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“Fawlty Towers and Worse”

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Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Certificate of Excellence
Sandton, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Fawlty Towers and Worse”
Reviewed 22 June 2014

From the minute we checked in we encountered one disaster after another. Our upgraded room had not been cleaned for what seemed like weeks. Simple requests, such as a corkscrew took for ever. In the end I went to the bar and asked for one myself. Breakfasts, which were included, showed up on the bill as separate charges. The mountain bikes, expensive BMW models, weren't it a fit state to be used. The constant solicitation by people to sell time share or something similar were a real pain in the neck and ought not to be permitted at a hotel of this calibre. In short, don't even consider staying here.

Room Tip: Just don't bother booking this hotel.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank arcjnb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 24 June 2014
Dear Arcjnb

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. We do apologise that your experience did not meet your expectations. Please rest assured that what you have described does not reflect the high standard of service with which we strive to provide our guests. We do hope that you will see this as a once off occurrence and will visit us again soon, allowing us the opportunity to show you our world class hospitality.

Kind Regards,
Leon Meyer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (187)
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English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2014 via mobile

I've been to this hotel twice this year. First was a week with family and second was a one day business trip.

At entering the reception one is met with a gorgeous view of the ocean. That alone is Wow!

The staff deserve a 5 star.

The rooms are not that cosy at first, maybe due to the tiling and cold AC, but they are spacious and have great modern finishes.

There are plenty of great restaurants in the estate. My favourite being the beach restaurant about 200m away.

Really looking forward to coming back here again.

Stayed June 2014, travelled on business
Helpful?
Thank Loyiso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 22 June 2014
Dear Loyiso,

Thank you very much for your positive review. There is no greater compliment than a repeat guest with plans to return yet again.

We are delighted to read that you enjoyed the Resort’s stunning location, experienced the engaging service our colleagues are known for, and had a pleasant dining experience with us.

Whether on business or with your family, we do hope you will visit us again and we certainly look forward to welcoming you back to the Fairmont Zimbali Resort.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2014

We recently stayed at Fairmont Zimbali for two nights mid week. It is a lovely, peaceful resort hotel located in the beautiful Zimbali Estate and close to nearby holiday town of Ballito which provides additional dining options.

We booked a deluxe seaview room which although only on 3rd floor still has a nice view. Upgrade options are available when booking and on check-in, although the cost on check-in was three times the price we were offered when booking online, despite hotel being empty, so we declined the upgrade.

The rooms are very spacious and clean with an open plan bathroom (with partially frosted sliding doors for privacy), a rain shower and a walk in cupboard. The large bed is very comfortable with crisp linen and extra large pillows. The balcony is definitely a nice-to-have (vs standard rooms) but it's not completely private (can see into adjacent balconies) and beware of the monkeys (always keep the sliding doors closed!!).

Unfortunately we had a few problems with the room that one does not expect in a luxury hotel:
1) The shower is ridiculously complicated to use when all you really want is on/off and hot/cold. Also the door did not seal properly so while trying to enjoy the lovely rain shower I flooded the bathroom a few times.
2) The toilet cubicle (which is separate) was very smelly despite having an automatic air freshener.
3) The mini bar fridge was dirty and stained and hardly got cold, so the drinks/snacks we bought were wasted.
4) Tea/coffee provisions were not replenished and the rusty kettle needs replacing.
5) The safe in the walk-in cupboard is on a shelf at head height and the safe door swings open into the hanging space - this is very dangerous if you forget to close the door and bend down to get shoes etc.
6) The windows of the room above our balcony were being cleaned and the water dropped straight down onto our balcony chair (I was luckily in the other chair at the time) and also left a large puddle on the floor, which is dangerous as the tiles are already quite slippery.
7) We were hoping to sleep late on our first morning however were woken at 7am by very loud and ongoing doors banging, furniture scraping (the room floors are tiled) and loud talking - not sure if guests or cleaning.

