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“Great accommodations, better views, ho-hum wildlife, but we saw a rhino”

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andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Pleasanton, CA (Bay Area)
Level Contributor
51 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Great accommodations, better views, ho-hum wildlife, but we saw a rhino”
Reviewed 4 October 2009

This is a tough one to review. On the accomodations and service, this is 6 stars if they would let me give an extra star. But the reason you go to Africa is to see wildlife, and the crater itself was an ok experience (more on that later).

So our Africa trip was a delayed honeymoon, so we did it the lucxury way. Ngorongoro was a late addition to our itinerary because of the photos of the bathroom that my wife saw. Well, the room did not disappoint. We got there, and wow. The place is amazing. A hearth with comfy chairs, a nice king-sized bed, a bathroom with incredible crater views, and a balcony that you just want to sit on for days.

As with all the & Beyond places, the grounds are stunning. The common areas are just well done, and the attention to detail is evident everywhere you turn. Before dinner, they gather you for drinks with other guests. We met the most fantasic people from Portland, Vancouver, and California. The conversations were great, and the wine was pretty good too. The more wine we had, the better the conversations!

One night, they gathered us at the outdoor fireplace. It was a little cold up there, but the atmosphere was great. And the appetizers they were cooking on the fire right there in front of us were great.

The restaurant there was the nicest of the palces we stayed. Upholstered chairs, beautiful tables, and elegant decorations. The service was great again at dinner. The chef came out and met with us and explained the menu. And he nailed all of the courses. One night, there was a birthday, and the entire staff came out and sang and danced. It was really impressive.

Though not the fault of the lodge, the wildlife in the crater was kind of disappointing. There are just too many cars down there, so it feels like a spectacle more than catching wildlife in their natural habitat. Get out in the crater very early in the morning to avoid the crowd. WHen we saw the rhino, there were no fewer than 13 trucks lined up next to us. Kind of a downer on an otherwise perfect trip and a perfect hotel.

Back to the hotel. When we came back from the game drive that day, the hotel knew it was our honeymoon. They had drawn a warm bath, put champagne on ice in the room, and sprinkled rose petals everywhere. Such a nice tough. Again, attention to detail. The service was impeccable.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank BurgerMonster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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scotland
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2009

Stayed for 2 short nights at this luxurious lodge...3 would have been better!
We stayed at South camp with a stunning view of the crater from our room..from our terrace..from the bath..from the toilet!!!
Lunch is served outside with the same stunning view and in the evening Dinner in the beautiful Dining Room. Food was first class as was the service.
We found Crater Lodge a little more formal than the other lodges we stayed in, but that is not really surprising considering the price!!
We opted for the early moring game drive and were not dissappointed with our first sighting of a large male lion and the rare Black Rhino.
If you can afford the price tag dont miss going to Crater Lodge at least once in your life!!

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank chefsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2009

My accommodations at the very posh Crater lodge actually commanded more of my attention than did the game viewing as evidenced by many more photos of the rose petal strewn bubble bath, roaring fireplace with complimentary sherry and chocolates, and the view from my private veranda. Be prepared for dust storms as you roam around the crater floor looking for game. Coming from the rich Masai Mara, I thought the crater floor looked rather spartan. I took advantage of the personal butler services and ordered dinner in my suite and a massage-Olpal is the best swedish massage therapist and the price is well worth it, $60 for one hour. The price tag was staggering so stayed only 2 nights. Not much to do there otherwise. Recommend for honeymooners for the weekend or short stay. Staff recommended the best time to visit was May when game is plentiful and prices more accommodating.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank southweststeak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Galion, Ohio
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2009

I am young and have not seen as many places as i would like, but i doubt you can find a more beautiful place on earth. The crater lodge has the most amazing view into one of the natural wonders of the world and gives me chills everytime i think about it. The service is amazing, food is amazing, room are amazing, and there is the added danger with the cape buffalo roaming freely through the camp. Do not worry though, experianced Massai Warriors escort you to and from your room when needed. All in all, this is my favorite place on the face of this earth and can not wait until the day i can return!!!!

  • Stayed June 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mrh0524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level Contributor
72 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2009

We were blown away by the rooms, the view, the food and the service. The crater is only worth one or two days, as others have said. The animals are spread out. At the time of year we came, it was also very cold. We wore everything we had and were still cold in the lodge. The staff was fabulous, though, and lit our wood stove as soon as we returned from safari. It had to be the most beautiful rooms we've ever seen anywhere in the world.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sjw125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, ON,
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2009

If you've never been to the Crater, then you have to do it. However, once you've done it, I wouldn't suggest going back. The Crater is an amazing place, but get ready to watch animals through binoculars. There is no off-roading, and unlike other places, there is no bending of this rule. To get a full day in the Crater, you really need two nights at the Lodge - so do the two nights, but avoid any more...

The lodge itself is beautiful, certainly the best room I've seen in all of Africa. Very stylish, wood everywhere... simply stunning.

We'd just come from another And Beyond property - Bataleur Camp in Kenya - and we'd really been spoiled with unbelievable food there. At the Crater Lodge, our camp had a new Chef - a South African fellow - and he wasn't nearly as good. The lunch was fine, he didn't try to do anything too fancy, but the dinners were mediocre. The duck was dry, and "butter chicken" was a dry chicken leg, with a bit of Indian sauce on it - very disappointing... Anyways, I'm not sure how long this particular chef will last. There are three camps at the Crater Lodge - I'm sure the cooking was better at the other two camps. The other weakness was our butler. I realize this can be hit or miss - but the guy was just really cheesey, always repeating our names, in a tone of voice that bordered on condescending... I guess he was trying, maybe trying too hard.

We visited three And Beyond properties - I really enjoyed talking to management at "Under Canvass", and particularly at Bataleur. At the Crater Lodge - other than the initial introductions - we saw no sign of management, and had no interaction...

Anyways, I get the feeling we just had bad luck with the chef, and our butler... this place is truly beautiful, and the Crater is an experience... But for anybody thinking about a first-time visit - just stick to one day in the Crater.

Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Five-star-guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2009

My husband and I stayed at NCL for the last 2 nights of our week-long safari in Tanzania. Our butler did not give a good first impression, stumbling over chairs and not seeming to know how to serve guests. Now I'm not usually a hard person to please, but when you're spending US$3000 per night (per couple), your expectations are pretty high! Although the room and view was amazing, it didn't exceed my expectations. The service was good and the food lovely, but again, did not exceed expectations. Other CCA lodges left a better impression on me and were far less expensive. We were quite disappointed with our ranger also and the game viewing was the least interesting out of our whole safari - that said, it's not the lodge's fault!! All in all, it was a lvely experience but I don't think it's worth the money we paid.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KrystalSaudiArabia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Property: andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Address: Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Steeped in romance, each stilted, handcrafted banana thatch suite at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is adorned with graceful antiques and unforgettable opulence. Ensuite bathrooms, with a centrepiece of fresh roses, feature huge showers and chandelier-lit bathtubs, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure breathtaking views from all around. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngorongoro Crater Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Ngorongoro Crater

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