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“Magical honeymoon” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

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Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa
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4.0 of 5 Resort   |   i, Port St Johns, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Johannesburg, South Africa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Magical honeymoon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2013 via mobile

We were lucky enough to spend 5 nights at Umngazi for our honeymoon. We stayed in the Nthabeni Suite which was excellent! Our uninterrupted view of the ocean and the river mouth was beautiful. The room was neat, spacious and clean. The deck was awesome, the perfect place to eat our room-service breakfast as well as drink champagne and gaze at the ocean! The bathroom with its spa bath made for amazing champagne baths and outdoor sea-view showers. We had breakfast delivered in the morning and ate our food in peace with awesome views! The amenities in the room were top class! We had bottles of water next to our beds every day and the toiletries were fantastic! The rooms were large and spacious and very comfortable. (I would suggest getting proper Bodum coffee plungers for the rooms, the generic plungers are terrible)

The people at Umngazi are friendly and helpful. They are always smiling and happy. We arrived later in the evening and we were happily greeted and taken to our room. The golf cart is such a nice touch for the Nthabeni suite! Unfortunately when we arrived for dinner on our first night, we had no idea how the drinks or food system worked at all, and because we arrived on a Monday the staff assumed we had been there since Friday so didn't explain anything. This left us very confused about the drinks and food systems on the first night. The dining room drink system of signing and tipping for every drink order is silly. There should be a tab service that you pay at the end of the night. The ladies who cleaned our room as well as those who brought us our pre-dinner snacks were smiling and happy and did good jobs.

The food...well, there is no way to describe the amount of and quality of the food we had at Umngazi. The room-service breakfast was huge as well as fresh and delicious. Lunch and dinner were also massive as well as delicious. We unfortunately were so filled by breakfast that we rarely had the morning and afternoon teas and we often missed lunch! Next time we stay at Umngazi we will have trained our stomachs to enjoy ALL the food on offer! We had two private dinners which were amazing! We had dinner in the wine cellar as well as the seafood dinner on the river. Both were very special to us as we were on honeymoon and got to avoid other people during these meals!!!

We attempted to do the breakfast canoe activity, but unfortunately we were left alone by the people leading the breakfast and did not make it to the breakfast place (we are not very experienced canoeists!) The people leading these activities should be sure to check that guests who have signed up are present before departure and during the activity! Otherwise, we had the best sunset cruise ever! The man who took us and sang songs, called the eagles and made the entire trip extremely pleasant and fun, was excellent.

The Spa...again there are no words to describe the venue and services offered at your spa. The experience of lying in the spa-bath with champagne and seeing whales swimming out in the ocean was unlike any we have ever experienced before. The therapists are professional and friendly. We felt revived and relaxed after our massages and they even persuaded me to have a pedicure as well!! The therapist happily took photos of my husband and I lying on the spa beds! When we had the 'Four Hands' treatment, we were both disappointed that they had run out of the Umngazi Fish Key Rings which were the gifts that came with the treatment. They gave us Dermalogica samples instead, but when they realised we were disappointed they made a plan! By breakfast the next morning (just before we left) the spa people had organized us each a fish. We have these hung up in our house and they bring back such good memories!

Our only regret is that we didn't stay in your paradise for double the time. We loved our stay with you and you all made it very special for us. We will definitely be back to visit you in the future, hopefully we will one day be regulars!!

Thanks again for making our honeymoon so magical and special (the position of your resort is special itself). We will always remember our 5 amazing nights at Umngazi.

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, May 7, 2013
Dear Polly,

Thank you so much for this very kind review, it was wonderful to read that we had made your Honeymoon the memorable time that it should be! I will of course address the areas of concern that you have mentioned as well.

I do hope that our relationship with you both will grow and that we will be your holiday destination for many years to come.

I do hope we get to welcome you back, until then all the very best.

Graham
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462 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

This place is the most amazing place to visit with your family! From the moment we arrived we felt pampered, relaxed and totally entertained! 5 star service, food and accommodation. The rooms are clean and spacious and serviced daily! The FOOD is to die for, the quantity, the selection and the attention to detail is superb.Our son has sensory issues and this was accommodated without us even needing to ask! Our children of 6 and 7 were entertained throughout the day and in the evenings we were provided with a nanny so that my husband and i could relax. The spa, the trip to Alice's Pondo hut, night time crab hunting as well as the sunset cruise are all memories that our entire family will cherish. Beautiful lagoon, swimming pool and beaches with lots of fishing and sunny days!

Room Tip: ALL the rooms are excellent especially the interleading family rooms.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, May 4, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for this kind review, it is always gratifying sharing feedback such as this with the Team here at Umngazi. It was great to read that we have achieved here what we want to give every Umngazi guest, a memorable family holiday, I hope we get to do it all over again next year!

Best wishes,

Graham
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Durban, South Africa
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

We've been twice to Umngazi with our two boys (aged between 4-8years) and found plenty to do for everyone, but also the space to feel calm even when the resort is full. We enjoy the rooms which are large enough to spend time away from the world if this suits the weather or your frame of mind. The rooms are clean and fresh smelling. But there are lots of buildings and areas to spend time, whether you want to socialise (you always meet people there), read, play board games, watch DVDS, fish, swim etc etc. The horse-riding was fine, the walks were awesome. We loved the river cruises, especially the breakfast one. The babysitters were excellent if you wanted a night out without youngsters. We didn't try them during the day although we saw other people who took a day off or several. I enjoyed the spa although this isn't my favorite activity. The facilities are well-maintained eg tennis courts etc. And the games coordinators were excellent at keeping the slightly older children busy with sand-duning and other activities. Lastly I thought the food was excellent. Make sure you are there for the Sat seafood dinner. All in all, I loved the ambience of Umngazi which is relaxed, but gentile and very pleasant.

Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, May 4, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for this kind review, we work very hard in getting it right and to make sure your family holiday one that you look back on with fond memories and of course that you come back again next year or even sooner.

Thank you once again, and best wishes,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

Our first time at Umngazi and wish we had tried it sooner! Really incredible place, fantastic for kids (babies to teenagers) and best holiday for mom and dad in years! Dads take your mountain bike for some great cycling, and moms a visit to the spa a must!! Our kids just loved paddling in the spotless lagoon while catching crabs and fish! Dinner a treat every night while your nanny babysits the kids - bliss! If you want a real holiday, this is the place!

Room Tip: If you're going with children a "snorer" room is a more affordable option if your kids...
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, March 24, 2013
Dear Debbie,

Thank you so much for the fantastic review, great to read that your holiday with us was everything we hoped it would be for you and your family.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Best wishes,

Graham
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Cape Town
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

This will be our fourth year going to Umngazi and hopefully we will be going again and again. Umngazi is one of the few holiday places where the mother (aka known as cook / bottle washer / chief nappy changer and main tidy-upper) has a holiday too. There is no cooking, there is no cleaning and there is help with looking after the kids - what more can a parent want!

We absolutely love Umngazi, is is the perfect family holiday. The kids love it, the parents love it.

The first time we went it took some getting used to not having 24 hour high speed internet access but last year and this year I actually left my laptop at home! Progress! I don't even miss it when I am there, I am just too chilled.

The only downside is that you *will* put on at least a few kgs by the time you get home because boy oh boy, do you eat! Full on breakfast, then tea and scone for tea time, then full on lunch, then coffee and biscuits at 3, then sundowners and snacks, then full on supper and dessert. It's a wonder we fit back into the car for the drive home.

Umngazi is a wonderful family holiday destination, I am not sure there is an equal in the whole of South Africa.

PS See you tomorrow Umngazi, can't wait to eat, drink and be merry!

Room Tip: If you have young kids, ask for the bungalows near the entertainment area so that they can run up an...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, March 24, 2013
Dear Tertia,

I don't think I have ever had a such an outstanding review before you have already arrived, thank you so much. I just hope we have delivered on your family holiday with us!

Please let me know if there is anything myself or any of my team may do to ensure you keep on coming back again and again.

Best wishes,

Graham
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Durban, South Africa
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We only spent 1 night but could have spent many more if we had the time.
We had an excellent room (3A) with fantastic facilities and outdoor shower. We were close to the main entertainment areas etc. I found the service in the bar and in the restaurant left a lot to be desired as one had to try and catch the eye of the barmen and the waitrons in the restaurant.Particularly the waitrons who would rather look away than to want to serve..It spoilt what was otherwise a really pleasant stay.

Room Tip: Try and get the bungalows along the eastern border of the lagoon. Great views and reasonably close t...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, March 17, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Firstly thnak you for taking the time to review Umngazi, it is important for us to get your feedback. I was sorry to hear that our Dining Room and Bar Service was not at the standard that you expected and that we certainly promise to deliver on.

This has already been addressed with the departments concerned. I do hope we get to welcome you back again oneday soon, and for longer next time!

Kind regards,

Graham

General Manager
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South Africa
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

There is not much bad to say about Umngazi River Bungalows. Our only negative was that it rained solid for nearly 2 days and we were stuck in a bungalow with a 2 year old who wasn't so keen on the african nannies to look after her. But other than that, Umngazi has thought of everything. The food spread every breakfast, lunch and dinner is fabulous ! You will put on a few kilos whilst you are there, however there are a lot of activities to keep you active in the day from tennis, a great gym, guided hiking, water skiing, mountain biking and swimming. The main attraction is really that they are so well equipped for children. You can hire a nannie for R100 per day. The kids have a separate kitchen which provides great , heathly kids food. They have a fridge equipped with fruit, yoghurts and bottles and milk which you can help yourself to at any time. they have a creative corner area for kids to have fun in all day. There is a fabulous jungle gym and trampoline. Older kids have a games room and they play a movie every night in there from 7pm whilst you can have dinner without the kids. The are is absolutely beautiful. So all in all, its a great place to relax and not think about anything. Highly reccommend it if you can find a booking !

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

Address: i, Port St Johns, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Port St Johns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tucked away on the Wild Coast, in the heart of Pondoland, and encompassed by a rocky coastline, indigenous forests, secluded coves and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, lies the award winning Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa - an award winning family resort & spa. The thatch-roofed bungalows are situated amongst the indigenous gardens which provide the perfect setting for a totally relaxed holiday. Weekly fly-in packages are available Friday to Friday from Durban where you fly at 500 feet above sea level along the beautiful coastline - a wonderful way to start your holiday. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Umngazi River Bungalows Hotel Port St Johns
Umngazi River Hotel
Umngazi River Resort

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