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“Weekend at Champagne Castle in Drakensberg”

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Champagne Castle Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Winterton
Certificate of Excellence
Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Weekend at Champagne Castle in Drakensberg”
Reviewed 18 May 2014

Me and my wife spend a weekend at this hotel during May 2014.
Access roads are in a good condition with a few minor serious potholes. Road signs can be somewhat better but still good enough.
Scenery is excellent. Walks from the hotel is reasonable except for the Fern Tree Forest walk which was not clearly marked and I had to turn back eventually.
Food overall is excellent. It is a buffet which allows you to select what you prefer. The staff in general is very helpful and need a compliment.
Rooms are of a high standard and comfortable. We had a heater in the bathroom and room.

My wife went to the Wellness Center and was very impressed with the treatments she had.
Although there was no minibar it did not bother us at all.

I will recommended this hotel to anyone who is not ready to complain about every small detail.

Room Tip: Consider asking for a room with mountain view if possible and available.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Traveldeon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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824 reviews from our community

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Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
54 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2014

Stayed here for a friend's wedding. Easy drive from Durban airport via N2/N3 then 30 km of country road through picturesque countryside. Rooms are comfortable, large and clean. Not as well equipped as one might expect in a 4 star (no minibar or iron) but these quibbles are small. My room had a good view of the mountains but slightly obscured by a large tree. Baboons hanging around the property to make mischief are amusing. All meals are included in standard room rates and are very good, if quite traditional, buffet offerings. Good activities are offered - I went on a guided walk and a horse ride led by very friendly and capable guides. A terrific way to taste a bit of the Drakensberg.

Room Tip: Room 61 has its view of the mountains slightly obscured by a large tree on the grounds.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
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Thank nudelmeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014 via mobile

We are from the UK but temporarily living in Durban. We drove from Durban to the Drakensbergs which took around 3 hours (quicker on the return leg as it was mostly downhill!) The drive was straight forward and the hotel gave good directions to reach them - via reasonable, tarred roads which were no problem for our small hire car. We were bowled over by the stunning setting of the hotel. We booked a room with garden view but still had wonderful views of the mountains behind. The room was huge - more than enough space - and the hotel kindly put us in a double room on request even though we'd booked a twin room through booking.com. The bed was huge & comfy, the room had a nice ensuite bathroom with bath & separate shower, and a kettle for tea/coffee. No fridge though and the hotel ask you not to take your own alcohol. It was quite cold at night but there are extra blankets, a heater & hot water bottles in the room. Like most hotels, the room wasn't sound proofed so whilst in a very quiet setting, the couple chatting in the room next door late into the night was a slight problem (take ear plugs if a light sleeper). But this is a very minor criticism, over all the hotel was fab.

Meals are included in the room rate and as we arrived after lunch on our 1st day, we were offered lunch on our day of departure (but still had to check out of the room by 10am). The food was a good standard, especially the selection of delicious fresh fruits at breakfast (plus cereal, croissants and fried breakfast if you want it). Lunch and dinner both involved at least 3 courses with a selection of meals to choose from - you will need to do lots of hiking to avoid gaining pounds! There is also morning & afternoon tea/coffee. The hotel will also make up a packed lunch if you want to do a day hike - this included sandwiches, fruit, crisps etc. Tap water is fine to drink or you can buy water at the small hotel shop.

We did one of the guided walks with the hotel guide. At first he wanted to take us back after just 40 mins. We told him we would continue alone as we wanted to see the Falls and Sphinx. At this he said he would continue with us and we were glad he did - the walk gets quite tricky towards the top of the mountain and had he not pointed out the Sphinx we'd not have realized where it was! A fab walk, well worth it. In fact we enjoyed this walk even more than the Rainbow Gorge walk which we also did (from the Cathedral Peak area), so another good Eason to base yourself at Champagne Castle Hotel.

To note, we would have liked to have a spa treatment when we arrived but it was fully booked, as was the following day. So if you want a treatment, best to try and book in advance.

Overall highly recommended.

Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Gemaki1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
india
Level Contributor
30 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

Went as part of a tour group.The location is pretty amazing with a classic view of the drakensburg mountains. The service is top notch and so was their attention to details.Some aspects of the hotel needs upgrading but no bother really.
George,the owner needs special mention. He freely mingled with us and was great company.On mentioning that we were a few vegetarians in the group ,he instructed the chef to rustle up something special for us to remind us of home.
The property itself is very well kept and was a pleasure to stroll around in. A prayer room with a gorgeous view needs special mention.A really wonderful stay in all.

Room Tip: Rooms with a view of the mountains ..
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank shyboy14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chennai
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2014

We stayed 2 nights with our group and had a lovely time. The place is located at the foothills of the mountains and has amazing views. General Manager George gave a lot of personal attention and was great to spend time with him. Also, must appreciate the staff of the hotel, we had forgotten some items in the safe and they made it a point to inform our group and organised a drop off to out next stop. An amazing commitment and wonderful level of service. Thank you George and team.
Since, we were a group with all meals and events arranged, we did not really order any room service. Great place to be! would recommend it.

Room Tip: Ask for mountain view rooms, they have a lovely balcony.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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2 Thank Mehul_N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland
Level Contributor
42 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2014

We stayed at Champagne Castle rather than another lodge in the Drakensberg that we have visited on a number of occasions based largely on the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. I wish I had read the reviews more closely. A number of reviews mentioned service as being a problem; they were being kind.

Every lodge in the Drakensberg has beautiful views. What we have come to look forward to in our stays in the mountains, in addition to the views, is the service and hospitality. The Champagne Castle has some disappointing problems with their activity staff as well as their front desk and dining room staff. For example, the staff guide for the daily hike set such a furious pace that of the eleven guests who set out with him, only two returned with him. The guide for horse back riding had trained his horses to trot when he whistled. The two hour sunset ride we had booked turned out to be an hour plus dash around the mountain where riders simply held on in fear of the next unexpected trot whistle.

I would write these activity staff people off as just fluke experiences. But the front desk and dining staff also just seemed to be tired and grumpy as well. Overall, I came away feeling like the Champagne Castle had gotten too big and was just going through the motions. It did not offer the level of hospitality we've experienced at other lodges.

Room Tip: Get far away from the main lodge so you do not hear staff arrive at 5:30 in the morning.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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3 Thank adam08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2014

this hotel has a great lookout onto the mountains. all staff great. rooms great breakfast and dinner can not fault. swimming pool good size great place to unwind. lots of wildlife roaming the grounds.car park very safe.check it out on internet. will come back.

Room Tip: chose a room with mounting views
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank trevor m
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

Property: Champagne Castle Hotel
Address: Route 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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