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“Unwelcoming” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Saffron House

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The Saffron House
4.0 of 5 Guest house   |   15 Robbins Road, Salt Rock 4391, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 12 Salt Rock B&B and Inns
Cheshire
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Unwelcoming”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2012

We stayed here for one night only, thank goodness. We were greeted with "Hello I'm Ian, sign here, this is your room, here's your key". He was very offhand. We never met or were introduced to his wife. It was Boxing Day and everything seemed too much trouble. Maybe this is his usual manner or maybe he took an instant dislike to us. Maybe because I asked if there was safe parking in town for when we went for our evening meal? Maybe he took offence at this, but this is South Africa and Durban has a high crime record. He said they had lived there for 8 years without a problem but there are electric fences and alarms everywhere you go! We asked him to book a restaurant for us which he dutifully did after telling us most restaurants would be closed, but we had to ask. Nothing was forthcoming. I received an email telling me that someone had hacked into my PayPal account so I needed to sort a few things out. He was just so unhelpful! The Internet struggled at such a slow speed, I asked if there was an internet cafe locally. He did actually offer the use of his computer but the speed would have been just the same. We arrived at breakfast and no one welcomed us. When I asked if we could have a cup of tea he just pointed to the kettle. So we just helped ourselves. No introduction as to the fact it was self service or a cooked breakfast could be ordered. The house alarm went off in the early hours with us too. We were fast asleep and we didn't know what to do. Nobody came to reassure us it was a false alarm (caused by a plant apparently). No apologies in the morning either. But not a pleasant stay. When we left Ian stood at the door, glared at me and just asked for the key (which I had left in the door). Very strange behaviour for a host! He didn't even say enjoy the rest of your trip or safe journey. Pleasantness costs nothing and makes such a difference to ones holiday experience. They certainly didn't deserve our custom.

I mislaid my Gortex jacket and had to email Saffron House when I got home to see if I had left it there and Ian was actually very prompt in responding that he had looked in our room etc but not found it. So for that I thank him.

I hope this is a balanced review and a one off. Other guests seem to have experienced a much more pleasant stay. I always give people the benefit of the doubt so for us maybe this was a case of wrong time wrong place!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jack0705, Owner at The Saffron House, responded to this review, January 18, 2012
Dear David, thank you for taking the time to write your review of your stay with us, again we were expecting another bad one from you, it appears that only people who have a bad experience appear to be writing reviews at the moment! We had an room occupancy figure of 92% between 27th November 2011 to the 14th January 2012 and the two people we felt that did not like us have written reviews, well that's just the way it goes in this industry. Maybe people who write these may like to consider what they do to people who are earning their livelehoods from this industry and the damage it can do is sometimes irrepairable. Perhaps it might be better to have contatcted the tour operator that you booked through in this instance and advised them.
Just to clear up a couple of your points your description of my introduction is inaccurate but I will not go into detail. with reference to security your wife stated that "it was unsafe because this is South Africa isn't it" Just to correct that we are 55kms from Durban.
I am not sure what you wanted you to do about your paypal problem, you could not access the telephone number as you were using the incorrect dialing code, so i told you what to dial and you got through to the voicemail as we are +2 hours GMT and you were phoning the UK it was too early, i suggested trying the U.S. number, not sure what else I could have done. Sorry for our internet being slower than you are used too however we do not charge for it.
As far as breakfast is concerned we advise clients to sit anywhere in the dining room and there is a menu on the table, the menu states " it is a self service buffet and we will come to your table to take your order for any cooked breakfast from the menu". If that is not understandable then I am sorry.
I must apologise for not apologising about the alarm being triggered during the night, point taken.
Not sure why asking for the keys on departure is strange behaviour, everywhere I have stayed you hand in the keys at reception when you check out or put them in a key box. how am I to know where the keys are if you don't hand them in if I don't ask for them?
I did feel on your arrival and also recall when your tour operator made the booking with us that you and especially your wife were uneasy about being in this country, infact we considered not accepting the booking at all but as they give us many clients we accepted it.
We are glad you found your jacket as it almost felt as if we were being accused of it been taken at our guesthouse and good for the guys in St. Lucia that found it, maybe South Africa is not so bad after all.

