We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The Chrismar stranded us in Zambia and the management told us tough luck”
Review of Chrismar Hotel

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 8 more sites!
Chrismar Hotel
Ranked #9 of 18 Hotels in Livingstone
Reviewed 8 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
4  Thank Zitch1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (113)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

90 - 94 of 113 reviews

Reviewed 3 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
See more room tips
Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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 reviewResponded 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.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2011

Convieniently located, clean accommodations and friendly staff.

  • Stayed: December 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Fxaddonizio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
1  Thank Rhiannas_world
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2011

We stayed at this hotel in september 2011 for 2 nights.

On first look, it seems a very nice hotel. The looby is stylishly decorated, there is a lot of open space.
This impression changes quickly.

The rooms are in 3-room-kind of bungalows spread out over the area. The doors do not close properly, have huge gaps between door and frame.
In an area with malaria warnings, there is no protection at all against mosquitoes: no nets above the bed, no mosquito window frames. Actually, you need no mosquito frames in the windows, as the mosquitoes can enter your room at any time freely through the gaps in the doors.

The bathroom is overly large and overly equipped (with a jacuzzi tub), but the rooms are lacking more important things like safe, suitcase ledge, a 2. nightstand (there is only one at one side of the bed).

The rooms have reed roofs, which notoriously house a lot of bugs. Since there is no net above your bed, be prepared to wake up with some of them on your pillow.

The pool is great, if the water were clean. The water is so dirty that you cannot see the ground. The hotel puts a lot of chemicals in the water, but they do not improve the colour. The walls are full of algae.

The pool bar is nice as well, but in urgent need of repair, as some of the ledges have fallen off or are on their way to break off.

The service at the pool bar is very nice, but the prices are not. Prices are the same as in an international standard hotel.

The service in the restaurant is hopeless, the cleanliness as well. Dirty coffee cups, ants in the juice machine,...
At the breakfast buffet they put the same dishes under several covers to make up for the lack of choice.

Be prepared for a long check-out!! The reception only accepts cash, and only US dollar.
No credit cards can be used, and no other currencies are accepted.

This hotel could be good, with a lot of repairs, proper maintenance and better staff training.
The staff really try their best, but lack training.

This hotel is under Zambian ownership (as far as I know), so do not expect international standard.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Onganga
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 reviewResponded 6 October 2011

Thank you for your review. While some of your points are valid and will be addressed immediately, there are few that are incorrect. To start off we accept much more than only USD. Being in Zambia in fact we mostly use the Zambian Kwacha. We have 3 credit card machines that accept Mastercard, Visa and American Express. We also accept South African Rand, British Pound, and Euros. The breakfast buffet comment is also very incorrect. The covers are kept closed on the chaffing dishes to keep the food hot and we never have the same thing in more than one of them. the only 2 items which may be mistaken for the same is beef and pork sausages which definitely do look alike. As far as the service you got, i am very sorry you had bad service. We have trainings, give the servers weekly tests on service and menu knowledge and even had Zambia Tourism Board come in and do a training on Customer Service and Communication. Since these trainings we have had nothing but positive reviews on our service so this comes as a shock to me and will be addressed with the breakfast staff immediately. The dust and dirt on the coffee cups is unfortunate. Its on of the disadvantages of having an open concept restaurant, the wind does blow dust and dirt in and although the servers do change them daily and dust, sometimes its difficult to keep up with the wind.

The pool situation was definitely unfortunate and i assure it usually isn't the case. I agree it was very dirty and not attractive. The reason being that our pump went and we had to source the parts from South Africa which took and absurdly longer time than we had hoped or planned for.

The room's windows and doors, I know is an issue, I am fairly new to this hotel and I plan on fixing that. I'm sorry it hasn't happened yet and you had a bad experience because of it. The bugs in the thatch is also a well known issue, in fact house keeping sprays the rooms every night for the same reason to prevent such issues.

Overall i can see you did not enjoy your stay with us and i am very sorry for that. I wish some of your concerns were brought to my attention while you were here so that i could've addressed them by for example, moving you to a different room where the doors and windows closed to a perfect seal, addressing the staff and restaurant manager to pay close and extra attention to you, etc. Please whether it be here or any other hotel or establishment, let your concerns be known while still there. It allows for immediate results and its the only way we get better. I can tell my breakfast staff they did a bad job, but if i can't identify what they did poorly and give them an example of when they did it and to whom, its harder for me to prove my point. Regardless all the complaints you had will be addressed without fail. Thank you for your review and helping us become better. Feel free to email me with any other concerns or comments.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Livingstone hotels
5.3 km away
AVANI Victoria Falls Resort
AVANI Victoria Falls Resort
#3 of 18 in Livingstone
1,806 reviews
2.0 km away
Protea Hotel Livingstone
Protea Hotel Livingstone
#5 of 18 in Livingstone
280 reviews
2.6 km away
Ngoma Zanga Lodge
Ngoma Zanga Lodge
#6 of 18 in Livingstone
27 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.6 km away
Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara
16.2 km away
Tongabezi
Tongabezi
#1 of 18 in Livingstone
414 reviews
2.5 km away
No photo provided
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Chrismar Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about 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 #9 of 18 Hotels in Livingstone
Price Range: $197 - $306 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Chrismar Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 59
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Wotif.com, Expedia APAC, Evoline ltd, lastminute.com.au, Hotels.com, Hooroo Pty Ltd, TripOnline SA, Cancelon and getaroom.com so you can book your Chrismar Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing