We have a fairly surreal experience to share although to be fair to the German proprietor he tried to make good by offering the next night as a free stay but after a bad start we upped and left asap. The hotel website paints a pretty picture but the reality was a strange mix of old peoples home / 60's holiday camp and outdoorsy hostel accommodation with strict rules and regulations.
Telephoning ahead to let them know we would be late after a long drive we were told by the receptionist that the kitchen was closed and no provision could be made for even a sandwich and a coffee. On arrival we got no reply at reception and chanced upon the owner in the grounds who proceeded to roast his security gatekeeper for us being able to get into the
grounds without being noticed or assisted (a feature of this place was the downtrodden look and approach of the locally employed staff). He then invited us to make our selves comfortable in his cosy bar. The weather was cold, and it was cold in the rooms so we dumped our bags and made for the Fawltyesque bar which was empty except for a disinterested barman who reluctantly sold us some crisps and beer before shutting the bar early at 10.30pm.
Retreating to our rooms we found them clean but antiquated & shabby and the underfloor heating didn't do its job. Next are quotes from the room information sheet:
"you may notice that the portions of food are slightly smalller
and "should you want to shower / bath then let the hot
water tap run for approx 20 mins, we have a central heating system which is quite a distance from the hotel"
and " at the moment the radios in the rooms are out of service as we are upgrading the system which will include television in your room in the near future"
and "we serve breakfast from 08H00 to 09H00 lunch from 12H30 to 14H00, we would like you to be seated not later than 08H30 for breakfast" and "room service - during meal times only"
After a chilly night and complying with camp rules we duly arrived for breakfast at the prescribed time to find more
subdued staff, one playing the organ to the ageing clientele and
breaking into a less than rousing organ rendition of happy birthday as a piece of cake with a candle was delivered to a bemused member of the bridge convention staying there. Breakfast was average and we checked out, moving to the delightful Champagne Castle Hotel a short distance away for
100R more per person a night. Before we left the owner stated that they buck the trend in hotel accommodation and try to run the resort like a colonial home. This may be true as from the demeanour of the staff they may well be treated as they would in colonial days. The historic significance of the hotel name was lost on us until we noticed the stone eagles sat atop the
gateposts of The Nest on exit..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Nest Hotel is the oldest and most well-known of all the Drakensberg resorts. The Hotel offers multi-award winning leisure accommodation and world class conference facilities.Celebrating its 76th year of welcoming guests in 2009, The Nest Hotel has a strong following of guests who make a point of coming year after year, returning to this most special place of comfort, wonder and beauty. The hotel offers excellent value for money as rates include all meals. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Nest - Drakensburg Mountain Hotel Winterton