Best regards
Ian Gumbley
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94 reviews from our community

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    55
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 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 (8)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2012

We stayed 2 nights at The Saffron House which was a mistake. We received a surly short welcome, given very little information and told if we didn't use the complimentary map of the area to give it back on our departure. The owner's attitude left us in no doubt they are not warm hosts. She was clipped and short with our questions and we had the impression she wanted to get back to what she was doing as soon as possible. It was clear that she doesn’t like to mix with her customers and we never saw her again during our stay.

During both nights the husband's car alarm went off at 1am in the morning, waking us up. The air con in the room was temperamental and the remote for it barely worked. You have to press the button 8-10 times before it gets lucky and understands what you want. If you go out and leave the air con in your room on, hoping to come back to a lovely cool room you’ll be disappointed. They come into your room while you’re out and turn the air con off. We didn’t like the fact that they even came into our room. You come back and the room is boiling. The air con takes 2-3 hours to cool it down after that. You can’t alter the fan direction and it blows constantly on the sofa making it impossible to sit on the only chair in the room.

We also weren’t told how to open the electric gate so we had to knock on their door to ask. The husband opened the door and treated us like children.

They lock the front door at 9.30pm but don't give you a key for it. You have to go around the back to your room's patio doors and use that to get in. The first night the front door was open so no problem. On our 2nd night we come home and it was shut so we had to try the patio doors. We had already had trouble with these during the day from the inside of the room but from the outside it was impossible. The key and the lock would not align at all. 10 minutes later we were left with no option but to go and knock on the owner's door and ask for help. Out comes the husband in a temper, stomps off to the room snatching the keys from my wife as he goes, struggles with the lock himself, hands back the keys without a word and stomps away with not a word spoken. It was then that we decided to write a review of this place.

Did I mention that the curtains are so thin and cheap that the light comes through them at 5am when the sun rises? Both mornings we were woken up early and couldn't get back to sleep. I am writing this at 7am having resigned myself to not being able to get back to sleep again. The bed is so short my wife’s feet touch the end of it, so mine overhang the wooden end. The internet is grindingly slow, loading pages at 5Kbs/second.

Most people stay for a night whilst passing through. Don't bother. Have a good night's sleep somewhere else; somewhere that actually wants your custom.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jack0705, Owner at The Saffron House, responded to this review, January 15, 2012
Dear Andy, thank you for completing a review on your stay at our guest house which we were expecting. We would just like to clear up a few points that you have made.
We have been in this industry since 2003 looking after our guests 365 days a year. In general we find that most intelligent people are able to look after themselves and only need to know where they can find the information they need or where to find the personal to get information they are unable to find themselves.
Our guest book in the room has been designed to give our guests as much information as possible and the map that we provide which is produced by our local tourism office is refered to in the guest book. We request that if you do not want the map that you return it to us as they are in short supply and we would like to provide them to future guests, if you want to take it with you then that is fine.
My car alarm did not go off at all. It was the house alarm as I explained to you at breakfast. We prefer for our guests to be secure in our accommodation, there are incidents of intruduers accessing properties so we would much rather our guests are safe rather than a nasty incident occuring. I checked myself the reason for it tripping and found it was a cat passing in front of one of the beams.
I have checked the air conditioner (12000 btu) in the room that you stayed in and it is working perfectly. I reset it to 22 degrees and "cold" and switched it on first time. In our guest book we ask to turn off the air con when you leave the building this is to assist our local electricity company in South Africa which is struggling to supply due to a very high demand, also for excessive cost and to help the environment in which we live which has become very important to some of the clients that are staying with us. Not sure about the fan issue, just press the swing button and apart from the sofa the grading council of South Africa requests one chair in the room.
Your incident with the key appears also a little odd as we did advise you on check in that we lock the main front door around 21h00 and you can use your patio door to enter the room. You banged on our window and stated that you could not unlock the door without apologising for disturbing us which is your right as a guest. Your wife handed me the keys by the key which opens the other door into the guest house. I went to your patio door with the correct key in my hand and opened the door with the first turn. You are the first guest we have ever had who has not been able to open that door. I gave the keys back and returned to my residence.
The bed is queen size, end of comment. I am sorry the sun rose at 5am and you did not find the curtains suitable, as this is also the first time anyone has mentioned this we will look into it and resolve if it is an issue to others.
Not sure how you know how long people stay in our guest house, we have various lengths of stay from a single night which is obviously passing through to a full two week holiday for clients that are exploring the area of the North Coast and further afield.
Also not sure as to your statement that we are only in it for the money. We started our business from nothing in 2003 with both myself and my wife coming from England to start a new life. We have built this business through sometimes challenging and hard times to where it is today, your single booking from a tour operator that has never used us before and never visited us can hardly represent the opinions of all that have stayed here. You did not spend an additional Rand with us or volunteer any tip for our staff.
We hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in South Africa and all future accommodations are to your liking and understanding.

