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“Friendly familiar service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Protea Hotel Willow Lake

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Protea Hotel Willow Lake
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   101 Henry St, Bloemfontein 9330, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 22 hotels in Bloemfontein
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Friendly familiar service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013 via mobile

I have stayed in this hotel on numerous occasions for business and has always found the staff friendly and accommodating. From the porter that greeted me with" welcome back sir " to the personal handwritten note in my room. The rooms are comfortable and the view over the zoo is a bonus. The room service menu is perhaps a bit limited with no salad or pasta dishes available. Being a Procard member makes is affordable as well. Very good choice for quality accommodation in Bloemfontein.

Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, March 11, 2013
Dear Clive H

I really like how you titled your review and appreciate your positive comments on TripAdvisor.

The STAFF do their best to add a personal touch to all GUEST interactions in order to provide a welcoming environment for everyone. I am glad that you were made to feel at home.

The zoo next door definitely adds a unique experience to ones stay, whether viewing from a comfortable room or whilst eating at the restaurant. I have taken note of your concern with the room service menu and will revise it with the TEAM.

You are on point with the benefits of being a Prokard member. Our loyalty program offers a variety of accommodation and dining benefits, along with many others.

Thank you once again and be sure to visit us again next time you are in Bloemfontein.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
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68 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

I would suggest that you sleep in a field before choosing to stay in this hotel. We turned up at 13.40 to be told that our room wasn't ready. Fine - as former workers in the hospitality industry, we realise that 14.00 is the standard check in time.

But there is no excuse for having surly, uncommunicative and hostile staff on the front desk. We said that we would go and sit quietly in the corner. The response? A shrug. We asked after 14.00 if our room was ready to be greeted with more shrugs. We asked to see the duty manager and we were stonewalled. Eventually one staff member arrived to save the day. She is called Gertrude and is the Prokard Ambassador and by the looks of things the only staff member to have received customer facing training.

She managed to get us an upgraded room sorted but by them it was too late. If we hadn't already paid for the room we would have walked across the road to the City Lodge Hotel. My friend is a former Prokard member and he let his membership lapse this year as he didn't think he would be travelling much in South Africa. Good decision - he will never stay in a Protea hotel again and neither will I. I have never been made to feel more unwelcome in a hotel.

Room Tip: Make sure that your room is in the City Lodge Hotel across the road.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, March 4, 2013
Dear andycapepoint

I appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback on TripAdvisor and bringing your experience to my attention. Your comments are disappointing to hear and I would like to apologise for the discomfort that you felt.

Positive communication during every GUEST interaction is important and I acknowledge that. GUEST service forms the foundation of our organisation and your comments do not reflect the standards we are usually proud to offer. I can assure you that I have spoken with all the relevant parties involved and we, as a TEAM, will ensure that it does not occur again.

I am however very glad that Gertrude made such a positive impact and was able to rectify the situation.

Please feel free to contact me directly at gm@phwillowlake.co.za should you want to discuss this further. I hope to be able to get the opportunity to host you again to show you true Protea hospitality.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013 via mobile

On business in Bloemfontein, staying at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake. Room is comfy, staff extra friendly and accommodating. Check in fast and efficient. Important however to note that the room is good for single or couple as the shower is not conducive to privacy. It is a glass enclosure in the room. Benefit though is that you can still watch the news while taking a shower, how's that for multi-tasking!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear RonelleJ1955

Thank you for your review and great descriptions of what that the hotel has to offer.

I am glad that our speedy check in and comfy rooms were up to standard during your business trip to Bloemfontein. The STAFF do their best always and this is evident in your wonderful comments. They will be delighted that you had a good time.

Multi-tasking is definitely important in this fast paced environment and your take on the benefits of the in-room shower put a smile on my face.

We look forward to your next business trip to Bloemfontein.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

We stayed at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake for 4 nights recently. It is a beautiful hotel; whereas most "brand" hotels are generic and all look the same, this hotel has its own style and it is beautiful. The location is also fantastic; there is nothing better than waking up in the morning and going to sit by the swimming pool with your cup of coffee and watch the elephant play with , her tyre! Besides this the hotel is also close to the Mimosa Mall and the Waterfront, which have a wide variety of shops and restaurants (try Brazza at the Waterfront, really good food).

My greatest compliment, however, goes to the staff, who were all exceptional. They were friendly and polite and helpful to the nth degree. I have not experienced such good service in a long time and management shoould be really overjoyed with them. Well done to you all and keep it up; you made our stay amazing.

Room Tip: I believe superior rooms have a view of the zoo. We had a standard room, but it was lovely nonethele...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear LondonDes

Your review title is a great compliment, as is the 5 star rating you gave us on TripAdvisor – thank you!

