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“Zimbali Lodge sliding?”

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Fairmont Zimbali Lodge
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Reviewed 6 January 2013

This was our fourth visit to Zimbali Lodge over the past few years. Although still a great place to relax we found the following of a concern and certainly not what is expected of a five star hotel standard. 1) The bed linen was tatty and torn and the towels were a lighter shade of grey and not the fluffy white towels we were used to. 2) At 12:45 our room had still not been cleaned and when we asked the attendant she advised that she was tired and would do it later. 3) After dinner (at another venue) we were hoping to enjoy an after dinner drink in the Zimbali bar next to the pool, just to find no seating available as small children were lying on the couches while their parents were enjoying a drink. 4) Breakfast is served in an area that is exposed to sunlight with no fans or aircon, therefore the food becomes unappetizing. 5) When my easy over fried eggs eventually arrived after 15 min, I was told that the chef apologized for the ill prepared eggs that looked more like an omelet. 6) Room service food trays are not collected and left outside the room for an entire day allowing monkeys and insects to feast on the left overs. We can however say that the staff attending to trips between the rooms and the reception area on golf carts were friendly and eager to assist. We will unfortunately now have to find another luxury resort to enjoy a breakaway.

Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Karen V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2013

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you for taking the time to write to us regarding your experience at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge. Guest feedback is extremely valuable to us as it affords us the opportunity to focus on the challenges highlighted by our guests. Please be assured that your comments will be addressed with the department heads concerned to ensure that the matters you have raised are dealt with efficiently.

We hope that you will return to our wonderful property in the near future, and allow us the opportunity to show that this is not the standard of the guest experience which we strive to deliver.

Kind Regards
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team

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303 - 309 of 437 reviews

Reviewed 6 January 2013

Zimbali is a large gated ocean community that is located 50 km north of Durban. We just spent 5 days there as part of a 3-week South African holiday and it was the only minor disappointment of our trip. Zimbali consists of private homes, the Fairmont Hotel, the Zimbali Lodge and Forest Suites, which is where we stayed and is the subject of this review.

Forest Suites consists of 10 beautifully appointed suites that are located, as the name suggests, in the forest. There is no view, just forest. The rooms are done in a colonial African/plantation theme which we found very attractive and pleasant. The outdoor shower was a big hit for my family of four. Each suite is supplied with a golf cart for getting around the resort and down to the beach. There is a small restaurant at the Suites and a small plunge pool. It is very quiet and best-suited for a romantic couples getaway.

Being at the Suites provides guests with access to the beach, the Kids Zone, and the large pools that are at the resort. All were very nice and our kids were (surprisingly) enthralled with riding around in the golf cart (as passengers!).

The letdown part of our stay was partially a function of our travel agent, partly a function of the time of year of our stay (straddling Christmas Day) and partly a function of the Forest Suites staff. We were told that we would have access to all of the restaurants at Zimbali which would typically be true but Christmas is high season and we were told on arrival that all restaurants were booked solid until January 12th. Gulp. So we had to eat at the the Suites (the Ballito restaurants were packed to the gills). The Forest Suites kitchen is really just set up for room service (we were almost always the only ones in the little restaurant) and the room service menu was not very extensive. Most of the time one or more menu items was not available. We were able to convince them to set another table for us for Christmas lunch (which was nice of the staff) but we got tired of the food quickly and because of the small staff we had to wait ages for our meals (we were a group of 7 in total).

The other letdown was that our agent said Zimbali was a nature haven, great for outdoors people with extensive hiking trails, horseback riding etc. It isn't. True, the setting is beautiful but this is a North American-style golf course development that is on the beach. The people staying/living at Zimbali seemed to be affluent individuals who liked to lounge around the beach but who weren't otherwise interested in anything too active (nothing wrong with that, it just isn't us and it wasn't as advertised).

So if I were to do it again, what would I do? First, I would stay at Zimbali Lodge, not the Suites. It is a nice compromise between the Suites and the Hotel and has a beautiful infinity pool and a hiking trail that goes down to the beach. Second, I would book every single meal months in advance if visiting over Christmas. Third, I would only stay for a few days. Fourth, I wouldn't take the kids. Fifth, I would take my golf clubs.

Room Tip: Stay at the Lodge or Hotel but not the Suites.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Dave_In_Oakville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 7 January 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for your review on the Forest Suites.

As of the 1st of April 2011 Forest Suites was no longer being run by Fairmont Hotel and Resorts.

We do however look forward to welcoming you to the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Resort on your next visit.

Kind Regards
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team

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Reviewed 30 December 2012

After a rather disappointing stay at a nearby so-called four star boutique hotel we were fortunate enough to find accommodation at Zimbali Lodge.
From the moment one drives through the gates one enters the 'rarified atmosphere of wealth and luxury'! Speed limits inside a secure estate don't really bother us...

