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“Absolutely beautiful venue, but not close to 4 star service.”

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Woodridge Country Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Balgowan
Reviewed 16 February 2014

Being the best man at my brothers wedding over the the valentines weekend was a great privilege for me.

Unfortunately the staff at this wedding venue seemed uninterested in helping out, getting multiple food orders wrong at all tables and a complete disinterest from the staff and management when complaints were made.

when the wrong order was brought to the table they tried to make it out as the guests mistake and even tried to pass an ostrich fillet off as a piece of fish with one of the bride maids.

i believe the place has amazing potential and is a absolutely beautiful setting to get married but there are other places in the area with the same views, LOOK AT ALL OTHERS FIRST.

also the rooms are a very long way from the main bar and restaurant area, a driver was offered for the guests of which there was roughly 80, so a wait of roughly 35-45 minutes for your ride was normal. the bar staff were also charging some guests for drinks that were covered in the wedding party and pre paid for.

this i think will be the first of a few reviews from the same party.
i don't think any will be particularly kind about the service of this supposedly 4 star venue.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Zanzidiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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30 - 36 of 51 reviews

Reviewed 20 January 2014

So now that the honeymoon is over I have to take the time to thank you Woodridge country estate! Woodridge Res
Thank you for giving me and my husband the most wonderful weekend wedding we could dream of! We came all the way from Cape Town and you over exceeded every expectation we had!. The venue was fantastic, offering all our guests a place to stay and having the whole weekend to spend with family and friends made it extra special.
The staff were incredible, no request too big or too small to make sure we and our guests were always happy! Providing us with our own personal wedding planner at no additional cost, more venues should offer this kind of service which made it absolutely stress free.
We almost nearing our one month anniversary and friends and family have still not stopped talking about the wonderful experience and time they had.
We look so forward to coming back and spending more time at Woodridge Country Estate that will now always hold a special place in our hearts.
Highly recommended for the perfect weekend wedding getaway.

Room Tip: Room 10 is the honeymoon suite with your own private garden and pool area. Magnificent views.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Samantha A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2013

My post is in direct response to your utter disregard and blatant disrespect to the honest feedback of the bride below. I myself was a bridesmaid at this wedding and can verify all of her comments and would like to respond to some of yours. Firstly, trip advisor is public space where everyone who has visited can give there honest view and to give you some "perspective" a 42% is a shockingly low score and I think if you did some research to the top Hotels and your own competitors such as Granny Mouse Country House, you would see the “main” reviews are actually positive unless the establishment in questions deserves otherwise. Secondly, I know first-hand that the bride waited to post this review “five months later” because she had emailed, called, begged and pleaded to get feedback from you on her concerns and heard NOTHING. Your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life and for a lot of people the service she experienced at Woodridge would have totally ruined it that is why she posted- to warn all future couples of the possible outcome. You speak about personal effects being the guests responsibility ( a feeble excuse at best) but ok then lets chat about what is your responsibility. First and foremost providing the service for which you were paid the price of a small motor vehicle. Insuring the wedding was everything the coupled dreamed forming the bulk of that responsibility: there was a terrible storm the night of the wedding and the roof started leaking on guests heads I didn’t want to panic the bride and went straight to the wedding planner to seek a fast solution, her response was that of total disinterest. am running out of space and could go on and on but what I would like to stress in closing is that everything the bride said is COMPLETELY TRUE and find your response indicative of your ethos and values as a whole.

Stayed: November 2012, travelled with friends
7  Thank Mary Leigh W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2013

Our stay at Woodridge was terrible to say the least. We had money stolen from our rooms (Woodridge at first told us we were making accusations against their staff but later confirmed that the money had been stolen) The electricity went out on the Friday night and it was not an Eskom issue as only a few rooms were affected. At no point in the evening, did a member of staff or a Manager give us an update on what the issue was. We had to call continually from our personal cell phones. There was no telephone in the room to call reception. The Spa had no nail polish remover. The grouting in the bathroom was unfinished. The service is lacking and slow. The drinks are overpriced, in our opinion. We feel Woodridge is not good value for money. We would not recommend Woodridge,

