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“Clueless staff” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Sands at St Francis

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The Sands at St Francis
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Clueless staff”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2008

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.

  • Liked — Well designed rooms with nice amenities
  • Disliked — Useless staff
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Helen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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165 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    127
    25
    7
    2
    4
See reviews for
18
116
Solo
0
2
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
164 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2008

We spent one night here after getting married at the Safari Lodge on Amakhala and before embarking on a 3 week honeymoon from eastern to western cape. Maybe it was because the Safari Lodge was so perfect that any hotel we stayed in afterwards would struggle to compete. On arrival, the staff were friendly and came to meet us with umbrellas (yes it was that week!). We stayed in the first floor honeymoon suite which was superb. Unfortunately we couldn't make use of the outdoor jacuzzi on our balcony or the pool because of the weather. The first floor restaurant was cold - other guests ate dinner wrapped in blankets! - and the food was nice. Our waitress was friendly but apart from her we didn't see any other staff. There was none of the personal service we have experienced before in SA. I'm sure if the weather had been different we may have felt differently but the lack of personal service is its main downfall. There is also little to do in St Francis Bay. The 'town' consists of a mall or two of shops and we only saw one restaurant. Other than that it just seems to be lots and lots of holiday homes.

  • Liked — room and views
  • Disliked — lack of personal service and lack of friendliness
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AR&RC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shoreham-by-Sea, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2008

My husband and I stayed at The Sands for a three night 'chill' after driving the Garden Route and before moving onto Amakala Game Reserve. The Sands certainly has the 'chill' factor! We stayed in one of five beautifully appointed rooms - ours on the ground floor. The bathroom included a spa bath, complete with robes, candles and bath salts! We could step out of our patio doors, and sit gawping at the fantastic view - a few yards of beautifully manicured lawns leading to a wooden stairway leading directly down to the beach! There is also a small spotlessly clean pool in front of the rooms, together with a further enclosed pool and sunbathing area with a bar and sauna in another area. The staff were pleasant and helpful and the included breakfast (served in the first floor dining room - there are only five tables arranged around a room with superb views of the ocean) was basically cooked to order and was delicious. We chose to eat at the hotel each evening and the food and was exceptional with the 'individual' touch. The entire atmosphere at The Sands is one of laid-back relaxation with a luxurious touch.

  • Liked — Great location, charming staff, cleanliness, food - everything actually!
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank JaneBP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2008

That you can expect 5 star luxury is a given, but it has a personal touch that makes the stay that much more enjoyable. As there are only 5 rooms you are assured of personal attention by the management.

My husband and I stayed for 7 days and the accommodation was just perfect. We enjoyed a few chilly days from the warmth of our lounge area with great sea views.

The chef must be complemented for the best meals we enjoyed throughout our stay.

We had decided to sleep in one morning rather than go out to breakfast and later we received a call from our hostess, Heidi, to find out whether we would like breakfast delivered to our room instead. Every effort is made to ensure that their guests enjoy their stay to the maximum.

The Sands @ St Francis has such a feeling of warmth and it really like having a place at the beach with all the benefits of a full service hotel.

  • Liked — The location and the service
  • Disliked — Not applicable
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Restless911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kendal
Level Contributor
25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2008

Do not miss this place out on your travels along the Garden Route. We had just been on a 3 day safari and this really was the perfect place to relax and unwind. This was a complete contrast to the early starts and safari we had just come from. The staff are so helpful and the room was fantastic. We were on our honeymoon and whilst we weren't given champagne like the other hotels, this did not make a slight bit of difference as the views over the infinity pool onto the sea more than made up for it. We had dinner in the hotel which was really good and breakfast was probably one of the best we had whilst in SA. We took a walk down the beech and there was hardly anyone around and considering we were there in high season we felt like we had found one of the undiscovered treasures on the coast of this part of the Eastern Cape.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Didn't stay long enough!
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ShaunMc263
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodford Green Essex
Level Contributor
35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 20, 2007

We visited The Sands at St Francis Bay for 2 nights and we have never received such fantastic service by ALL the staff throughout our visit. We were welcomed by Edward and John and we were made so welcome throughout our stay.

This is a 5 star+ very small luxury Hotel with large rooms beautifully appointed and with an excellent bathroom Perhaps the main attraction is that is about 50 yards away from the Sea with a staircase leading down from our patio to a large expanse of Beach with the Ocean roaring right in front of us. What more could we ask for!

St Francis Bay is an out of the way and charming place with some great Timbered Houses. Try eating at The Dock of the Bay Restaurant.

We also had meals in the Hotel and it is Gourmet cuisine both for Dinner and Breakfast.

We would highly recommend that anyone who stays in St Francis Bay stays at this Hotel

Incidentally because we went in the South African 'winter' all the Hotels we stayed at were virtually empty and at so the service we received throughout the Eastern Cape was out of this world

The weather was sunny (only 2 hours rain all holiday) and the excellent roads totally clear. We will be recommending South Africa to all our friends!

  • Liked — The views
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BowlerP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peterborough
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2007

We only booked the hotel 2 days berfore arriving, so they only had the honeymoon suite available - wow - fabulous. The service was good, the attention to detail superb. Little things like dashing to the room after you left the bar at the end of the evening with hot chocolate and marshmallows, added a nice touch, along with providing bottled water and dried fruit for your journey as you check out.

The honeymoon suite was excellent with a private hot tub on the secluded balcony, and while the experience may have been 40 years too late for our honeymoon, we still enjoyed it.

St Francis Bay is very quiet, but there is some walking along the coast, and the Cape Point also has a lot of walking, so this is a place to relax.

Great place for a few days.

  • Liked — The Service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank IanPeterborough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Sands at St Francis

Property: The Sands at St Francis
Address: 8 Frank Road, Saint Francis Bay 6312, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Saint Francis Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Saint Francis Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Sands at St Francis 5*
Number of rooms: 5
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

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