Nestled almost seamlessly into the lush Forrest, the actual accommodation units boast spacious, well-appointed and luxuriously furnished spacious rooms - wooden toilet seats don't bother us...

Take a stroll through the lush Forrest and admire the abundance of nature (it takes about 15 min) to reach the beach - excellent to work up the appetite needed to enjoy the excellent food on offer.

For the slightly more lazy, the lodge has a fleet of golf carts to ferry you around!!!

Whilst it might have lost some of its lustre from years gone by, it is still one of a selected few destinations making the trip to the KZN coast worth-while!

The only critism has to be the newly built Fairmont Zimbali Resort, which we visited for all of about 5 min... Las Vegas by the Sea!!! Horrible Architecture, replenish some of the trees you cut for this one...

Room Tip: Upstairs units generally have a better view
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank ironmountainrobi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 31 December 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

We are truly delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We hope to you see you again soon!

Kind Regards
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team

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Reviewed 28 December 2012 via mobile

My wife and I stayed for two nights. The golf cart drivers were excellent, picking us up as and when we needed transport to and from our room.

The cleaning teams could do with a bit more hands on supervision. There were patches of dust in the room. The tea cups in the room were not clean.

We however enjoyed the food, though quite on the expensive side. There is only one restuarant at the lodge. We alternatively drove to the Fairmont Resort, +/-2km away, which has more restuarants. We also went to the shopping malls in Ballito, +/-3km away, where there are numerous eateries.

There are numerous activities including cycling, swimming, long walks to the beach, etc. Unfortunately no swimming is allowed on the beach. The tranquility in the forest is so soothing and the sound of birds and insects is theraputic.

The lodge needs to improve on very small issues which will make a huge difference to their guests.

Next time we will try the Zimbali Resort.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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Thank HRH2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2012

Pros
1. The porters were superb throughout our stay. Friendly and helpful. Shaun stood out! First day, he showed us the route to walk to the breakfast area. Also gave us towels to use at the poolside at Zimbali Resort.

2. Reservation check in smooth and efficient.

3. Food and beverage staff friendly. Stembiso stood out. Attentative and not overbearing.

Cons
1. Upon entering the security boomed gates at Zimbali Lodge, we were greeted by a speed limit sign which further down the road was preceded by a person manning a speedo camera. Found that odd.

2. Swimming pool water was filthy and discoloured; also insufficient area to relax by the poolside compared to the valley of the pools at Zimbali Resort that had 2 large very clean pools and a toddlers splash pool. Food at the pool side mediocre and costly.

3. Rooms look tired, dark and need work...wood for toilet seats? How unhygienic! Only 2 hangers in the cupboard. The one evening our beds were not turned down. Two evenings we were short of bath towels.

4. Wood is prominent throughout the hotel. Did not think this material is conducive to the hot, humid weather, leaving the damp, musty smell lingering that no amount of incense could stifle.

5. TV size in the room minute and limited channel viewing.

6. Chose to eat out at Ballito and Umhlanga for lunch and dinner. Prices too exhorbant at hotel for the disappointing food quality. Breakfast: average quality for a 5 star. Often, the food trays were empty and did not have labels as to what the food was. Fruit juices...labels were mismatched...says orange juice whereas it was granadilla juice. Pancakes and waffles cold and rubbery.



  • Stayed: December 2012
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Thank finesse1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 24 December 2012

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with such constructive feedback on your stay at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge. It is through the feedback from our guests that we grow as a brand and ensure that we continuously exceed our guest expectations.

We are sorry that your experience did not meet your expectations. Your feedback has been escalated to a Senior Management level and the appropriate steps will be taken.

We look forward to welcoming you to Fairmont Zimbali Lodge in the near future.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team

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Reviewed 22 December 2012 via mobile

What an amazing place. We gelt like royalty from the moment we set foot on the premises....absolutely breath taken. Serene views, 5 star service and tasteful food. What i also loved about the place was how much they care about nature and try to have as little impact on the environment as possible.
I little pricey as it is 5 star but so worth it. Look out for the great specials.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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Thank Tarryn V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 24 December 2012

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you very much for your enthusiastic review. We really hope that you will return to visit us again soon!

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2012

The staff at Zimbali Lodge are very friendly and helpful. The rooms are spacious and the infinity pool is absolutely stunning. The negatives are that the beach is very far from the actual Lodge, so I missed falling asleep to the sound of the waves and the prices at the restaurants were a little high, which resulted in us driving into Balito every night for dinner. All in all though, the Lodge is very peaceful and enjoyable.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank AyeshaBD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fairmont 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 #3 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Price Range: £91 - £410 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Zimbali Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 76
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito
Zimbali Hotel
Zimbali Lodge

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