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“Could've Been Better” 3 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 #4 of 23 Hotels in Bloemfontein
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Could've Been Better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014

We stayed in Bloemfontein en route to the Garden Route. We picked the hotel based on it's location (the zoo) as we have two young kids (1 and 3). The staff were all really friendly and professional. There was a lovely outdoor pool area. I found the booking process a bit tedious compared to other hotels - there were a number of forms to complete and send back instead of the person taking my telephonic booking simply taking my credit card details. The room was quite small for a family - once the camping cot was in. And the toddler had to share our bed (which was big enough, to be fair). We weren't warned of the open shower concept - difficult with an inquisitive 1-year-old who kept wanting to grab the (loose) metal plate at the shower hole. We had a huge ant problem in the room - I had an open packet of sweets in one of my bags and there were hundreds of ants coming through the skirting (that we used mosquito spray to kill). We ordered room service for dinner that took over an hour to arrive (toasted sandwiches), and when it did arrive it wasn't great. The staff did apologise, and we did notify the hotel on departure.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, February 14, 2014
Dear PurdyFamily

Thank you for taking the time to give feedback regarding your stay at Protea Hotel Willow Lake.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure whether or not we are meeting and exceeding our GUESTS expectations, and without comments, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, when we are doing wrong.

Always good to hear that the STAFF was friendly and professional, that is why we are here, to serve our GUESTS.

Unfortunately it is our procedure to get signed agreement from our GUESTS when guaranteeing a reservation with a credit card.

The design of the room is meant to give the GUEST more space to relax, however not completely suited for a family. We do now offer inter leading rooms to families.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the ant invasion, as well as the unacceptable amount of time for your room service order. I have addressed this with the Department Heads.

Once again thank you for your feedback, and I hope to welcome you back in the near future.

Kind Regards

Blanché Walzl
GENERAL MANAGER
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87 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    4
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
South Africa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

Once again stayed at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake and it did not disappoint.
We arrived hot and weary from our long trip and were greeted with a smile and good cheer.
The staff have always been pleasant at PHWL, we have stayed a few times; they are always helpful and go out of their way.
I phoned to query about towels for the pool and they offered to bring them to us; we had barely set foot out to the pool and a friendly waitron was there to ask if we would like refreshments, together with our towels.
The only negative is the air-conditioning system - it seemed to be set at 19 and altho we tried to adjust it up slightly it would not budge; we found it a bit chilly initially.
Again thanks to Blanché and her wonderful staff at PHWL.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, January 8, 2014
Dear 1964DragonLady

WOW, Thank you so much for the lovely, positive comments on TripAdvisor, and I would like to personally THANK YOU for taking the time to post your lovely comments.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure we know what our GUESTS experience regarding our services and facilities offered, to be able to not only meet, but exceed your expectations every time you stay with us.

Looking forward to welcome you back in the near future, and may you have a blessed 2014.

Kind Regards

Blanché Walzl
GENERAL MANAGER

Tel : 0514125400
Fax : 0514125404
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, goes beyond "doing their jobs", polite and willing.
Beautiful grounds - backs onto a small zoo & guests can get private admission... great way to stretch the legs after sitting in the car/plane for a long time.
Also, 500mb complimentary data with the room :-)

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, General Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, January 6, 2014
Dear Tamara_Audrey

I would like to personally thank you for taking the time to post your lovely comments on TripAdvisor.

We communicate all our comments to our STAFF and Management at our morning meetings and your comment left us motivated and smiling.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure we know what our GUESTS experience regarding our services and facilities offered, to be able to not only meet, but exceed your expectations every time you stay with us.

I am delighted to know that the STAFF went the extra mile, and very proud to be part of the TEAM at Protea Hotel Willow Lake.

Once again, THANK YOU so much for your kind compliments, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back soon.


Kind Regards

Blanché Walzl
GENERAL MANAGER

Tel : 0514125400
Fax : 0514125404
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

The Protea Willow Lake is a great 4 star hotel.
It is located right next to a small zoo and not far from a major shopping centre.
The staff at reception were wonderful and went out of their way to help.
The rooms are more than adequate with all amenities and a great shower.
In particular a lady named Sinethemba was outstanding.
She seemed to be everywhere, reception, the restaurant, checking on the rooms, etc, etc.
The only disappointment was the breakfast. Honestly guys, why spoil your fanatic hotel with a really less than average breakfast.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the elephant enclosure
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear CliveV
Thank you for your feedback on TripAdvisor.
I would like to apologise for your experience with the less than average breakfast you mentioned, your experience is most certainly not the reflection of high standard the Protea Hotel Willow Lake strives to achieve. May I please kindly request that you e-mail us a few specifics regarding your concerns with breakfast, so that we can rectify this, your feedback is much appreciated, thank you again.
I am glad however that you mentioned that you enjoyed the hotel and Sinethemba will be very glad to hear that you noticed her good service efforts. Thank you again for your most valuable comments, we hope to welcome you back in future.
E-mail: rooms@phwillowlake.co.za
Thank you once again.

