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“Fairly good hotel with a few shortcomings”

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Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake
Ranked #3 of 24 Hotels in Bloemfontein
Certificate of Excellence
Umea, Sweden
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fairly good hotel with a few shortcomings”
Reviewed December 8, 2013

The hotel is pleasantly located right next to the zoo with a chance to see exotic animals such as water buffalos and zebras directly from the garden and terrace. The rooms are of reasonable size and fairly good standard. The hotel staff are also generally quite friendly.

Having said the above, the hotel also has a few serious drawbacks:

First, the free Internet access is limited to a maximum of 500 MB per day and requires both that guests log in and answers rather personal questions about whether one reads e-mail on the mobile phone etc. I was kicked out from the network on the second day and it took me some time before I figured out that I had to re-register to receive another block of 500 MB.

Second, the restaurant is not all that good, especially for vegetarians. Most weekdays, the restaurants serves as its only option a rather expensive buffet in which the only vegetarian option was a pasta dish and some steamed or cooked vegetables. The room-service menu is equally limited in vegetarian options.

Third, the hotel does not have an exercise room and the swimming pool is good only for an occasional plunge. I did some running on the streets outside, but needles to say, this is a poor substitute for proper exercise facilities.

I commented on the above in writing while staying at the hotel, using the suggestions box at the front desk, but I did not receive any response from the hotel management.

If Internet access was more convenient and/or unlimited and the hotel had an exercise room, it would easily be worth a rating of 4, but as it is now, I cannot give it more than 3.

Stayed December 2013, traveled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank Wiggins834
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Dear Wiggins834

Thank you for taking time to express your views regarding your recent experiences at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake.
Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience that you experienced with the WIFI facilities, limited menu options and the GUEST comment card feedback.

If you would be so kind as to send me your name, surname and dates of stay to rooms@phwillowlake.co.za, I can further investigate regarding the Hot or Not GUEST feedback card that you mentioned was not responded to. Protea Hotels have recently increased our GUEST complimentary WIFI from 250 MB to the current 500 MB nationally, again our apologies for the difficulty you experienced with this. Your comments regarding the limited vegetarian options are most welcome, we will definitely consider this when revising our menus in future.

Your feedback is truly invaluable to us, without them, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, what we need to rectify to meet and exceed expectations.

Thank you once again, we hope to welcome you back in future.



Kindest regards


Lindy Meiring
Rooms Division/Deputy General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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215 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Linkoping, Sweden
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 22, 2013

The location is very good, next to the zoo. That means you can see zebras, ostrich, wildebeasts etc from the hotel garden. The interior design is very good, nice colours and some unusual pieces of art. Nice and very helpful staff. But the swimming-pool is really crap. It's very small and on our visit it was a bit dirty. We had the dinner buffé and were not impressed. It is a lot better to go to the nearby mall and eat at one of the restaurants there. In short a nice hotel but a bit expensive and eat somewhere else.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MargarethaN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, November 25, 2013
Dear MargarethaN

Thank you for taking the time to give feedback regarding your stay at Protea Hotel Willow Lake.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure whether or not we are meeting and exceeding our GUESTS expectations, and without comments, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, when we are doing wrong.

I must agree with your – Protea Hotel Willow Lake has an ideal setting being part of the Bloemfontein zoo, also a lovely designed Hotel, and we are extremely proud of our product.

I do apologize that you did not have a good dining experience. We do offer buffet most of the evenings, however over weekends we do offer an A la Carte menu, which would have most probably be more to your liking.

Thank you once again for your feedback, and I hope to welcome you back in the future.

Kind Regards

Blanché Walzl
GENERAL MANAGER

Tel : 0514125400
Fax : 0514125404
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midrand
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2013

....the room service menu...like three dishes 4 dinner ? like seriously ? cocktail menu @ the bar...four cocktails options ?

I give up...but b4 I give up...my advice is please add some variety on those menus...its not prison...otherwise make an option like giving vouchers so that we can "eat-out", if you guys cant keep up with the demands...

Room Tip: its called "Willow Lake" but I didn't actually see any lake....
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kele2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMWillowLake, Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, November 18, 2013
Dear Kele2013

Thank you for taking the time to give feedback regarding your stay at Protea Hotel Willow Lake.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure whether or not we are meeting or exceeding our GUESTS expectations, and without comments, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, when we are doing wrong.

We do review our menu’s on a quarterly basis, and I want to thank you for your constructive comments regarding adding more variety on our menu’s. Will definitely take this into consideration when re-doing our menu’s again.

Once again, thank you for your feedback, and I hope to welcome you back in the near future.

Have a lovely day further.

Kind Regards

Blanché Walzl
GENERAL MANAGER

Tel : 0514125400
Fax : 0514125404
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2013

Only having a 1 night stay in Bloem meant that all I really needed was a decent place to sleep. This hotel is simple and modern and is very basic. The room was extremely small and the bathroom is part of the room (rather than being separated). If I had to have stayed for longer it may have been a little confining, but all the amenities were fine and the place was clean. The staff were incredibly friendly but a little inefficient. I was most impressed when after dashing back to the hotel after a very early meeting, the breakfast had been closed but the chef was quite prepared to whip up a plate of hot food. This is not a place of luxury or fine dining, but it is well-situated, clean and suitable for short-term business stays.

