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Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
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Reviews (436)
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Reviewed June 14, 2009

I have read all the reviews of this place and I do have some sympathy with those who criticise it but I wonder if their evaluation criteria are wrong. This is not an out and out 5 star hotel in the classic style. It doesn't pretend to be. It is rather like a country house with some friendly, helpful staff in glorious surrounds in one of the most 'iffy' cities in the world. I have stayed at around 10 hotels in Joburg and stopped going to the rest of them 10 years ago.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled on business
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Thank BatterseaBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2008

I do not know where to start ...
Everything about this hotel is absolutely beautiful. The feel of the property is of timeless age. Relaxing, reviving !!
The suites are magnificent, everyone of them are so spacious and your every need is catered for !! The food was to die for, if I may recommend the salmon. The staff are so friendly they make you feel so at home and no matter what you ask of them, they are so eager to please !! And then there is the spa ... WOW !! A beautiful Balinese garden with relaxation chill areas, I even had my spa treatment outside !!
I would stay at Fairlawns again without a doubt in my mind and recommend to you !!

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled solo
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Thank HappySam30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2008

This is not a 5* hotel. The rooms are themed and not in a good way!!! It all feels a little 'cheap', rather than spending money on gimmicked rooms they would be better to concentrate on ensuring the plumbing is efficient, the bath took 20 minutes to run. It all felt rather tired and in need of an overhaul.

The grounds are lovely, but the Zen Garden is very overgrown, I would challenge anyone to relax in there.

We did eat in the restaurant - this turned out to be a bizarre experience, the food was dreadful. They started by giving us bread, except the bread was of the sweet variety - the same bread was around at breakfast, I enjoyed it less the second time around. My meal was even stranger, it was a Thai curry, but was served with pasta and parmesan cheese. I couldn't eat it and when the waiter came over I explained the problem, as it was nearly 10 o'clock I really could not be bothered to order anything else - I was surprised to see I had still been charged for the dish.

All In all, this was not a dreadful experience, more a disappointing one, my advice would be to choose somewhere else.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank TTravel71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2008

My husband and I stayed here on our honeymoon for one night in October 2007.

Our room, while large and nice (and very large bathroom), felt to us as though it had not been occupied in a while (like someone had gotten all the dust out just prior to our arrival). The staff is pretty stuck-up and pretentious.

The restaurant was terrible. You sit at your table forever and wait for the food. When it arrives, it is awful. Neither what my husband ordered nor what I ordered was very good at all.

The grounds, as you can see from the pictures, are very beautiful.

I would not want to stay here again, especially for the money.

I'm not sure where one would stay in Johannesburg. A friend of mine was with a group that stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental at the same time (October 2007) and their room was robbed of all valuables.

My advice - just stay away from Johannesburg unless you know someone who lives there, can stay with them and they take you around. Even the nicest of hotels, as was mine and my friends' experience, are seriously lacking.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Southern_Gal_AL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2006

We have stayed in many luxury hotels around the world and I have to say that this one was a signficant disappointment. The best way to describe our opinion of the physical appearance of the hotel was shabby and in need of some maintenance. It has clearly been a beautiful stately home and grounds, but they seem to have let it go somewhat. It could definitely do with a fresh coat of paint and just a few things to smarten it up.

Our best guess is that this is all down to cost-cutting measures. These were apparent everywhere. The soaps / lotions / etc in the rooms were all old plastic bottles that had been used so many times that the lettering had worn off and they were dented -- clearly seen better days. Even in the spa - only one of 3 showers worked properly and the only shampoo and amenities to be found were actually empty bottles sat around for decor only.

The spa was nice; however, it definitely wasn't 5-star either. Our treatments began 15 minutes late, but they ended on time -- resulting in cutting our treatments 15 minutes short. This meant that they just left off the last part of the procedure which was an important part of the treatment. Also -- we had body wraps which require you to shower off mid-way through the treatment. We had to walk through the relaxation area and through the main lounge of the spa (past the entrance / front desk) to get to the showers -- twice. Not exactly relaxing.

The manager (we presume) of the hotel was on-sight, but spent his time reprimanding staff regarding a few cigarette butts on the ground and the like rather than focusing on whether the guests were happy. He passed us several times and never even nodded in our direction.

We weren't helped with our bags upon arrival (even though they knew that we had arrived because you must buzz through two gates) nor on departure (even though they had been storing our bags for the afternoon.) We were just sent along our way.

None of these things are signficant deficiencies on their own, but when you are staying at a 5-star luxury hotel, the little things make a world of difference. The pool was dirty -- it was never cleaned in the two days we were there. Broken glass remained on the floor for hours after an accident in the restaurant. Getting a waiter's attention was almost impossible and when you did get their attention, the service was poor and slow. Three times we were brought the wrong thing. For example, it took over an hour for two sandwiches and a salad to arrive and when they did arrive they were different than what they said on the menu. We asked for maintenance to come to the room and they never showed up (even after two calls). My husband ended up taking out some of his own tools to fix a clogged sink. Also, the toilets for general use in the main house (near the restaurant) smelled horrible.

We won't be back and we have advised our travel agent not to send guests here expecting a true 5-star luxury as well.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank MrsDLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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