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“A Night out of Hell”

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The Waterfront Hotel and Spa
Ranked #15 of 43 Hotels in Durban
Reviewed July 25, 2013

I was initially very impressed with this quirky, industrial style hotel in the Durban Point redevelopment area. The concept is great, rooms are funky, yet functional. The beds are super comfortable. So what went so disastrously wrong? My room faced the courtyard which has an inside/outside seating area. Around midnight a group of revellers (well oiled) decided to continue their party in the courtyard. The noise continued until almost 3am, and it took me shouting out of the window to quieter things down. The management did absolutely nothing to look after the well being of guests and just let these partying guests disturb everyone else. Very, very disappointed. Would not subject myself to this again, but if I did I would never take a courtyard facing room.

Room Tip: Never, ever accept a courtyard facing room.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Greg W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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169 - 175 of 230 reviews

Reviewed July 5, 2013

Warehouse theme hotel, great location & clean / comfortable. good buffet breakfast on offer. a great spot to access the beach promenade where we hired bikes to explore the area. i can see once this area is all finished it will be great. i did find the function area below noisy but was managed to get a good nights sleep. stayed here as part of a group tour and the hotel was perfect for groups.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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Thank NicoleKBallarat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

We're currently about halfway through our stay at the Docklands Hotel. I decided to take a chance on this hotel, despite the horrible reviews, because I found a really great rate on hotels.com. I don't know whether it's because our expectations coming in were really low, but we're having a great time and think the accommodations and the staff are perfectly lovely.

We arrived by train, and the hotel arranged transfers for us and accommodated our early check-in. Without asking, we received a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe room (#3016), which has a large balcony overlooking the working harbor. We just love sitting out there and watching the big cargo ships coming and going. Yes, a working harbor makes some noise, but we aren't bothered by it and it's quiet enough with the doors closed. Our room is quite large and is kept clean. Fluffy towels and decent toiletries are replenished daily. The bed is large and comfy (but not Tempur-Pedic as advertised), and the flat screen TV gets several movies channels. Yes, there are a few scuffs and stains, and the bathroom floor does get wet when you shower because there isn't a shower door. These are minor issues considering the cost of the room.

The staff is always pleasant and efficient. The free breakfast is great!! Coffee is quite good (and we love our coffee, being from Seattle) Twice we've had a buffet with a cooked to order egg station and once we were asked to order off a menu. Fresh fruits, the meat and cheese spread, and a splendid eggs benedict have been some of our favourites. Invariably, staff cheerfully greets us at the restaurant door to seat us or fulfill other requests. Our one additional meal in Wodka was delicious. Everyone speaks fluent English, so not sure where the complaint about an inability to communicate came from.

The hotel is only about 3 blocks from Ushaka and its array of shops and restaurants -- and the beach. Docklands has proven to be an exceptional value for the money spent. I don't write many reviews, but I felt like this hotel was getting such a bad rap that I should contribute my opinion here.

Room Tip: Deluxe rooms 3014 & 3016 have patios overlooking the harbor.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank libbylovespluto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

This hotel is a little way from the main action of the of the Beach promenade. The hotels on the beach are better positioned.

The hotel building looks like it was developed from a renovated warehouse. The rooms are typical Protea style with a glass curtain between the beds and the shower and a separate toilet.

Lighting was good and there was a flat screen TV with about 10 channels.

The pressure in our shower was a little low ans the design allowed water to spill out a little.

Internet costs money but the reception gave us a free voucher so I am not sure if that is normal or not. However the internet stopped working at about 10:30pm and they were not able to fix it either that night or the next morning which was very poor.

Room Tip: Overlooking the Harbour is best
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Ozitravel77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2013

Gosh, this was like a bad dream from start to finish. Great location overlooking the Durban harbour and in principle a fabulous 'concept' hotel. Minimalist, loads of concrete and funky decor, but that's where it ends.
The staff, whilst keen to please, are untrained and absolutely clueless. The hotel is also very run-down and scruffy. It was hard to know whether it was as a result of no maintenance or poor building (or both) but there are cracks everywhere.
The room was not that clean either, although the carpets had been recently steam cleaned.

