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“Watch the prawns!”

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Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in Stellenbosch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 March 2014

Called for lunch at Lanzerac, something I'd been meaning to do for some time after visiting almost every other winery restaurant in the Western cape. Nice estate, friendly staff & good service & looking forward to some decent food.
Starter OK, cheesecake dessert delicious but the main course was pretty grim. Both my wife & I opted for the 'Tiger Prawns with salad & spicy dip' at R220 as a special treat, expecting something decent but were sadly disappointed.
We received an almost empty plate with 4 small, overcooked prawns, a few leaves of watercress & small bowl of watery sauce. It was just about adequate as a starter if you weren't hungry but, at R220 a plate it was a shocker. I complained & did not pay for this course but what a shame that such an attractive asset to their business falls so far below their competitors.
If you want excellent food at a lower price I recommend that you go to one of the many other restaurants in the area.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank donCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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378 - 384 of 632 reviews

Reviewed 28 February 2014

In the tird week of February I visited Lanzerac Spa together with a friend. Both of us got a warm welcome by one of the ladies behind the reception.

After getting changed, two therapists came to pick us up and brought us to seperate rooms. The designated room was very clean, smelled good, was calm and relaxing!

The massage was just 100% relaxing. No regrets at all.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Sleeve Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

My daughter and I booked a full day at the Lanzerac Spa. We booked a 2 hour treatment to be followed by a manicure and pedicure each. Not cheap. As well as lunch. The facilities are old and tired. Sauna and steam room - not clean. The Jacuzzi's temp was so hot we could not get in to it. In the end we had a cold shower. The pool had the equivalent of a strange film floating on top of the water. I thought they had just added algaecide so we chose not to swim. It looked like clear pond scum with bubbles. We later heard that is was oil residue from people swimming after their massages? Even worse. The therapist I got was rough, young and unrefined. Not a pleasant experience at all. And then to top it all she ripped the cuticles off my nails with such force my toe bled.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Debbie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2014

The setting of the Lanzerac is truly incomparable. Whereas the most beautiful French wineries are set at best in rolling hills, but mostly in flattish areas, the Lanzerac has the backdrop of the monumental Stellenbosch mountains and more specifically the Jonkershoek. Even though it is right on the edge of a metropolitan area, there is nothing but spectacular nature to see from every lawn, terrace and room window. Add to that the fact that this is a working 300-year old wine farm with hotel facilities, with oak trees hundreds of years old and vistas uncompromised by the many urban developments that beset the areas, it is difficult to think of a more beautiful spot in the beautiful winelands of South Africa.

The good stuff:
Arriving at the hotel we were whisked through the gate and onto reception. Check-in offered significant challenges later on, as we learned soon enough (see the bad stuff).
Our room was wonderfully spacious and well and truly spotless, the most unlikely surfaces without a trace of dust. The views - as described above - were magical: looking out either on the immaculate lawns from the front or the vineyards from the terrace. The marble floor in the bathroom showed not a trace of dust or dirt; the room fully managed to give the impression we were the first guests ever to set foot in the room.

And there it ended.

So, on to the bad stuff:
At check-in we were unceremoniously informed that our three-night stay would be a two-night stay as the booking had been processed as such, and the hotel was full and that was that, no excuses, no apologies, no other compensation (this was an advance purchase), no nothing. Surely our booking was incorrect? No, well, the hotel does not make such mistakes. The third night would possibly, maybe,eventually, be refunded ("please allow for 4-8 weeks") and that was that, here is your key, the porter will help you with your luggage.
We protested strongly but to no avail, we were made to feel like like naughty children. Requests to speak to the manager were rebuffed with "he is not in and very busy", but promises were made to get back "shortly, before dinner" and we would be put on the waiting list for a room for the third night but "the hotel is full, you know!". After much protest from our side as well as showing every single print to prove we were not wrong, we were asked to proceed to our room as we "were preventing other guests [legitimate ones, we assume?] to check in [there were none in the foyer!]. To cut an already long story short, two days later at check out, this had still not been resolved, even though we had been promised more than 8 times that "we will get back to you shortly".
1. GUESS WHAT? WE LEFT EARLY AND WENT TO SPIER!

