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“Breakaway deal” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Simola Hotel & Spa

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Simola Hotel & Spa
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Old Cape Road | Simola, Knysna 6570, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 28 Hotels in Knysna
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
2 reviews
“Breakaway deal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2013

Stayed over at Simola to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Booked through a sports dealership company. The golf game / evening dinner and spa experience was great.
I was a disappointed with the lack of organization of the front desk regarding the provison of the required vouchers at check in time. This caused my experience to be soured. All of which could have been sorted out prior to my visit. Also the service at the breakfast table on the second morning, 27th November was not a memorable one. After having some difficulties getting my second voucher from the front desk and then sitting at my table for 10 minutes before someone coming around to serve us wasn't what I expected from such a reputable establishment.
However overall I enjoyed the stay and had a memorable time with my wife.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, December 1, 2013
Dear Reviewer

Many thanks for taking the time to write a review on your recent stay at Simola. We welcome all comments and endevour to improve all noted areas of error, in order to offer excellence in its entirety.

I do apologise for the inconvenience caused by not having your Flook Vouchers properly dispatched to you. This has been an area of personal concern, which has now been rectified. I trust that your next visit to Simola, on a similar excellent value package or other, will indeed reflect the changes made.

Many thanks
Kind regards
Michelle
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94 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
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English first
UP
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

Dear All,

We stayed at Simola from 16th Oct 13 to 20th Oct 13. Our stay was very eventful (sarcastically) from the time we checked - in. The excerpts are as under ( please read about my conversation with Michelle Hammond - Room divisions manager point 8 for sure ) :-

1) The day we checked-in we found out the lady at the Front-desk who is normally in the morning shift was busy watching a TV series in the area above the spa. We had to wait a while before she realized guests are waiting to be checked-in. And this is not just a one-off affair. Whenever we called ( telephones are also a great story ) the phones would be attended after say 20 to 30 rings because the lady was busy watching TV series leaving the Front desk.

2) We were checked-in to the E block and we were occupying E 6,7,8 B category rooms. We found that the telephones in E 6 & 7 B were not functional and the rooms were not evening getting locked ( lock problem was rectifies on 16th ). We made a complain in the night of 16th and morning of 17th expecting the problems regading phones to be rectified.

To our utter dismay we found out that even on the night of 17th the telephones were non-functional.

3) When we reached our rooms on 17th evening after a tour of George and Outdshorn we were shocked to find that the roof false ceiling of the bathrooms in 2 of our rooms E 6/7 B were not in place and all pipelines and electric lines were visible. The picture has been attached with my review.

Telephones were not functional in the rooms and therefore I had to walk from E block which is a walk of approximately 500 mts to the reception. A gentleman named Patrick was at the front desk who came alongwith us and was himself shocked to see the false ceiling not in place.

I had to spent 2 hours of my holiday to ensure that the phone lines and ceilings were fixed. Patrick got the maintenance guys to check if there was someone not present upstairs of the false ceiling after which we settled in the room.

4) The beds were not being made in the rooms till late in the night. On asking why this is happening they said that it is the instructions of the GM to only put beds on request. I thought I was in a 5 star where all these things are handled automatically.

5) My wife and me went to the spa area to have a look around the spa and were sitting in the area just outside the spa. Suddenly a black cat jumps and sits next to my wife. We called for the reception and they said they cannot do anything about it as its a pet of the hotel. I again thought whether i am staying at a private house or a hotel. Interestingly the brochure of the hotel says no pets allowed ( maybe they do not want any pet dog to kill their pet cat ).

6) Simola as claimed by them is a graded 5 star hotel and they would only provide you 2 mineral water bottles maybe 330 ml each irrespective of your duration of stay whether 4 nights or 1. That essentially means you have 660 ml between 2 people for 4 nights. Rest you have to buy. Its for everyone to judge whether a 5 star would offer something like this ( they are so obsessed to become a 5 star that even their logo has 5 stars - pun intended )


7) Let us come to the room. The rooms did not have a mini bar.The bathrooms in B rooms are so small that if someone opens the bathroom door when you are on the basin he will definitely injure you. For 2 people to stand in the bathroom is a task. It is by no fair means a room or bathroom that you expect from a 5 star hotel or a hotel which claims to be 5 star.

8) Now comes the most interesting part. My conversation with Michelle Hammond on 18th morning. I started the conversation explaining all my problems and especially asking an explanation for the open roof in the bathroom ( check photo attached ). Let me take you point by point :-

a) Me : The false ceiling in 2 of the bathrooms of our rooms we were staying in were open. Could you please explain why that had happened. We are not feeling secured in the hotel as rooms do not get locked , the false ceiling opens ?

Michelle : It might have been left opened by maintenance guys who would have come to check the geysers and lines. Mistakes can happen and we cannot do anything about it or maybe the wind blew it. These are all equipments.

b) Me : The wind blew it , are you serious I need a better explanation I do not expect to stay in a room in which wind can damage a bathroom ceiling. We are staying in a 5 star hotel where such service is unacceptable.

