After reading all the reviews of this guesthouse on Trip Advisor I could not wait to stay at Dolphins View Guesthouse. I booked our accommodation in mid November 2012 for February 2013 as it seemed to be the top choice of establishment in the area. Four days before our arrival, I confirmed with the Guesthouse our 2 night stay and that we might arrive a little late but definitely before 10pm as we were travelling quite a distance to the guesthouse from Cape Town and stopping off to do some sightseeing on the way, to my surprise I received a reply from the owner stating " Unfortunately we do not have staff available until 10 pm at night. Perhaps you might want to consider booking somewhere that has night staff?"
I was then quite annoyed as this was four days before our departure and we had paid the deposit and planned our journey etc and could really not change anything. Anyhow we left very early that day to make sure we did not arrive late to inconvenience the owner of the guesthouse that we were paying R700 a night for without breakfast and on our vacation. We arrived at around 3pm to be safe, Elaine was surprised to see us so early and I mentioned that we left around 2am to make sure we were not late even though I had read a review here on trip advisor that she had waited for guests that arrived around 9pm and still then made them dinner anyway I should of known then my experience was not going to be a good one.
She opened the Self Catering apartment we were staying in, Suite 2, when she showed me to the unit it was at the back of the house so in Elaine's defence maybe the other rooms are of better standard and obviously have better sea views etc but when she opened the suite to show me it was extremely hot and had a funny burning smell, the hot plate had been left on and she was surprised. Makes me wonder if in fact if the unit had been checked by her prior to our arrival? She turned it off and then started to show me around the suite, the garden etc. She took me back into the unit, she turned the TV on to show me the channels and she was a little embarrassed as all the channels were out of sync and not correct.
We were travelling with our 2 doggies so I guess we got shoved in this suite as it had a garden attached to it which I must admit still had previous guests or Elaine's dogs faeces in the yard. I did not let my dogs use the garden as the fence had slates which were quite big and our two very small dogs would get out as well as the other dogs poohs lying around, my dogs are trained to use puppy pads anyway. The wifi did not work and Elaine blamed that on a new company she had got in with regards to the wifi. She offered for me to use her computer in the office I declined, I wanted to relax in the apartment and check emails etc, the wifi worked outside and she said can't I sit outside and use it? I laughed and said no I do not wish to sit outside in the rain and get my computer wet. I managed to get signal right up against the window in a very awkward position.
The sea view which everyone spoke so highly of was a small partial view overlooking the washing line and the back on the main guesthouse. No dolphin viewing for us and no beautiful sunrises like all the pictures in some reviews show. Back to the guesthouse in one of the cupboards there was a open bag of sugar ( not ours) also the fridge did not smell to kosher and had a half bottle of water in it, also the freezer had a half used bag of ice.
We were going to cook a small light meal when I opened the cupboards and took a pot out, the cupboards had a terrible smell, some sort of packet that absorbs moisture was lying in the cupboard which was sopping wet and under the sink. The pots were rusted and wet underneath and it was a mess underneath and pretty miff, so we opted to go to the local restaurant down the road called Barnacles which was probably the only highlight of the entire stay which was supposed to be 2 nights but as you will see further into this review was shortly cut to one.
Barnacles restaurant was very sweet and quaint had amazing sea views and the food was exceptional, tasty and of a good portion size. We returned to the guesthouse and mom decided to go shower, she came out and called me, the shower was disgusting and full of mould everywhere. By now we were both just trying to enjoy the evening after such a long trip. I opted to bath, finally mom went to bed and when mom lay her head to rest, she called me, the pillows on her bed smelt of dirty hair or sweat, it was disgusting, we checked the other pillows and most were the same, we looked in the cupboards for perhaps cleaner ones and just saw blankets which had just been thrown and not neatly folded into the top of the cupboards. We chose what seemed to be the best of the pillows and she tried to settle for the night. I was so annoyed at all of this by now.
I went to the owner at around 10pm as the lights were still on, this I find ironic as this was the time we were told we could not arrive at the guesthouse as there was no night staff in the evening anyway, she had some people sitting at the bar and I opted to talk to her in private she said no its ok I can talk to her there. I asked her nicely when last the suite had been cleaned, she seemed surprised and asked why, I explained to her everything, I mentioned about the pooh in the garden she said there is no pooh there, I said would you like to come check. Elaine preceded to say how she is alone at the guesthouse and how she has issues with staff! I am sorry, I paid a lot of money for a service and a decent place to stay for the 2 nights, I do not need to know the problems, if you can not keep the standards of your guesthouse up to scratch you should not be running one. I myself have worked and stayed in top hotels and resorts all over the world, I know what is needed and you take pride in what you do no excuses!!
