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“A lovely setting, poorly managed”
Review of Zimbali Lodge

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Zimbali Lodge
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Reviewed 24 September 2015

Reservation

The reservation was made through the Fairmont website, which is where I should have foreseen the beginning of a poor experience. Having made a package booking which included breakfast one is given the opinion of adding breakfast as an additional – admittedly this page does note that you should not add extras that are included in your package but one would expect that the extra would then not be available for selection on this site. Further, having inserted my Credit Card details I then received an e-mail advising that I was required to pay a 50% deposit however no details of how this should be paid were included – seemingly it falls to the guest to phone the Lodge and request an invoice in order to pay.

Arrival

The staff were very welcoming and helpful upon arrival. Check-in was seamlessly managed.

Room

The room is very pleasantly laid out, and well kept.

Breakfast

The breakfast is poor, both in terms of range and quality. By way of example having sent back a croissant on the basis that it was “yesterday’s croissant” I was brought a fresh croissant from the kitchen – clearly a decision had been taken to rather ‘finish’ the previous days croissants.

Although friendly and eager to assist, the staff are clearly in need of basic training. For example, one would expect to get offered black pepper when given an omelette.

I enquired as to the possibility of rather having breakfast at the Resort (in the expectation that this may be better), and was advised that I would have to pay the full fee at the Resort.

Room Service

There isn’t any.

Restaurants

There aren’t any. The best option available was for us to shuttle to the Zimbali Resort.

Staff

The staff at the Lodge (and at the Resort) are friendly and helpful. They are (one of few) assets to the business.

Overall

It is quite apparent that attention has been shifted away from the Lodge to the Resort. One would expect that guests would be advised of this before making a booking – it is nothing short of dishonest to take reservations for the Lodge when it is in this state. The experience in anything but 5 Star and frankly I will neither return, nor recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank BryceMatthewson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, Guest Relations Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 27 September 2015

Dear BryceMatthewson

Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable feedback with us.

We would like to apologise for the challenges that you experienced during the booking stage of your reservation, as well as any miscommunication which you feel may have taken place prior to your arrival regarding the hotel facilities. We are sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused and we are disappointed that we did not live up to your expectations. We appreciate your feedback and will be sure to review the concerns raised.

Kind Regards,
Maye Khuluse
Director of Guest Services
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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153 - 159 of 440 reviews

Reviewed 13 September 2015

From R150/day for wifi, through R35 per room service delivery, and on to R100 cocktails and R350 for a bottle of R50 cheap plonk...at every step Fairmont finds a way to shaft you. It's silly; I can't believe they make much from this compared to their rather high rates, but it has a substantive impact on one's perception of the place. It must be tough to market these room prices, and then have to deal with the real impact of this nickel and dime strategy. Just stupid.

BUT, best breakfast I have ever had in SA, and wonderful staff at breakfast.

Room Tip: Avoid wifi - mobile data WAY cheaper in SA.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank 11Chris1122
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, Guest Relations Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2015

Dear 11Chris1122

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us.

We are disappointed to hear that we did not meet your expectations and that you left feeling frustrated by your experience with us. This is certainly not something that we want guests to feel when staying at our beautiful property, and we are sorry for any inconveniences caused during your stay.

Kindly note that complimentary WIFI is made available to all guests that are part of the Fairmont Presidency Club, and sign up is completely free. This great rewards program allows our guests to benefit from a variety of additional services available at all Fairmont properties around the world, including Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Resort. Please feel free to contact us should you wish to find out more about this service.

We hope that you will be back again soon.

Kind Regards,

Maye Khuluse
Director of Guest Services
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2015

Lovely setting , large , clean room though a little tired. Reception staff very helpful. Now for the downside.
Had to eat in a restaurant 2.5 km away and wait up to 25 minutes for a shuttle to take us there. Staff in restaurant were disinterested almost to the point of rudeness. Stir fry items put in wok with fingers ( no gloves) items missing from the tables and often had to get them ourselves from another table.
Pool staff only showed their faces on the last day of our holiday!
No room service. Definitely not a five star experience.

Room Tip: Ask for a higher room or you will be in amongst the lush green jungle. Very dark!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Medwarecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, Guest Relations Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 September 2015

Dear Medwarecat

Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable feedback with us regarding your recent stay at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

We are pleased that you enjoyed the lovely setting of our beautiful property, and that you found the Reception staff to be very helpful during your stay,

It is unfortunate that we were not able to meet your expectations and that you felt disappointed by the experience. We would like to sincerely apologise for the cleanliness concerns that you have raised, and we will be sure to address this matter going forward. We are sorry for any inconveniences that you may have endured during this time.

