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“Mixed bag for our short trip” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Chessington Safari Hotel

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Chessington Safari Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Chessington
Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Mixed bag for our short trip”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2014

We stayed at the Chessington Safari hotel on a Monday and Tuesday when the park had just opened. I had not stayed before but I had done my research and tried to plan so that everything went smoothly. I asked on their facebook page whether there was a small shop nearby where there was a place to get snacks and drinks, Chessington did not respond but another customer commented and said there is one in the hotel lobby. Upon arrival I was disappointed to see there is only a small gift shop with childrens toys and a small fridge with bottled drinks (I meant like a spar or something, where we can get sausage rolls, meals to go, magazines etc) Luckily I had packed enough food for us overnight anyway. We asked if there was one nearby, just incase we missed something else, and the gentleman on reception said there is a BP garage 5 minutes drive up the road. It was chilly and we didn't drive to the park so didn't bother walking up there (I saw on the way home that there is a small shop by the train station, which is useful to anyone going by train)

The hotel was playing funky safari music outside and it sets you up for the beautiful interior. There is a tall lit up sculpture of a giraffe, beanbags in front of a tv showing the chessington video, and a couple of lizards in the corner.

I originally had issues with the booking people (Which was apparently the people at the hotel booking office, not the chessington booking office.) as I had paid the extra couple quid to have all the tickets and information sent to me in the post as we were not able to print them. I was sent multiple emails telling me to remember to print my park tickets, and free lunch voucher. I was not sent the lunch voucher in the post so I was on the phone for a long time trying to find someone who knew what it was. I eventually reached someone who said that once i got to the hotel, I should ask the receptionist to call them, for the booking people to then email it to them, and the hotel to print it and give it to us. It ended up being a bit of hassle as we had to explain what the person on the phone said, and what they said they should do. Sigh! The young lady on reception was very helpful. (And it ended up being worth that extra bit of hassle, we got a free lunch in the park on both our days!)

As check in was not until 3pm, we left our suitcase at the hotel and headed to the park. We got back to the hotel at about 5pm, and it still wasn't too busy. I definitely think it's worth visiting earlier in the year instead of summer, I dread to imagine how busy it would have been in the school holiday! The gentleman on reception checked us in with ease and told us where the bar, dinner and lifts were (The pool and 'leisure centre' was closed, it said it would re-open Spring this year which was quite vague. If we were being literal by saying Spring it would have already been open as Spring had officially started). Our room was on the first floor and very pleased to see a clean spacious room (standard, not the special safari room) with a partial view of the ostriches and deer. We had a lovely bath (Nice to be able to straighten our legs, we can't in ours!) and nice big mirrors. There is a phone, tea facilities, iron and board, bible, and tv.

We were peckish around a hour later and went to query about food. There is room service in the rooms, but there is a charge of £5, regardless of what you order. So we thought, why not just get the food, then bring it up to the rooms ourselves? The receptionist confirmed this was fine and that if we only want a small bite, the bar itself has a smaller menu. We went to the bar and the young gentleman was very helpful and friendly, he put our food ready on a tray for us to take up, had got us condiments and napkins too! I went back up to the room feeling very good at this point.

One of the main downsides to our stay is that there is no wifi in the rooms, only in the downstairs part of the hotel. Now being the young gadget-y folk we are, we need our internet in bed. I wind down in the evening by playing a few games on my kindle, which i was not able to do. They do have internet on the television, but I have read it is £15 per night for use of their internet (And i still wouldn't have been able to use my online kindle games).

We dozed off and both woke several times during the night covered in sweat, even with the air con on full blast! Also there is a fire alarm in the middle of the ceiling that flashes every 30 seconds or so, and is not good for light sleepers like me. Bring a blindfold. (Though we had no issues with noise)

We headed down to breakfast the following morning at half 7 after barely any sleep, and we were greeted by a heavily pregnant woman who said as we were walking over "name?". She then pointed over to the general area and said something like "There's the table" (She had an accent that was unfamiliar to me and I struggled to hear at times) and also showed us where the tea making facilities were. A little bit dazed and wondering whether we had an assigned table, we chose one that we thought was out of the way (But ended up being the main route for all the staff to bring the dirty crockery). After having such a terrible sleep, we were feeling a little bit, what i can only describe as "meh". The mood that good customer service can usually pick up and leave us feeling much better. It fell a bit short this morning. My Fiance went over to get us more toast and came back with a bit of a disappointed look on his face and one black and one white piece of toast.

