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“This luxury establishment has forgotten what service means”

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The Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve
Ranked #14 of 30 Hotels in Knysna
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 December 2013

The beauty of our tree house,it's interior and all the nooks and crannies you can hang out in at the Lodge is without question. However there's a fundamental problem with this establishment. I think it has forgotten its primary purpose and that's to give guests a great experience. The hotel only offers a 6-course dinner which is fine for one evening, very tasty but a real marathon to get through.  As it is quite a palava to get in and out of the lodge (you have to call for a driver to ferry you up and down the hill and then it's a 14km round trip to Knysna) we wanted to have a light snack in the hotel one night. This request was met with a flat out no.  No apology, no offer to make us a sandwich or make a reservation at a nearby hotel. Just indifference and even when I escalated my disatisaction the next day, same indifferent response. This was just one example of how front of house staff were trained. The comparison with Hog Hollow in Plettenberg Bay really underlined for us how poor the service at Phantom Forest is. At this price point hotels can't afford to rely on the quality of the rooms alone, service has to be exemplary and proactive. Very disappointing and over rated.

  • Stayed: December 2013
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5  Thank helentr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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188 - 194 of 351 reviews

Reviewed 2 December 2013

This place was simply stunning. I can't fault it at all. The room we stayed in was the Moroccan styled tree house and was so lovely. The facilities were tastefully measured to ensure that the stay was comfortable and relaxed. No internet or TV in the room were positives about the experience. The staff were helpful in every way. I recommend the canoeing with the picnic- the nicest food I have ever eaten on a picnic. Thanks !!!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank rusty2036
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2013

I booked to go to Phantom Forest for dinner with a friend on my birthday. I had eaten there before, and had enjoyed it very much, but this time was a disappointment. When you are paying R400 for a 6 course meal, with drinks extra, you expect the food and service to be perfect. There was no one in charge of the lounge where you place your meal orders, and have a drink before the meal, and also in the restaurant no visible management.
We walked from the car park to the bar, down a very slipperier boardwalk with huge gaps between the wooden slats, which made it very difficult for me to walk on my heels as they would have fallen between the gaps.
We had a drink in the lounge first and then went to the restaurant. Our actual food served on the plate did not match the menu description, and quite honestly all the courses were bland and unexciting. The smoked trout was poached trout, and a thumbnail size of cheese served on a Chinese spoon with fresh herbs was pointless. There was absolutely no passion behind the cooking or serving of the food. The waiters served my partner before me, and also brought the different courses hot on the heels of the previous one.
It really was most disappointing, and an experience that will not be repeated.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 247LiveLife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

During our stay in Knysna they told us to have dinner in this restaurant. You need to make a reservation at least 1 day before but better even earlier because it is a famous restaurant. You can't drive with your own car to the restaurant because the road is very steep and a lot of corners. So you will be picked up at the gate. You can park your car securely after the gate.

We took the 6 course dinner menu, you can choose 3 courses by yourself and 3 courses are fixed. Every dish was a painting and the taste was a taste explosion on your tongue.

The courses came quiet fast after each other so we asked if they could put a little bit more time between the courses and that was no issue.

The ambiance is also lovely, we where sitting near the window looking outside to a campfire.

Compared to the prices in ZA it is not a cheap restaurant in fact it is quiet expensive however compared to pricing in the Netherlands it is very cheap for these type of 6 course menu's.

Bottom line if you love food and you are willing to pay a little bit more then average price in ZA absolute go here and you will be amazed!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank RogerLiz S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

Luxury suites were excellent nicely hidden away. Food was very good over three days. Staff and drivers were very helpful and friendly. Views over estuary are breathtaking. Good location for Knysna and Plettenburg.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Trevor F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

Prepare to be wowed if you stay in this wonderful resort.

We stayed here on the Winter Warmer package and it proved to be a great deal. The resort is around a 10-15 minute drive west of Knysna and is set in a remarkable location overlooking a river estuary. When you arrive, you enter a secure car park from which you call reception. They then come down in a van to pick up you and your luggage and take you up to the impressive setting of this magnificent accommodation.

The service was excellent from start to finish. There was some confusion at first as the resort did not appear to have details of our Winter Warmer booking but it was resolved shortly afterwards.

As we were on our honeymoon, the resort kindly arranged for us to have sparkling wine in our room, which was a welcomed gesture.

The rooms are stunning. The wooden lodges have great views and original furnishings and the bath and shower are sights to behold. The his and hers sinks are brilliant and the bed very comfortable.

As part of the Winter Warmer package, we benefitted from an hour's massage each from a charming therapist in a cosy lodge. We also enjoyed a six course meal in the Boma restaurant each night and the food was utterly delicious. The service was also excellent and the wine refreshing. Breakfast was also great and it was fantastic to have it outdoors with the cheeky vervet monkeys dancing around you in the trees.

The staff are eager and ready to help you whenever you wish to travel down to the car park to explore the area. There are a few paths leading from the resort which you might wish to enjoy.

This is a gem of a place which deserves greater recognition. Thank you for a memorable stay!

Room Tip: I understand that Cheesewood was a basic lodge but it was fantastic nonetheless!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank elinmai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2013

Utterly fabulous, magical place in the forest! We got to the lodge and all plans in Knysna went out the window as this place is so good.. Wonderful views, fab food and stunning accommodation, highly recommended!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Caroline & Rich... P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve

Address: 27 Phantom River Street, Knysna 6570, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Knysna
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Knysna
#7 Romantic Hotel in Knysna
#12 Luxury Hotel in Knysna
Price Range: £58 - £299 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The award winning Phantom Forest lodge and boma restaurant is situated in a private reserve on the Knysna River estuary, a magnificent setting of indigenous forest, fynbos and estuarine wetland. Designed to create only the lightest footprint , Phantom Forest offers superb luxury in complete harmony with nature. Accommodation consists of fourteen evocative "tree suites", perfectly integrated into the forest. Nature lovers can explore the reserve via forest and fynbos trails or canoe trips along the river. The Boma restaurant offers international cuisine served in the classic style while the body boma wellness spa provides a range of natural treatments. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve Hotel Knysna
Phantom Forest Eco Reserve Knysna

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