The joy continues:
Whereas the room was gorgeous, we were entertained throughout by an earthquake-like vibration of air conditioners stacked on the roof over the bathroom. The guests in the adjoining room (note: avoid all rooms in the block of rooms with numbers 211-2017, as lovely as those may be) told us they had too noted this and had complained, to no avail. Sleeping without ear plugs proved impossible, as the extraction fans and air conditioners literally shook the place.

Choose your battles, so on we went, to the Bar and the Governer's Hall for dinner:

So here comes the true story: I was at the Lanzerac to scout the hotel for a workshop venue in September (I am told the slowest time for local hotels and with lowest occupancy rate of the entire year). After our first night, our first evening meal and the first breakfast, I realised there is no way I could subject 15 colleagues for 5 days to such bad food, bad service and overall lack of quality. Experiencing all of this this I did not care to inspect the conferencing facilities as I knew (and was subsequently proved right) that it was not worth the effort.
I went to Spier on our second day at the Lanzerac - even before checking in at Spier, and which occurred a day earlier due to our early departure from Lanzerac - and booked the workshop there within an hour of seeing the facilities.

I do want to be fair to the many individuals I encountered (I dare say almost everyone): when a problem was presented or discussed, it was always my impression that that individual really tried to engage with the issue. However, "problem ownership" is something the Lanzerac has no notion of as the solution (which mostly proved not to be forthcoming) eluded everyone in the end. The issue was bounced off an endless number of individuals who would offer or promise help, but with no solution in sight. I truly felt the first or subsequent person tried their best to help, but it did not work out in the end. Hint to Lanzerac: empower your employees and train them well, instead of creating the hierachies that seem to seem to define your employee structures.

This review is getting way too long so let's cut to the chase:
Governor's Hall (main restaurant): what a joke. We were told "booking is highly advisable" so we booked but were told upon entering the restaurant at the designated time that we had no table reserved and that our room number was invalid (really, funny your are charing us in excess if R3k per night for that invalid room!). We (grudgingly) got a table in the empty restaurant nevertheless (which never went past halfway full, probably no more than 40%).
Then the fun started: seated in the conservatory part (or whatever it is called) it was so dark we were given - as were other guests - more oil lamps to read the menu. Giggles from other tables as diners went into the main part of the restaurant to see the menu in proper light. The wine list - mostly Lanzerac wines - was pathetic. Sorry, cannot put a nicer shine to it, it was pathetic. Here we are in one of the best wine areas of the world and a local so-so wine shop is able to have an infinitely better wine selection? It does not end there: 2 of the wines we selected were out of stock. Even though the restaurant was filled less than half, 2 of the 5 meat dishes and 1 of the only 2 fish dishes were not available by 7.30 pm.
Waiting time between courses? 45 mins at best, with lukewarm dishes after waiting, but the worst was between the main course and dessert when we had to wait 60 mins+. And guess what, the palate cleanser between courses was served later as part of a dessert! Wow, honestly, you think that is okay?

2. Guess what, at Spier the food proved to be vastly better for every single meal: breakfast, lunch picnic, and dinner!

Let us forget about menial things like the flowers at dinner not being wilted but actually rotting in the vases and stinking up a storm.

Breakfast? We were surprised by a "cold continental" (a what?) at a ridiculously obscene price which we refused.

Enough said, more than necessary. This hotel has all and more that is required to be a premier hotel that can easily beat the Mount Nelson in Cape Town, the Cape Grace or any other 5 star hotel on the continent. But for now, it is a mediocre hotel. I would rate it a 3-star hotel with 5-star location and 4-star aspirations at best. Get your act together and do it fast unless you want to be labelled the 3-star hotel you truly are.

