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“What an experience!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of African Queen

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African Queen
Letchworth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
327 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“What an experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2014

Where to begin? We watched the Hotel Inspector's African Queen (5D) show the day before we went so we sort of knew what we were getting into. Our trip, was a four night cruise, first going upstream as far as Wallingford and then back downstream to Henley-on-Thames before returning to base at Mapledurham.

The ship is great except for the double cabins. These are so small it is impossible for a couple to do things at the same time. With the double bed pushed up against three walls, a lot of clambering over one's partner is also involved. So cabin tip: chose the suite or the twin cabin for acceptable space.

The crew (Cherrie and Bobby) are wonderful. Cherrie is just so helpful and great fun. Bobby slightly more serious but very talented in a number of ways. We did not see too much of Bonny, though we enjoyed her food. As for Skipper Andy - let us say that the other reviews are not wrong. The African Queen is a big boat and his 'seamanship' was regularly challenged by the narrow locks and on the last day, Hurricane Bertha. Someone said that he was trying to widen the locks as we went along!

We visited the Beetle and Wedge for lunch, but the service there was appalling. This was a great shame as the food when eventually served was very good. We also enjoyed a night at the Sonning Mill Theatre which was great fun. The one disappointment was our visit to Wallingford which was curtailed because of our late arrival and the need to be at the Beetle and Wedge by a certain time. Wallingford looked interesting but we did not have time to find out. Setting sail earlier in the day would overcome this.

We had a great bunch of folks on board from all over the country and as a result had an huge amount of fun. The weather stayed fine until the last morning so we really had a good time.

Room Tip: Chose the suite or twin cabin
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank andrewlgc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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94 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    62
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    5
    0
    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Zealand
Level Contributor
83 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2014

Having discovered this experience on the internet we thought it would be an interesting way to end our European holiday, and it was. The hospitality of Andy, Bonny, Bobby and Cherry was fantastic, they work hard to make sure everything is as it should be and are always smiling.

We had the largest cabin in the back of the boat (superior) which was comfortable with a great bed and the bathroom worked very well for a small area. The lounge/dining room complete with bar, masterfully manned by Bobby and Cherry was a lovely area to chill out and have a quiet read or a chat with fellow passengers. The front deck was just perfect to enjoy the beautiful scenery whilst cruising down the Thames.

Food was exceptionally good and the Cape Malay cuisine fantastic and even better, the food was always piping hot.

The visit to the dinner theatre at Sonning was excellent and we all enjoyed the murder mystery play immensely.

The only suggestion I could make was perhaps fans in the cabins would be a good idea as we struck a heat wave.

All in all, wonderful owners and staff and a delightfully quirky boat to enjoy the wonders of the Thames.

Room Tip: Take the Superior room for the extra room and space either side of the double bed.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank professional2ourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2014

My husband was very reluctant about cruising until I found the ideal solution - a cruise that stays within sight of dry land! A five day stay on the ‘African Queen’ was just right. Excellent meals, comfortable accommodation, and the variety of interesting places to visit up and down the Thames made our trip one to remember. Andy, Bonny and Cherry and Bobbie [their crew] looked after us so well! Now my husband’s only complaint is that it was too short!

Room Tip: The 'honeymoon' suite had a bit more room
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Wendy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 May 2014

The cruise was a joy from themoment we joined the boat to the moment we left it. The sleeping accommodation in the superior cabin was excellent. Food was delightful , every meal being special. The whole journey was well planned and a meal at the Beetle and Wedge a highlight. The visit to Sonning Dinner Theatre was also delightful.

Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank bantscarn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham
Level Contributor
108 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2014

Spent Easter on the African Queen, what a wonderful way to spend Easter. Made to feel very welcome by Andy, Bonny and the crew. Everywhere was clean and tidy. Cabins are not massive but it is a cabin after all and you had everything you needed including central heating.. Scenery and wildlife were wonderful on the trips down the Thames and we enjoyed lunch in Goring..
Eveniing meals have African theme and were well cooked and very edible, would have liked more vegetarian choice,and perhaps more cooked choice for breakfast; having said that we had plenty to eat and were certainly not hungry.
We were with an interesting group of people and all seemed to get along well and made the evenings fun combined with Andy`s stories.
I am very pleased I have been and would reccomend it if you are looking for a different type of break.

Room Tip: Honeymoon suite and twin room have more space.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mr Stephen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 April 2014

We have just returned from a lovely two day trip on the African Queen - we were not to sure what to expect - but very pleasantly surprised. We had seen this hotel on the Hotel Inspector and I thought then what a different experience it could be - then it came up on Groupon and was too good an opportunity to miss.

Andy - the Captain - is a very entertaining character who has many stories to tell and has obviously had many experiences in life to share. Bobby and Cherry looked after us really well and always smiling and happy and nothing was too much trouble. Bonny does the cooking - which was very tasty indeed - although we didn't see much of her on the trip.

We were with a lovely group of people and really enjoyed their company and getting to know them all. We took a trip down to Goring which was very relaxing with so much wildlife to look at along the way along with beautiful scenery. Breakfast was very nice - cereals and cooked breakfast - egg, bacon, potatoes and tomato - would have been nice to have had sausage and mushrooms and perhaps a bit more choice for vegetarians.

The evening meals were very tasty and hot - I would recommend the Mixed Platter of bobotie, sosaties and tangy chicken served with chutney - absolutely delicious! Drink prices were very reasonable - although the food was a little pricey.

The cabins are small but comfortable - as someone else said in their review - don't take too much luggage - everything is really relaxed and you don't have to dress up for dinner and there really isn't much space in your cabin for mountains of clothes.

I would highly recommend the African Queen Boat Hotel - I really enjoyed the experience and would say that everyone should give it a go.

Room Tip: Our room was number 8 and was very comfortable.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LesleyAnn5517
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tonbridge
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2014

Spent last weekend on The African Queen and had a great time.!
If you are easily offended and can't take the banter from Andy, don't go !
Personally I think he is a legend, one of the funniest and most amusing people I have ever met.
We were also lucky to have had glorious weather and a good crowd on board who enjoyed a drink (or ten) and a good laugh ! The boat is moored up at a truely beautiful spot which is so peaceful and very pretty.
Just in case you are reading this Steve... I will say just one thing... Reg Varney !!!

Room Tip: You get what you are given. They are all small(its a boat) but cosy.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank paul h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about African Queen

Property: African Queen
Address: Mapledurham Estate, Mapledurham RG4 7TR, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Mapledurham
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Mapledurham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — African Queen 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
After a rich and colourful past which includes Holland and Ireland, The African Queen has battled the Irish Sea to come to rest upon the Thames just outside Reading in an area of outstanding natural beauty and historical interest. With comfortable ensuite cabins and bar and restaurant, this is a unique opportunity to stay near Reading in special surroundings whether your visiting for business or pleasure! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
African Queen Hotel Mapledurham

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