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“Beware the stairs”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of The River Club

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The River Club
Ranked #4 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
Certificate of Excellence
Appleby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
52 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Beware the stairs”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 February 2013 via mobile

We agreed with most of the earlier reviews concerning location food and service, but we did not know that our accommodation would have three levels. We were upgraded to the Livingstone suite and enjoyed the plunge pool but as we are an older couple and one of us has a slight mobility problem having our lounge up one flight from our sleeping area and the bathroom and loo 7steep steps below was a bit of a nuisance especially for night time loo visits!
Sunset cruise with no other guests was lovely. We were surprised to find only one other couple there the two nights we stayed.

Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Cathy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PeterROJones, Owner at The River Club, responded to this review, 16 March 2013
We would like to thank Cathy S for her review and thank her for her positive comments and for pointing out the issue she encountered which we were not made aware of during her stay. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused. We offered the upgrade to one of our suites since it was available not realising that the 7 stairs in the room would cause a problem. All of our other rooms have bathrooms and lounges on the same level. In fact all of our standard rooms (we had initially put Cathy S and her husband into one of these) has 2 bathrooms in them: one on the same level (with a shower) and one down stairs (with bath and a shower). In future before offering an upgrade to the Livingstone suite we will ensure that guests using it are aware of the layout of the other rooms so that they have the option. Again we would like to thank Cathy S for staying with us and for her review.
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177 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
123 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2013

My husband, Peter and myself, just got back from a wonderfully romantic weekend at the River Club in Zambia. It is probably the most peaceful place I've been to. There are so many lovely little extra touches - the effervescent owner, Peter Jones and the delightful ops manager, Trudy, met us by boat after we were picked up at the airport and transported us to the lodge on the river. It was such a fabulous welcome for us and something completely different. The lodge itself has the feel of a warm and welcoming home, so you actually feel like you are a house-guest. We were upgraded to the Livingstone Suite upon our arrival, which has it's own plunge pool, which was lovely.

The staff are very friendly, accommodating and well-trained. Their signature Zambian smiles are always on display. The food was very good and we really enjoyed our sunset cruises each afternoon on the mighty Zambezi.

We had a wonderful break and will definitely be back.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lynnie07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2013

We hosted our wedding here (Dec 2012). It was a small affair, but turned out very well.

Peter, Jenny, Eugene and all the others at the River Club really took care of us and went out of their way to help with a lot of last minute items. Also, there was some paperwork with city officials that was started 1 month before we arrived, and that was something they handled on our behalf.

We were stressed out from wrapping up work in the US and preparing for the trip, as well as exhaustion from travel and some activities around the Victoria Falls, but we quickly started to unwind when we got there.

We had a short stay at the Zambezi Sun before this, and the contrast was noticeable. We went from a large mass-market resort feel to a quieter, more relaxed colonial style accommodation, in a beautiful setting with very few other guests around.

Our transfer was first by road, then by boat, complete with drinks and snacks. This was the first time we'd actually been on the Zambezi river, and a more romantic and immersing arrival than by car. A cormorant flew towards us and dove into the water as we approached the dock; apparently it does this every time the boat arrives.

There's a steep walk up some stairs from the river to the grounds, surrounded by lush vegetation, then through a path to the main building.

I wouldn't describe our accommodation as a mere room. We had a family suite/chalet, which is actually an entire building overlooking the river bank, and situated the furthest away down one path to the main building (about 5-8 mins walk).

The chalet was integrated into the landscape -- on a sloping river bank, high above the river itself, surrounded by trees. The entrance was in the "back" (i.e. the part of the building away from the river). Part of the floor was actually more like an inside wooden deck with one living tree trunk going through the floor and ceiling. A few odd geckos and spiders were on the walls and tree. My wife was scared at first, but got over it. It's part of the experience, and the norm when we later went on safari, compared to which this was significantly more luxurious.