The hotel itself is lovely, with spacious, light filled public areas with great views. The pool area and gardens are a very nice feature with a huge, sparkling pool and comfortable loungers, but unfortunately no sea view which is a bit of a waste given the spectacular location of the resort. The area is very well maintained and clean, but it's badly lit at night so when we went for a walk after dinner we had to use our mobile phones for light and eventually just gave up.

There is a well equipped gym and the estate provides lots of walking and cycling options in a very safe and quiet environment which we really enjoyed and is a big benefit of this hotel. We had planned on going to the Spa but it is really overpriced so gave it a miss.

The only meal we had at the hotel was dinner at the main Coral Tree restaurant. The food was nice enough and the service was excellent but what really made the evening special was the entertainment - a female singer with the most wonderful voice, accompanied by a very talented keyboard player - thoroughly enjoyed this while sipping on a delicious bottle of merlot!

The hotel has free wifi (if you join the Fairmont loyalty programme) which is available in rooms and public areas but doesn't quite reach the pool.

A noteworthy feature of this hotel is the excellent service. From arrival to departure we were very impressed with the friendliness and efficiency of all the staff, from management (who clearly lead by example) to the front desk, restaurant, pool, security, housekeeping etc etc, who all greet you with a big smile and offer to assist. A special mention to Marc and Thomas (concierge) and Khulani (reception) who are all fabulous and brightened our day when we met them, thank you!

Overall this is a really nice hotel and one of the best on the KZN coast. I may consider going back as the relaxing location, endless sea views, huge rooms and superb service are all very appealing, but the room problems were really irritating and detracted from the stay.

Room Tip: Book a room with a balcony.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RosG101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 17 June 2014
Dear Ros,

Thank you very much for this considered and constructive review. We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us and truly value your feedback.

It is wonderful to read that you experienced the engaging service our colleagues are known for, and that we managed to turn your experience into a memorable one. Our sincere thanks to you for generously acknowledging the service excellence of Marc, Thomas and Khulani – we will be sure to pass on your kind words and know that they will be humbled by the recognition.

We are delighted you found the resort to be tranquil, picturesque and ideally located to nearby Ballito. We’re also pleased that overall you had a pleasant stay at the hotel and enjoyed the views, spacious rooms, and the activities and facilities available. Thank you for the wonderful feedback on your dining experience at Coral Tree Restaurant, we are so glad you enjoyed the live entertainment and service there.
Please accept our most sincere apologies regarding the challenges you experienced in relation to your room. Although we are very disheartened to learn that your expectations were not met, we thank you for bringing these to our attention. We have shared your comments with the concerned departments and will make sure these matters are addressed. We deeply regret any inconvenience this caused you and your partner.

Thank you for including a Room Tip – we know from experience that our guests find these extremely helpful when making a reservation with us.

Once again, we thank you for your review. We do hope that you and your partner will stay with us longer next time. We look forward to welcoming you back to Fairmont Zimbali Resort and your next visit to the Dolphin Coast.

Kind regards,
Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
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Calgary
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2014

The resort is gorgeous, the location is amazing, the hotel is beautiful, my room with a sea view was stunning....and the service for the most part was good....but.... the overall the value for money is not there. Nothing at the hotel is complimentary, they are not set up and prepared for guests who don't rent cars. Their 'shuttle' service which is actually a driver service is ridiculously over priced.

You should also know that although there is a beautiful beach to walk along - you are not allowed to swim....so if a beach location for swimming or surfing is what you want, this is not the best location as you will have to drive to neighbouring towns such as Balito Bay, Salt Rock or Umshlanga (sp?).

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank D L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 11 June 2014
Dear D L,

Thank you very much for your valuable feedback. We are delighted to hear that overall you had a pleasant stay at Fairmont Zimbali Resort. The estate certainly lends its breathtaking natural surroundings to the hotel’s idyllic location, and our well-appointed rooms do indeed offer scintillating ocean views.