Room Tip: Stay away at all cost from rooms 211-217. Cannot vouch for other rooms, but these are truly bad unle...
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled on business
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3  Thank FDanvers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2014

I stayed for 1 night only (luxurr room), which was too short to experience everything the hotel/spa has to offer.
All staff was very friendly, not always as quick as I had expected but overall very good client service. The estate has some of the most amazing views in the winelands, which you can enjoy from your private patio or the terracce while having breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Dinner was excellent, one of the best kudu steaks I had in SA in over 6 years. Wonderfully prepared and reasonable priced. Breakfast was of equally excellent quality with a cold buffet with huge variety as e.g. homemade patries, very good fruit selection, basically all you can ask for. Did not try the hot breakfast a la carte. can recommend to anybody who wants to relax in a tranquil beutiful setting, with the wine estates and attractions in the area being close by.

Room Tip: Luxury room 220, private patio with view into the vineyards, stunning!
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Miriam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2014

I booked a couples massage, from the start it seemed unorganized. our email confirmation said we could pay at the end of our treatment, then I was called and asked for deposit. Our massage was meant to be outside, no one told us that it was not going to be. They called us the wrong names, the students didn't know answers to our questions. The lunch was very very bland, i did not even finish it. We did not receive our welcome drinks as advertised. We asked to have lunch outside, yet a table was setup inside? we were asked to carry our own plates outside. For The Lanzerac, and the mount of money we spent, i would not return.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Lorisa F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2014

This review is for the deli situated next to the wine tasting centre only. After hearing about the "new deli at Lanzerac" we finally made time to visit there on a Sunday afternoon. Total waste of time, though. We stood at the counter for nearly 10 minutes, being ignored by the staff, who were staring at the cash register, the floor and the ceiling. We then took some menu's, seated ourselves and after another wait, we flagged down a waitron. The first two items we wanted to order were out of stock (ciabata and a salad), and given the service levels we figured our time and money could be better spend elsewhere (we then went to Tokara - delightful). However, the views are very nice and the estate very well kept. The smiling, proactive ladies at the wine tasting room were also very keen to invite us inside for a wine tasting and seemed eager to please. So, it's not all bad, the Deli section just needs some work!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Jade G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
5Jo_Anna5, Guest Relations Manager at Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 17 February 2014

Please accept our sincere apology for this disappointing experience. The Lanzerac Deli is a new venture and the owners and management have invested substantial resources for the Deli to become a lovely addition to the wine tasting experience at Lanzerac. We have experienced some initial problems with the new Deli which opened in mid December 2013 however have since established successful daily routines for the Deli and we are confidant that another visit would be well worth considering.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

Address: No. 1 Lanzerac Street | PO Box 4, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Stellenbosch
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Stellenbosch
#2 Spa Hotel in Stellenbosch
#4 Business Hotel in Stellenbosch
#5 Romantic Hotel in Stellenbosch
#7 Family Hotel in Stellenbosch
Price Range: £83 - £269 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Lanzerac Hotel & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR RENOVATION Set in the heart of a 155ha working wine estate, on the outskirts of picturesque Stellenbosch, the historic 300-year-old Lanzerac Hotel & Spa is the perfect base from which to explore SA’s most famous winelands. With just 48 luxurious bedrooms, this 180-year-old Manor House exudes an air of intimacy and provides the ultimate in personalized service.The hotel’s fine-dining restaurant with several different dining areas offers guests a wide choice of culinary styles. Guests end their evenings over coffees, liqueurs, cognacs and cigars enjoyed either in the trendy Esquire Whiskey & Cigar Bar or in the elegant Craven Lounge with its genuine antiques and authentic Cape Dutch architecture. Whilst the historic Manor House provides an ideal venue for private in-or-outdoor conferences and functions, the picturesque setting of the Manor Lawns offers the perfect opportunity for exclusive outdoor events and lavish weddings. Leisure activities include swimming in one of the hotel’s 3 outdoor pools, golfing, hiking and mountain biking, wine tasting and cellar tours. Treatments at the world-class Lanzerac Spa & Wellness Center take place against a stunning backdrop of mountains and vineyards, ensuring you leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. The spa has recently added the revolutionary “Dr.Fish” Therapy to its repertoire, where tiny fish are utilized to exfoliate the skin and give it a micro-massage. Come and experience true South African heritage, first-class service and luxury, superior pampering and wellness! We’ve been preparing for your arrival for over 300 years! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lanzerac Manor And Winery Hotel Stellenbosch
Lanzerac Manor And Winery Stellenbosch

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