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank NicoleD D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WoodridgeEstate, General Manager at Woodridge Country Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2013

Let's put this in perspective - Woodridge does weddings almost each weekend. We have done over 600 weddings , in the past 14 years and hosted thousands of guests for weddings, leisure and conferences. Why is it that in the main only bad reviews are published on public sites like TripAdvisor. - It surely makes a sensible, reasonable person think !
We find this particular review totally shocking. This bride was married at Woodridge in October 2012 and we believe posted this review in February 2013. 5 months later !! This in itself says a lot. This person has a problem and cannot let things go. Its hard to tell the whole story in a short response but in our opinion this bride is not honest. On the evening of the wedding she advised me personally how happy they were with everything. " Food, Service, Ambiance etc.was perfect". - her words. The following morning things had suddenly changed and her attack on our wedding co-coordinator and staff was so vicious it was most shocking behavior. Various claims were suddenly made. All matter was fully investigated. We could not substantiate most claims. An unfortunate incident was reported by 2 guests that claimed they had cash stolen from their room. This is not something Woodridge is used to. Our staff have handed in cellphones, jewellery and even small things like shampoo. The police were called and the staff were fired. Staff totally denied the theft but we could not take the risk. Guests were refunded in good faith. Only 10 days after the wedding did the bride claim she had also had cash stolen. This seemed rather unbelievable and while we apologized and were sympathetic - what could we do. Personal effects are a guests responsibility. Some very drunk guests claimed that full drinks were removed from their tables and drinks were double charged. A full investigation revealed that this was totally untrue. We offered to present the facts of our investigation to the parents and couple. This was refused. We have apologized to this bride, on numerous occasions but honestly we are at a loss to what she really wants - we suspect a refund. Why else would she just go on and on. She actually spoiled what was a very lovely occasion and this was verified from our internal guest reviews. Considering that she gave a rave review on the wedding night and only changed her story the next day, a refund we felt was unthinkable. I guess sometimes you just cannot keep some people happy and in the bigger picture and if all the facts be known - this review is totally untrue. We feel it sad that all our extremely happy brides do not post their reviews. We do however post these on our own website for all to see.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2012

My wife and I stayed at this hotel for 2 nights last week. Woodridge has a lot of potential, which they unfortunately have not taken advantage of. From reading other reviews, I realize this means that the manager lady is going to probably write a very long response to my review, so I'll do my best to be clear.

We arrived and had a lovely little picnic on the grass out front. My comment to management would be that while the food was nice picnic fare, there was just far too much of it - it could have easily fed 4. Save your money and give more reasonable portions. The same was true of breakfast: they brought a tower of plates with granola, yogurt, meats, cheeses, fruit, etc, a large pitcher of orange juice, and a full pitcher of milk...and we enjoyed it....and then the waiter came up and asked us what we wanted for breakfast!! Added was bacon, sausage, toast, eggs, etc. Foolish of us to accept, but we spent the whole day feeling overly full. Again, not really a complaint, but please -- save your money and decrease the waste.

For dinner, the serving staff was very friendly and eager to please, but not very good. We were almost alone in the dining room, and the wait staff was literally waiting on our call, but did not seem to have the training to know how to serve. Empty dishes or drink cans, etc that we placed on the edge of the table, or even on the next table over were just left there after several visits from the waiter / waitress...new drinks that were brought were often placed in an awkward position on table, and we were never asked if we'd like our drinks replenished. The waitress took our orders and clearly knew nothing about the dishes on the menu, and when we asked her questions she would simply read the menu entry to us. Lol!! She missed simple things like asking how I'd like my steak cooked, etc.... again not really a big complaint, but certainly not the type of service you'd expect from a 4 star establishment. The food was not so great. Again big portions, but the Moroccan shank was quite overcooked and dry, and the kingklip and prawns dish had prawns that tasted like they were microwaved straight from frozen. Not enjoyable.

Side note: there is a cat that walks freely around the hotel and dining room, and as long as you have food, it's your best friend. It was cute and entertaining, but it stopped being cute when the begging got out of hand and it dug its claws into my thigh while I was dining.