We were disheartened to read that you were not made aware of the many complimentary service offerings provided to all our guests, from complimentary daily newspapers delivered to your door, to complimentary internal transfers throughout the Lodge and Resort, and much more.

Please allow us to recommend you enroll in our complimentary guest-recognition program. Fairmont President’s Club is designed around your unique preferences and interests, creating a personalised travel experience. As a member, you will discover a world of benefits and privileges that provide convenience when you travel and access to exclusive offerings and experiences, such as private reception desk, fitness kit or personalised room-preferences profile among other benefits.

We echo your sentiment entirely – we too wish the beach were more swimmer friendly, but the near 3km stretch of coastline remains untamed beauty. It is not that guests are not permitted to swim there per se rather that we don’t recommend it due to the strong currents and lack of lifeguards. Thankfully we have a number of pools and there are numerous swimming beaches conveniently located within close proximity to the Resort.

We do hope that you will stay with us again.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2014

Zimbali is beautiful and serene. No trip to Durban is complete without a stay at Zimbali... The staff are friendly, helpful and always willing to assist. The rooms are designed beautifully and has a very homely feel to it. Food is 1class and divine.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Helpful?
Thank Yegan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 9 June 2014
Dear Yegan,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share feedback on your recent stay at Fairmont Zimbali Resort.

We are delighted you had such a positive experience and sincerely hope that you and your partner will stay with us again on your next Durban trip.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2014 via mobile

We stayed at the resort for 3 nights. You are greeted by a majestic lobby, and and a fantastic panorama of the ocean. The rooms are spacious with luxurious amenities and attention to detail. Dining options are plentiful And The spa and is top class. However , above all the splendor of the resort Special mention goes to Nkosinathi Sibisi at the concierge . No where in all our travels around the world have we experienced such great service . Nkosi, truly went out of his way to make our stay memorable! For example, I asked him for balloons for a birthday celebration, and even though they didn't have any at the resort, he took it upon his own, to make a personal trip to a local store after work, to purchase the balloons with his own money! When staff show personal interest in making a guest happy - this for me is the pinnacle of great service and is what all other hotel staff should strive for. For us as a family, service is more important than facilities , and it is for this reason alone that we will certainly visit and recommend this resort. I hope the hotels management acknowledge staff like Nkosie .

Stayed May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Shohan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 2 June 2014
Dear Shohan,

Thank you very much for sharing your positive experience of staying at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort.

Reading your review fills us with much pride. We strive to provide WOW experiences that will create memories for all our guests, so we are thrilled we were able to deliver on this for you and your family.

We couldn't agree with you more, Nkosinathi is a credit to himself and an asset to our team. Thank you for the wonderful recognition, we will be certain to pass on your praise and ours to Nkosi.

Once again, thank you for your valuable feedback. It is truly humbling to receive your recommendation and we are so pleased that you will stay with us again.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Fairmont Zimbali Resort and hope to be a part of many more birthday celebrations for you and your family.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 May 2014

Awesome hotel, excellent value for money and true luxury. The service was prompt, always with a smile and everything you hoped for.
Had a room upgrade that blew our minds away. Can't stop telling our friends and family about our great holiday.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Helpful?
Thank ShalanP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this review, 2 June 2014
Dear ShalanP,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your positive experience on this forum, and beyond. We’re truly humbled to read that you are recommending us to your family and friends.

We are absolutely delighted that you and your partner enjoyed your stay at Fairmont Zimbali Resort and experienced engaging service in a luxurious setting.

We hope that you will visit us again on your next South African holiday, and it would be our pleasure to welcome your family and friends to the Resort.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
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 Fairmont Zimbali Resort

Property: Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Address: PO Box 17, Zimbali | 4420, Ballito 4422, South Africa
Phone Number:
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 Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Zimbali Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 154
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Ebookers, Priceline, Fairmont Hotels, TripOnline SA and Cancelon so you can book your Fairmont Zimbali Resort 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.
Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito

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