We stayed at the Rissington Lodge on July 24, 2013 on our way to Kruger Park. We found the lodge over-rated and unusually hostile to its visitors. Specifically, the lodge does not have a reception area. We arrived at 7 PM (not what I would consider particularly late) and there were three waiters in the restaurant and one bartender. They ignored us for about 10 minutes until I finally got the bartender to pay attention. Our key was on the table along with an envelope with our name on it with what was later revealed to be an insincere, unsigned form letter “welcoming” us. The bartender said he would get someone to “deal with us”. He then went back to shooting the breeze with the customers at the bar.
About five minutes later a waitress brought out a huge, ancient hotel register ledger which we duly filled out (our reservations were about two months old at that time, but we restated the information on the ledger – the only ledger we encountered in Southern Africa). We waited another ten minutes and they continued (quite successfully) to ignore us. I asked one of the waiters where our room was, so we could just go there and he sternly told me “no, our rooms aren't labeled”. So we waited another ten minutes. Finally they told the small waitress to take us to our room. We had come by transfer (not our own car) and our luggage was still on the stair. She took the roller bag and wheeled it, but I took the others since she was not big enough to help us with luggage. But obviously she was the least important since she had to “deal” with us.
We looked at the guest book which is large, detailed and filled with “cheeky” statements like:
“Please, please do not feed the dogs or encourage them to sit by your table (Korean clients, please do not eat the dogs).”
The guest book is labeled with a card in the name of “Christopher Harvie, Proprietor”, and Mr Harvie brags in detail about his accomplishments in this volume.
Specifically with regard to Reception Mr. Harvie states “We do not have reception, but a seemingly endless number of staff will be on hand to see to your every need. Someone is on hand from 7:30 AM until at least 11:00 PM to offer advice and information and to provide for your service requirements.” So we now know that “seemingly endless” can be defined as three waiters otherwise occupied and a barman talking to customers at the bar.
Mr. Harvie also states “If you need help with your bags we have a dedicated porter. Please ask a staff member to locate him. Do not struggle with them on your own and then complain later that there wasn't a porterage service!” The exclamation point is Mr Harvie's and not mine. Mr Harvie has clearly not bothered with the obvious which is that if there is a porterage service the person who gives you your key can and should inform you. Simply putting a glib note with an exclamation point in the guest book provides the information at a time that's too late to be of any use. Why couldn't one of “seemingly endless staff” (or at least one of the three waiters) have told us about the porter if one existed?
The room when we finally got there was fairly large but not well appointed. It had a dangerously slippery painted concrete floor (don't wear socks). This was particularly dangerous where there were two rugs which slide when you step on them. There was a jute under-layer but it was ineffective at preventing the sliding.
We went to the restaurant which features mediocre food. I was supposed to get a “hunk of our cheesy beer bread”. I asked the waiter for the “cheesy beer bread” and he returned with 2 slices of overly sweet, nearly inedible South African “Wonder Bread”.
In the morning the food was worse. My wife couldn't eat the omelet because either the cheese, eggs, or onions were toxic (or perhaps all three). The cold buffet was average. “Hot Scones” were advertised in the menu. They didn't exist.
For those who want it, additional information on Mr. Harvie is present in the restaurant bathrooms as wallpaper. It must be said that the grounds of the hotel are very nice and well maintained.
The guest book had an interesting section on “PRIMA DONAS” as follows:
“Should there be any aspect of your stay with which you are not completely satisfied, please tell us immediately, and we will do our best to rectify the situation. Do not suffer in silence or point out any shortcomings on TripAdvisor after the event! We really want you to enjoy your stay with us...”
Really? Perhaps Mr. Harvie should try having one of his seemingly endless employees greeting guests in a timely way when they arrive. Instead of spending his time trying to think up pithy commentary which categorizes anyone who is unhappy with the Rissington as a “PRIMA DONA”. The guest book tells us that the poor, grudging reception we received was a policy of the house. Should we have told the waiters to serve us instead of serving the restaurant patrons? Should I have told the guy tending bar to attend to us and not chat with the people at the bar? (a good way to start a bar fight I'd say). The contemptuous manner in which we were received was a premeditated choice created by not having enough staff or the right staff.
As to the porter, there was no porter either in the evening or the next morning. The porter was as real as the scones and crusty beer bread.
In a strange place, there is often nothing more important than the initial greeting. The initial greeting is was welcoming at every other place we stayed in Southern Africa and it was clearly something that all the other hotels, lodges, etc. regarded as important. It was contemptuous at the Rissington. Of all the places we stayed in Southern Africa, the Rissington was the least appealing. There are many guest houses, hotels, and B&Bs in Hazyview, and there is no reason to stay at this one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Affordable, award-winning country lodge. Stylish, relaxed and informal. A la carte restaurant, open 7 days. Superb food. Fully licensed bar. Colourful gardens. All rooms have own bathrooms, fridges, ceiling fans, air-conditioning, private entrances, verandahs and breathtaking views. Garden Suites and Hillside Suites have hammocks or daybeds. Cheerful, attentive hospitality. Swimming pool and walks down the valley. Spectacular birds and game sightings.On the Panorama Route and 10 minutes from the Kruger National Park. Golf, riding and a host of activities nearby. Rissington Inn - Exceeding expectations. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Agoda, Priceline, Traveltool, S.L.U. and HRS so you can book your Rissington Inn reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Rissington Hotel Hazyview