Gibela is described in the Lonely Planet as being "boutique" which is certainly the case - very tastefully decorated and spotlessly clean. Private safes in the dorm rooms were a great addition too. The breakfasts were lovely, and the staff were very helpful. On arrival I was given a map and orientated to the area - I was also given handy tips on where not to go!
My issue with the place was it closed at 2030. The owner took all the cushions from the outdoor area inside and locked up the reception. This took the computer and the bar area out of action. The wifi at the place is very expensive and runs out very quickly so when he shut up shop I wasn't able to get online (I use my evenings to research areas and book future destinations). It also meant a walk, in the dark, to the store for a cold drink. These are minor inconveniences but in comparison to other places, at R200 a night, it was twice the price with a fraction of the service and amenities. Despite being a BazBus pick up point it doesn't open in the morning until after the BazBus has left which leaves you sitting on the steps waiting for the bus - not great.
The place is run around the owner's life - closing in time for him to have a pleasant evening and opening late enough for him to go to the gym in the morning. There should be more emphasis on service particularly in comparison to other, cheaper, options throughout South Africa.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- TOP CHOICE - Lonely Planet 2012 "If this hostel (a tastefully converted 1950's Tuscan home) were a B&B, it would be described as 'boutique'. One of Durban's best hostels, it has sparkling surfaces and rooms neat enough to pass an army major's inspection. It even provides a continental breakfast- to be enjoyed in an attractive indoor-outdoor dining area." Gibela is conveniently located in the safe, residential area of Morningside and within walking distance to the center of Durban’s entertainment life, Florida Road, where there are restaurants, cocktail bars, clubs and coffee shops galore. ... more less
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