In general, the staff were very friendly...gardeners and housekeeping staff would greet you as you passed, Octavia was very friendly and helpful at the front desk, and Nelson in the dining room was in general just a really nice guy.

We stayed in the "honeymoon suite", which was simply ok. Whoever has done the tiling work should be run out of town...the bathroom needs a bit of an overhaul, but nothing was too bad...just not great. The tv was small and hard to see from the bed, but not like we came to the midlands for tv. Lack of wi-fi (which was advertised on the hotel website) was a big disappointment. It is very unfortunate that for a place with the magnificent view that this one has, that the building doesn't have more windows that allow you to see it. What windows there were, the view was largely blocked by the trees / bushes. Hairdryer provided did not heat up. No phone in room to call front desk.

My wife was extremely excited that there was a pool just outside our room, and couldn't wait to get to the hotel and relax poolside in the sun. The pool is a long one the starts at a high level, and flows down to lower level pools down the length of the hotel...between the rooms and the brilliant view. The management in my opinion are CRAZY to have such a wonderful thing at their disposal, and to let it fall into its current state. It looks clean on the surface, but has thick fuzzy stuff growing all over the sides, ladder, etc. No chance you'd catch me swimming in that swimmer's itch waiting to happen.

There is a clean pool outside the spa, but I cannot understand who managed the renovation in this area. The existing pool has had a timber deck built around it, but the crazy thing is that the deck extends about 500-600mm over the pool on all sides...including over the stairs. It is not obvious how one would easily get out of this pool if they decided to get it. Also of note is the deck above the pool area that has a raised area next to a lower area....there is no railing between these areas, to protect you from the 1.5m+ sheer drop. Not clever on their part.

The best run "department" of this hotel has to be the landscaping. It is really quite well done and kept. Bravo.

They have hired some friendly and eager-to-help staff, but they lack proper training.

Maybe the hotel technically meets the 4 star rating criteria (which they base their pricing on), but they don't give a proper 4 star experience.

Manager lady: don't spend your time writing a long response to this review until you have had a mystery guest or similar professional give you an honest review of their stay and what would be expected for a 4 star experience, and have made changes that address their comments.

Until such time, not a place that I would stay again or recommend.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank travelguykelowna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WoodridgeEstate, General Manager at Woodridge Country Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2013

We are surprised at this review and cannot place this couple. Its impossible to assist guests when they choose to complain via a public forum rather than bringing their opinions to your attention while onsite. Management are always available. WiFi would have been addressed as would the swimming pool where possible and applicable. We are glad to have provided too much food rather than too little so a rather unusual take on things.

Let's put this in perspective : We host weddings, conferences and leisure guests daily i.e. hundreds of guests a month. Based on our internal reviews this just gives a personal opinion which everyone is quiet entitled to. We however feel is not entirely representative of the normal reviews. Please see our website for more positive reviews.

We take all reviews really seriously and thanks this couple for their frank advise and opinion.

We will not comment further. We respect your opinion. We just wish you had discussed this onsite then something proactive could have been done there and then.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2012

Held our management conference at Woodridge this week. If you are a relaxed team with a preference for cosy country home comforts, tasty local food and early nights, this comes highly recommended. Service was excellent, they provided variety of fun teambuilding events and the rooms were comfortable.

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Debbier41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WoodridgeEstate, General Manager at Woodridge Country Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2013

Many thanks for taking the time to post your positive review. We certainly try our best to please. Not easy to please everyone. We hope that you will come back.

