Very unique + great service but a tad disappointed
Posted Mar 19, 2014 on Hotels
It's all about expectations... My mother had stayed here and raved about it. She told me that the water hole was worth the splurge alone, and when I saw I could have a room for ~$160, I jumped at the chance.... Turns out the S&L is really two separate hotels. One (the lodge) is a 5-star experience, with gorgeous rooms and a beautiful lodge, and the other, the Ursula (where I stayed) is more like 3.5 stars. I should have known that ahead of time, but the website doesn't really make it explicit. My little bungalow was very basic -- no TV, basic carpeting, hostel-style shower, etc. I even had the impression I could mosey between the two properties and experience some of the lodge (meals, pool, etc) despite being a guest at Ursula. That's not the case (they don't even let you walk between the two -- you have to schedule a shuttle even though it's only about 100 meters). The other thing the website should mention is that the animals aren't at the water hole half the year. So, I paid largely for the chance to gaze out my veranda at elephants & giraffes, but turns out that only happens during the dry season... All that said, this is a classy place with great service. A few of the staff members haven't quite nailed the concept of "Western" service, but they'll mostly go out of their way to accommodate you and make sure you're having a great stay.