My wife and I spent an evening at Villa Sterne on Saturday night. When we arrived we were overwhelmed by the grandeur of this mansion of a house. The hotel looks like a really large mansion or private residence, not a hotel. It is located in a VERY nice section of Pretoria and surrounded by other mansions. And it is stunning. But it lacks some of the niceties of a real hotel. For example, there was no bellman to help us with our five suitcases (we were on a three-week tour of Africa) so it was left to us to haul our suitcases upstairs to the room. The room itself was very large and at first, appeared to be quite nice. But all was not as it appeared at first.
The first thing we noticed was that the large sliding doors leading to a beautiful balcony, that
overlooked a beautiful back yard, would not open. We asked for help and the young lady who showed us to our room strained and pulled with all her might and slid it open about a foot. I felt badly for her and I did the rest. Now I lift weights every day, but I can tell you, it took a mighty pull to get that door opened. And likewise to close it.
We walked around the beautiful grounds but discovered that the pool was not kept up and was filled with debris. We were planning on spending the day by the pool on Sunday (something we found out later was not going to be possible anyway) but when we saw the pool we realized that was not going to happen.
Then I went to take a shower. While the bathroom was large and well appointed with nice bath amenities, it was there that I found the entire ceiling of the shower and all the grout between the tiles covered in disgusting and unhealthy mold. Really a turn-off.
We wanted to check our emails as we had been on The Blue Train and had spotty WiFi. We found that to use the "free" WiFi, we had to obtain vouchers which had to be requested from the hotel manager. These vouchers were for limited time (the each lasted about 20 minutes) and kept running out so we had to keep requesting them. Again, the staff was very nice but it was just such an unnecessary hassle to have to go through this to check emails.
Going downstairs to the beautiful main floor of the mansion, we discovered that we were the only guests (the have 15 rooms) who were having dinner with them that evening. The two young ladies who helped us (we found out later that they were interns from a nearby university) were very nice and helpful and set up a beautiful and romantic candle-light dinner for my wife and me in the "family room". We were so pleased with what they did. But then dinner came. My carpaccio was not edible. I was thick and gooey and difficult to cut and even more difficult to eat. I love carpaccio but I just could not eat it. Then came the main course, a fish dish. Again, it was not done, slimy and gooey. Such a disappointment after the girls had created such a romantic environment. After dinner we did enjoy a fire in the fireplace before going to bed.
Sunday morning we had a hot breakfast and my eggs Benedict was very good but my wife said her waffles were limp and tasteless and appeared to be prepared earlier and heated up in the microwave.
Because our flight out of Jo'burg didn't leave until Sunday evening, we asked for a late check out and the staff was again very accommodating. They prepared a nice lunch for us which they served in our room as the entire facility had been rented by a family for an anniversary party on Sunday. The lunch was filet mignon and it was very good.
My wife and I spent the day in our room as the entire house was full of guests. That was not really a problem except that our one source of entertainment was a old (at least 25 years old) TV with about 10 stations, only one of which was in English. So we spent the day watching reruns of NCIS LA and such.
All in all, the Villa Sterne has a lot of possibilities, but poor management and lack of attention to detail destroys what could be really nice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The magnificent Italian-styled masterpiece, Villa Sterne Boutique Hotel is set on the highest ridge with breathtaking views overlooking the majestic Union Buildings and the exuberant Jacaranda City, Pretoria – South Africa’s capital city. Guests are afforded the elegance, privacy and comfort of a luxury modern-day existence in our gracious old-world setting. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Agoda, Booking.com, Ebookers, Evoline ltd and HotelsClick so you can book your Villa Sterne 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.