Room Tip: Some of the rooms face the zoo. If you want a glimpse of the wildlife, request one of these.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank FussyOz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, November 15, 2013
Dear FussyOz

Thank you for taking the time to give feedback regarding your stay at Protea Hotel Willow Lake.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure whether or not we are meeting and exceeding our GUESTS expectations, and without comments, we would never know when we are doing right, but more importantly, when we are doing wrong.

The design of the room is meant to give the GUEST more space to relax and I am sorry that you did not enjoy the layout.

I am pleased to hear that my STAFF were friendly and assisted your where possible – nothing less is expected from them. I will congratulate them on their efforts.

We hope to welcome you back in the near future.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tramore, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2013

Having read some reviews I detect a pattern about this place.well situated ,classy on the outside
But incredibly substandard at point of delivery in service areas.
The restaurant is the worst I have experienced in quite a while.
Totally disorganised and disinterested.rubbish food.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Hugh H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, November 13, 2013
Dear Hugh H

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comments on TripAdvisor.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure that we not only meet, but exceed all our GUEST’s expectations.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the lack of service you received in the Restaurant, as this is not the service and standard we are usually proud to offer our GUESTS’s.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further so i can rectify the concerns raised. My e-mail address is gm@phwillowlake.co.za.

Once again, please accept my sincere apologies, and I am looking forward to your additional feedback.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2013

Stayed for one night in October. Located in the Bloemfontein Zoo the hotel on first appearance is luxurious and classy. This continues throughout the foyer, gardens and rooms. The reception staff are a mixed bag - helpful and friendly but quite slow. And there was definitely a mix-up with my room allocation as there was a welcome-back message waiting for someone else when I got to the room. But after a long hot drive from Oudtshoorn it was good to have arrived.
However, the ability to wander just metres from the room and see eland, zebra, wildebeest and oryx was wonderful. The gardens and grounds are beautiful and the rooms are comfortable and well-appointed. Be prepared though, the glass shower area next to the bed might be a bit disconcerting and doesn't afford much privacy. The shower itself was quite luxurious though - generous shower rose, good water pressure and large shower area.
The buffet dinner had a good variety of food and breakfast was substantial.
The only thing that marred the stay was loud music being played just across the garden area from my room until late into the night.

Room Tip: Request a room away from the communal area where functions may be held. Don't know if my experie...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CheetahgirlBris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
Dear CheetahgirlBris

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comments on TripAdvisor.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure that we not only meet, but exceed all our GUEST’s expectations.

It is always great for me and my TEAM to know that we have met our GUESTS expectations. However, please accept my sincere apologies for being allocated the incorrect room on you arrival. This was unfortunately an over site on our side and your feedback will assist with ensuring this does not occur again.

Our unique location leaves one feeling as if they are not in the city and I am so glad that you enjoyed it so much.

The noise you heard from across the garden was from the “Macufe Jazz Festival”, which is an annual event in Bloemfontein.

Once again thank you so much for your comments, and I am looking forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2013

Useless Reception staff took half an hour to allocate a room as at 14h30 they did not have rooms ready. Breakfast was the same. I am still waiting for an omellete. They cannot cope with people.

Food is sub-standard and looks like it has been on those counters for days.

Avoid. Rather go to Southern Sun across the road, where staff are efficient and food is fresh

Room Tip: Another hotel
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jon T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ProteaHotels, General Manager at Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake, responded to this review, October 13, 2013
Dear Jon T

Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comments on TripAdvisor.

GUEST feedback is imperative for us to ensure that we not only meet, but exceed all our GUESTS’ expectations.

I was disppointed when I read your comments, as this is not the service and standards we are always proud to offer. Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused, and I will definitely follow up and correct these concerns with my Management and STAFF.

We need to know when we have done right, but more importantly, when we have done wrong as well. Your feedback has therefore been truly invaluable to us.

Once again please accept my sincere apologies, and please contact me direct on gm@phwillowlake.co.za for any further assistance.

Kind Regards
Blanché Walzl
General Manager
Protea Hotel Willow Lake
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake

Property: Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake
Address: 101 Henry Street, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Free State > Bloemfontein
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 24 Hotels in Bloemfontein
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Protea Hotel Bloemfontein Willow Lake 4*
Number of rooms: 94
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Protea Hotel Willow Lake provides a serene environment that blends in with nature and the surrounds. The hotel comprises of modern and luxurious rooms, including 2 paraplegic bedrooms; all of which are equipped with air conditioners, selective satellite television channels, tea & coffee making facilities, executive desk with multi adapter plug points, electronic safes and touch dial telephones. Each room has an open plan shower (no baths), with privacy curtains in all twin rooms. Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to winding down. Choose to relax by the pool or sip on cocktails in the bar and lounge area. Why not visit the exclusive patio, have a bite to eat and experience a breathtaking view of the Bloemfontein Zoo elephant. ... more   less 
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