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“Better than expected!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani

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Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   63 O.R.Tambo Parade | Durban Beachfront, Durban 4001, South Africa   |  
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Ranked #6 of 42 Hotels in Durban
Brussels, Belgium
Top Contributor
246 reviews 246 reviews
100 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
155 helpful votes 155 helpful votes
“Better than expected!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2008

This hotel exceeded my expectations, largely because of the staff.

I recently stayed here for 6 days & 5 nights while running a course there.

The first impression of this hotel is not great, especially when it comes to reception. For some reason, reception is crowded & staffed by hugely bureaucratic & apparently under trained staff. Long queues, errors & bureaucracy are the norm.

However, leave reception behind you & the hotel takes on a completely different character. All the staff are keen to help & meet your needs. Steven on the second floor will remember your name & your favourite drink & will always welcome you warmly!

You will be able to get a very warm & friendly shoeshine on the doorstep & even the housekeeping staff are cheerful & helpful!

The meeting rooms we used were great - large. airy with great acoustics. The only minor issue was the air conditioning which was either jumper enticing chilly or off!

The rooms are what you'd expect, slightly larger than usual, with great views of the beach.

WiFi access throughout the hotel. If you're staying for longer than a day, buy the data volume package, not the timed one!

  • Liked — Steven
  • Disliked — Reception
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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660 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (162)
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Lisbon, Portugal
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2007

My husband and I stayed on the 8th January in this Hotel which was quite a pleasant surprise. A problem arised with our booking but was promptly settled by the receptionist with a smile. Staff friendly and attentive. Very good breakfast. Rooms ok. The Japanese restaurant was good and once again the staff was quite nice.
It's a four stars Hotel with a five stars service. One can see that the Hotel is very well managed.
Probably for people staying there in holidays, a bit of entertainement would be welcomed.
We enjoyed very much our stay and will definitely stay there if we come again.

Stayed January 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2006

We recently had 2 nights at the Elangeni after being recommended by the travel agent. The rooms were fairly spacious and well maintained and the view over North Beach was great. I was on business and it is probably more of a family style holiday hotel. The service was good and the meals were good. We would recommend that refridgerators be installed in the rooms.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — Not having a refridgerator in the room
  • Tips/Secrets — Reasonable value
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
117 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
296 helpful votes 296 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2006

I stayed at this hotel for a week during a recent conference in Durban. Unlike the last reviewer, I found no problems with street noise, although I was on the 22nd floor which may have been inherently quieter. The views were amazing, rooms clean, well-furnished and well-serviced and the breakfast buffet was outstanding. A few minor niggles - no broadband connections in the rooms, just a slow and unreliable wi-fi in some of the public areas and the room lighting was inadequate for any business use. Be warned that SA's idiosyncratic electrical system means that no international adaptors work - I had to recharge my laptop from the shaver point in the bathroom! But also be aware that stepping outside the hotel on a quiet day, and especially a quiet evening, is pretty risky - two guests were beaten and mugged less than 50 metres away on the Sunday that I arrived. Hotel staff are aware of this and security at the hotel is good. They are also well organized for getting taxis, etc. - but it does take the edge off a visit. You can look out at an amazing beach that is only safe to go on at very limited times.

  • Liked — The location and views
  • Disliked — The high crime rate in the area
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Backyard
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2006

We stayed at the Southern Sun North Beach for a week in June. The hotel itself is very nice. One plus is that *all* the rooms face the ocean (not so with the Southern Sun Elangeni next door) and the lobby is elegant, with places to sit and drink a glass of sherry, port, or sangria which the staff puts out evening for guests, free of charge. Everyone was helpful, the rooms were clean, and so on. My one complaint, and it was major, was the noise from the street. We were on the 8th floor and even with the windows closed, one could hear car alarms, carn horns, and booming car stereos every night until the wee hours. This is because Snell Parade (and Marine Parade to the south) is very popular with the local youth, who like to cruise up and down in their cars with their windows down and their systems up. One night there was one car with a sound system so loud it set off other car alarms when it went by, which it did about five times. Forget sleeping. I used earplugs and slept with my head between two pillows. Perhaps the higher floors (there are 32 floors) are quieter, but I can't imagine it's all the quiet even at the top. So, light sleepers beware. Too bad, since otherwise it is a very nice place to stay.

Stayed June 2006
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
Top Contributor
977 reviews 977 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 152 cities Reviews in 152 cities
1,725 helpful votes 1,725 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2006

We had a family break in the Southern Sun Elangeni in late February for a week.

This is a Holiday Inn hotel repackaged. It is a four star hotel located in the Northern Beach area of Durban. Incidentally there is another Southern Star hotel next but one to this. I saw another two hotels from the same group within the golden mile.

All rooms in the hotel have a sea view. Pick a high floor for the best views. The hotel was built in the late 70’s and looking the beach front it is evident that a lot of development took place up until the early 80’s and then ceased. In one way the seafront retains a charm missing from other resorts such as Dubai which constantly knocks down what it builds.

