We stayed here for our final night along the Garden Route before leaving SA. The room was nice with a lot of personal touches like quality biscuits to go with a large tea selection, premium coffee, fresh milk in a jug in the fridge, extra amenities in the bathroom such as sun cream and personal welcome and goodnight cards written by the 'team'.
Unfortunately we never worked out who the 'team' were as during our stay our only contact with the staff was a rather inept lady who muttered monosyllabic answers at a barely audible level, never making eye contact. She failed to take any documentation from us at check-in which delayed us on departure when they attempted to get payment even though we'd already paid our agency.
We ate at the restaurant (there didn't seem to be anywhere else to go as the area is very quiet) which prides itself on being the best in the area although we had to pre-order on our arrival. It was the most expensive meal we had and although the food was reasonable we were faced with the same unfortunate lady who couldn't answer basic questions about the extensive winelist (and we're talking very basic like what their coloured star ratings meant), broke glasses which were never properly cleared up even the next day (despite the obvious danger of one of the diners being barefoot), she spent most of the evening hiding in the kitchen which was a problem as she took our wine and water with her. We and fellow diners had to keep getting up and finding her to request top ups.
Again at breakfast, we found our own menus and table, got her out the kitchen to order food while she gazed out the window and unsurprisingly got our and other guest's orders wrong.
It was only at check-out that other staff appeared and seemed totally surprised when we mentioned we were less than impressed with customer service levels. In a country with such a good choice of high quality B&Bs, surely you know when someone is totally unsuited to frontline duties?!
Finally when we got home they emailed to ask if they could take additional payment from my credit card as they didn't think our agency had paid them in full! Our very competent and experienced agency agreed that this was totally unprofessional although by this stage we weren't at all surprised.
The area itself is nothing special and the hotel under the current staff to be avoided, certainly at the prices charged. It's unfortunate as this property has a lot of potential and someone somewhere has originally given the rooms a lot of thought (which is why they got 2 stars), the real shame is we never got to meet them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A footstep away from the beach, a few minutes from the bustling village center and home to world class watersports and activities! This luxurious African beach house, located in the picturesque seaside village of St. Francis Bay, offers five spacious en-suite bedrooms, all with uninterrupted views of the majestic Indian Ocean and endless stretches of pristine coastline. All bedrooms are air-conditioned and offer 5 star luxury, opening onto private decks or balcony with stunning views of the beach and infinity pool. The honeymoon suite offers an extra outdoor shower and Jacuzzi hot tub on its deck, from where spectacular sunsets can be enjoyed. The glass-fronted Octagon Restaurant has a thatched roof, central fireplace and surrounding timber deck, providing a breathtaking 270 degree panoramic view of the bay. The Octagon serves breakfast, light lunches and a la carte dinners. St Francis Bay is situated close to the Eastern Cape's many malaria-free game reserves. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Sands Hotel Saint Francis Bay