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Champagne Castle Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Winterton
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 February 2014

Champagne Castle will always hold the most precious memories for me as this is where my now-husband proposed to me after a hike to a gorgeous waterfall in 2009! The scenery is amazing, we had such a great time here! We loved that they had free guided hikes that started from the grounds of the hotel. The guide was friendly and knowledgeable. The rooms were lovely and there are many activities on offer. An ideal location for a romantic escape.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank saiyuri m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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734 - 740 of 910 reviews

Reviewed 25 January 2014

Crystal mountain air swirls a few crunchy autumn leaves through gracefully maintained gardens under majestic Drakensberg peaks. The last breath of summer has blown a kaleidoscope gradient of burgundies and golds across the land, it's colours radiant in the veins of the leaves, the fluffy grass heads, and stalks. Trees appear red flamed, the mix of orange, tan, and yellow firing their flanks under the cool sun. An awe inspiring spectacle. Nature has laid a magic carpet under the berg at Champagne Castle Hotel, almost as if she has purposefully set out to impress humankind.
Scattered throughout the grounds of the hotel, are quaint cotttagy structures for housing guests. All are white-washed, gabled and bougainvillea draped. Pergolas accommodate a variety of hanging plants over cobbled adjoining walk ways. The grounds are well lit, and exquisitely manicured. The lush Kwazulu-Natal indigenous fauna adding natural beauty, hard to replicate in any other area on the Planet. Champagne Castle is located in one of the worlds recognized protected Heritage sites the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – and is considered to hold one of the finest locations in the entire country.
Accommodations for hotel guests are well appointed, and include, hair dryers, kettles, ice jugs, toweling robes, umbrellas as well as toiletries such as soap, bubble bath and manicure sets. The addition of heated towel rails and super pile bath sheets also provide a measure of extra luxury. Decor is understated and comfortable with bamboo upholstered loungers, flat screen TV's, mahogany look cabinets, side tables and dressers. More than adequate cupboard space is allocated to guests and include hangers and a digital safe. Balconies, with seating, and French style, wooden cottage-pane windows showcase the magnificent mountain views.
The self-catering cottages on the property house a maximum of 6 guests and offer, fire places, three bedrooms, kitchen and lounge areas, a patio and braai facilities. Huge glass windows demonstrate the bergs breathtaking beauty. All are located close to the main hotel on well lit paths. A beautiful dam, duck filled and often visited by families of monkeys fronts the self-catering area.
Catering at the hotel is almost a sacred affair, guests are offered three buffet style meals in the main dining area daily, as well a two additional 'Teas', (scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, tea or coffee) served in the lounge. A stunning selection of dishes to satisfy even the pickiest gourmet, or specialised dietary eater are laid out to whet guests appetites. Items on the menu include rib-eye steak, Black Tiger Prawns, Soles, Roast Duck, Roast Beef, Lentil Curry, to mention just a few choices. Vegetarians are well provided for, from a variety of vegetable main and sides such as roasted vegetable combo, kidney bean soup, roast potatoes and a daily salad bench with Calamata olives, and Feta Cheese as regular optional extras. The food in itself, would be a major draw card, however, it is the service provided by the cheerful, knowledgable, exceptionally friendly staff that make this hotel stay, and restaurant experience the extravagance it is. From the manager right through the ranks to house-keeping the staff are almost self-satisfied in their love for their jobs, the outstanding location they work in and the exemplary manner in which they are employed, their happiness rubs off on even the most bad mannered guests, and lights up the holiday experience in a style unheard of in the tourism industry. (especially at the reasonable prices charged by the establishment.)
As for entertainment, most people visit the berg to either climb, hike, fish, river raft, or mountain bike. All activities are offered either by the hotel or by private operators close by. Walks are conducted by trained, well informed guides daily from the reception area of the Hotel. Trail maps for independent wanders are available from reception, detailing short, medium and long excursions (walks from half an hour - four hours). Trout fishing is on offer, the hotel is surrounded by a number of pristine trout dams in gorgeous locations. As for sporting activities, a swimming pool overlooking the berg is kept sparklingly blue under the main restaurant area, tennis, and volley ball courts are also well maintained. In addition the hotel offers horse and pony riding, bowls, table tennis, darts and a charming central enlarged chess 'court' for guest entertainment.

A few meteres away from the Hotel, the adventure centre offers an array of daring pursuits for thrill seekers. White River Rafting, mountain climbing, canopy tours, helicopter rides, plus a hosts of other activities. Golf can be played at the Champagne Castle Resort in a location unequalled for both beauty and facility. For the self-catering crowd, restaurants in the area include a Portuguese Bistro, a Chinese restaurant as well as a spectacularly positioned Coffee Shop offering stunning views with your meal.

Attached to the hotel are a conference facility, a wellness parlour and a chapel. The wellness centre offers an indulgent grooming and massage program, while the conference area provides excellent all encompassing necessities for the businessman. However, it is the glorious chapel, with its building high glass panes which provide a vista of the berg, unparalleled in its magnificence, that is the real candy on top. A true find for any would be bride, this exquisite setting would make for the most unforgettable wedding imaginable, and when considering the excellent catering on offer from the hotel, as well as the variety of accommodation for guests the only word suitable as a description would be 'Fairytale'.

