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“Great Rooms and Service.”

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Fairmont Zimbali Lodge
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Reviewed 14 June 2007

We have just returned from a 3 day week-end at Zimbali Lodge. The hotel is magnificent and we have seldom experienced such incredible service before. The beds were so lovely that it was hard to drag ourselves out of bed in the mornings. We had breakfast in our room on the first morning and the food was great. We stayed in a forest room and it really felt like being in a tropical forest. Our butler introduced himself on our arrival and showed us through our room; from then on he attended to our every need. I do like the idea that there is no reception counter, just a desk manned by very professional check-in staff. During the afternoons we had great lunches buy the pool. The evening meals were great and they have a good enough wine list. The pool looks lovely but even though the weather was quite warm it was impossible to swim as the pool is not heated, this is the only negative I have about the hotel. I left one of our cameras in the restaurant on our first night and only realized that it was gone on the third day, we phoned the concierge and it was duly delivered to our room –AMAZING in this day and age. We are already planning to go back.

Stayed: June 2007
3  Thank JPCS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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357 - 363 of 415 reviews

Reviewed 18 May 2007

We stayed at the lodge this past week. Despite the wonderful setting we found the service to be awful. My mobile charger went missing from our room and despite speaking to 3 different personnel regarding the matter, it was not returned nor was anything done about it. Our bath was not cleaned on the second day that we stayed there, we waited 20 minutes for ice to be delivered to our room, coffee was brought without milk at breakfast, hot milk was ordered and cold milk delivered and to top it all off, the beds are the most uncomfortable in the world ! I'm sorry to say that for the money you are paying it's definitely not worth it. We will not go there again nor recommend it to any of our friends.

  • Stayed: May 2007
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1  Thank UglyPig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2007

We loved this hotel and loved the service!

have no idea how those who posted before had bad service but I am starting to learn that the bigger a jerk you are the poorer service you get. That being said, we are super happy and friendly people and LOVED our stay there!

We were there for a wedding and I was also a host of a bridal shower on the deck. Every server and catering person and even porter were SO NICE, so friendly and SO helpful.

The food was divine both in the restaurant and at the wedding! Special thanks to Pinky and Kevin at the restaurant, they took such good care of us.

The setting is beautiful and the property immaculate. The room was so comfy I had to drag myself out of bed both mornings. We absolutely LOVED this hotel. We will go back if we find ourselves in South Africa again.

I can not say enough good things about this hotel. 5 star, all around!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled on business
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3  Thank Grohe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2007

Zimbali Lodge consists of a string of semi-detached suites (the "hotel"), and then an entire golf estate of houses scattered on hillsides. The setting is beautiful, the hotel had a freshwater pool and then 3 saltwater pools right next to the beach (which was closed), lovely restaurant, and great staff once the check-in process was complete.
Prior to check-in however, any reliable communication with this establishment was impossible.
My party of 5 was meeting up with several groups of visitors from the UK, for a wedding. We began emailing Zimbali several months in advance, and never had any sort of reply from them. Eventually, after numerous phonecalls, it turned out that the original person we'd been emailing had, in the interim, quit. So the booking process started again, and the Zimbali booking staff proved inept every step of the way. Other wedding guests we were in contact with had their bookings cancelled last minute, and in fact at one point there was a complaint from Zimbali that people should stop phoning because they couldn't understand the "funny" (UK) accents. Guests were only phoning in desperation because emails were consistently ignored...
We booked, via Zimbali, a shuttle from the airport, which never arrived. We tried calling the hotel but after being transferred from one person to another, we were eventualy cut off. 3 times. Eventually we gave up and caught a cab for the 65km trip.
On arrival at Zimbali, nobody had any record of us. We were left waiting repeatedly as one staff member after another disappeared to "sort this out", only never to return. Eventually a welcome pack materialized, with our full details including expected arrival time, but no access discs. Eventually these too were located, but the entire process took a good hour and a half.