On my 2 or 3 interactions with staff were frustrating.
The hotel voucher that had been emailed through (I was copied on the email) from the travel agent was not there and they said they had never received it. Instead of calling the agent themselves, they told me to log into my laptop and email it through again (I simply forwarded the mail they had received initially).
I asked for a glass of Savignon Blanc and was told to choose from the wine list. The first 5 wines I selected were out of stock. I was then told that the wine list was completely out of date and that the manager would 'fetch me a bottle from the cellar'. He came back with a bottle of Alto Rouge. I explained that I was looking for Sav Blanc. He told me that there was Sav Blanc in the Alto Rouge (!) I explained that he was holding a bottle of red wine and that I had asked for white. He shrugged and walked off. I gave up.

Later on I ordered room service. Apparently they had a party downstairs and were short-staffed and my pork belly arrived an hour later. It was 3 small cubes of pork on an empty plate. It was tasty but overcooked by at least 2 hours and resembled leather. The waitress didn't bring a bill for me to sign but said she would return immediately. I sat waiting (not wanting to start my meal for fear of being disturbed). 20 mins later I called down and was told she was on route. 30 mins later I started to eat and once I was done she was still not back. I called down to both the restaurant and reception and was told she was en route. I didn't want to get into the shower and have to get out again so I waited. I called down again. I eventually showered. At around 10pm I wanted to sleep and called down to ask Frances to tell her NOT to bring the bill as I was going to sleep and that I'd sign it in the morning. About 15 minutes after falling asleep with the do not disturb sign on the door, the waitress knocked at my door.

The next morning I went for breakfast. The menus are so shabby and the buffet consisted of a cheeseboard (with flies), as well as fruit and yoghurt, with a warm meal to order. I had only a bowl of yoghurt (for which I understandably paid for continental buffet price as that is standard) but when I asked for a cuppachino, I was told I would have to pay an extra R15.

Honestly, these guys are going to have to neaten up their hotel and train the staff if they stand a hope of remaining in the 3 Cities Group as they are dragging the brand name down.

Room Tip: Ask for 4th floor, looking over the harbour. It's a little noisy but so beautiful.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
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Thank TraceyAsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2013

I stayed six nights at the Docklands during the INDABA, the big tourism fair in Durban. I first had a very nice room overlooking the docks on the fourth floor with an open bathroom integrated into the room. Unfortunately, the water in the shower did not work properly - according to the manager due to some construction going on next door. They changed me to a room at the second floor, the view was gone unfortunately. Some of the reviews say that the area is seedy, I don't agree. One can actually tell that there is a lot of restructuring going on, that what was once probably a typical comercial harbour area is being under a lot of reconstruction - appartment complexes, old factory and storage buildings being recycled into Gyms or offices (Ogilvy and Mather has its office next door to the hotel). What is true is that it is still a quiet area, if you want to go out at night you need a car or taxi, the only mall with restaurants in walking distance is Ushaka. The hotel restaurant is OK, but nothing special. Breakfast is generous and nice.
I generally liked the hotel, the service and the prices. Only big mistake: at the first day of INDABA, they had a live band beginning to play at 6 in the morning in the patio. Very annoying because way too early.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
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Thank JuNi37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

We really enjoyed our stay at Docklands. Overall we had a great room that was spacious, clean and comfortable, with a great view overlooking the working harbor. The restaurant is fantastic, great food for good value. My only complaint is the laundry facility is way over-priced, and our waitress on our last night seemed uninterested in keeping a timely manner with our orders, as she seemed to forget our table/orders when attending to others. However, Francis on the morning shift, greeted us every morning with a very friendly smile and disposition, and went out of his way to help us out. We would stay again.

Room Tip: Request a harbor facing room with balcony. When the doors are shut, there is virtually no noise.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank KVB_001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Waterfront Hotel and Spa

Address: 40 Mahatma Gandhi Road | Durban Point Waterfront, Durban 4001, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Durban
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 43 Hotels in Durban
Price Range: $64 - $126 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Waterfront Hotel and Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 83
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Three Cities Waterfront Hotel and Spa (Formally known as the Three Cities Docklands Hotel) is located in the historical Durban Point Precinct. On the door step of Ushaka Marine World, Durban ICC and the famous Durban Golden Mile. The Three Cities Waterfront Hotel and Spa offers a quiet oasis overlooking the Durban Harbour. Offering Wodka Restaurant and three conference venues, The Three Cities Waterfront Hotel and Spa is enjoyed by the local artist crowd. Historical Walls have been retained to envelope the recently refurbished Three Cities Waterfront Hotel and Spa. ... more   less 
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