Today at 3:44 PM
We booked a two night stay to celebrate an anniversary and had high expectations given the reputation of the hotel. Sadly, the check in should have alerted us that things weren't going to be straightforward as it took three room changes before what we had booked was finally allocated to us. This wasted approximately two hours and in hindsight seems funny, but at the time was rather frustrating. If it clearly states on your booking that we'd booked a suite with a punge pool, why then give us something different first time out? After flagging this up, they moved us to a room with the pool but had no wifi (which they knew about when they moved us) before finally moving us to a room that was right. I say 'right' in that it became obvious that Mount Grace was nearly empty and the room hadn't been used for a bit so was rather musty. The plunge pool wasn't working properly and it was disheartening to find the surrounding area to be littered with cigarette ends and rubbish. The room itself also needed a thorough dusting. By this time we'd had enough, so just settled for it. The room itself was pleasant enough, but the decor was a little tired. The heated floor in the bathroom and the shower were great, but again, around the edges it needed a good clean. This was a feature across the three rooms we visited, as in each room, there seemed to be something missing or broken. In our final room we didn't have a rack to put the suitcase on and there was no drawers (apart from the wardrobe) to unpack into. This lack of attention to detail was the theme in the hotel. Once famed for its garden settings, it was a real shame to see how neglected it was. The pathways, for example, to get back to reception were covered in bird poo and rubbish - such an easy thing to recfify. Two chalets - no123 were half demolished with the roof off - but no attempt had been made to shield the rubble from view apart for a bit of plastic tape. All the time we were there, there was no evidence of work on it. This 'didn't care' attitude sadly prevailed and you got the feeling the hotel was surviving on its previous reputation. Sadly, those days are gone and this is now not good enough.
And now for the good news. Over our two days we had made quite a few bookings in the spa and I honestly can say it was flawless. My therapist, Desiree, was superb and had just the right mix of chat and quiet throughout the treatments. From the check in all was carefully thought of and the treatment rooms were very well appointed. Attention to detail was not spared here and the spa readily matches anything offered by the best spas worldwide. The staff here took a real pride in their work and made sure their customers were happy. This really was the highlight of our trip. The staff who run the spa really need to take over the hotel to show them how it should be done. To them, nothing was too much trouble and they were clearly proud of the service they provided.
For our two nights we had booked into the 'Rambling Vine' restaurant. This sets itself up to be smart, but again, fails to meet the mark overall. Number one - I know you want to create an ambience -but the lighting level was so ridiculously low that it was practically impossible to read the menu! This needs to be addressed. Nouvelle cuisine was sort of the way they wanted to go, but this didn't always work as some dishes were just too messed with to work overall. They also need to take down the old menus from the Internet as what was offered in the restaurant doesn't match. Starters were ok, mains were outstanding (i particularly enjoyed the fillet and my partner the springbok loin) and the desserts were forgettable as they just messed with traditional puddings too much to over complicate things. What let them down was staff service as several times we had to ask for cutlery, butter, (the bread when it was forgotten) and their wine menu is somewhat hit and miss as a lot seems to be out of stock. To their credit, on the second night we were given a free bottle of wine in return for our comments on it. What we also found bizarre was that on the two nights we ate there, we had pre-dinner drinks from the bar just outside. On both nights we had the same drinks, but there was a R140 difference in the price charged. As you can guess, staff training is therefore hit and miss and is affecting the quality of what they are trying to achieve. On the topic of food, I should also say that the breakfast buffet in the morning was excellent - super choices and all fresh and inviting.
So, our overall feelings for this visit were somewhat conflicting. One one hand, the spa was delightful, but the hotel really needs to sort their act out, otherwise they will lose even more custom and their once famed reputation - and once a repuration goes, it is almost impossible to regain. I understand they rely a lot on conferences for their business, but this is no excuse to neglect their other customers. Currently, I could not therefore say this hotel is more that 3 stars and it is the staff and attention to detail that is costing them this.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just one hour's drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria, the exclusive famed African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa is a timeless gem where luxury and peace are in abundance. Oozing old world charm but boasting modern opulence, Mount Grace Country House & Spa is the perfect retreat for team building, conferences and relaxed weekend getaways away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The picturesque country house started life as a private residence and farmhouse and has hosted a number of dignitaries and A-list visitors over the years. Located on a hillside with unspoilt views of the valley and boasting some ten acres of manicured gardens as well as pristine bushveld, the sprawling property is a balm for the city weary soul. Take a leisurely drive along country roads or land in a helicopter. While at the Mount Grace indulge in good food, fine wines and relaxing spa treatments in the award winning Mount Grace Spa. The African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa TEAM prides itself on creating a home away from home for all our GUESTS, where time stands still, allowing you to enjoy that rare opportunity of complete relaxation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mount Grace Country House Hotel Magaliesburg
- Mount Grace Country House And Spa
- Mount Grace Country Hotel
- Mount Grace Country Magaliesburg