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“Fantastic!”

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Budmarsh Country Lodge
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Magaliesburg
Certificate of Excellence
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2012

I have stayed at Budmarsh on 2 occasions and have thoroughly enjoyed both of my visits. The rooms in which I have stayed were fantastic, the staff friendly and helpful, and the food exquisite. I enjoyed a number of exceptional meals whilst staying at Budmarsh, including a 5 course private dinner in the beautiful cellar, surrounded by the wooden wine racks (great choices for wine!). The breakfasts were also exceptional, really delicious. Budmarsh has beautiful surroundings and there are plenty of places to visit not far away if you wished to do so. I would definitely recommend a visit, be it to spend time with friends and family or as a romantic getaway. I know that I will be most certainly aiming to go again!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Ruth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 11 May 2012
Thank you very much for your comprehensive review. We hope that you come back to visit very soon. The new breakfast menu is a real treat and Chris, the chef, is always trying imaginative combinations to tempt the palate. And the tranquility of nature remains just that: peace, quiet and restoration.
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248 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 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 (50)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
139 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2012

My main compliment is to the staff of Budmarsh. They are quite exceptional, and have to be the best we have come across in a very long time. Even the trainee/skeleton staff on Sunday morning, tried their best to please. From the greeting by the guard at the front gate, to the staff who carried our bags, to the greeting by reception, the housekeeper who ensured my room was cleaned within 30 minutes, and all the service at all of our meals and drinks at the bar – they barely put a foot wrong, and were highly accommodating.

The venue is beautiful, with well-tended gardens, a variety of different areas to sit in and relax, looking at the view of the garden or the dam. I liked the touch of the towels already laid neatly over the pool loungers, ready for that cool-off dip. The French-press coffee in the room, with delicious homemade biscuits (which were everywhere by the way), and the hand crafted chocolates on the bed, were lovely touches. The myriad books all over really does mean that you will never be without a good read, and you may just find something you would never have thought of paging through. The free Wi-Fi service is most useful, as well as having tea/coffee and biscuits available all day. Some other touches that one can appreciate – the wine cellar with a respectable selection of wines, the bar area is cosy, the beds are large and comfy, the TV has a decent number of channels to choose from (you don’t have to miss your favourite sports match!), and the whole lodge and its surrounds are kept very clean and neat.

The rest leaves much to be desired though, and therefore my comment that this is not a 5-Star lodge. I have sent this to the owners, and received an immediate response via telephone from the owner, which I sincerely appreciated (the response comments have been noted)
• The bathrooms are in dire need of a revamp, and felt old and boring, with broken tiles, or sealant coming away from the edge of the bath. The plastic shower is past its prime and, also gives barely any room to move in.
• There are handles missing off the drawers and bed-side cupboard doors, and you therefore cannot open them to put away items. (I have been informed that due to these being antiques, they have struggled to find decent replacements for these, and continue to try)
• The food was appalling. I can cook better. I found the plates of food to be generally colourless (but will say that the veggies were not overcooked), and boring. The raspberry coulis for one dessert was made using fruit that had gone off, and the homemade preserves (ordinarily a special touch) were going off. The pork fillet though was delicious, there just needed to be more gravy on the plate (however, I was given more without even a blink of an eye from the excellent watering staff). For the braai there were loads of different red meats (which we had now eaten in spades all weekend) and not a chicken breast or drumstick in sight, with salads that had no creativity to them – all on a buffet that looked like a stock standard chain hotel. There was potato with every meal - why not use other carbs such as couscous, or rice, barley or quinoa? Overall, this food did not represent by any means what I would expect from a Michelin chef with years of experience in France. (We had a very long discussion about this, and much of this was due to the choices made by the host (which for future reference they may help the host in choosing a better variety), however, I still stand by many of these comments, and hopefully improvements will be made)
• If you are going to provide hair dryers, then please make sure that they have a plug on it that can either fit into the existing socket, or provide an adaptor – I had to go out in the rain to reception (who were speedily helpful) to get an adapter (The owner readily agreed to this comment, and will make a change)
• We woke up to awful noise around 7am, which really disturbed the peace (the owner was very grateful that this had been pointed out, and knows exactly what the problem is, which will be immediately fixed, and regularly checked)
• The restaurant needs to have something that will dampen the sound – it echoes awfully, especially with a big crowd, and then to top it all off the music was really noisy most of the time, and not appropriate for the meal (breakfast on Sunday morning was particularly noisy and “screaming” music is the only way I can describe it) Something similar to Café del Mar, or light classical would be far better! (We discussed this and owner will review)

