We had never stayed or visited Leaves Lodge but we thought we would give it a try as the website seemed quite good - it looked grand! We called to make a reservation and spoke with Vincent the 'host'/manager - we requested two superior rooms (not the standard luxury ones!!) and gave our Visa card number and expiry date. Then we were asked for the security number on the back of the card ... in South Africa with the great rate of card cloning that happens (happened to us on a previous trip to Nelspruit at a far more lovely and luxurious lodge than this!) we regretfully said we would not supply that information.
After much grumbling, Vincent said he would happily reserve the rooms for us and if anyone wants to take them, he would call us and let us know, then we could decide if we would risk giving the security number or not. Fair enough!
Well... we called Leaves Lodge when we were about 1.5 hours away and spoke with Vincent to confirm our rooms were ready for us and we're almost there, and he said sure enough they were but warned us that there was a power cut. Not unusual in SA so no worries.
We arrive after a very long drive, in complete darkness. Finally find the entrance which could only fit 2 cars (3 if you squeezed and we had to) and was not met by anyone!! Vincent didn't come out and greet us, particularly given it was absolute darkness and after a good 15 minutes one of our party went blindly searching for the front door to request some light(!) and the maid come out with a lamp.
As if that was bad enough... turns out Vincent had given away one of our rooms!!!!! Offered us a 'small double but has two single beds' - NOT acceptable. When asked why he had done this when we had called to confirm less than 2 hours ago and he knew the situation - his only response was ''well these people arrived and were willing to pay upfront''.... our jaws dropped - this incredibly large, ill-dressed, rude, disastrous man actually should be sacked!!!! If Leaves Lodge allows this sort of behaviour, this sort of communication (the way he spoke to us was downright wrong!) and this sort of error to go unnoticed then it will be to the detriment of their success in the future.
We will NEVER return to Leaves Lodge, and after such a bad experience felt it our responsibility to share this with others who may be looking for a nice place to stay - our advise is STAY AWAY!
Our short poke around the 'lobby' area gave us the realisation that the advertised 'grandeur' of the place is all a farce... tacky finishings and felt cold and empty!!!
We will say however that the maid was exceptionally pleasant and we felt she sincerely empathized with our situation and told us Vincent was new.... clearly new to ways of decency and customer service. Appalling!
Incredibly - for the same price (if not less!!!) you could stay at an array of other fine establishments in Nelspruit which is what we highly suggest you do!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- For the true 5 star experience, come to Leaves Lodge & Spa. This impressive guest house exemplifies the very best in modern architecture and offers fifteen spacious bedrooms, each with its own private balcony. Built on a granite dome you can enjoy the breathtaking views from your room over the ancient indigenous African bush and a murmuring mountain stream that runs through lush gardens – a birding hot spot with a relaxing walk in the nature reserve.The day spa is nestled in nature next to the river and offers you a wide range of facial and body treatments by our qualified therapists - truly a must for every person who is content with only the best. We proud ourselves in the wide range of personal yet professional services that we offer to cater for all your individual needs. For the weary traveler a home-style dinner can be served on a tray in the privacy of your room. A scrumptious breakfast is included in your stay. The up-market, fully serviced board room accommodates thirty people. A variety of lunches and platters are served. Leaves Lodge & Spa is also the ideal venue for special and intimate functions. The lodge is ideally situated for day trips - the world famous Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrims Rest, Barberton, Aventura Resorts, Swaziland and Maputo are within easy range. The lodge is near the CBD, private hospital, restaurants, shopping centres and the KMI airport. The staff will assist in arranging and advising on any of the above mentioned excursions. A chauffeur service is available on request. Indeed, Leaves Lodge & Spa, with its relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, offers the perfect retreat from a hectic and stressful life-style! ... more less
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