It's hard to know how to rate the Kimberley Club as it offers a unique experience that will be appreciated by all who have an interest in South African history.
Driving round the maze of streets in the centre of Kimberley, we found the hotel entrance without too much difficulty but it would be easy to miss from the street as the exterior doesn't particularly stand out. Check-in was swift and efficient and we were allocated an upstairs room. Note there is no lift so help is really essential if you have heavy luggage to get up the staircase. There's a free secure car park across the street opposite the entrance.
Walking along the corridors there are many fascinating pictures and other memorabilia from the late 19th century when the club was founded. This was really special and certainly added to the strong sense of historical atmosphere. If the walls could talk, they'd certainly have many interesting stories to recount. Our room was well appointed, apart from the very small shower/toilet which was clearly a more recent after-thought. Generally speaking, we felt the decor and furnishings were of a very high standard and very much in keeping with the rest of the hotel. French doors opened out onto a charming old gabled balcony overlooking the (rather mundane) street below - a nice place to have a cold drink before dinner. There was quite a bit of street noise / music from the surrounding area through the night. We found it impossible to close the window completely in the night, so did suffer a little disturbance.
As the hotel is (albeit securely) situated in a fairly intimidating area at night, we'd already decided to eat in the hotel's restaurant. This proved to be a disappointment that rather coloured the overall impression of our stay. The dining room was elegant enough, but no effort had been made to create an intimate dining atmosphere. On the contrary, all the tables were bizarrely set for groups of 6-8 diners, yet the few patrons (including ourselves) were nearly all couples. No attempt was made to clear the unused table settings from our table, so the atmosphere felt rather awkward - as if we'd turned up at a party that nobody else had gone to! This impression was not helped either by the soothing background music abruptly being switched off and no candles on the table. Service was patchy, with the waiter practically running back to the kitchen before we could complete our order! Note they add an automatic 10% gratuity to all bills. At breakfast the next morning we were taken aback to see all the tables still set for dinner, complete with wine glasses and fish knives (!), when a more informal atmosphere should have been created.
We couldn't help feeling that the Kimberley Club could one day realise its potential as superb "destination" venue for sophisticated couples, if only the hotel management sat down, had a long hard think about their branding, and got to grips with the details, especially in the restaurant department. Were this just an "ordinary" 4-star hotel, I'd have given it 2 or 3 stars, but I'll be kind and give it 4, mainly due to its unique atmosphere and clear potential to improve. We may well go back sometime - perhaps in 5 to 10 years to see what's happened.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kimberley Club offers 21 en-suite bedrooms tastefully decorated with the ambiance of a bygone era. Facilities include all the "modcons" one would expect of a four star boutique hotel. The Club boasts a member's bar, lounge and dominoes room, an a-la-carte restaurant,ladies bar,Bistro Cafe, 3 conferencing venues, a reading room and a billiard room. The ideal venue for functions, weddings and conferences. "Modern comfort with old world charm". ... more less
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