The master bedroom had a single king size bed ( Or was it queen? Can't remember exactly) and a separate area with its own tub, sinks, toilet and standing shower. There are no walls/doors between rooms. The other room had its own bathroom and outdoor shower, and two twin beds. The latter came in handy in our case for our wedding attire and various other pieces of luggage, camera gear, etc. In between was a small sitting area with couches and coffee table. There was a small writing desk and chair near the entrance. We had a small power strip with us to charge our numerous gadgets, and the desk became our charging station.

This was the largest accommodation we stayed in during our entire 1 month honeymoon around this part of Africa.

There were floor to ceiling nets for better views and ventilation, and standard amenities such as air conditioning, mosquito nets over the bed, etc. as well as outside canvas covers that could be rolled down when it rained. An outside deck included a private pool, though we never got a chance to use it (or the wonderfully situated infinity pool near the main building).

Meals were all a la carte, with some local Zambian fare as an option (nsima and beef with a tomato relish -- delicious). Dinner was with the other guests around a table set on the verandah of the main building facing the river, so it had a more intimate feel to it.

Staff were all friendly and attentive to detail.

For the wedding itself, we used the gazebo, which is on a small hill with a great view of the Zambezi. The River Club staff did a great job of decorations including flowers, candles, etc. In general, they were very flexible in terms of accommodating our requests and customizing things for an Indian wedding. Everything went very well, and they even helped take pictures, which turned out better than the photographer we hired (albeit last minute, so we weren't expecting much). They also arranged for dinner that night in the gazebo, with candles and lanterns, with all the decorations intact.

There are other parts of the compound that we didn't visit, so we'll have to spend more time on another visit.

We didn't have a lot of time to participate in the included activities (and sometimes the rain interfered), but we did do the river cruise, which we highly recommend. It gives you a more complete impression of the region than just visiting the Falls downstream, and some opportunities to see wildlife along and in the river.

Also, it should be noted that there are some trails through the woods near the chalets for bird watching or just a jog, but we didn't have a chance to explore them.

Anyway, we enjoyed our stay and are grateful to everyone at the River Club for all their help with our wedding. Highly recommend this location if you're planning something similar. Hope to be back!

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank soularmotion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PeterROJones, Owner at The River Club, responded to this review, 24 March 2013
We really cannot thank Soularmotion enough for their kind review. The honour to have had them both at the lodge for their wedding was all ours. We would like to thank them for choosing to spend this very special time of theirs with us and we have to say that creating the scene for them was made all the easier by the very clear requests and wishes the gave to us. We were absolutely delighted and honoured to have played a role in this very wonderful and beautifully colourful occasion. We look forward to seeing them again.
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Telford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2013

Peter Jones the owner will meet you up river and drive you down river by boat while your luggage is delivered to the Club. on the way you will see crocodile,and hippo, and often elephant and bush buck. On arrival you would not be surprised to find Karen Blixen or a Wilbur Smith character sat on the veranda!
You are immediately welcomed as a house guest rather than as a hotel customer.
The design is as an old Club of the plantations circa 1900. Dinner is taken at the long table,or on the veranda, Peter or the duty manager will dine with the members, although private dining is available.
Standards reflect a five star hotel, but thankfully without music save for the bird song, and the laughing hippos.
Accommodation is in separate "chalets" all with a view over the Zambezi, but unseen from the river. The food and wine is excellent.
Peter has one standard - perfection! he patrols the premise constantly with an eagle eye. He is also a real "local" and has a great approach to his staff who consequently strive to provide that perfection for him. You are invited to visit the local village of Simonga, where the head man will tell you what The River Club has done for the village.
I was not there for safaris, but managed to visit The Victoria Falls, and a day in Chobe National (Botswana) Park. At the Club I met many travelers doing multiple safaris who came to the Club for a rest at the end of their travel, or a break in between; in conversation they all invariably commented favourably on the Club in comparison to the luxury lodges in the area..
Unconditionally recommended!

