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.
- 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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