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Royal Hotel
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Reviews (212)
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Reviewed 9 January 2012

We recently spent 2 nights at the Royal Hotel in Durban and I must say I was pretty disappointed with their current standards. Having previously stayed here I was able to compare my visits. Some of the things i noticed were that the rooms are not well cleaned and that porters are scarce so we had to take our own luggage down to the car park. After complaining about the clogged drain in the shower, nothing was done. The hotel is rated 4 star but high standards are not being maintained.

Room Tip: Ask for harbour-facing rooms.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Sheereen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 December 2011

As the Romans said: "sic transit gloria mundi". Probably once a landmark hotel (sevarl taxi divers told us that the Royal used to be the number one Hotel in Durban), but times have changed. Still a great downtown location with many rooms offering nice vistas of the harbor. The pool at the top level terrace is not so much for swimming (too small) but still nice to have. Rooms are spacious with comfrotable beds. Windows can be opened (a great plus). Internet is free (though it did not work, but the hotel offered free service with another provider). Furnishing is on the old fashioned side.
The breakfast buffet was all right but basically the same every day. The staff is helpful, especially the waiters / waitresses at teh two in house resaurants.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled on business
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Thank StefanMarco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2011

Everything you can hope to have for a perfect stay can be found in this hotel. Extremely friendly staff, located in the City Centre with stunning harbour views, very close to the beach and main routes, 4restaurants, health centre, pool, gym, 4 star amenities.........but somehow they just miss the point.

The staff are very helpful, and once you bring a problem to the attention of management it is immediately fixed. This however leaves me with two problems, why does one have to complain before they get it right.

The screwed my accommodation up, I asked for two smoking, inter leading rooms and got two separate non-smoking rooms. The receptionist said she could not give me another room, but once I spoke to management, they did allocate two smoking rooms with an inter leading door.

The following was wrong with the second set of rooms:
1. The one phone did not work;
2. No hot water in one bathroom;
3. The TV remote had to be changed twice;
4. No lights in the foyer of the one room.

Once again, after bringing it to the attention of management, we were given other rooms. The only thing wrong with these rooms was that the one mixer in the bathroom had the hot water coded blue and the cold water coded red.

The service is generally extremely friendly, but fairly inefficient. It seems the staff that one deals with are too inexperienced or too scared to make any decision that can fix a problem. When a problem is raised with management, it is fixed immediately.

Problems that I experienced with service:
1. The service in the coffee shop is simply bad. They are very slow and the waitresses lounges against the walls while you wait for service.
2. The food is very nice, but overpriced for what you get. They serve a full buffet breakfast, but the scrambled eggs reminded me of something from my days in the army. What I did eat was extremely nice and well prepared. The curry is great, an old favourite in the Royal Hotel, but I could get the same quality sans the cutlery for half the price in Florida Road.
3. Room Service is a struggle. It took me about half an hour to get them on the phone. The child (OK maybe young girl) who answered the phone was simply rude. She was not willing to tell me what is on the menu, and told me I must check on the TV. There was no hard copy of the menu in the room, and it is not possible to scroll the TV up or down, you must simply wait until it scrolls through the menu at a pre-set pace. When I walked to receptions and complained to management, I was immediately given a very nice, printed room service menu. Why was it not in the room in the first place?

I stayed in three rooms on the first day, and the beds ranged from excellent and firm in the first two, to EXTREMELY soft in the last one. I assume some people like this, but I prefer the firmer beds.

Free internet is available for guests, but the quality is bad. One is often automatically logged out and if you work on the net, you are bound to lose some work. It is safer to work offline, save the work and then upload it.

Would I come back - DEFINITELY. Is the hotel a place of uncompromising service as advertised - ABSOLUTELY NOT. The hotel has everything required to make it one of the best places to stay. I have not met the General Manager, but I can simply ask - WHY IS NOTHING EVER RIGHT THE FIRST TIME ROUND.

Room Tip: Under cover parking is available at a minimal rate. It is however cheaper to pay the rate at the same garage as a daily casual parker, rather than a hotel guest. The room on floors above the 7th facing the harbour has the best views.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Danie_de_Waal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 December 2011

This hotel is located in the historic part of Durban, across from City Hall. It is a number of blocks walk to the main beaches.
The rooms are large & well presented including a safe with lovely views overlooking the harbour (which is only a block away).
This hotel is faded glory with a 4 star look & feel with the butlers & flash restaurants but only 3 star service eg; the free wifi did not work in the room & poorly elsewhere. The pool was empty which did not make the pool area very appealing.
We would stay there again at the cheap internet rate we paid but not for the full rack rate.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank CricketGirlDarwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2011

This hotel, once a luxury landmark in Durban, has been on the decline for the last 20 years. it has failed to keep pace with new developments and is now a rather out-dated very inner-city hotel which offers reasonably comfortable rooms but needs much better management in order to pull itself out from its distinctly second-rate feel. It's location is fine for business in downtown Durban but with many corporates ditching the rather seedy city centre for the newer (and lovely) Gateway area to the North, this leaves the hotel in a forlorn position. There is nothing inviting about walking outside this hotel at night. It's lobby feels as though its back in 1971 and its front-desk staff seem inexperienced and rather unwilling to go that extra mile...just to smile. My non-smoking room reeked of stale smoke and the toilet was broken forcing me to leave. The advertised free internet simply was a disaster and the lovely old-world restaurant needed much better food to ever draw me back. The buffet breakfast did not offer any breakfast rolls - rather strange! I certainly would not stay here voluntarily but, perhaps with good management it can still find a market - but it needs so much work.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled on business
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3  Thank polanalyst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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