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“Horrible hotel”
Review of Balmoral Hotel

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Balmoral Hotel
Ranked #30 of 44 Hotels in Durban
Reviewed June 4, 2011

Arrived at about 11 am for check-in. Reception very unfriendly , no courtesy at all I had to tell them I want to check-in. Took them about 10 minutes to tell me they have a room but cant give it to me as check in is only after 2pm and I would have to pay an extra $50 to check in early.The hotel is rated as a 4 star but they only have one old elevator which can carry about 3 people at a time and feels like its getting stuck all the time.I had a superior sea facing corner room which was large.The room is old and outdated with old technology such as the tv. Instead of a double bed they put two single beds together.The floor creeks when you walk on it.The bathroom is very tiny and so is the bathtub.The wash basin is old and dirty, tap loose like its falling apart and the water in the shower is luke warm as well as the bathtub is stained.The carpets on the floor are old and look like they haven't been cleaned in ages.The view from the window of the ocean is good though the window is very small.Breakfast is sub-standard again unhelpful staff and I don think they know how to make eggs properly.Hotel parking is uncovered ,congested and very limited to about 10 odd cars and the charge is $6 per day.Overall the location is not bad but its a horrible hotel like a 2 star hotel with 5 star prices with no facilities.There are much better hotels in Durban with better prices.

Room Tip: corner room
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  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled on business
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4  Thank globeadvisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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84 - 90 of 165 reviews

Reviewed September 7, 2010

We stayed at the Balmoral hotel with a family of 2 adults and 2 young children. The hotel itself is situated along the South Beach of the Golden Mile and opposite the fun ride park. Rooms are really old with mostly antique furniture and decor. We stayed in a family suite overlooking the beachfront. The View was amazing.

The 1st room we were given was a problem as there were ants eveyrwhere including the bed. We called housekeeping - which by the way did not even answer their phone. Eventually we got hold of the frontdesk and they sent a cleaner up to spray the room. Not even 2 minutes later, the ants started to creep up the ned again. Anyway after numerous calls to the dront desk, they moved us to another family suite.

The breakfast is good with a wode selection of cereals, cold cuts, hot food, pastries etc and it is nice to sit on the terrace and watch people go by. Dinner was okay, not a huge variety and poorly displayed.

The hotel is for budget travellers although Raya Hotels class it as a 4 star hotel. In my personal opnion, I will rate it more like a 2 star hotel.
The front desk, housekeeping etc do not answer their phones. The lift is too small. All in all, the hotel is really old and in desperate need of a huge makeover in all areas.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank Durban21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2010

The Balmoral hotel in Durban purports to have been awarded 4 stars but these were undoubtedly granted in the early days, shortly after the big bang, when stars were closer together and easier to come by.

This hotel has the old-world majestic air brought about by having seen it all and stood here through storms, riots and a changing city scape. The creaking wooden flooring in the corridors has undoubtedly been trodden down by far too many feet in its time. Also creaking and past its prime is the elevator, which I hypothesise may be steam powered, after pressing the button for the desired floor there is a somewhat disturbing wait while the steam pressure builds, then after what seems like an eternity the door closes on you trapping you inside this minuscule linoleum and wood laminate cubicle. Several seconds later, presumably after the stokers have put more coal on the fire, and the boilers have got up a good head of steam, the lift shudders into movement, then with a lurch and that special jolting of abandoned industrial equipment you are delivered to within 10% of your selected floor - the final 10% being left for you to step up to the level of the corridor.

Similar in functionality to the elevator, the air conditioner in the room huffs and wheezes and rattles like an old man with consumption, all the while relying solely on Brownian motion and sheer luck to move a few molecules of air around the room. A far greater cooling effect was obtained by opening the door of the (empty) mini-bar.

The bathrooms are decorated in Soviet Sanatorium Schick; black and white tile with bad grouting fixed by industrious applications of white paint. When running a bath somehow the usual clean water of Durban is transformed by the piping system into deliciously brown soup - I recommend showering as the colour of the water is more difficult to discern and you are assisted in this choice by the fact that when you turn on the taps for the bath the shower pours water on your head anyway. For some strange reason there is a complete instruction manual on the inside of the bathroom door on how to operate the door lock - this is baffling as the door lock is of very common design and this manual is presumably intended for those people who have never operated a door before. The main door with a more complex electronic lock has no such instructional guide, it does however have decorative faux gold faceplate on the corridor side in a failed attempt to keep the old-world charm alive in the modern era of door key-cards.

The Freudians amongst you may argue as to why I mention this, but the light fixtures in the public areas, rooms and bathrooms appear to be have been modelled on the breasts of a very buxom and decidedly excited woman. You can't help but notice... Really...