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Reviewed 21 September 2012

I understand weddings are a big expensie business however its not ideal when you leave a wedding feeling than you have been taken advantage off. We had a wedding at Woodridge a couple of weekends ago. The whole venue was booked out for the wedding from the Friday night until the Sunday. The Friday night there was a braai which was R130 per head ! Excessive I thought but that was before we ordered drinks. You could not order a bottle of wine under R200 ! We never saw a manager the whole night and I must say after a few drinks we left early with a bad taste in our mouths and a feeling of being taken advantage off. The wedding was stunning and the food was great pity about the shoddy service, The bar man was probably the slowest I have ever had to deal with and amazingly enough his prices kept changing the whole night - supposed to be an open bar but we were charged and the prices varied. The same bottle of wines prices varied from R 140 to R180??? Can help thinking that the waiters and staff were taking the mickey out of the guests. When we complained to the manager she wasnt much help and couldnt provide answers. We had a babysitter both nights. The original price was R50 per hour which is pretty standard. We paid the babysitters on the Saturday night only to find out later that the babysitting had been added to the main bill as well at a whopping R 85 per hour!!! This had to be rectified after we had left. Thank goodness we found out ...imagine the other things we were charged for that we were not supposed to be. TEveryone was looking forward to using the spa - this was also a let down. The massages where average and the manicure lady did not know what a french paint was???

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Pollardski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WoodridgeEstate, Owner at Woodridge Country Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 November 2012

Well let's give our side of the story and we are not making excuses - just the facts.

A general comment - The problem guests seem to have is that when looking for "THE MANAGER" they want a Man in a suit - then they believe the manager is present. Our General Manager is a lady . A small lady and she is personally present at all functions to a point and then hands over to a Duty Manager once satisfied all is going smoothly. The Duty Manager for the night was Nelson - also the Head Bar Man. A mature, well spoken and competent gentleman. Realistically from a business perspective 1 person cannot be at functions 24 \7 - 7 days a week !! The GM is however on 24 hour call out and the Duty managers are all well trained and competent - experienced in dealing with guests who have consumed vast amounts of alcohol as often the case at weddings.

Boma Braai R130.00 - for 300 gms of meat per person - boerewors, Lamb chop and large chicken drumstick. , 4 salads, 2 starch dishes, fresh bread and rolls plus dessert ? Definitely not overpriced - You cannot eat a steak at a Spur for this. I think this guest is out of touch with food pricing. !!

We most definitely sell wine below the R200.00 mark. So this is simply untrue. We will willing supply a full wine list. Prices vary depending on your choice .
The Wine issue on the wedding night was thoroughly investigated by the Manager on the night and afterwards by myself. Let's put this into perspective - it was +_ 11 pm and guests had had A LOT to drink when this query arose ! The Bar Tab was +_ R 20 000.00 with 60 bottles of white and 60 bottles of red wine provided by the Groom's Dad. Now why would anyone be buying wine ??? The GM asked the Barman this exact question. The Barman's response - I have SOLD NO WINE !! It is all on the tab . The Gentleman in question could not tell the GM What wine he had apparently purchased !! Could not remember. Certainly the sales records showed no wine sales for the whole day and the stock balanced . The Bar Tab Wine was brought in by the Dad - not our stock and this is what guests were served ? The interesting thing is the pricing claimed - not R200.00 so a complete contradiction.

Bar Service : It anyone has a solution to this matter we would love to hear about this. I have not been to any bar in the world where 120 guests can all be served at once. There are crunch times during service and we put on additional hands during a wedding. The Bar space can only accommodate 4\5 barmen and they do their very best. On this evening we did have a system issue which could not be rectified despite every effort to do this and they had to use a manual system. It slowed the process, not something planned. Guests unfortunately -especially when they have had lots to drink - can be totally unreasonable.

Babysitting - The Advertised rate is R 85.00 per hour. Not R50.00. Generally Mom's are more than willing to pay this for someone experienced to care for their children - these days an important task. This is not our core business and an extra service - not compulsory but optional. This is the price we believe appropriate to pay for someone to care for a child. Not per child - but per room - so babysitters do care for more than one child and in this case I believe it was 2 children. We pay the Babysitter well - it is not a service offered lightly. Unfortunately the guest did not follow procedure which is carefully documented and paid the Babysitter directly. The babysitter did not inform the office - I guess thought she would get double pay !! We charged the room account per normal process. When brought to our attention this was sorted out immediately and the staff member was removed from duty for being dishonest. An honest mistake on the part of reception which was rectified immediately.

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Additional Information about Woodridge Country Hotel

Address: R103, Balgowan 3275, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Balgowan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Balgowan
Hotel Class:4 star — Woodridge Country Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Woodridge Country Hotel South Africa/Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal

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