Unique experience in the area are shows by the famous Drakensberg Boys Choir, held on Wednesdays at 3.30pm, and the arial bird display held at the Falcon Ridge Bird Rehabilitation facility a stones throw from the hotel. The bird show alone is worth the trip. Birds of prey are flown by their dedicated, educated trainers who have either rescued wild birds and mended their injuries, or reared endangered birds of prey by hand. Birds on show include Fish Eagles, Black Eagles, owls and Falcons (fastest creature on the planet-clocks up to 450km/hr in a dive). The show is phenomenally well run, and ridiculously entertaining and informative. The couple responsible for the centre are so lost in their special world, that their empathy illuminates their charges for their guests in an all enlightening manner, along with their curious and energetic hunter dogs they put on a display of magnetic wonder that will live in the hearts of their audience for the rest of their lives.

In conclusion, then, if your stuck in a rut and need to put the glitter back into your life, there is simply no better way to do it than to plan a break at Champagne Castle where a two to three day stay will feel like a new lease has been granted on your life.

Room Tip: Go in autumn
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Susan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2014

We stayed at Champagne Castle for three nights in December 2013 with our three year old. It was a lovely experience with lots to do for kids and adults.
My daughter loved the pony rides, the animals and the jumping castle.
We could leave our daughter with a wonderful babysitter when we wanted to go hiking in the mountains.
The food was excellent and we defnitely picked up some extra kilos!
The service was really good and friendly. We had a flat car battery and the hotel manager sorted us out within a few minutes of asking!
The only thing that would've been nice is if there was a baby/small pool for the kids. The pool was very deep, even at the shallow end, so difficult to swim with a toddler.
Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Ilse Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2014

We stayed two nights at this beautifully located hotel. The bedroom with a mountain view and bathroom with a separate shower, were spacious by any standards, well decorated and furnished. The staff were friendly and helpful, in particular finding us a suitable electric power adaptor when our 'universal plug' proved to be less than truly universal. The good size pool was clean and there was free efficient wi-fi in the lounge.
All meals are buffet style and the quantity and choice would suit all tastes. However, as with all buffets, it was impossible to keep food hot without drying it out.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank afcok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2014

Champagne Castle Hotel was prefect for our little mountain getaway - WE LOVED IT..!!!

ROOM: We stayed in a Delux Mountain View room, beautifully appointed with a little balcony overlooking the pool area to our left and looking onto the majestic mountains in front of us. We loved the complimentary sherry in our room, but it would have been a nice touch to have it replenished every day.

LOCATION: What a perfect location for this hotel, with stunning mountain views, beautiful big trees and immaculate gardens! Best of all we loved the various walking trails leading from the hotel. We didn't get to try all of them and for that reason we would love to return one day.

FOOD: Diners were spoilt for choice with a delicious well set out buffet for every meal. There was a good range of dishes to satisfy every pallet. My husband and I ate far too much food, but it was so difficult to resist...!!

STAFF: Friendly and courteous at all times, greeting you as they pass, clearing our plates away in the dining room after you had eaten - we found the staff faultless.

Room Tip: Delux Mountain View room
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Susie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2014

We went with another family (kids ages 12, 10, 8, 3) and had two self-catering units. Both were immaculate, comfortable and well appointed. The kids had fun with the monkeys - which were a constant presence. There are a ton of activities and the kids could roam for hours. They have a bunny farm, horses and an aviary - which the kids loved. It also makes a great base camp from which to explore the mountains. Our views were spectacular!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank 2kidsBackpack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

Thank you for the 5 day relax! We had a deluxe family room which was a double story unit with kids in twin beds downstairs and we were upstairs with a very comfy king bed, 2 bathrooms and lots of space. The room was modern and well appointed and there were thoughtful items like umbrellas in the room for the unpredictable berg weather. There was a small carafe of sherry in the room on arrival but it wasn't replenished which would have been a nice touch.
The kids had a blast with a mountain (excuse the pun) of activities including horse riding which they tried for the first time and loved, fly fishing which they did for days, games room which they used daily, a terrific pool area, as well as many things we didn't even get a chance to try.
The new years eve party was a lot of fun and the whole family was welcome to join in, but sadly we didn't receive the email from the hotel advising us of the theme for the evening - as a masquerade ball it would have been nice to have our own masks but the hotel did sell some on the day. The decor in the dining room was outstanding as well as fun and the new years eve feast was terrific.
The food in general was very good and we ate like kings on the daily buffet.
The sign of a great stay - we didn't want to leave and booked again for 2014 - although we did book for the next time in a self catering unit as next year my kids will be charged as adults which we find a little pricey.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Lesmarie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Champagne Castle Hotel

Address: R600 Champagne Valley, Winterton 3340, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Drakensberg Region > Winterton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Winterton
Price Range: £106 - £150 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Champagne Castle Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 71
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Champagne Castle Hotel is nestled below the second highest peak in South Africa, Champagne Castle (3377m), part of the main escarpment within the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range, the highest mountain range in South Africa. Due to its diversity of plant, bird and insect life and the richest collection of San rock paintings in Africa, it has been declared a Mixed World Heritage Site. For visual impact, recreational variety and luxurious splendour, Champagne Castle Hotel is pretty close to being an ultimate experience. Your stay will be characterised by the proximity you gain to the most dramatic and immediate views of the Drakensberg Escarpment and the 'Barrier of Spears'. Whether you walk or hike, trout fish or horse ride, play golf or tennis, swim or bowl, everything here has been configured to embrace this unparalleled setting. ... more   less 
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