With all that said, the staff and in particular the doorman, are friendly and helpful and accommodating, but they just don't build hotels like this any more - and with good reason.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled on business
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1  Thank Jamesatsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2010

Avoid at all costs.
Do not book at this hotel.
If your idea of a holiday is staying at a resort with no beach access even though it supposedly has a beach front, but access is blocked one side due to construction, and in front is blocked by a derelict theme park that would probably scare the living daylights out of steven king.
Arriving early and going for a stroll next to the hotel, we had to bypass numerous vagrants pushing carts and stepping over human excrement while eying warily the people sleeping in the abandoned theme park, it just looked too unsafe and dodgy.
When questioning reception the answer was well if you must go to the beach drive elsewhere and they not responsible for what happens outside the hotel.
Extremely dangerous and disgusting area, avoid.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank furnicza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2010

The hotel building itself has an old, a bit shabby but quite historic air about it and is well situated at Durban's beach parade, part of which is rather noisy with music til 10 p.m. Our room was ok except for a large puddle of water from the AC that soaked the carpeting (and our socks).
Unfortunately, the female personell at the front desk was incompetent, unprofessional and extremely unfriendly. We were asked to wait "5 mins" that actually stretched into an hour before we decided to take a tour of Durban instead of waiting in vain the whole afternoon. I could not see the source of the hold-up as the ladies spent their time chitchatting in lack of other customers and didn't care a moment to update us. Confronted with our voucher (back from the tour), they didn't know what to do (!) - we were even asked to give our credit card details for coverage, which we denied - until we explained that it meant a prepaid booking.
Paying the lavish parking fee (R40/d) with a R100 note, I got the impression the very same personell tried to make some extra money. Claiming they hadn't got any change in the cashier, they found it apt to simply keep the difference without a word. When I realized what was going on and complained, they answered it wasn't their fault nor responsibility (!) and blamed me for not giving the exact amount of money. I will not repeat their words as they were offensive and insulting and gave evidence of poor manners and a huge lack of professionalism. I finally managed to get the R100 note changed in the hotel's restaurant, the personell there was very friendly.
On a fabulous 3 week-tour through SA, the Balmoral was by far the most unpleasant experience. Stay away - there are far better options for accomodation in Durban!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank marylou_vie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2010

As I am the latest person to write a review on my experience at the Balmoral Hotel in Durban, I would like to be 100% honest on all aspects of my stay (good and bad.)
First of all, when my family and I arrived at the hotel we were greeted by extremely unhelpful staff, and although our bags were carried to our rooms, we were not shown to them and had to wonder the corridors trying to find our rooms.
Once in the room, we walked in on the most disgusting smell of stale smoke and after a long flight, decided we would just open the windows and hope it would disappear.

The female managers had an appauling attitude, we were refused car parking passes which we were told initially 'guests were entitled to' and continued to recieve unwelcoming looks everytime we walked past the reception area. (This was extremely uncomfortable.) - I would just like to add that the male members of staff were very helpful and polite throughout the duration of our stay (especially a waiter named Ronnie, who went out of his way to make sure we had the best experience possible. He was an absolute gem.)

The main thing I would like to share with those of you thinking about staying at this hotel is this:

I had 3 dresses stolen from my wardrobe when I was out. I came back and my 3 favourite dresses had vanished into thin air. After approaching the reception desk and being told I was lying (not in those exact words) I kept pursuing the house keeping staff to no avail. Unfortunately, we had to leave the hotel a couple of days after my dresses were stolen and continued our journey onto Malawi. Whilst in Malawi, I kept calling the Balmoral and continued to speak to unhelpful staff (most of which couldn't speak English!)
It completely ruined my stay in Malawi having to chase up my dresses and after 2 weeks of chasing them, they still hadn't lifted a finger.
The last I heard when I called them on January 5th 2010, was that they had checked CCTV and were forcing the member of staff they believed had my dresses to take a lie detector test... I haven't heard anything since.

My advice to you is if you wish to enjoy the beautiful City of Durban and have the best experience possible, DO NOT stay at the Balmoral Hotel. It is the worst hotel I have experienced and I will never ever be going back.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank _Kellie2010_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

Dismal front desk staff. The two ladies were ignorant and really showed a lack of care about their hotel or their guests. We checked in to find that we were placed in a smelly smoking room and called down a minute later to ask if there were any non-smoking rooms. They said they would call back in 2 minutes. Five minutes went by and I called back and they said they would be call back again in 3 minutes. They called this time and said no they didn't have any non-smoking rooms available. But when we went down to ask about other things 20 minutes later, they said, oh there is a room available. Of course, no one bothered to phone us that information. When asked about a store they pointed us in a random direction and said go there. The security guard was the one saving grace of the hotel. He said he overheard our conversation and would accompany us to the store because the area was not safe and he walked with us to the store. Unfortunately, the place was already closed despite the front desk woman insisting it was still open. When asked for a map, the same woman barely looked up and said no we don't have a map of Durban. She couldn't care less and could not be bothered. The room itself was fine for a smoking room except the brown water as mentioned in previous posts. It usually started out brown and eventually cleared up. The shower curtains were full with mildew. We thought we were splurging for this 4 star hotel and instead previous South African hotels that were half the price were much better. To be honest, I could care less about the actual room, as long as it's clean. But I do expect a courteous front desk staff and a staff that is eager to please. We've stayed at many places that had problems far worse, that were never resolved, but if the staff showed concern, took initiative and had some problem solving skills (even just an attempt) we still give good remarks. I couldn't say much good about this hotel performance aside from the concerned security guard. As for Durban, I agree with other posts, not a great place to go for tourists. This was merely a stop over for us to get to the safari parks. It was Durban or Johannesburg. Not sure which is safer now.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank FrancescaNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balmoral Hotel

Address: 125 Marine Parade, Beach Road, Durban, 4001, Durban 4000, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Durban
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Luxury Hotel in Durban
Price Range: $71 - $108 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Balmoral Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 95
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Also Known As:
Balmoral Hotel Durban

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