Although some parts of the place needs to be upgraded, places like Mini town and the beach side fairground are definitely quaint.

The recent opening of a nearby casino resort, the International Convention Centre and Ushaka marine park demonstrates that investment in upgrading tourism facilities is now a priority in Durban.

The hotel needs a lick of exterior paint. Inside it has undergone a corporate makeover, based on an African theme,(how original!) In fact you will get a corporate magazine in your room that is as bland as the makeover. It seems whoever was involved in the rebranding probably did not stay in the hotel.

Do not get me wrong. It is a fine hotel that serves its purpose. Nice rooms, nice pools, nice gym, nice lifts, nice buffet breakfast, just not an ounce of individual character that reflects it exterior curves and is rather boring.

As an example whilst researching the hotel on the net and holiday brochures, I was under the impression that it had a free shuttle bus to a shopping centre. This is not so.

I was under the impression that it provided some regular nightly entertainment (not so, although you may stumble on some type of an occasional karaoke singer at the Irish theme pub if you are lucky.) Although my sources could had been wrong, it was disappointing that these amenities were missing.

The lack of any regular organised entertainment in a beachfront hotel set in a city where crime is regarded as an issue. From Durban airport onwards you are warned about crime and are encouraged not to be out in the evening. Therefore any corporate makeover artist would had remedied this quickly.

They have two swimming pools, but no staff from the hotel will actually turn up to see if things are OK. You actually take pool towels from some sort of a wooden box. How about having some pool side entertainment?

Actually the immediate promenade opposite the hotel is quite safe. There are beggars about in the evening, and you should keep your guard. But there are cafes and restaurants nearby (Wimpy, Nandos amongst others) and the promenade is very lively at the weekend, especially as many native Durbanites spend the weekend evenings having a family get-together, barbecues and just strolling about.

You will also find a skateboarding park in front of the hotel, there is an ice skating rink around the corner but I gather it only opens at the weekends. There is also a weekly Sunday market when you can do some tourist shopping.

The ocean is wonderful as well. Definitely surfing waves. If you have one of these body boards that you bought for a few pounds at a package holiday in Europe. Bring it along because you really will find the waves here. There are also piers nearby and if you are an angler bring a rod, it will also help you pass the time.

One Saturday evening in Durban, there was a tropical rainstorm. This is where the lack of amenities in the hotel becomes evident. There are three restaurants, a bar and a pub, but nothing to keep the family entertained. The pub is not exactly ideal for someone with a young family, and is just a drinking hole. The alternative was to watch some TV and go to bed early on a Saturday night.

I have been to top hotels in beach resorts and cheap package holiday resorts in the Mediterranean. It is not difficult to get a decent group to knock out some Abba, Beatles, Elvis covers for a hour before sending people to bed.

There was a visiting rugby team from New Zealand that got the red carpet treatment. I noticed one evening; they were so bored they were playing beach volleyball to keep themselves entertained. (I suppose getting drunk at the hotel bar was off limits as they were taking part in a tournament).

The hotel has a buffet restaurant that serves breakfast. The spread is varied and the quality of the food is of a high standard. We liked the fresh juices, and the croissants. Except for one waiter who was outstanding, service could have been better. Once again highlighting the issues of staff training and pay for hotel staff in South Africa.

The hotel is nice. It is located on a wonderful part of the Golden mile. For the price and the location it should be much better. It requires more effort and imagination from the corporate suits. It caters for business guests, but needs to do more for families and it does have many families staying there from abroad and South Africa.

I actually bumped to an old school friend from the UK visiting with his family. He agreed with me. The hotel needs to inject some fun.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2005

As I go to Durban on business every year, i return to the HIGC Durban - North Beach. I always recommend staying at the North end of the beach, rather than the more dodgy South Beach area. The hotel service is very good, lobby and external areas have recently been renovated. All rooms are facing the ocean. Rooms are extra large, great for a 3 star hotel. Bathrooms are good. Breakfast is extensive and served in a pleasant room overlooking the ocean and promenade. The hotel is very good value for money. As a person on your own it is not a good idea to wander around the city on your own but staying here means you can walk along the Northern end of the beach up until early evening without being overly concerned. Just never carry anything on you that you don't need just for that outing, and keep your valuables in the hotel safe.

  • Stayed May 2005, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani

Address: 63 O.R.Tambo Parade | Durban Beachfront, Durban 4001, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Durban
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Durban
#2 Business Hotel in Durban
#5 Luxury Hotel in Durban
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani 4*
Number of rooms: 449
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Radiating energy and elegance across the Golden Mile, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani invites you to take your place in the sun. From the stylish bedrooms with breath-taking sea-views to the variety of restaurants and recreation facilities, visitors can look forward to the vibrancy, colour and culture of Durban's premier hotel destination offering more choice than ever before, from service and hospitality through to accommodation and dining. Absolutely everything under one sun! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Southern Sun Elangeni Durban
Elangeni Hotel Durban

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