Very best regards
Ian Gumbley
Owner
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Barbados
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2011

I stayed in this hotel for just a few days whilst attending the Climate change Conference in Durban.

Although it was some distance away from Durban, it was an excellent choice!

It is a small property and feels like you are in a home with a family. The room I was in was nice, cozy and clean. The hosts/owners were great and I appreciated their attention to the small details and the fact they made me feel comfortable there. I would highly recommend this property. It was just unfortunate i did not get to spend more time and see the surrounding area.

Room Tip: I got a room at the front of the hotel which seemed to have a cottage, nautical theme and was quite...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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UK
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2011

We were booked here for 2 nights in November 2011 by our tour organiser "Selftours". We had specified Ballito but was placed at Salt Rock. We still do not know why we were booked here as the owners claim this was their first booking from Selftours and we certainly did not specify it.
The room was cluttered with furniture and what cupboards there were was filled with the guesthouses own items. As it was a 2 night stop on a 4 week tour we like to totally unpack our suitcases but in this case we could not. It may have been because we had asked for twin beds that the ammount of space was to say the least tight.
There was 2 chairs outside our room by the pool. No table and it was not covered so when it rained you could not use this facility.
We have stayed in better 3 star establishments

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Jack0705, Owner at The Saffron House, responded to this review, December 8, 2011
Dear Les, thank you for doing a review of our guest house, we would have hoped that you might have said something to us at the time of your stay especially as we took time and effort to take you out to dinner with our family which you kindly paid for. Maybe if you had told us we could have moved you to a larger room.
These reviews have great effect on businesses and can contribute to failure so to see this was very disapointing. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday in South Africa and we hope you visit the country on many more occassions. By the way, the extra blankets in the waredrobe are for when the guests are feeling cold and require them. Also I an not so sure why you would want to sit outside in the rain and there is a table between yours and the room next door, we have now added an additional table.

Best regards
Ian Gumbley
Owner
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Leipzig, Germany
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2011

I stayed at the Saffron House for the first time in August for 3 days. it was excellent in all apsects. Very freindly hosts in Ian & Jenny with a warm welcome. An excellent room, very clean and spacious with all required amenities and to a good standard. Looking forward to stay in the future on a another trip to the wonderful South Africa!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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cambridge uk
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2011

I can really high;y recommend this guest house. I stayed there whilst I was attending a conference in Salt Rock and also returned when I had a day to spend in Salt Rock on vacation.

The rooms are spotlessly clean and comfortable and there is free wi-fi available in the guesthouse. As well as that the owners can advise on things to do in the surrounding area. The guest house also has a pool which is a decent enough size to actually swim in (as oppose to some others places I've stayed at!)

Breakfast is lovely with a variety of food available.

I would say this guest house would suit anyone traveling for business or for fun.

Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
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wales
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2011

This was our secand time to stay in Saffron, Ian and Jenny are very welcoming and they have excellent staff.Rooms are very comfortable and the catering is 5 star, We plan to return again next year which indicates just how good it is!!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Saffron House

Address: 15 Robbins Road, Salt Rock 4391, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Salt Rock
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 12 B&Bs / Inns in Salt Rock
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — The Saffron House 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
After traveling throughout Europe and Africa, we settled here in South Africa on the beautiful tropical Dolphin Coast. The Saffron House has all the best of our experiences, attention to detail and private gust areas. Our rooms each have private entrances, modern bathrooms, air-con, mini bar and satellite TV. Stroll back an easy 400m, from the beach and swim in our large pool or relax by our well stocked bar. Breakfast is served outside on our deck. Children welcome, Secure off road parking, close to local restaurants. ... more   less 
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