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“Stranded in Livingstone care of the Chrismar”
Review of Chrismar Hotel

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Chrismar Hotel
Ranked #8 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
New York, New York, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Stranded in Livingstone care of the Chrismar”
Reviewed 8 January 2012

This hotel will provide you with the worst customer service experience you will ever have in your life. The staff is callous, artless, and crass. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere, quite unattractive and unkempt. Kathy, the Front Office Manager, is absolutely hopeless at mitigating the fact that the hotel is not a four star establishment, mismanages online bookings, and treats prospective guests with absolutely zero care. In no circumstance should you make a booking at this hotel. If for some reason you choose to, do not do so online through Orbitz or Flame of Africa or other booking organizations. A better option, stay at the David Livingstone just across the way. Sure it is a bit more but the hotel actually handles itself as a premier establishment, not an online charlatan.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank EmilyRukobo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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109 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Norwegian first
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  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2012

While we didn’t actually get the opportunity to stay at the Chrismar Hotel in Livingstone, I believe that my families experience this past New Years Eve is extremely relevant to anyone who is thinking about reserving a room there. Especially if you are travelling to Zambia from somewhere outside of Africa. This is going to be a somewhat lengthy post, so please bare with me.

My sister got married in Zimbabwe a few days after Christmas and since we had all heard how amazing Victoria Falls is, the family members that made it to Africa for the wedding decided to stay through New Years and visit the Falls.

We booked the rooms several months prior to New Years, and because there were not any suitable looking hotels on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls, we decided to stay at the Chrismar Hotel in Livingstone. It looked pretty nice, appeared to be safe, wasn’t outrageously priced, and most importantly was close to the Falls because we were only going to have 1 full day to tour around.

The major issue arose when we arrived at the hotel in on December 31st after catching a 7AM flight from Harare, Zimbabwe to ensure we landed with enough time to have a full day in and around Victoria Falls. When we finally got to the hotel, they no longer had the 4 rooms reserved for us that we had secured via our credit card. According to the front desk manager, Kathy, it is common practice for the Chrismar to allow the hotel to become overbooked and then use other inferior hotels in the area as their overflow locations. This honestly would not have been an issue for us because we were more concerned about just having a place to change and sleep for the one day we were in Zambia to explore Victoria Falls. The only problem was that because we did not respond to the hotel within 24 hours of them notifying us that they had found us an alternative location, they gave away the 4 rooms at the Courtyard Hotel that they had booked for us. Since we had all been in Zimbabwe prior to coming to Livingstone, none of us had readily available internet access and the location where the wedding occurred was out in the bush and had zero internet access whatsoever. “Unfortunately for us,” according to Kathy and the General Manager Robert McCarron, that is when the hotel decided to try and contact us.

The bottom line is that my entire family arrived in a foreign country 8,000 miles away from home to be told by hotel management that while they were “very sorry for the mix-up,” that it really wasn’t their problem because the reservation came through Orbitz and we should “try getting in touch with them.” You can imagine that this angered us greatly, as Kathy and later Robert just expected us to accept their heartfelt apology and go about finding our own hotel to stay at. After an immense amount of pleading by my sister (who was supposed to be happily enjoying her first day if marriage,) Kathy finally allowed us to sit with her in her office while she called “all” of the hotels in the area looking for rooms for us. Unfortunately, we soon figured out that she wasn’t calling all of the hotels in the area, just the ones priced at and below the Chrismar. After pulling out a laptop and conducting a search of our own, we found a hotel nearby that had 4 rooms available only it was more expensive than the rate we had booked at the Chrismar. We asked Robert the General Manager if they would simply be willing to split the difference with us and he laughed at us (over the phone because he wouldn't come and speak with us in person) and told us no chance. We asked if we could speak with the Director of the hotel (his boss) and he said that he didn’t think he would be able to reach him today because it was New Year’s Eve. They knew they could play hardball with us because we only had 1 day to see Victoria Falls and the last thing we wanted to do was sit around in a hotel lobby all day until they found us a place to stay – or until they didn’t.

If you are comfortable with a hotel giving away your hotel rooms and then stranding you in the middle of Zambia, go ahead and book at the Chrismar. If you want to make sure that your reservation is there when you arrive at the hotel, you should probably book elsewhere.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will gladly go into more detail about how Robert and Kathy treated us poorly and tried to ruin the first day of my sister’s marriage, my parent’s 45th wedding anniversary, and the last day of our African vacation.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Zitch1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Livingstone hotels

Middlebury, CT
Level Contributor
35 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 January 2012

In my 48 years of travel I have never been treated as shabbily as I was here. We travelled from the USA and England for a unique New Year's Eve experience and upon arrival were told our rooms had been cancelled. We received little to no help finding another venue and a member of our family found us the 4 rooms we needed at another lodging not more than 5 minutes away. The hotel manager was arrogant and condescending over the phone and made no apology for his hotel's mismanagement. This hotel does not even get one star from me.

Room Tip: Choose somewhere else
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Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank pczyko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Robert M, General Manager at Chrismar Hotel, responded to this review, 18 January 2012
This review is a complete falsehood. While this person did suffer from mismanagement it was not ours. This reviewer booked through a third party supplier who told us to cancel said booking. When they arrived at the hotel and found they didn't have a booking they told us that we had to find them alternative accommodation and pay for it. While i didn't agree i made calls to other hotels looking for alternative accommodation. They then told me they found 4 rooms at USD $400 per night per room and told me if we didn't pay for them and they would ruin our online reputation as you can see they were successful at. The gentleman whom i spoke on the phone with, told me i had a half hour to make the arrangements. I told him only my director could authorize something of that nature and i had to call him. I called the hotel back about 15mins later to discuss options with them and they had already left to go elsewhere and because i didn't accept the attempts at extortion, blackmail or whatever term is used for such an act, we now have this awful review posted. I was apologetic to this client, but my hands were tied and was given unreasonable requests to deal with. My attempts to get this review taken down have been futile, but i would like to state my case here so that future travelers will know both sides of the story. I assure you this was a one off occurrence that has never happened before, and it happened at the worst possible time when all the local hotels were full due to the holiday. If this ever were to happen again, like this time, we would as management call around to other hotels of equal standards to try our level best to make arrangements. If anyone has any questions, i please urge them to contact us at the hotel so they can be addressed accordingly.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 December 2011

Convieniently located, clean accommodations and friendly staff.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Fxaddonizio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lusaka, Zambia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2011

I stayed here in October 2011 with 4 other family members. The place is set in a relaxing environment.

The room are good but I would have preferred to have mosquito nets. The bathrooms are perfect with a big shower and a wicked bath/spa with windows opening into the room.

Our refrigerator was not working, But in saying that we did not tell the staff. The other room my cousin was in had the same problem but they told the staff and it was rectified.

I do not recommend the food (for lunch or dinner) there it was cold and not nice. I would go outside the hotel in the future.

In the morning I often saw monkeys playing in the outskirts of the hotel. Be careful when driving to the hotel at night as we ran into an elephant and we had to reverse out as it was showing signs of charging.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rhiannas_world
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chrismar Hotel

Property: Chrismar Hotel
Address: Sichango Road, PO Box 60614, Livingstone 00000, Zambia
Region: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 17 Hotels in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): €€
Hotel Class:4 star — Chrismar Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 59
Reservation Options:
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