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“Disrepect to a Grand Ole Lady”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of Blue Waters Hotel

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Blue Waters Hotel
Ranked #13 of 42 Hotels in Durban
Amanzimtoti, South Africa
Level Contributor
89 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Disrepect to a Grand Ole Lady”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2013

The Blue Waters Hotel is a well-known landmark on Durban's North Beach, a Grand Ole Lady of old-world hotels, ideally situated, close to the beach and in walking distance to many attractions the Parade has to offer. BUT .... it was grossly let down by BAD SERVICE!!! From the check-in to the housekeeping staff who would not stand aside to let me as a guest pass with luggage, to no response from room service! It was Wendy and my 3rd year wedding anniversary and we decided to spend our anniversary weekend at this hotel, what we thought would be a romantic getaway. What a mission it was to just get a small bucket of ice and two chamgne glasses ... by the time it eventually arrived (after I had to run down to reception as room service was unavailable), the bottle had already been emptied into tea cups.
The breakfast buffet was average but, once again, service was poor, having been ignored several times for a cup of coffee.
The Blue Dolphin cafe will not see us again either! Staff bickering among each other; no prompt service, letting us wait nearly 10 minutes before being able to order something .... and the pizza! The PIZZA! This joint boasts of the best tasting and best priced pizza in Durban! What a joke! It was the best of the worst pizza I have ever had the misfortune of tasting!
Thank you to the management and staff of Blue Waters Hotel for providing us with a miserable anniversary weekend. But even worse ... disprect to a Grand Ole Lady!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MC_Hammen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueW, Manager at Blue Waters Hotel, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Dear Valued Guest,

We have contacted you on numerous occasions to get clarity on your complaints with no repose.
Rooms service operates from 8am to 11pm.

The hotels is well known for our breakfast buffet as we offer the finest and freshest ingredients and widest variety at most affordable price. We have forwarded your helpful comments to the restaurant manager.

The Blue Dolphin Bar is self service. Our top chefs experimented for 3 months to get the exact pizza recipe right. Our pizzas are thin based and have light toppings. We have forwarded your helpful comment to the Bar manager.

We were glad to see you back at the Blue Dolphin Bar.

Yours in Hospitality
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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574 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (192)
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Toronto
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2013

The rooms in Blue Waters are beautiful and mine had a stunning view of the ocean, but the phone was RIPPED OUT OF THE WALL! I had a very early flight and wanted to arrange a wake-up call (hotels in South Africa don't ever seem to have alarm clocks) only to discover that the phone was ripped out of the wall. I went downstairs to tell the front desk but they seemed neither surprised nor upset. They did offer to send someone at 4:00am to knock on my door to wake me up. The friendly front desk team were also able to provide a converter for the night so that I could charge my phone.
The hotel bar is a great place for a sundowner and they have very tasty pizza.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank StephanieMcA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
87 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

We booked through an online agency and foudn some good prices. We were a bit worried about getting a non-refurbished room - but to our luck we had a refurbished (or at least "refreshed" room). All of the facilities - Squash, Sauna & Pool were closed. The pool was located in a room that they appear to use for weddings & conferences (we thought that was a bit strange) - so if you like your event with the aroma of chlorine its a great place to go!

We received a frosty welcome (along with any other guest) from the consistantly rude and quite aggressive Tamarin on the front desk - who appears to take charge of anything and everything even when you are dealling quite happliy with one of the other 3 front desk staff (when she was off duty the front desk were very helpful, polite and able to carry out all tasks).

We had a room on the 12th floor with excellent views. The weather was good for our stay and we slept each night with the balcony door open. However, if it had been cold or stormy I image the room would be drafty and cold. There was no heating, very thin glass and I suspect drafts.

To our delight, we had a refurbished room. The quality of the refurbishment is quite poor - but the rooms are functional, modernised and very comfortable. We had a large double bed, chair and 2 balcony chairs. The flat screen TV has a limted number of channels with poor reception on many channels.

The bathroom is also refurbished nicely with a large shower area with rain shower head. The issue we had here was the lack of hot water after 9am - it seemed to run out. In the evening and early morning it was fine.

The bathroom has a window into the corridor which was a bit strange and along with the air vent in the door meant you can hear everything in the corridor outside (and anyone outside can hear everything from inside your room!). If you are a light sleeper - take ear plugs.