We went to this lodge for my partner’s company weekend away, and therefore the place was booked all to ourselves. The pricing of this lodge is over the top for the standard that we experienced, at this specific point in time. This is by no means a 5-star lodge, except for the 10-star staff. I still stick by this comment after having a discussion with the owner, but do believe that if they make all the little changes, and continue to handle complaints so well, this venue will once again be as fabulous as is advertised.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Wolery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 14 March 2012
We are pleased that you appreciated the care that our staff takes to ensure that guests are well looked after and we agree with you that they are a wonderful team. It is pleasing to know that they treat conference delegates well. We have noted your valuable suggestions and look forward to seeing you in the near future.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2012

I have just returned from a fabulous overnight stay at Budmarsh - having previously enjoyed Sunday lunch and dinners there. Budmarsh offers high comfort in a magical location, and a personal attention to guests you don't often find. I loved the quiet and enjoyed walking around the lakes withtheir prolific birdlife. As it's only a short drive from Joburg, it's a great spot to relax and destress!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Sue W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 13 March 2012
Thank you for visiting Budmarsh for a more extended stay. We are delighted that you enjoyed the Sunday Lunch and the renowned High Tea amongst the other culinary experiences offered by Fine Dining. The gentle rambles around the dams usually reveal some unexpected joy that is bound to restore the soul. We are pleased that you were able to de-stress and imbibe in the tranquillity of Budmarsh.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2012

Having spent the weekend at Budmarsh with overseas visitors (USA and UK) - there is nothing ordinary or average about Budmarsh. The staff are friendly, welcoming and obliging without being intrusive. Chef Chris' food is exceptional and one can see why Budmarsh was awarded Best Fine Dining, West Rand Tourism. A stay at Budmarsh is pure, understated, luxurious pampering and the attention to detail in every area is quite remarkable. My guests had been to Budmarsh on a previous trip to SA and it had made such an impression on them, that when they emailed to say they were returning, they requested I book time at Budmarsh again. They were more than delighted by their second experience. A stay at Budmarsh is pure relaxation and tranquility with every sense being gently stroked! We had a superb private dinner in the beautiful cellar, surrounded by beautiful wooden wine racks stocked with the widest range of exquisite wines. The furnishing have the stamp of being carefully and individually selected to create a unique ambience as opposed to mass produced uniformity. The establishment abounds with original artwork and interesting antiquities. The Budmarsh staff are happy to accommodate individual preferences. Our visit finished with a relaxed, extended breakfast in dappled sunlight on the terrace, with birds twittering, water glistening, fabulous food and attentive service. Hard to tear oneself away.....

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
6 Thank Jenny4654
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 13 March 2012
Thank you very much for your positive review and for revelling in the joys of Budmarsh. We are delighted that you enjoyed the cellar and fruits of the labour of talented wine-makers! It is wonderful that you and your overseas guests were able to revel in the simple pleasures that exist beyond the demands of the city: the lovely birds, the lush vegetation and of course, Chris’s cuisine. The Magaliesberg is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and has many unique attractions which discerning visitors appreciate. We hope that you will soon return to relax and to see what new things Chris will have conjured up.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

We were so looking forward to a quiet, romantic night away from our small children to celebrate my husband's birthday but were sadly very disappointed by our stay at Budmarsh.
I had specifically requested a quiet room but the room we were taken to was right next to a large, noisy air conditioning unit which certainly wasn't conducive to quiet if you wished (as we did) to open the windows to enjoy the fresh countryide air. Following our complaints, we were given another room in the main house which was quieter but lacked personality and the blinds and thick curtains prevented us from enjoying a view of the countryside.
Our evening dining experience was spoilt by the loud, intrusive music from a 'boom box'in the corner of the dining room.
The setting is lovely but much needs to be addressed to make this an enjoyable break from the city.

Room Tip: Go for a room in the main house or annex.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mum-of-twins-jhb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 10 March 2012
Thank you for taking the time to air your views. We are sorry that you did not enjoy your stay and that you had a disappointing experience. The room to which you were moved has a charming and secluded balcony from which to enjoy the view and the room has neither thick curtains nor blinds. In fact, none of our rooms has blinds so we are somewhat confused by this comment but accept that you found the room’s antiques and art not to your liking. We always play background music from a discreet music system in the corner of the dining room and most guests enjoy this music; we are sorry that you found the background music intrusive and loud. Budmarsh does not own a “boom box” since it is not in keeping with the understated elegance of the Lodge. We agree that Budmarsh is a lovely setting, usually very tranquil, and we hope that you return one day to have an enjoyable break from the city.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

I sent an email containing the following information to Budmarsh after our stay. There was not so much as a reply. That confirms my opinion of a mediocre establishment masquerading as a 5-star hotel.
1. In a message to the establishment when I booked, and during my conversation with Tracy (Reservations), I mentioned that our check-in day (4th Feb) would be my husband's birthday. I mentioned my wish that this occasion be acknowledged in some way. This could have been a simple mention at check-in, e.g 'welcome to Budmarsh and happy birthday Mr. M' or any other way in which Budmarsh could have chosen. Unfortunately, there was no mention or acknowledgement, which I found disappointing from a '5-star' establishment.

