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“BEAUTIFUL, PEACEFUL, FRIENDLY, GREAT STAY”

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Bella Manga Country House
Ranked #30 of 81 Plettenberg Bay B&B and Inns
toronto
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“BEAUTIFUL, PEACEFUL, FRIENDLY, GREAT STAY”
Reviewed January 7, 2010

We stayed at Bella Manga in December (coinciding with Christmas Eve) at the main house in two adjoining rooms, perfect for our family of four. The main house is stunning, absolutely gorgeous, the antique wood floors are beautiful. The grounds are beautiful, perfectly cared for. The pool is large and was great fun for the kids. The breakfast were great. Fiona and Ray are the perfect hosts, they were friendly and helpful at all times. We opted to have dinner there, Fiona is a great cook, it was a delicious home roast meal, we loved it so much we "joked" she should cook Christmas dinner....and Fiona did, it was so wonderful to be able to share at great traditional turkey meal) .
The location is very accessible to Tsikamma region and Pletenberg, is a great peaceful.
stay.
This is a great stay and if we return to the region we'll definitely make a point of spending a few days there.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cloudsToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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216 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
39 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2010

When booking our accommodation for Plettenberg Bay, we wrestled to find the right place, for the right amount of time, within out price range. We really wanted to stay in Plett' for only 3-4 days. After some searching, we found Bella Manga on the internet. They are quite far out of town, but are rated 4-stars. Their photos were beautiful and their reviews were excellent, including one raving review from a professional travel writer. If we stayed here, this was going to be the 2nd most expensive accommodation of our trip. When we contacted Bella Manga via email, we were informed by Fiona (the hostess) that their self-cater units were only available for a minimum of 5 days. We found out during our stay that this requirement was waived for other guests.

So, we decided to bite the bullet, and book for 5 days. We confirmed the price and duration with Fiona via email.

After a 6 ½ hour drive from Cape Town, we finally navigated the back roads of the foothills to the Bella Manga farm. The main house is beautiful, finished in antique timber construction, complimented with ceramic flooring and very nice decor. The yard area is nicely landscaped and groomed.

We were taken to the location of the three self-cater cottages which are grouped together with a shared pool. The yard area equally maintained, with interesting plans and trees.

A word of note. If you are planning on staying at Bella Manga, leave your sports car at home. The dirt road to get there is VERY rough, with large pot holes. To get to the cottages, you need to enter through a gate, drive through a cow pasture and cross over a bridge. Our Volvo bottomed out on the bridge, under full load.

We had great expectations for Bella Manga, but we are sad to report that we were very disappointed with the accommodation. Although the kids enjoyed the farm animals and the pool, we felt that the accommodation itself was little more than luxury camping. The amenities and furnishings were very rustic. No service was provided for the 5 days that we were there, and some of the basics that you would expect to be provided were also missing. The unit had a propane stove, but we had to ask for matches to prepare our dinner the first night. It took Fiona two trips on the ATV to get us the matches, because she forgot them the first time. Simple things you would expect in a self-cater unit (such as salt and pepper) were missing. Sinks and tubs would not drain. Things you may also expect from a 4-star resort like soap and shampoo were also not included. The bedding and linens were not 4-star either. We could go on and on, but don’t want to sound petty.

Our disappointment was caused by the expectations that the internet site sets - pictures of beautiful decor, luxurious surrounding, and wonderful reviews. It is quite possible that the B&B service provided out of the main house is actually worthy of 4-stars, but we expected the same from the self-cater cottages. Unfortunately, there is a vast difference between the two, and their website is misleading people into thinking that they are equivalent, and charging 4-star rates for rustic cottages, with no service and limited amenities.

Another disappointments with our stay at Bella Manga:

On the final day Fiona could not remember if we had paid a deposit through Rooms For Africa (an online booking service). We had not, and told her so. Initially, they also prepared the bill for only 4 nights. We corrected them, and it was changed to 5 nights. The bill was presented for 5 nights at R1600 (over $200) per night (more than triple what we had paid in Cape Town, with breakfast), even though we had confirmation at R1400. Luckily Linda has a print out from our email chain. Ray called Fiona into the conversation, as she handles the bookings. Fiona explained that we were put into the “better” cabin, and therefore had to pay the appropriate rate of R1600. Upon checkin, we were never informed of the change, nor were we told that we would have to pay a higher rate. In fact, all we knew was that we had a cabin for R1400 per night (which was never confirmed at checkin). For the 5 days we never even knew we had an “upgrade”. Fiona was very rude and argued with us, saying that we had to pay the R1600. I lost my cool and got very angry. Fiona then agreed on R1500. I got even more angry. Then Fiona stormed out agreeing to R1400. Ray finished the transaction.

It has been 19 years since our last visit to Plettenberg Bay, and it was very sad to leave here on such a sour note.

Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank nedleycan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellamanga, owner at Bella Manga Country House, responded to this review, February 17, 2010
We at Bellamanga are somewhat surprised at the exaggerated comments posted on Tripadvisor.

In the four years that our forest lodges have been operational, this is the first derogatory review that we have received.