Anyway Elaine said that she would refund my money and that I should find alternative accommodation and be on my way the next morning. I said that was fine and went back to suite 2, I started to look for an alternative place to stay. I found a 4 star guesthouse just outside of PE, I called and to my surprise the owner Harry picked up at 11pm, I mentioned my situation, he had the utmost time for me and was ever so helpful considering the time. I paid the deposit via his website and luckily was able to get a place to stay by him on a Friday evening for mum, myself and the 2 woofies, self catering, for almost the same price as Elaine which she is a 3 star and we got it with breakfast and 4 star.
I battled to sleep and used a towel on my pillow which was not top of the range as the website states, the suite are definitely not upmarket again as the website states. The place needed a good deep clean to be honest. I slept maybe around 2 hrs woke up told mom what the story was, we packed up, and was out of there by 8am, luckily there was a sandwich left which mom ate as I refused to cook on any of the equipment or cutlery offered.
We got to our new guesthouse Bluewater Beachfront Guesthouse just 10km or so from Port Elizabeth at 9am, I checked the accommodation first it was excellent and I was finally happy.
I am generally not to much of a fussy person when staying at places as I understand the hospitality industry 100% BUT I am sorry, I am writing this honest review and posting pictures as I would not want anyone to experience what my mother and myself experienced that night.
PLEASE NOTE! My previous review had a response from the owner, which I have added here as a picture. This is my reply to the response. I have decided to redo my review with this part added for clarity about my previous review.
When I arrived at Elaine's door to complain at 21h45pm or so I can not remember the exact time as finally I had had enough - She was awake and had been sitting at the bar area in her private residence with visitors who left later as I heard people as they started their cars and drove away. She asked me "what’s wrong now?" - She was fully aware that myself and mum had had a bad experience since we checked in, hence asking. With response to her stating she never said I should sit outside in the rain, that’s false, I went to her office to query why the internet was not working and as walking closer to her residence the wifi kicked in and I stated this to her as we spoke, she said well can't I sit outside and connect. IT was raining!!! I stated no and laughed still as I thought that was so rude and I replied I am not getting my equipment my Ipad or laptop wet from the rain.
The linen might have been laundered on that day as Elaine wrote BUT the pillows also need to be cleaned once in a awhile. The smell coming from them was foul and disgusting. Human sweat or dirty hair or a combination. I honestly wanted to throw up.
The rate I paid for Bluewater was R740 with breakfast for a self catering unit , I have my receipt still to prove this for Dolphins View Guesthouse I was paying R700 a night no breakfast. Elaine states she finds it funny that we took 6 hours or so to complain the reason we took 6 and half hours to complain is we arrived 3pm, tried to settle then wanted to cook a meal , kitchen equipment was disgusting etc so we went for dinner at a nearby restaurant Barnacles which I mentioned in my previous review. We finally got home around 8pm or so, mom saw the state of shower, she showered I opted to bath and she read, when she went to bed around 9-30pm ( 6 and half hours later after checking in) she and me noticed the foul smelling pillows etc, This is when I had finally had enough and went knocking at the owners door around 9-45pm!!!! We had accepted the no wifi connection, the tv channels all messed up, the dirty kitchen equipment, the mould in the shower, the pooh in the garden, the partial sea view with the view of the main guesthouse with a washing line but this was the last straw the smell of the linen/pillows and I finally went to complain at 21h45pm.
I had stated to Elaine, I had found accommodation as I was so annoyed and actually did not care if I had to sleep in my car the next night, I had not though and was a little concerned as to having to find mum, myself and the 2 woofies a place to stay on a Friday night. I called around, most places were not answering as it was so late or fully booked, that is when I called Bluewater Beachfront Guesthouse and Harry answered and made a plan for us. Also as Elaine suggests the rates on their website does not appear to compare with hers. The accommodation we got from Harry was not even on their website yet as the Jocelyn Family Room is a newly renovated unit and was not posted online hence available and that was the price Harry quoted me for R650 no breakfast or R740 with breakfast. By Elaine I paid R700 no breakfast. As Elaine suggests she was pleased that I checked the accommodation first at Bluewater Beachfront Guesthouse , the reason I now did this was after my terrible experience with her at Dolphins View Guesthouse. I did not check the accommodation by her as I was tired after a long trip and I was expecting a good clean comfortable stay! From now on in my travels I will check.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Self catering suites with the option of meals (with notice). All accommodation is sea facing. ... more less