Once installed in our house on the golf estate, things improved drastically. Our house was wonderful and blissfully air-conditioned, deer roamed the grounds and we had a golf cart for the duration of our stay. Unfortunately the whole experience was marred by that first day, and at no point was any sort of renumeration or free shuttle to the airport offered. We only received a belated, informal apology on day 3. This is a 5 star resort, yet one is expected to pay extra for airport shuttles and internet access. A beautiful location compromised by general staff incompetence.
If you stay there, phone often to remind them of your visit, and hire a car!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled on business
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Thank CapeTownStudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2007

Technically speaking this place should be great but the service and management let it down. No one knew what was going on, room service was slow and ineffecient and there was no sense that the hotel was being managed properly.

This place has the air of being a sophisticated place but the cleaniness of the room definitely left something to be desired. You just kept thinking if they paid more attention to customer service this place could be exceptional - but it is a long way off.

When we checked in we had to clarify we were only staying for five nights; when we checked out? They charged us for six. We asked for a refund but they could not find the person who was responsible for this and we had a flight to catch. We gave our e-mail and were assured they would credit the refund that day. The result? We are still waiting for the refund to our credit card.

I would say this place is fine for a few days but I would not concentrate my trip around this single destination. There was no gym, swimming pool area was very small and the second by the ocean (which you cannot swim in) is crowded with families. Again this would be fine but there was not enough space for everyone to enjoy. Okay but for a short stay only.

Stayed: March 2007
1  Thank TravellerScoth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2007

We stayed for 6 nights at Zimbali Lodge at the end of our South African Holiday.
We specifically wanted an exclusive beach hideaway so when we arrived to discover that the hotel caters for many conferences and tours we were really disappointed. The hotel was full with business people who took up the hotel bar and other public areas. We were also not aware that the beach was a non swimming beach and that Zimbali Lodge was part of a huge new housing development - albeit very nice houses. Had we known that we would hear building work, see cranes and new homes being built and that the hotel would be overrun with business people we would not have booked to stay.
The staff were lovely but you could tell that they were trying to keep the business people happy so we felt we were penalised because of this.
On arrival we were upgraded to a Forest Suite with personal butler. As the name suggests these Suites are scattered around the Forest so are very dark and our (Suite 9) had no views at all. The main benefit of a Suite is seclusion and you have your own shared pool and use of a buggy to drive around the complex. The Butler was very friendly and keen to make you happy.
After feeling let down and irritated that simple things weren't being done that we believed should be done in a 5 star hotel (such as replenshing toiletries and loo roll) we complained to the Management. In their defense they sorted out our issues immediately and we were compensated accordingly.
The actual setting is beautiful - Zimbali is part of a golf course and you need to walk through the forest to get to the beach (or take a buggy). However it wasn't exclusive and I don't think the hotel should cater for both tourists and conferences as it's not big enough to handle both.
The plus points were the fanastic bathrooms in the Suites and private pool.
The food was also disappointing, the choice was limited for a 6 night stay.
On the whole it did spoil the end of out holiday as up till then we had stayed in some fabulous properties and we were really looking forward to lazing around for a week, unfortunately for us this wasn't to be.

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SarahDarren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2007

We liked the description of this hotel when we booked it and it more than lived up to expectations.

The location is north of Durban, on the coast. Rooms consist of separate lodges set amongst trees, with golf carts to transport you to and from the main reception. The view from our room was spectacular; being set on a hill it overlooked the hotel grounds (and golf course) towards the Indian Ocean. In fact the hotel owns an idyllic stretch of beach and although swimming is not permitted (risk of shark attacks), we would highly recommend the mile or so walk down to the beach. Look out for the monkeys along the way!

In all we would highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying near Durban. Our only slight criticism is that staff tend to be too fussy (we didn't really need the services of the personal butler!).

  • Stayed: August 2006, travelled with family
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Thank Karl80
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: £84 - £212 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Zimbali Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 76
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito
Zimbali Hotel
Zimbali Lodge

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