Seasons Greetings
Lindy Meiring
Deputy 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.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2013

My colleagues and I had a memorable stay at this hotel. Our check in proved to be very problematic for the evening staff. There were four of us checking in to separate rooms. We spent a sum total of more than half an hour whilst three very confused staff members checked, then double checked the keys allocated to each of us...only to find that when we eventually made it to the rooms, none of us had the room which was supposed to be allocated to us, the welcome note pleasantly welcoming another person to the room. The room is tastefully decorated with the glass shower smack bang near the double bed with no frosted glass. This ordinarily would not pose a problem, but with the room curtains not being able to close properly, it was very daunting to have a shower with the room window overlooking the hotel bar! At breakfast the next morning, the other colleague had had the similar experience of her curtains not closing and we wondered how many unsuspecting guests had been witness to our showers. The breakfast buffet was magnificent with a wide variety of very delicious breakfast dishes. The attending staff at the breakfast were very friendly and helpful in contrast to the harrowing check in experience the previous evening. I would be apprehensive to have a return visit unless I am guaranteed a room with curtains which can close

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, December 23, 2013
Dear Mands007
Thank you for your feedback on TripAdvisor and for the concerns you raised. GUEST feedback is very valuable to us, as without it we would not know what we are doing right, but more importantly what we are doing wrong.
I would like to apologise for your experience upon check in and regarding the discomfort with the curtains. We have addressed these concerns with the various departments and our TEAM and see them in a very serious light.
I am glad however that you had a memorable stay, we hope to welcome you back in future.
Kind Regards
Lindy Meiring
Deputy 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.
Umea, Sweden
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2013

The hotel is pleasantly located right next to the zoo with a chance to see exotic animals such as water buffalos and zebras directly from the garden and terrace. The rooms are of reasonable size and fairly good standard. The hotel staff are also generally quite friendly.

Having said the above, the hotel also has a few serious drawbacks:

First, the free Internet access is limited to a maximum of 500 MB per day and requires both that guests log in and answers rather personal questions about whether one reads e-mail on the mobile phone etc. I was kicked out from the network on the second day and it took me some time before I figured out that I had to re-register to receive another block of 500 MB.

Second, the restaurant is not all that good, especially for vegetarians. Most weekdays, the restaurants serves as its only option a rather expensive buffet in which the only vegetarian option was a pasta dish and some steamed or cooked vegetables. The room-service menu is equally limited in vegetarian options.

Third, the hotel does not have an exercise room and the swimming pool is good only for an occasional plunge. I did some running on the streets outside, but needles to say, this is a poor substitute for proper exercise facilities.

I commented on the above in writing while staying at the hotel, using the suggestions box at the front desk, but I did not receive any response from the hotel management.

If Internet access was more convenient and/or unlimited and the hotel had an exercise room, it would easily be worth a rating of 4, but as it is now, I cannot give it more than 3.

Stayed December 2013, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Dear Wiggins834

Thank you for taking time to express your views regarding your recent experiences at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake.
Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience that you experienced with the WIFI facilities, limited menu options and the GUEST comment card feedback.

If you would be so kind as to send me your name, surname and dates of stay to rooms@phwillowlake.co.za, I can further investigate regarding the Hot or Not GUEST feedback card that you mentioned was not responded to. Protea Hotels have recently increased our GUEST complimentary WIFI from 250 MB to the current 500 MB nationally, again our apologies for the difficulty you experienced with this. Your comments regarding the limited vegetarian options are most welcome, we will definitely consider this when revising our menus in future.

Your feedback is truly invaluable to us, without them, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, what we need to rectify to meet and exceed expectations.

Thank you once again, we hope to welcome you back in future.



Kindest regards


Lindy Meiring
Rooms Division/Deputy General Manager
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Linkoping, Sweden
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2013

The location is very good, next to the zoo. That means you can see zebras, ostrich, wildebeasts etc from the hotel garden. The interior design is very good, nice colours and some unusual pieces of art. Nice and very helpful staff. But the swimming-pool is really crap. It's very small and on our visit it was a bit dirty. We had the dinner buffé and were not impressed. It is a lot better to go to the nearby mall and eat at one of the restaurants there. In short a nice hotel but a bit expensive and eat somewhere else.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Willow Lake, responded to this review, November 25, 2013
Dear MargarethaN

Thank you for taking the time to give feedback regarding your stay at Protea Hotel Willow Lake.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure whether or not we are meeting and exceeding our GUESTS expectations, and without comments, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, when we are doing wrong.

I must agree with your – Protea Hotel Willow Lake has an ideal setting being part of the Bloemfontein zoo, also a lovely designed Hotel, and we are extremely proud of our product.

I do apologize that you did not have a good dining experience. We do offer buffet most of the evenings, however over weekends we do offer an A la Carte menu, which would have most probably be more to your liking.

Thank you once again for your feedback, and I hope to welcome you back in the future.

Kind Regards

Blanché Walzl
GENERAL MANAGER

Tel : 0514125400
Fax : 0514125404
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 #4 of 23 Hotels in Bloemfontein
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Protea Hotel Willow Lake 4*
Number of rooms: 94
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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