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“Friendly staff redeem poorly maintained lodge”
Review of Dugong Beach Lodge

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Dugong Beach Lodge
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Vilanculos
Reviewed 30 December 2013

Dugong Lodge must have been fantastic a few years back, situated as it is right on the beach of the beautiful bay between the mainland and the Sanctuary peninsular. You get the sense that the creaking infrastructure has been neglected and we were subjected to constant power failures and dodgy brown water from the taps. Could hardly see what we were eating some nights. The swimming pools were dirty and the slate tiles around them sharp and flakey. The rooms are good with too large furniture (many bruises to prove that) but the bathrooms are lovely. The beds were so uncomfortable we slept on top of the bedding, my sheets had holes in them. It was the quality of the staff that made our stay. We never saw any of them without a beautiful smile and an eagerness to make us comfortable. It made up for having to use our cellphone to light the way home each night and the really weird hyperbole sprouted by the incumbent manager ...

Room Tip: The end rooms are interconnected family rooms with private pools and are the best
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank Claire B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MichelleBouic, Client Liaison & Branding Executive at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 14 January 2014

Dear Claire B,

Thank you for taking the time to review our property and the kind words about our team at the Lodge. Dugong has, as you can see, often been the recipient of praise for its location, and definitely the delightful team on hand. We are however disheartened to read that your visit was not the complete Legendary experience we strive to create for all our guests. All your points have been taken up with Management and the Team onsite and attended to as required. We understand from the General Manager that with the extreme heat, the generator seized and needed repairing, which was done over 2 days. While we recognise that this was an inconvenience, we do trust you appreciate that our team did everything within their power to ensure the generator was repaired as timeously as possible. Dugong has also been the recipient of a decent amount of rain, accounting for the colour of the pool water (as the water drips off the thatches overhanging). However we understand that once the weather cleared the pools were tended to and restored to their usual sparkling blue.
Claire, we trust that these minor infractions do not deter you from visiting our wonderful property again, and look forward to welcoming you back.

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26 - 32 of 71 reviews

Reviewed 29 December 2013

We stayed 3 nights in the lodge and everything was perfect. Great room and service, great food and friendly staff. We were spoiled to the very last minute and enjoyed it very much. The fact that we were the only guests for a couple of nights did not turn off the staff and they didn't disappoint us with service.

The only downside is the beach which, at the time, disappeared during high tides (for about 3-4 hours of the day). Hopefully it's not the case now since I'm also aware that this may happen during some years and the sea might return a few hundred meters in other years.

Recommended location.

Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Ciden M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2013

My family ended up at the Dugong Beach Lodge after the fire last winter canceled our planned stay at marlin Lodge. What a wonderful surprise. Our rooms were at the very end of the hotel which gave our family (myself, husband and three kids) our own private area with plunge pool and decks. The water came right up to our decks at high tide and provided a beach at low tide. The hotel was peaceful and serene which was what we needed after the hectic beginning of our trip. The food was the most unexpected surprise. The cook was so talented and very modest. The staff was friendly and helpful. There was a generator problem one night and it was pretty hot but we did not care. Our whole family loved this place!!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Joan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2013

We were in Dugong Beach last Januari, and we enjoyed it very much.
The staff with Arthuro, Domingo, Art, and all the others were extremely helpfull and friendly. No question was to much.
The cook Alex prepared delicious seafood, such as lobster, the crabs that we catched in the afternoon on the sandbank in front of the lodge, lamb chops, and original desserts.
All the local drinks were included.
The surroundings were beautifull and quietl.
The only remark we had was the generator that didn't work from time to time.

Linda and Chris

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Chris-LindaV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2013

We had the most wonderfull honeymoon at Dugong Beach lodge in june 2012. It was the perfect setting for a romantic trip. The landscape is beautiful, with white beaches and green mangrove. All the staff was very friendly. The manager Brian and the assistant manager was very helpful and saw to that we got everything we needed and got to experience some of the trips the fantastic surroundings had to offer. We went deepsea fishing and caught some fine and big kingfish, while looking over the blue sea with dolphins and seaturtles. Just infront of the restaurant we went snorkelling every day and saw thousands of colorfull fish. The chef Alex prepared delicious seafood and as all other staff he was smiling all the time. It was the most fantastic place we ever visited and we will come back some day.
Jens and Cæcilie

Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
5  Thank Cille_Jens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2013

I don't even know where to begin. We were moved to Dugong Lodge after Marlin Lodge experienced a fire. We were a few days away from our wedding and expected our agency, Go2Africa, to do right by us and find us a comparable place. We had no idea what a nightmare it would be.

The lodge was powered on a generator that was shut off frequently during the day and night. This meant:
- We could not shower since there was rarely hot water
- Sleep was not possible since the AC always shut off as temperatures soared to 90+ degrees

Our room was infested with cockroaches.
- We informed the GM (Brian) of this after finding multiple roaches in the shower and bathroom.
- The room was fumigated - which we then had to sleep in - and two days later more roaches were crawling throughout the room. We truly tried to brush it off the first time, but after a fumigation and more roaches, it was clear conditions were unsanitary.
- One reason may be that the staff left clean bedding out on the floor outside, and then put them on the beds. We have photos of this (posted).
- Brian and the management lied to our travel agency and said we only had one cockroach, and that we were making it up. Because you know, I wanted cockroaches on my honeymoon. PLEASE!

