests require this but others value it.
Thanks for your comments about this though-- I will take another closer look at them all again to see which ones can in fact be removed now.
Trust you will be back again to enjoy us and our beautiful country Botswana?
Kind regards,
Mike & Anne West (Owners)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2021

Excellent facilities, cleanliness one of the best camping spots I've ever been to !
I would not hesitate to recommend Woodlands to other travellers.It is like can oasis in the middle of semi-desert.Well done !

Date of stay: August 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank adriandt2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mike and Anne West, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2021

Hello adriandt2021,
Wow what a lovely appreciative review and grand rating. So very thrilled to hear that you found us to be one of the best camping spots that you have ever been too! We have gleaned all the tips and suggestions from travellers over the years to make it what you enjoyed recently -- thanks to so many reviews and comments which we value greatly. Thank you for your referrals we would appreciate them a lot and thank you for taking the time to post your comments on this platform!
Trust you will be back one day soon again?
Kind regards,
Mike and Anne West (Owners)

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Reviewed 26 August 2021

Very comfortable spacious room, convenient stopover on our way home, excellent well-maintained pool, camping facilities and garden etc. Were lucky enough to see a giant eagle owl family in the riverbed trees.

Date of stay: August 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank clairegdellis
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mike and Anne West, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2021

Hello clairegdellis,
Thank you so much for your great rating and lovely review of us here at Woodlands Stop Over & Lodge.
We are thrilled that you found everything to be convenient and comfortable-- the spacious rooms are appreciated by many especially when carrying large travel bags for extended holidays.
The Verreaux's Eagle Owl is still sitting on eggs and we trust we will be seeing the "little ones" very soon-- hopefully two of them! Trust they don't find the tame garden Guinea Fowl easy dinner?
We hope you enjoyed your trip around Botswana and that you will back to visit us all again soon?
Kind regards,
Mike & Anne West (Owners)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2021

Our family had a lovely stay at Woodlands. The staff was friendly and the chalet was well equipped and cozy with warm water bottles provided for the cold night. We saw the resident Verreaux eagle owl on and early morning walk in the dry river bed.

Date of stay: July 2021
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank anitaerasmus
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mike and Anne West, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 14 August 2021

Hello anitaerasmus,
So lovely to hear from you with such a high rating and lovely review about us here at Woodlands Stop Over & Lodge. Thank you very much! So very glad you got to see the Verreaux Eagle Owl on your early morning walk -- he gives himself away with his deep grunting! We then know he is around for the camera lens!
We trust you will be back soon to enjoy our little piece in Africa.
Travel safely
Kind regards,
Mike & Anne West (Owners)

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Reviewed 22 July 2021

Yes its a little out of town but well worth the short drive. The Manager Sunet yet again went beyond the norm to help with vehicle issues. The frozen meals are always good value. Fir me a big plus is that they allow my dogs.

Date of stay: July 2021
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Angora v
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mike and Anne West, Owner at Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2021

Hello Angora v
Thank you so much for the great rating and the very nice review of us here at Woodlands Stop Over & Lodge.
So glad your vehicle was sorted out and that you and your dogs always enjoy Woodlands! Also very happy to hear that the meals were enjoyed as well!
Thank you for your loyal support of us here -- we do so appreciate it very much.
Kind regards,
Mike & Anne West (Owners)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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