Regarding the gas stove - most people who cook on gas use Propane in South Africa, our linen is of a good quality and white and the forest lodge is definitiely not "glorified camping"!

Regarding the comments to our lack of services, these guests enjoyed both the self-caterers pool and the pool at the main house alongside with using the heated jacuzzi and sunbeds provided for our B & B guests. They also enjoyed their full English breakfast in our converted dairy.

We regret that they did not inform us earlier in their stay of their diappointment as we would have done our utmost to resolve any problems that they had.

We feel sorry that they did not enjoy their stay with us at Bellamanga and their comments regarding the standard of our B & B rooms however are greatly appreciated.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lichfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2009

I loved the time i spent in Bella Manga,
the place was fantastic!
Fiona and Ray were brilliant hosts!
i felt very welcomed and i will be going back!
Harry Plester

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sally H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Heart of East Yorkshire
Level Contributor
34 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2009

We stayed at the Bella Manga during the 2009 Easter Holiday, during a trip with our 18-month old daughter. Owners Fiona and Ray made our stay extremely pleasant, giving lots of suggestions and recommendations for things to do, and making us feel welcome at every turn. By the time we left after four nights, it felt like staying with family (in a good way!). Unfortunately it's taken us a few months to get around to writing this review, but some of the best memories we have of the country house include:
* Fiona makes an absolutely perfect full English breakfast, it was a real treat.
* The saltwater pool; no chlorine!
* A nice baby cot was provided for our daughter.
* The relaxing setting; the house is situated in the country with astounding moutain views.
* The comfortable beds and nice linens.
* The décor, especially in some of the rondavels.

Some things you might want to be aware of:
* The country house is just that: a country house. It's in the country all by itself, down a 1.5-km dirt road. The drive to Plettenberg Bay central business district is about 19 km. We enjoyed the solitude of the location, but I admit it might not be for everyone.
* If you like a powerful stand-up shower, make sure you let Fiona and Ray know this when booking. Some of the rooms have only a bathtub with a hand-held shower, and no shower curtain (this is not untypical in South Africa), but others have proper showers.
* If you are in a pinch for internet access, it can be made available but is somewhat slow as it's a satellite link.
* We used our TomTom to navigate around South Africa, and it worked generally quite well. However, the country house is on a gravel road 1.5 km from the paved R340 road, and only the latter is shown on the TomTom map. The Bella Manga website has a schematic map and there is a sign showing the turning from the R340, but if we had attempted arriving at night, it would have been difficult to find. For those navigation-obsessed travellers, here are the exact GPS coordinates: 33°57'8"S / 23°18'54"E.

In short, we wouldn't hesitate to stay here again.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TrayflowinUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2009

This place is fantastic - it's in a wonderful rural location, and the thatched rondavels are decorated beautifully and a lot of thought has gone into them - (best shower all holiday!)
It's a real retreat - great pool and real escapism. There are some amazing restaurants nearby we were recommended. The breakfasts were fantastic - and there's a lovely little bar in the main house.........!!! (I'll leave a review of that for another occasion but suffice to say we only meant to stay one night but ended staying 2, as did another couple who arrived a day after us) - Ray and Fi the owners are fantastic fun - and the reason this place is so brilliant is all down to them. We cannot wait to return.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank downfold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
1 review
Reviewed January 13, 2009

We celebrated my husband's birthday at Bella Managa during December 08. The celebration was made really special by Ray and Fiona’s hospitality. It also helped that they had fantastic food, excellent bar service and a superb setting. If it’s a party atmosphere you’re looking for, simply bring the crowd. .. If is peace, tranquility you’re after, then simply walk 150 m to the forest and drown yourself in ‘mother nature’.

The best recommendation I can give is to assure you, our family will be back, and soon too.

  • Liked — The setting, atmosphere
  • Disliked — x
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank michCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwick
1 review
Reviewed November 7, 2008

I stayed at Bella Manga for a friends wedding. After 2 nights i did not want to leave. It is stunningly peacful and yet only a few km from Plettenberg Bay and Knsyna so if you fancy a night out or returning to civilisation they are not far away.
All the staff were extremely friendly and helpful and i could not fault the cleanliness and standards of the rooms.

  • Liked — How quiet it is
  • Disliked — The Parrot who gave an early morning wake up call on our first day!! But he is gorgeous!!
  • Stayed October 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rachett8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bella Manga Country House

Property: Bella Manga Country House
Address: R340 | Uplands, Plettenberg Bay 6600, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Plettenberg Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #30 of 81 B&Bs / Inns in Plettenberg Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Bella Manga Country House 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A warm welcome awaits you at this safe and peaceful piece of heaven in the Garden Route. Just 8 minutes drive from a Jeep or horse-back safari at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve or a mere 15 minutes drive to Plett's sandy beaches, restaurants and tourist attractions. Our accomodation holds something for every pocket with our thatched en-suite rondavels, garden rooms or suites and three self-catering forest lodges in their landscaped gardens with large pool are the ideal getaway for family or friends. ... more   less 
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