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“The decline is sad” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Hotel

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Royal Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   267 Smith Street, Durban 4000, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #29 of 43 hotels in Durban
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“The decline is sad”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011

This hotel, once a luxury landmark in Durban, has been on the decline for the last 20 years. it has failed to keep pace with new developments and is now a rather out-dated very inner-city hotel which offers reasonably comfortable rooms but needs much better management in order to pull itself out from its distinctly second-rate feel. It's location is fine for business in downtown Durban but with many corporates ditching the rather seedy city centre for the newer (and lovely) Gateway area to the North, this leaves the hotel in a forlorn position. There is nothing inviting about walking outside this hotel at night. It's lobby feels as though its back in 1971 and its front-desk staff seem inexperienced and rather unwilling to go that extra mile...just to smile. My non-smoking room reeked of stale smoke and the toilet was broken forcing me to leave. The advertised free internet simply was a disaster and the lovely old-world restaurant needed much better food to ever draw me back. The buffet breakfast did not offer any breakfast rolls - rather strange! I certainly would not stay here voluntarily but, perhaps with good management it can still find a market - but it needs so much work.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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    18
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5
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2011

I had read the reviews and wasn't sure what to expect but this hotel isn't doing itself any favours.
The staff are keen to help/please but without training and guidance it is difficult. The dining room is lovely but I am not a fan of dinner buffets.
After staying there we found out that the management company that owns it has sold the top half of the hotel, so no chance of ever going to the roof top bar/restaurant. If they invested more in training they could achieve so much more.
Going down fast.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2011

This was a surprise family trip in August and we are still talking about The Royal Hotel. Coming from the industry I must say I always look at the finer detail. The Royal came out on top. The rooms were spotless, the staff very friendly and the service from morning breakfast to late night "night caps" in the bar were excellent. Well done to ALL your staff and thank you for a wonderfull stay. Hope to see you again soon. The Jacobsz and McPhail party.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Montagu, South Africa
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

Over the past three decades I have seen this graceful "dame" being butchered to a pathetic entity not capable of looking after herself, LET ALONE GUESTS PAYING THREE TIMES the rate they pay at similar hotels etc. and still get value for money.
ROOMS: Clean, but room service check lists are non-existance as old safes, new TVs & Fridges are never 100% functioning.
RESTAURANTS: "Opened" and "closed" with no prior warning, so NO choices, but the Coffee Shop with its filthy pieces of garbage called a MENU - service non-existant, and no CLUE what a TRADITIONAL BOBOTI id all about, with GRILL ROOM Buffet closed for PRIVATE FUNCTIONS with no option but to go out for a meal in the most dangerous part of a once elegant city, but now an open invitation to mugged and raped!!!

Room Tip: 14th to 17th Floors
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg South Africa
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

This used to be a Durban landmark with amazing views, a great curry restaurant and a reputation for quality and style. No more. Its now a tired, outdated and run-down hotel managed begrudgingly by a demotivated group of people. Whereas one can understand that investing the capital needed to refurbish the place may be a bridge too far, just some basic cleaning and service focus would be great. Most definately not a 4 or 5 star experience (as the price indicates) closer to a 2 or (if i'm being generous) 3 star experience.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Mumbai
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

I stayed at the Royal Hotel as an guest of the Durban Film Mart. Also coinciding with the mart was the Durban International Film Festival. The hotel is located well in Durban and the rooms are nice n spacious. The free wifi internet was terrible so if you're staying, make sure you make other arrangements. All in all, its a good business hotel.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
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 July 7, 2011

The Royal is a faded star. It may have been great but it isn't anymore and is definitely NOT worth the price of staying there. We came from the US and we were there for 8 nights while I attended a conference in Durban. We stayed in 3 different rooms during our stay since something was not working in every room we stayed in. In the first room, the mattress was awful! IN the second room, the air conditioning wasn't working and the safe was broken. The room filled with the odor of tobacco smoke. The third room, on the 19th floor, was OK after they got the air conditioning working in that room. Staff were responsive to our complaints but the reception staff were young and often untrained and unhelpful. We called down to ask them to book a reservation for us at a restaurant and were told that they didn't know the phone number so couldn't call. Really? Is that the service one should get from a 5 star hotel? The buffet in the Royal Grill was mixed - some food OK and some not worth it. The cafe service was awful. It took 45 minutes to get a sandwich after telling them that we were on a time line and when we needed to leave. It took 20 minutes to get a beverage. The "free" wi fi is so slow that you can't use it in the rooms. There was a very helpful manager who was responsive to our concerns but the overall management of the hotel seems to not care. I would not stay there again and would recommend spending your travel $ elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Royal Hotel

Address: 267 Smith Street, Durban 4000, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Durban
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Durban
#11 Luxury Hotel in Durban
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Hotel 4*
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Also Known As:
Royal Hotel Durban

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