My wife and I stayed at this hotel for 2 nights last week. Woodridge has a lot of potential, which they unfortunately have not taken advantage of. From reading other reviews, I realize this means that the manager lady is going to probably write a very long response to my review, so I'll do my best to be clear.
We arrived and had a lovely little picnic on the grass out front. My comment to management would be that while the food was nice picnic fare, there was just far too much of it - it could have easily fed 4. Save your money and give more reasonable portions. The same was true of breakfast: they brought a tower of plates with granola, yogurt, meats, cheeses, fruit, etc, a large pitcher of orange juice, and a full pitcher of milk...and we enjoyed it....and then the waiter came up and asked us what we wanted for breakfast!! Added was bacon, sausage, toast, eggs, etc. Foolish of us to accept, but we spent the whole day feeling overly full. Again, not really a complaint, but please -- save your money and decrease the waste.
For dinner, the serving staff was very friendly and eager to please, but not very good. We were almost alone in the dining room, and the wait staff was literally waiting on our call, but did not seem to have the training to know how to serve. Empty dishes or drink cans, etc that we placed on the edge of the table, or even on the next table over were just left there after several visits from the waiter / waitress...new drinks that were brought were often placed in an awkward position on table, and we were never asked if we'd like our drinks replenished. The waitress took our orders and clearly knew nothing about the dishes on the menu, and when we asked her questions she would simply read the menu entry to us. Lol!! She missed simple things like asking how I'd like my steak cooked, etc.... again not really a big complaint, but certainly not the type of service you'd expect from a 4 star establishment. The food was not so great. Again big portions, but the Moroccan shank was quite overcooked and dry, and the kingklip and prawns dish had prawns that tasted like they were microwaved straight from frozen. Not enjoyable.
Side note: there is a cat that walks freely around the hotel and dining room, and as long as you have food, it's your best friend. It was cute and entertaining, but it stopped being cute when the begging got out of hand and it dug its claws into my thigh while I was dining.
In general, the staff were very friendly...gardeners and housekeeping staff would greet you as you passed, Octavia was very friendly and helpful at the front desk, and Nelson in the dining room was in general just a really nice guy.
We stayed in the "honeymoon suite", which was simply ok. Whoever has done the tiling work should be run out of town...the bathroom needs a bit of an overhaul, but nothing was too bad...just not great. The tv was small and hard to see from the bed, but not like we came to the midlands for tv. Lack of wi-fi (which was advertised on the hotel website) was a big disappointment. It is very unfortunate that for a place with the magnificent view that this one has, that the building doesn't have more windows that allow you to see it. What windows there were, the view was largely blocked by the trees / bushes. Hairdryer provided did not heat up. No phone in room to call front desk.
My wife was extremely excited that there was a pool just outside our room, and couldn't wait to get to the hotel and relax poolside in the sun. The pool is a long one the starts at a high level, and flows down to lower level pools down the length of the hotel...between the rooms and the brilliant view. The management in my opinion are CRAZY to have such a wonderful thing at their disposal, and to let it fall into its current state. It looks clean on the surface, but has thick fuzzy stuff growing all over the sides, ladder, etc. No chance you'd catch me swimming in that swimmer's itch waiting to happen.
There is a clean pool outside the spa, but I cannot understand who managed the renovation in this area. The existing pool has had a timber deck built around it, but the crazy thing is that the deck extends about 500-600mm over the pool on all sides...including over the stairs. It is not obvious how one would easily get out of this pool if they decided to get it. Also of note is the deck above the pool area that has a raised area next to a lower area....there is no railing between these areas, to protect you from the 1.5m+ sheer drop. Not clever on their part.
The best run "department" of this hotel has to be the landscaping. It is really quite well done and kept. Bravo.
They have hired some friendly and eager-to-help staff, but they lack proper training.
Maybe the hotel technically meets the 4 star rating criteria (which they base their pricing on), but they don't give a proper 4 star experience.
Manager lady: don't spend your time writing a long response to this review until you have had a mystery guest or similar professional give you an honest review of their stay and what would be expected for a 4 star experience, and have made changes that address their comments.
Until such time, not a place that I would stay again or recommend.
- Also Known As:
- Woodridge Country Hotel South Africa/Balgowan