Michelle : ( No reply and then ) Its been fixed now i guess ( still not sure whether it was fixed even though I had left a complain for her and her GM in the night itself ).

c) Me : Yes its been fixed because I walked to your front office in the night as telephones were dead and took your people to get it rectified which took 2 hours of my precious holiday.

d) Me : Michelle, anyways the telephones were dead for 2 days of our stay because of which I had to walk for 500 mts and come here.

Michelle : They can be dead , after all they are machines. I guess they are now rectified so what is the problem you have. I cannot do anything about it . I always tell travel agents not to book B rooms , we always have complains from these rooms. I do not know why they book these rooms. ( I wondered Michelle why do you take bookings of these rooms ).

(Please note the Manager herself was acknowledging that they have regular complains and do not want B category rooms to be booked. But they charge 5 star rates for it )

e) Me : We have not paid money to stay in a hotel in which locks do not function , cats are in the hotel sitting on visitor's chairs , roofs get opened without reason and no one having explanation about it and I need to spend my time ( 2 hrs ) with the hotel guys to ensure that my rooms are fit to live. What are you doing for this. Because I have booked a 5 star. What about the 2 hrs of my holiday I have lost.

( To my utter dismay Michelle Hammond a Manager level worker just walked off in between the conversation in fury in utter disrespect of the guest i.e me and in no way acceptable in Hospitality industry in between into the GM room and came out looking red. I guess she forgot that her salary is paid by the bills raised on us )

f) Michelle : ( Rudely ) I have spoken to the GM. We cannot do anything because you have lost 2 hours of a holiday. We cannot offer any financial retribution. Any about being a 5 star , the South African Tourism authorities gave us the license and renewed it lately , so if you have a problem please speak to them.

Me: Who asked for financial retribution. We expect you to ensure that our stay for next 2 days is comfortable.We would definitely take it up with the Tourism authority ( which we are doing )

Michelle : ( She does not even address me as Sir and begins rudely ) If you are looking for a free upgrade please know we will not give it to you.

Me : Who asked for a free upgrade. It is for you to see how you keep your guests happy.

Michelle : I will not kill the hotels Pet cat if one of my guest does not like it.

Me : At least you can keep it away from the hotel lobby. I feel that you are not interested to see whether your guests are happy or not and I feel I have made a mistake by complaining so I am sorry ( and i walked off and she did not even bother to stop me and ensure that I was happy )

I would like to point out that all this conversation was happening when Mr Andrew the GM was sitting in his cabin all alone and when I asked for him the Front desk said that the GM is too busy to meet a guest. ( Someone should remind him what hospitality is )

I would highly recommend people not to stay in this hotel which is not a 5 star by any standards. If you are experimental and think I have a strong review against them then maybe you can try this hotel at your risk.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, November 5, 2013
Dear reviewer, we thank you for your review on Simola Hotel. We take each on its own merit and constantly strive for excellence.

On this occassion we note that the guest was absolutely determined not to be placated by anything other than a complimentary upgrade. The comments passed bare little resemblence to the truth, and the conversations witnessed by many who have very different opinions to that of the reviewing guest.

It is also noted that the feed back received from other establishments this particular guest stayed at, rang a very familiar bell to the behaviour we ourselves experienced.

Simola stresses that we are always more than happy to accommodate the most/least experienced traveller to the very best of our ability.

It is a great shame that the actions of a few do so often affect so many. We close by saying that 'one can please some of the people...........' We constantly strive to please 'ALL', but as the industry knows it is not always possible to achieve the impossible.

Many thanks
Michelle Hammond
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Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

We stayed their on our Honeymoon in June 2011 and we had the chance to have a huge suite-room for our 2-day stay. The room was really amazing, with a huge salon with integrated kitchen, a beautiful and comfortable bed a great bathroom and a nice terrace.

Funnily we had a few ants in the bathroom which should be an absolute no-go for such an Hotel, but it didn't bother us much so, we didn't complain, especially because there weren't too many. In the hallway we found more near a storage door which drops the rating of the Hotel slightly but honestly, it was very clean everywhere.

Breakfast was very good, we really suggest to take the omelette which was really tasty and well prepared. Dinner at the Orchid Room was OK but honestly a little bit disappointing as the kitchen tried to imitate high class french cuisine and we thought it didn't work out quite well especially when you are acquainted to such dishes. We would have preferred typical SA food but nonetheless we can't complain!

Sleep quality was great, as we said, clean, huge and beautiful room with kitchen and salon (2 TVs with one DVD Player and Sound). If not for the ants and the restaurant, the rating could be higher. This is our objective opinion, others might give the full rating.

We didn't have the time to try the spa or the golf course but it is a beautiful resort !

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, October 14, 2013
Dear Reviewer

Thank you for taking the time to write about your Simola experience.

We welcome all reviews and stive for excellence in all departments. Since your visit we have recruited a new Executive Chef who is fast filling our walls with awards of excellence. We hope that you will be able to vist again and experience our 5 star menu.

As your visit was in 2011, we reccommend a return trip to South Africa and Simola.

Many thanks for your interest.

Kind regards
Michelle Hammond
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Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

The accommodation is 5 star, well appointed self catering apartment, spacious rooms and living area as well as patio with gas braai/barbeque make it a home away from home. The under floor heating and heated towel rails were a nice touch on our fairly cold weekend visit.