There was not proper security.
- Almost every night we listened to locals swimming and yelling in the ocean which was just yards from us, while also driving cars right next to our lodge.
- One would think we could just call reception however there was no phone in the room. Also with the power being out, it was unsafe to go on the unlit walkways to find security / a manager.
- One guest - whose lawn chairs were stolen - did wander out one evening and found the one night guard sleeping on the deck. We felt unsafe, and had no connection to manager / staff members during evening hours. One night, several days in, I called our travel agency in a panic asking to be moved. I felt unsafe, surrounded by roaches and with no way to reach someone if needed.

Water was brown and not drinkable.
- We understand that some areas we were traveling to may have this as the case, however the situation was exacerbated by us only getting one water a day to drink from-unless of course we paid extra. This is just unacceptable in such high heat conditions. And remember, no power so your fridge in the room didn't work to keep water cold!

The service at the lodge was appalling, and almost every guest there was clearly disgruntled. Some examples:

Whenever asking for coffee, food, a paddle for a kayak, you had to ask two or three times. The staff would forget or say "yes" when they didn't understand the request. This happened 5x a day easily. Food orders were almost always wrong / forgotten about.

Brian was the only person on staff who would resolve issues and communicate actual answers to us . But he was rarely at the lodge or available. When we would ask to see him we were almost always told "he's not here" or "he will come see you in a few minutes" (which never would happen, and we would just go looking for him ourselves again). Then, he told our agency we were liars so shame on us for trusting him.

Meal times were always changed. We were frequently told to show up at a certain time and would wait 1, even 2 hours (on New Years Eve) to eat. This was especially annoying since "free drinks" didn't start until dinner did.

I booked a massage in hopes of salvaging things. The woman was late, did not have towels (I gave her the ones from my room) and performed it in a hallway outside my door so I was very exposed. It was supposed to be for 60 minutes and it lasted 25. I would have told her to keep going but she was yawning through much of it.

On many occasions, the staff opened our locked door when we had a do not disturb sign up.

We were told there would be activities on NYE and an open bar - this was not the case.

The last night we were told to meet at 10:15 AM to resolve our bill by Ernesto (another manager). We requested Brian to be there too, and were told that he would be. 10:15 rolls around and we are told "you don't have a bill, you were all inclusive" by Ernesto. This made no sense and I requested a receipt which he said he could not give me. We asked for Brian, were told he was at another resort and could not meet. Of course, we ended up finding Brian ourselves who said that due to all of our issues we're not being charged for anything and he would be in communication with Go2Africa about a refund. (Please note, he then claims we left without paying - such lies!)

We were supposed to leave at 10:30 AM via boat to make our flight but until Brian showed up - at 10:40 - no-one was even preparing the boat to leave.

To top this all off - and mentioned a bit before - we lodged a complaint with our travel agency. They of course went to Dugong / Legends to clear things up. The hotel is saying we are lying and refused to pay our bill. This is not even close to the truth. They are lying - after taking several thousands of dollars from us. They claim they didn't charge us for extras, when we were not even presented that option, or a bill upon us leaving!!! RIDICULOUS!

PLEASE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE WE DID. BOOK SOMEWHERE ELSE! It is not worth your money!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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63  Thank wiseg1rly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2013

The best features are the exquisite natural landscape, with the lodge location well thought out and pitched within the boundary of the mangrove environment. The staff are lovely, extremely friendly and always helpful. A highlight is the food, not lots of choice but simply and magnificently presented and prepared. The buildings and infrastructure of the lodge are within a year or so of needing refurbishment, however rooms are very comfortable and more than acceptable -(systematic use of insect repellant is a must really and should be expected for this type of environment). The "wet transfer" was fun.....rolled up trousers and shoes off, to paddle and climb into the small launch ferrying you to and from the resort. Some disappointment with the lack of information about trips available, meal times etc. However, for those with an assertive streak, not really a problem. Flamingos and dolphins are never far away with mornings and evenings being the bests times for sightings. The generator was a problem during our stay and one night free of air con was not good. Overall, a very special experience where tourist development is not quite completed. Long may it stay that way.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Gillian F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michelle B, Michelle Bouic - Client Liaison & Branding Executive - Legend Lodges, Hotels & Resorts at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2013

Dear Gillian F

Thank you for taking the time to review Dugong. We are thrilled to see that you enjoyed your stay and that found it to be Legendary. We apologise for the lack of information regarding the tours and that you had an aircon problem. It is however heartening to see that these small issues did not dampen your stay. We look forward to welcoming you back to Dugong Beach Lodge in the near future.

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Additional Information about Dugong Beach Lodge

Address: Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary | San Sebastian Peninsula, Vilanculos, Mozambique
Region: Mozambique > Inhambane Province > Vilanculos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Vilanculos
Price Range: £328 - £732 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dugong Beach Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on 30 000 hectares of pristine Marine and Wildlife territory, it provides a unique Beach & Wilderness Experience in a hidden corner of sub-tropical Africa. This diverse eco-system of wilderness and wetland, with its powder white beaches and crystal clear water is host to a magnificent array of fish, dolphin and most importantly, the nearly extinct "Atlantic Dugong" (which resembles a sea lion). Shallow and deep water reefs reveal beautiful creatures such as the great leatherback turtles, sailfish and manta ray. Deep-sea fishing of marlin and barracuda is truly spectacular and the large flocks of flamingos and pelicans are a sight to behold. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dugong Beach Hotel Vilanculos

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