To me, one of the ways to assess service is how the provider, is how things are handled when things go wrong. From that point of view, the restaurant and the management at the hotel didn’t match up.
But ok, first the good parts. As another reviewer mentioned, it is great to sit on the veranda and look out to the stadium and the across the city. Must be one of the best sites (for sights) in Durban. And, barring the experience described below, the food is ok, if not “wow-worthy”, although be aware that by local standards it is expensive.
So let’s first say that this is a boutique hotel. That should mean personalized service and attention to detail—all of which you are paying for, of course. For a hotel of this standard one would expect properly trained staff.
My experience: we went there a few months back now, for a work function, with a foreign guest. Basically what happened is that the waiter didn’t get the order right. There certainly were some problems in communication. (The details were that that she informed us that the fish of the day was “sole” or “sword”. I like the former, but would never order the latter. So we asked, not once, but a couple of times to confirm that it was indeed “sole”. When the food came, it was quite clear to everyone just by looking that it was not sole. I queried it again, but was told it was “definitely sole”. I didn’t want to make a fuss and spoil the evening for the others, so I let it go.)
So ok, these things happen. But after a day or so I decided to take up the issue with the management of the hotel. They confirmed that the fish that day would have been sword, not sole. They issued an apology, and invited me to dine there again on them. A friend and I duly went the next weekend. Clearly there’d been some misunderstanding, because it was only ONE main course that was free. The rest we had to pay for. (Just to be clear, I wasn’t expecting an entire meal for two on the house, but a single free course wasn’t good enough.) In fact, the “free” meal ended up costing us quite a lot (by Durban standards it is an expensive place to eat). So, for the second time I left with a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended), vowing never to return.
For the prices that Audacia charges (probably not that expensive if you are spending Euros or Pounds, but a lot for locals), you expect a good overall experience. And if something goes wrong, management should make sure that customers’ complaints are resolved to their satisfaction. We never heard from management again—but then again, they’ll never hear from me again! :-) (About a week later we ate at a similarly priced restaurant quite close by. What a difference, particularly in the attitude of the staff. All helpful, and knowledgeable about the food. In fact, afterwards I phoned to compliment them. It was such a pleasant experience: maybe I should write a review for them!)
A postscript: my little “revenge” (if it even merits that word). Shortly afterward, an overseas friend was looking to book in at the hotel, but on my advice decided to go elsewhere. Petty? Perhaps, but that’s what happens when you leave customers unsatisfied.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built in 1928, African Pride Audacia Manor is a lavish hotel centrally-located minutes from the ICC, the Golden Mile beachfront and Moses Mabhida Stadium, Kingsmead and Kings Park. All our rooms have balconies that provide 180 degree views of the city and the ocean, while our Coach House offers private courtyards with outside spa baths and outdoor showers. We offer a personalised service to all our esteemed GUESTS, so whether you are in town for business or leisure, our team will ensure a fantastic stay and great memories. ... more less
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