Location is excellent, perched on top of a hill overlooking the Knysna estuary and surrounding forest...Plett, Sedgefield, Wilderness, George all within a short driving distance.

I gave it 4 stars due to the lack of child friendly facilities compared to Fancourt and Pezula, and because of the lack of variety at the buffet breakfast. The views of the famous Knysna heads from the restaurant were spectacular to say the least, and make up for this. The fresh health juice is recommended and our Muslim halaal requirements were thoughtfully seen to.

The indoor heated pool for adults use only, was a relaxing experience after the long drive and they were kind enough to allow me use thereof till just after 7pm closing time. I would've preferred later closing times though.

The staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the signature Jack Nicklaus golf course is immaculate and provides a good challenge to all handicaps.

In summary, a memorable weekend trip and I would recommend Simola as a choice of accommodation for a relaxing break, a golf tour or base to explore the mesmerising Garden Route. Check out the flook.co.za website for unbeatable specials at discounted rates for Simola amongst others.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Dear Reviewer

We thank you for your review on Simola Hotel.

We appreciate all comments, and take each with its own unique merit.

During the summer months, the spa facilities are open for a later into the evening, and of course the outdoor pool is very popular with children during the warm months as well.

I am glad that your overall weekend was memorable and that you also made use of our stunning golf course.

We lookf orward to a future visit.

Many thanks
Kind regards
Michelle
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Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

My family spent the weekend with friends at Simola in Knysna. The self catering apartment was well appointed and very nicely finished. The hotel has one or two drawbacks.

Firstly, it only has one restaurant so dining options are limited.
Secondly, no real child friendly facilities.

The golf course is immaculate and a challenge.

Apart from the two issues mentioned above it was an awesome weekend.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Dear Reviewer

Thank youf or taking the time to review Simola Hotel & Spa.

We welcome and value all comments, and strive for excellence in all areas.

Whilst we welcome children to the hotel, our facilities for same are more popular during the summer months when our outdoor pool is very popular with the younger age group.

Whilst we have one 5* restaurant, with award winning menu and wines, we do also sport the Clubhouse Lounge, where our reduced A'La Carte menu is very popular. Is it possible that we had a private function on during your visit and therefore your choice may have been limited?

I am pleased that you had the opportunity to experience the golfcourse, which, as you say, can be a challenge even to the most experienced golfer.

When you next visit, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will arrange some child friendly acftivities for you.

Many thanks
Kind regards
Michelle
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Australia
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

We arrived here with our tour and we were in block B 4 A. What a great design. All good comments below are correct.

Our suite has twin beds extremely comfortable, bathroom shower and bath, twin sinks. All clean and bright. Kitchen lounge area huge with floor heating and a gas fire, which one does not need if floor is on. Also in bedroom an air conditioner. The lights in all rooms are also amazing.
As usual we requested non smoking and the room was clean and fresh, bedding also.

We had breakfast in the morning, which was simple and tasty, service was good.

Restaurant at night, the food was buffet first night with roasted pork, chicken, beef, fish and assortment of baked vegetables. Delicious salad area and desert was yummy choices. The meat was very tender. We will have a la carte tonigHt.
Again I have to comment on the staff, how open and friendly they are, with attention to detail under the watchful eyes of the young handsome manager. The whole place. Is a great place for folders all over the world, they would not be disappointed.

All the front desk staff are helpful and caring, only to happy to book tours etc for you, they have a shuttle also

Didn't have time for spa, sorry I missed it. Others in our group were very pleased with service and comfort.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Dear Reviewer,

Thank you for your much valued comments.

We are always happy to hear from people who have had such a wonderful experience with us at Simola. Our aim is to provide excellence in all departments, and to this end your feedback and compliments are invaluable.

We hope that you will be able to visit us again - and this time fit in a spa treatment.

With thanks
Simola Management
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Manila, Philippines
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

+ very clean rooms with complete facilities such as oven, microwave ref etc.
beautiful view of the golf course and lagoon. they also gave us a warm welcome with drinks and smiles.

_ i tried the spa but it was fully booked until i was accommodated late in the afternoon and the one who attended to me seems to be in a hurry. so, it didn't make me feel relaxed which a spa should.
the waitresses at breakfast were busy chatting with each other rather than paying attention to the guests' needs.
we also had difficulty bringing down the stairs our luggages after checking out. wonder why no one came to assist us.

Room Tip: choose rooms with golf couse and lagoon view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simola_Hotel, Manager at Simola Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
Dear Reviewer

Thank you for your review on Simola Hotel & Spa, we value all comments and suggestions revceived as we strive for excellence in the travel and tourism industry.

We are happy to hear that your overall experience was a great one. We take seriously the issues raised and will endevour to correct and improve upon them.
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Additional Information about Simola Hotel & Spa

Address: 1 Old Cape Road | Simola, Knysna 6570, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Knysna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Knysna
#15 Luxury Hotel in Knysna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Simola Hotel & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 40
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Simola Hotel And Spa
Simola Hotel Knysna

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