Thank you once again for your review.

Kind Regards,

Maye Khuluse
Director of Guest Services
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2015

Venue great. Service sketchy and usually poor. Rooms great and the setting is fantastic. Hotel staff not providing a 5 star service though. Lack of onsite restaurant huge negative. Reception staff particularly poor. Service around pool non existent. Room staff great.

Stayed: August 2015
Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 8 September 2015

Dear Michael F

Thank you for sharing your valuable feedback with us regarding your most recent stay at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

We are glad that you found the Lodge to be a great venue located in a fantastic setting. We are disheartened to hear that the standard of service did not live up to expectations and that you felt that this was lacking. Five star service is certainly something that we strive to deliver, and we are sorry that this was not experienced during your stay. We will certainly review this and look to improve on our service delivery going forward.

We hope that you will return to our beautiful property again and allow us the opportunity to offer a more memorable experience in the future.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2015 via mobile

Great service, beautiful setting, friendly staff......just simply brilliant!!!!
It was a short stay and my first time there with our baby. The lodge staff ensured all amenities we requested were there. The forest walks, heated pool and private beach really clinched it for us. We will definitely return for a longer stay

Stayed: August 2015, travelled with family
1  Thank Rodney S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2015

Dear Rodney S

Thank you for sharing your wonderful review with us.

It was an absolute pleasure having you stay at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and we are so glad to hear that service, setting and staff left a lasting impression on you and your family.

We look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2015

Lovely place to stay! We were pleasantly surprised by the service and friendliness. Not ideal when on business in Durban as it is quite far out - but a definite must if you are looking for a holiday spot. The swimming pool and views are beautiful! The rooms are very spacious and comfortable. The only let down is the breakfast as the service was slow and the cappuccinos cold.

  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Delia152
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2015

Dear Delia152

Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely review with the TripAdvisor community.

We are pleased to hear that you had a lovely stay, even though you found the location to be slightly far from where you were conducting your business. We are glad that you enjoyed the beautiful views at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge as well as the spacious and comfortable rooms. Hopefully you will be returning to our stunning property in the future for a more relaxed holiday.

We are sorry for the service experienced at breakfast, and will be sure to review this accordingly. We hope to improve on this going forward.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2015

I stayed a week at the Lodge. My first few days I was alone and stayed in room 409. It is a lovely room with darkening curtains, a beautiful view, great wifi, and central heat. The bed was nice and had a pillowy yet firm feel.

The bartenders are great. I enjoyed the laid back bar in the afternoon around the pool and even the little packaged salads were nice--lunch and dinner are not served at the Lodge property. But the bellman will drive you all over the property on golf carts, call a car from the main hotel, or have the shuttle take you to the hotel to have dinner in one of the hotel restaurants. The food at the Coral Tree buffet is very good, but I wouldn't suggest eating there close to closing time.

I changed rooms after a few days because my sister joined me and that's where the trouble started. Apparently, some of the rooms don't have central heat and they will bring you a heater. If it's not too cold, and you start the heater early before it gets cold, the space heater might work. It was too cold for us. There was also no wifi signal in my second room.

BUT, not to be outdone by the weather or wifi signals, one of the managers, Sam, worked with us to change rooms until we were MORE than satisfied. We had a totally terrific stay after that little hiccup and felt spoiled by everyone including the breakfast staff, and Genee, the concierge.

I would not hesitate to recommend staying at the Lodge over the high rise hotel. It was peaceful and beautiful.

The Willow Tree spa at the main hotel was very nice with reasonable prices.

Keep in mind that all food options are exhausted at 10:30pm except room service at the main hotel. There is no room service at the Lodge property.

Duncan and Leroi the bellmen, Robin the shuttle driver, the bartenders whose names I can neither spell nor pronounce, and everyone is to be commended for top-notch service. I cannot say enough about how wonderfully we were treated.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view and good wifi!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2015, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank AuntieAnne22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 27 August 2015

Dear AuntieAnne22

Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely review with us at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

We are so glad to hear that you had a terrific stay and that you found the property to be peaceful and beautiful. We are sorry about the challenges that you experienced once you moved to a room to accommodate your sister, however I am pleased that Samuel was able to turn the challenges around and ensure a memorable stay with us regardless.

We will be sure to pass on your feedback to all the staff that were involved in making you feel well looked after and treated wonderfully. Thank you for recommending our beautiful property to the TripAdvisor community.

We hope to welcome you back again in the near future.

Kind Regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Zimbali Lodge

Address: Zimbali Estate | Umhlali, Ballito 4390, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Ballito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Price Range: $289 - $400 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Zimbali Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 76
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito
Zimbali Hotel

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