He said he turned the dial on the front to a more appropriate number that wasn't going to burn the toast, and the pregnant woman told him off, telling him not to touch it. He explained that it is still white putting it through once, and too burnt twice! She was apparently having none of it and turned it back to what it was supposed to be saying "It needs to stay on this." (Which was actually a different number to what it was originally, clearly someone else had thought it was okay to have toast done to their own preference)

I put on my kindle to use the wifi and needed up update one of my games. It ended up taking 40 minutes to update the same amounts of MB that at home or at cafes, takes 20-30 seconds. We tried in the hotel lobby, the bar, breakfast area, and the conference room. All had average signal but was just so slow.

We checked out and handed in our suitcase for the second day in the park (Rain, rain, rain on our second day!) and they were friendly again. The overall customer service at this hotel was very good. We just had a small blip at breakfast, which may have been due to her natural hormones.

Since arriving home I have seen that a room only with no breakfast or park tickets is around £130 and i think this would be far too much. It cost me £160 for us to have the room, breakfast and the '2nd day free' park tickets. I wouldn't have stayed at the hotel if it wasn't next to the park, and I am undecided whether I will stay again as there are positives and negatives.

Well... That was quite the story! See Chessington World of Adventures for my separate review on the theme park itself.

Room Tip: After booking, phone and ask for a room that faces the animals. Unless you are visiting with kids, g...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dani G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CWOAR, Guest Relations Manager at Chessington Safari Hotel, responded to this review, 29 March 2014
Thank you for your review of the Chessington Resort. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed the service you received on reception and additionally the interior of the hotel. We will ensure your feedback regarding the service you received in the restaurant is passed on to the relevant managers for investigation. We do hope to welcome you back to ‘Britain’s Wildest Adventure’ again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,696 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (376)
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English first
London, UK
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2014 via mobile

Second stay, this time to celebrate my four year olds birthday. A 2 day stint of the park is much more rewarding than rushing round. If you are 4. There is no better place to stay than the reasonable and adequate Holiday Inn on site. For maximum effect, ensure you have a room with a view of the "safari" park. Pretty good views of a couple of Zebra and an Ostrich or five from the room window. Family rooms big enough with either jungle themed bunk beds or separate mini bed snug with its own TV. Rooms clean and generally good order.

The African/Safari theme is appealing to the nippers and not too chintzy. Again, awesome if you are 4 or 2 with the giant giraffes and African themed walks and nick nacks and leopard print furniture dotted around.

Restaurant slightly let's things down. Even on a super quiet night, service was almost painfully slow (and whilst very polite), was patchy and inefficient. Finished courses weren't cleared, and having to walk round to find someone for desert menu when there were more waiting staff than diners is pretty slack. Also is the lack of children's cutlery. It's adjoining a children's theme park so I'm guessing they get more than a fair share of under tens through. Maybe a bit picky but I can get children's cutlery at my local garden centre cafe, and the kids meals are good but not particularly cheap. Other than that, don't expect gastronomy, typical chain hotel menu but acceptable.



Stayed March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank MikeG_UK1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CWOAR, Guest Relations Manager at Chessington Safari Hotel, responded to this review, 26 March 2014
Thank you for your four star review of the Chessington Resort. We are glad to hear that you managed to explore all that we have to offer over two days. Additionally, it’s great that you and your family enjoyed your views on to the Wanyama Reserve from your bedroom – we hope your son had a fantastic birthday! We will ensure that your feedback is passed on to our restaurant management team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grantham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2014

A great stay. With two boys aged six and seven, and tickets for the park, the stay was always going to be part of the experience. It didn't disappoint.

Staff were great and obviously trying their best. They couldn't have done more for us.

The key for me is that we forgot this was a holiday inn. It felt much more exclusive because of the service. Even the building works didn't detract from the experience.

We will return. Thank you.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Stuart W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CWOAR, Guest Relations Manager at Chessington Safari Hotel, responded to this review, 26 March 2014
Thank you for your recent fantastic review of the Chessington Resort Hotel. Its brilliant to hear that you speak so highly of our staff and that they delivered such excellent customer service. We have lots of exciting new adventures happening in 2014 and we hope you will come back and enjoy them!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014 via mobile

Spent two nights in the hotel with my girlfriend. The Hotel room was really nice and with the views of the wanyama reserve. Waking up in the morning and seeing the zebra and giraffes roaming is quite a special treat. Would recommend spending that little bit extra and having te king executive room. The staff were fantastic especially Laura on the front desk. Laura went out of her way to attend to the small details that I asked for :) thanks Laura.
Having staff that go out of there way was much appreciated. I would recommend this hotel and I will come back later in the year to stay again. We did not eat in the restaurant on this visit. The bar staff were very efficient and polite. In all this is a very good hotel.

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank dean e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CWOAR, Guest Relations Manager at Chessington Safari Hotel, responded to this review, 26 March 2014
Thank you for your fantastic review of the Chessington Resort! It’s brilliant to hear that you loved the views on to the Wanyama Reserve. We will ensure that your great feedback is passed on to Laura and the team!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
24 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 March 2014

We stayed here last night as part of a large party attending a wedding nearby.
The staff were incredibly helpful, for example this morning when we were given travel toothbrushes and toothpaste as we had forgotten our own. The room was very large, I suppose that family rooms are the standard, and the shower was wonderful with a large sunflower head that allowed for a very relaxing/invigorating shower.
Breakfast was a tad disappointing and definitely not worth the £12.50 per head for a full buffet style breakfast. The sausages were pork & leek, which we found to be more of a dinner sausage than a breakfast sausage and which put a strange slant on the meal. Also, I would like to know whether anybody is measuring the temperature of the food regularly as it was definitely on the cool side and not the recommended 63 degrees or thereabouts.
Also, ensure that you request a room facing the safari park as our room faced the car park/bins/2 skips/storage units etc etc....not very nice.
Overall and good experience marred by the breakfast and the view.

Room Tip: Request a room facing the back of the hotel/the safari park.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank daniluvssun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chris G, Manager at Chessington Safari Hotel, responded to this review, 19 March 2014
Thank you for the four star review of the Chessington Resort! It’s great to hear that you enjoyed your room and the view of the Wanyama Reserve. We will ensure that your comments regarding the great staff service are passed on to the team! We would like to reassure you that the food temperature is regularly measured but will pass this feedback on to our restaurant teams.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shepperton
Level Contributor
60 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2014

We stayed here as part of a family weekend. The hotel has some great views over the wildlife paddock. Our stay was ruined by the attitude of the bar staff (one in particular called Nathan) who were rude and downright nasty. We were not rude nor boorish and do not know what we did to deserve such vitriol but it means we will certainly never use this hotel again. This is a shame as there were some good staff there, the rooms were spacious and clean, the food was acceptable too without being outstanding. It could be a good hotel but like a lot of Hoiday Inn's just fails to hit the mark.

Another problem we had was the the fire alarm light in the room. It pulsed out a huge halo of red light every 20 seconds or so and made for a distracted and uncomfortable nights sleep every night. Bizarre! I have never seen such a light before in any other hotel.

Room Tip: Don't stay here
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Prophet9963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014

we have been coming to the chessington hotel for 4 years every august for our daughters birthday.Cant express enough that this is the most amazing hotel with the most spectacular views apart from being in africa there really is not any better.After an exausting day of rides & excitment there is nothing better than having a meal in the zufari grill & bar then sitting out on the decking while watching the animals running around across the water hole its AMAZING. Dont even think about it just book & go you wont regret it .

Room Tip: watyama view room, wake up look out the window and see zebra OMG!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank stuart h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chris G, Manager at Chessington Safari Hotel, responded to this review, 7 March 2014
Thank you for your fantastic review of the Chessington Resort! It’s brilliant to hear that you have visited us for the last 4 years running. We do have many exciting adventures planned for 2014 so we hope you will come back soon!
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Additional Information about Chessington Safari Hotel

Property: Chessington Safari Hotel
Address: Leatherhead Road | Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Chessington KT9 2NE, England (Formerly Holiday Inn London - Chessington)
Region: United Kingdom > England > Surrey > Chessington
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Chessington
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Chessington Safari Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wake up to an African inspired reserve with zebras, antelopes, ostriches and the very rare Scimitar Horned Oryx roaming freely before your very eyes - it's the ultimate room with a Zoo! The hotel is perfect for family breaks with safari theming, African Adventure rooms, Penguins of Madagascar themed rooms, an indoor swimming pool, the family friendly Savannah Splash, gym & spa and the fantastic Zafari Bar & Grill. The hotel is part of the Chessington World of Adventures Resort and is just a few strides away from the Park. On weekends and during school holidays there are also animal meet and greets and character breakfasts. The hotel also has state of the art corporate facilities with 6 meeting rooms all with natural daylight, air conditioning and high speed internet access. At the theme park take on the KOBRA, our exciting spinning disc ride in Wild Asia, soar on the Vampire roller coaster through the depths of Transylvania or take a fiery spin round Dragon's Fury. Take a walk on the wild side with tigers, lions and gorillas in the Trail of the Kings, go underwater with sharks and stingrays in the SEA LIFE centre or journey to our new Wanyama Village & Reserve where the zebras and antelopes roam. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Holiday Inn London - Chessington Hotel Chessington
Holiday Inn Chessington
Chessington Holiday Inn
Chessington Safari Hotel Surrey

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