2. I had paid the full amount when I booked, and yet at reception we were requested to provide a credit card. Some hotels do this, to cover the cost of incidentals, but they do an electronic transaction to 'hold' a certain amount for those incidentals, for settlement at check-out. At Budmarsh, the manager (if that's what his role is), Mr. Banda, insisted that he had to make a photocopy of the back and front of my credit card as well as my driver's licence. In this day of rampant credit card fraud and identity theft, it boggles the mind why you would compromise your guests' security by filing their drivers licence (which has ID details) with their full credit card details. Having been a victim of credit card theft, this is specifically one of the practices that my bank warned me against. Mr Banda was insistent that despite my already having paid nearly R3000 to Budmarsh (for our dinner, bed and breakfast), he had to photocopy these items as he was doing his job and it was a requirement. Not the kind of reception I am accustomed to from the many hotels I have stayed in, but we complied. In the end, at check-out we owed less than R100 for drinks, which we paid in cash. Was it really worth all the hassle?

3. The Michelin-trained chef's meal was average; not that anyone bothered to ask us how it was.


4. I have stayed in 5-star, 4-star and 3-star hotels and in my opinion, there was nothing 5-star about the food, facilities and definitely not the room at Budmarsh.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Afr0dite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 10 March 2012
Thank you for your comments - obviously we are very disappointed that you feel that you did not receive the typical Budmarsh treatment. We are sad, too, that your e-mail was not received by us since it is company policy to reply to every e-mail. I presume it is in cyber space somewhere. I wonder if you would be so kind as to resend it and mark it for the attention of “The Owners”. We endeavour to make birthdays and indeed every occasion and visit to the Lodge memorable and we are aggrieved on your behalf that you feel that this special occasion was not honoured in the way that so many of our guests feel we do honour special events. We understand the sensitivity around the credit card issue but we are following international best practice in the industry in this regard. The imprint of your card was returned to you upon departure.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derbyshire
Level Contributor
58 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 February 2012

Once again a memorable Sunday Lunch at Budmarsh, didn't think Chris could do any better than last time we visited but yesterday the lunch was superb starting with the sublime Tomato Soup with Rosemary Cream right through the starter, delicious mains of Roast Beef (excellent Yorkshire puddings as always!!) ending on a stunning Creme Caramel. Chris and his team in the kitchen have so much passion and entusiasm it shows in every plate of food. Annajte has clearly been doing some stirling work with the front of house, the staff all much more confident and assured in their approach to service and customers.
I hope the owners do realise what a wonderful asset they have in entire staff at Budmarsh, the welcome is so warm, Chris and Annatje make a fantastic Management Team, the location is beautiful and the food unsurpassed by anywhere else we have been since moving to Johannesburg 3 years ago.
This is one hidden gem you simply have to try out!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank DerbyshireGee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KenFargher, Owner at Budmarsh Country Lodge, responded to this review, 10 March 2012
Thank you very muchfor yor gracious review. We think Chris is excellent and he certainly appeals to the refined palates of those who are accustomed to excellent cuisine. We look forward to welcoming you back to Budmarsh.
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Additional Information about Budmarsh Country Lodge

Property: Budmarsh Country Lodge
Address: T1 Magalies Meander Road, Magaliesburg 1791, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Magaliesburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Magaliesburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Budmarsh Country Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the heart of the magical Magaliesberg, Budmarsh Country Lodge awaits to welcome you to its world of understated elegance, tranquility and personalised attention. Escape through beautiful gardens to ramble amongst abundant bird life. After a sumptuous dinner, conjured by our Master Chef, relax in front of a roaring fire, engage in a game of snooker or simply escape to the quietness of the library to read and forget the stresses of your world. Retire to your bedroom with its antique furniture, underfloor heating, en-suite bathroom and sink into your king size bed for a sleep that is truly nature’s balm. With its lovely landscaped gardens, exquisite trees and alluring scenery, there is no better place than Budmarsh for an intimate wedding for special people. To enjoy your friendships in the peacefulness synonymous with Budmarsh, simply book for a High Tea, Picnic or Sunday Lunch. With enchanting views of the Magaliesberg Mountains, our state-of-the-art conference facilities are designed to inspire, motivate, develop and spoil your staff. Enjoy five star dining, service and accommodation. ... more   less 
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