We went for breakfast on our first day and did not return for the rest of the stay. The range was OK with the usual cereals, cooked items & egg counters. The freshness questionable, the speed of service at the omlette/egg counter was slow and the quality overall was generally poor. You had to pay extra (in cash and at the time) for a cappucino - although filter coffee and tea was free - if you could flag down an uninterested staff member to get one. There are lots of options nearby that offer great breakfasts in much nicer surroundings.

All in all a very comfortable stay (apart from corridor noice & lack of hot water), with beautiful sea views, a handy location with wasy walking to the casino, golden mile etc and generally very good value. Try and make sure you get a refurbished room (i think they started at the top), try breakfast and see what you think - but no real loss if you give it a miss! On street parking right outside or closeby (depending on when you arrive you may have quite a walk to the car).

WiFi was paid for but very reasonable pricing. Signal poor at the lift end of corridors - better at the casino/stadium facing end.

Refurbishment works going on on weekdays from 9am - drilling etc. Also affecting access to leisure facilities such as sauna & squash.

Room Tip: Floors 12&13 are refurbished. Wifi better to the casino facing side of the hotel. Lower levels...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank StanInLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gawler
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013

I read all the reviews here before I went, so knew what to expect in worst case scenario. Things are improving, with a genuine will on the part of the hotel to improve, but there were some things that really disappointed me.

I booked eight nights at Blue Waters through an online booking agent. After booking, I emailed to request an early check in, due to the long flight I would be coming from. To this day, I have never received a reply.

At booking, information requested included whether I'd prefer a higher up or lower room, to which I replied higher, and if this stay was to celebrate a special occasion, to which I replied it was. I was aware of the renovation works and wanted to avoid them, and the celebrations included the completion of my final exams and graduation from my undergrad degree the week prior, it was my birthday during our stay and it was also a very special time in our relationship.

Our plans changed and we visited another location for the first three nights. A month prior to leaving, we tried to change the booking to reflect this. The booking agent explained that Blue Waters refused to alter the booking as it had not yet been paid for. My booking agency allows a time period for cooling off before processing the payment, and if you alter the booking within that window, there is no alteration charge. So the only way we could alter the booking was to cancel it and rebook. To do this would cost an additional $100AUD, or about $900ZAR, to stay three nights less! So we left the booking as it was and advised that we would be arriving late, to hold the room. I received emailed confirmation from my booking agent that this communication had been received and acknowledged by Blue Waters on the morning of my departure for South Africa. Nothing like a bit of last minute drama.

Arriving at Blue Waters on the Thursday at around 12pm, I proceeded to try to book in, to be told that check in is not until 2pm, to come back later. I explained that I had already paid for the previous three nights, that my room should be held aside for me to enter whenever I wish. The flustered clerk kept us waiting for around half an hour, looking for a room for us. It would seem that Blue Waters went ahead and re-let our room. Eventually we were assigned a room on the 16th floor.

So we came out of the elevator to a construction site. All manner of tools and building debris were littered through the hallway as the bellboy tried to negotiate to our room with our luggage. We had a north facing room with salt damp busting through the wallpaper like open wounds. The vista was pleasant enough, the bathroom ok. The bed was two single beds, pushed together. It was clean and didn't smell bad. But then the construction noise in the corridor started! It was extremely loud and unpleasant. We didn't plan on hanging around the hotel during the day, and neither of us likes to complain, so we decided to put up with it as it was only during working hours on weekdays.

We quickly found out that there was no telephone connection to our room - the handset must have only been there for decoration. We wouldn't have bothered with the roomservice, with prices like 45ZAR for fries, plus another 10ZAR for delivery to the room, but it would have been handy for administrative matters. Instead, I spent plenty of time going up and down in the elevator to attend to routine business.

One such purpose might have been in regard to clothing I wanted washed. I went down to request a price list as there was no reference in the room in regard to this, despite it being mentioned in the information folder. A laundry woman attended our room after a half hour, and I sent five items to be washed, with basic instructions. One item was a coat, and there was no price listed for this item. The laundry lady offered to return within the hour to tell me the price, but understood I wanted it washed and returned. I explained I wanted to go out and would wait for her return, if she could please hurry. She never returned. Neither did my laundry.

The following afternoon, I attended the front desk to enquire about the washings whereabouts. I was told that the coat had not been washed, that it needed dry-cleaning. I had told the laundry lady the previous afternoon that it was to be washed normally, that I always wash it at home that way. I wished to go out that evening and had no other warm coat. As I was returning home two days later now, I suggested if I had known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have wasted my money on getting things washed, as now I was not going to be in Durban long enough to wear them. I might as well have washed them when I got home. I was assured it would be returned to my room by 7pm, with my other items. A little after 8pm the things were brought to our room with my coat missing a button. I was assured they would look for the button in the morning and would return it to me. I was then frog-marched to the elevator and down to the desk to pay for the laundering, which the information manual says may be paid for at check-out. I never did see or hear about that button again....