I am thrilled to read all of your comments, as we are so proud of what we offer. You have hit the nail on the head with the unique beauty of the hotel itself, as well as our close proximity to nearby attractions. Our unique location next to the zoo, where you can see Thandora the elephant is very special. I would like to inform you that Thandora will soon be relocated to a nearby game reserve so she can play with other elephants, not just a tyre.

The STAFF are the heart and soul of the hotel and it is so pleasing to hear that their positive attitudes and hard work are noticed by the GUESTS. I will be sure to pass on your amazing comments about them.

Have a safe trip back to London and make sure to pop by when next in the area.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Nice enough new hotel on a stop over from driving from the Cape to Johannesburg. Staff are fantastic and the rooms are nice and new with a lovely comfy bed. I do not like the modern space saving trend of putting the shower in the same room as the bed. We were traveling as a couple but if you are a couple of businessmen sharing a twin room it could be a bit embarrassing. We booked here primarily so that we could walk to the Waterfront for dinner but we were told it is unsafe to do so after dark, in fact 'dangerous' was the word used so we ate in the hotel restaurant - awful awful food. The lamb shank had been cooked days before and microwaved, the veggies were stone cold and the calamari rubbery. Nice gimmick being next to the zoo but I found the animals a bit pitiful, but then I am not a fan of zoos. Would find somewhere else next time, or probably would overnight somewhere other than Bloemfontein if doing a long trip again.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Dear Sable37

Thank you for your review and bringing your concerns to my attention.

I am disappointed that you did not have an enjoyable experience in the restaurant and for that I am truly sorry. I would like to assure you that I have already engaged with the chef and I believe that we are on track to rectifying the issues.

The wording used by the receptionist regarding your walk to the waterfront was inappropriate and inaccurate. I have spoken with the front office STAFF to ensure that this does not occur in the future. I need to assure you that one is able to walk to the waterfront, but as with any country, one must just be vigilant whilst walking at night.

It brings me great joy to hear that you found the STAFF so wonderful and that the room was to your liking, especially the comfy bed. I will congratulate the STAFF on their positive attitudes.

Your feedback is valuable to the TEAM and aids in our on-going search for excellence. Thank you once again and I hope that, should you overnight in Bloemfontein again, we will have the opportunity to show you true Protea Hospitality.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012 via mobile

Clean new rooms . Decor modern with an african flavour. The staff are friendly. cheaper rates for prokard holders. Breakfast R105 per adult. Kids eat for free. Please note there is more than 1 protea hotel in bloem
this review is for the willow lake protea. The rooms have an open plan shower - basin, that may raise privacy issues in families with older children. The shower curtain only partly screens the shower

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnchenHaupt, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear husainta

Thank you for such an informative and feedback filled review. GUEST feedback is an important part of our search for excellence.

I am so happy that your family holiday with the kids was enhanced by the added benefits that we offer at Protea Hotel Willow Lake; topped off by the extra bonuses you received as a Prokard member.

All in all we are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and the sneak preview of the zoo whilst eating your breakfast.

Have a wonderful festive season.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamburg
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Room was fine, tasteful, with a big bed. Service was good and friendly.
Exceptional is the location: Right in the center of town, but built into the zoo. So if you have your breakfast outside, you can greet Thandora, the elephant.
Cons: Cleaning staff noisy, promised goodies not offered

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnchenHaupt, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, December 20, 2012
Dear soundhunter

Thank you for your comments on TripAdvisor and your humorous title.

We are very proud of our location, which provides easy access to the main highway and is also near the CBD. Not to forget that we are located within a zoo, so one is able to experience wildlife in the heart of Bloemfontein, just as you did with Thandora – our pride and joy, and we can only agree with you that she makes ones day.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused with the noise levels of the cleaning STAFF; I will address this immediately. I would appreciate it if you would be able to provide me with more information about the “goodies not received”, as I really want to follow up on this. You can email me: gm@phwillowlake.co.za

I wish you safe travels home and a wonderful festive season.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Protea Hotel Willow Lake

Address: 101 Henry St, Bloemfontein 9330, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Free State > Bloemfontein
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 22 hotels in Bloemfontein
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Protea Hotel Willow Lake 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Protea Hotel Willow Lake provides a serene environment that blends in with nature and the surrounds. The hotel comprises of modern and luxurious rooms, including 2 Paraplegic bedrooms; all of which are equipped with air conditioners, selective satellite television channels, tea & coffee making facilities, executive desk with multi adapter plug points, electronic safes and touch dial telephones. Each room has an open plan shower (no baths), with privacy curtains in all twin rooms. Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to winding down. Choose to relax by the pool or sip on cocktails in the bar and lounge area. Why not visit the exclusive patio, have a bite to eat and experience a breathtaking view of the Bloemfontein Zoo Elephant. ... more   less 
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