Room Tip: All rooms splendid - other tips: You will need a visa on entry - $US 50.00 in cash. If you plan to...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank derek l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brackley
Level Contributor
55 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 November 2012

We've just come back from 3 weeks in Southern Africa and started the break at the River Club. What a great introduction to Zambia and a lovely way to start the holiday.

The hotel "rooms" (in our case an individual 2 storey building with claw footed baths in the downstairs bathroom) are situated on the banks of the Zambezi and all have an open wall overlooking the river (covered by mosquito meshing). The view is Zimbawbe on the opposite shore and it's stunning. I have to say the best view from a bath ever!

All the members of the staff are so friendly and professional it made our stay relaxing from the beginning. The tours that are offered by the hotel as part of the cost are excellent, especially the walk around the Victoria Falls and the sunset cruise is a must. I really appreciated the DNA tour -Do Nothing Activity - as the hotel was set in beautiful grounds that you can walk around or just sit by the infinity pool taking in the scenery.

If you are feeling adventurous take the 30 minute helocopter trip over the falls (the gorge is spectacular) and the Devil's Pool is just a great way to get the adrenaline pumping. These can all be organised with the hotel.

Peter and everyone - thank you for a great stay, we will definately be coming back.

Room Tip: They really are all good....
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank StephHitH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lusaka
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 November 2012 via mobile

Oh well I really didn't think that I would be writing another review on Livingstone, but could hardly not when all the stops were pulled out for us. Imagine driving along through African bush in an open topped vintage (1929) Rolls Royce sipping Pimms and feeling very Downton Abbey ... Imagine a private fishing trip with your loved one who has caught more head colds than fish in his life but you keep your head in your book and pretend not to notice ... Imagine those perfect 'we are at one with the Zambezi River' photos from the infinity pool .... Imagine fine candle lit dining with lashings of wine meeting people from all over the world ! Well if this your idea of a fine way to spend a few nights, then The River Club is for you - perfect for beginning or end of safaris and safe enough for the most nervous of clients. Thank you Peter and team for the most perfect weekend !

Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank LindaCLusaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2012

Imagine swimming in an infinity pool looking over the Zambezi River at hippos with a beverage waiting for you on the edge. The staff is friendly, courteous and helpful and they even have 3 low key but friendly dogs! I would return often if it wasn't thousands of miles from home. Can't rave enough about it - food, accommodations, grounds, staff.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Linda J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The River Club

Property: The River Club
Address: Farm 1519A, Nakatindi Road | Simonga, Livingstone 60469, Zambia
Region: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
#2 Spa Hotel in Livingstone
#4 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
#4 Family Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — The River Club 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The River Club is the only boutique hotel in the area and run by its owner. This former residence is a tranquil oasis on Zambia's mighty Zambezi River and is the perfect location for a visit to the renowned Victoria Falls - a World Heritage Site and one of 2 places in the world to have remained on the list the 7 Natural Wonders of the World (the other being the Grand Canyon). Located a mere 26kms/16 miles upstream from the Falls and 18kms/ 11miles from the historical town of Livingstone, The River Club forms a perfect end to a safari circuit in Southern or East Africa. The 11 private and spacious suites are individually set within magnificent trees on the edge of the Zambezi River, overlooking pods of hippo into the Zambezi National Park. A host of activities await young and old, on property as well as around the Victoria Falls. The lodge is set on a 50 acre secure property with manicured gardens, where one can completely relax away from all the noise of helicopters over hotels closer to the Falls. A magnificent rim flow swimming pool, pool loungers, private deck and hammocks complete the setting. An all-weather hard tennis court, a central croquet lawn and a 2km nature trail that can also be used as a running track for those who need to keep fitness levels topped up. Daily sunset cruises on the Zambezi River are offered at sunset. Activities in the area include a visit to the mighty Victoria Falls, game drives in the nearby Mosi-Oa-Tunga National Park, white water rafting, helicopter flights over the Falls, canoeing safaris, historical tours including places of Jewish interest and more. Dining under the stars is a highlight and a kosher kitchen ensures we are able to cater for those who require it. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The River Club Hotel Livingstone

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