Another request I had of staff was for face-washers and a hand towel. You are supplied with four lovely big fluffy bath towels and that is it. They have bath mats, upon request, but no hand towels or face washers.

The room we had was terrible on windy nights. There was a bad storm on one night we stayed and the cool air flowing in through the cracks around the windows was freezing. There is no heating in this hotel either - only cooling. So an extra blanket was the best we could do. By this stage in our stay, we were both suffering badly with an infection and the flu. Not the place to have the aches and shakes, I can tell you. My flight home was that much harder to cope with for the lack of rest I had had going into the 30+ hour journey.

So the good points? There are some wonderful staff who try really hard to do a great job, and succeed. These staff members truly did make a difference to the quality of our stay. The water was hot, the rooms were clean but old. I'd talk about the breakfast but we only dined there on three mornings, and the foods were quite different in taste to foods from home, which I didn't enjoy. My partner refused to attend breakfast after the first morning there, when I requested two cups of tea for us and came back to find two cups of white coffee. The real failures are in policy, communication, generalisation and oversight.

I was asked by a senior hotel staff member during an elevator trip whether I was enjoying the stay. There were two other guests in the elevator at the time, so I was remiss to bring up the issues we had been experiencing, and I guess they seemed petty at the time. Indeed, there were two other separate occasions where a staff member asked if all was well with the room. I did address issues at each instance e.g. replacement of our used, dirty drinking glasses with clean ones and the face-washer thing. I discussed the telephone issue and was told that she had advised the reception desk to not place guests in our room for that reason, but I guess they had to because they let someone else have our room. That, I think, is my biggest issue, that we felt unwelcome when I had made every effort to communicate our intentions, well in advance. Very poor hospitality to an international guest.

I am grateful to the staff who did take good care of us for their efforts, they didn't go unnoticed. Blue Waters has so much incredible potential that is going to waste.

Room Tip: Don't bother asking for preferences, mine were completely ignored. Just find somewhere else to...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Trish_Eats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Durban hotels

Wareham
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2013

I arrived at the Bluewater hotel after a very long drive quite late and went straight to my room.
It was functional but dirty with stains on the wall that could easily have been cleaned off.
The wireless was not working in the whole hotel and had to be paid for.

Very tired i went to bed only to be woken by numatic drilling at some ridiculously early hour which went on continually from that point. What you are not told when you book is that the bottom 5 floors is a building site. Being on the 6th floor all I could see was dust and smoke.

Niot impressed no apology or anything on departure and no warning on checkin Avoid this hotel for the next 6 months

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Gordon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Venice, Italy
Level Contributor
25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2013

The Blue Waters Hotel is in a fabulous location right on the seafront in Durban. The Buffet Dinner and Breakfast are well up to standard with a vast choice and excellent service.On the downside, well deserved renovations are underway so there is a lot of noise all day every day including Sundays. There is still paint in the toilet and wash hand basin from the last renovation.

The housekeeping staff who wanted to freshen up the room were knocking on the door at 8 AM and left without putting in towels for two days. When there were no towels left in the room I had to ask at reception twice for new ones.

They happily sold me internet time with the small drawback that it does not work unless one is in the hallway. When I asked at reception if there was a problem with internet they admitted that there was. Should have told me before !!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with guaranteed Internet. There must be one.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MARK O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
104 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2013

I regularly visit this hotel on business. It is one of the older properties on the Durban beachfront, but has been extensively renovated, yet keeps its old world feel. Accommodation is very comfortable, views are fantastic, and staff are friendly and helpful. Breakfast is excellent. To top it all, this hotel offers what must be the best value for money in the vicinity.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Greg W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blue Waters Hotel

Property: Blue Waters Hotel
Address: 175 Snell Parade | North Beach, Durban 4001, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Durban
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Durban
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Blue Waters Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 262
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Blue Waters Hotel is a three star beach front hotel located on Durban's famous Golden Mile in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Blue Waters Hotel specializes in offering the best accommodation at affordable rates to corporate business, honeymooners, sports teams, groups and holiday makers alike. We also specialize in hosting unforgettable wedding receptions. We have a number of wedding venues to choose from depending on the size of the function required. The hotel offers business conference and function facilities for small to large events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Waters Hotel Durban
Blue Waters Durban

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