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“Beautiful, but....”

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Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 25, 2012

I don't want to write a review expression the million things that could have been better... It was gorgeous and very impressive, especially upon arrival. I think my disappointment came from different expectations:

The property is massive, so over the top personalized service is not provided. While that should not be the reason one ever chooses to holiday, for the price and grandeur of this resort, I kind of anticipated it.... Particularly due to having platinum status and receiving this type of service at other Fairmont properties.

Little things went wrong that I figure was just bad luck (ie: they ran out of shampoo and were out for 3 days). Otherwise, there were a couple of things in the rooms that just didn't seem to be thought fully through during the design process. We stayed in a junior suite which was spacious with a beautiful view.

Don't get me wrong. It was new and beautifully finished. The staff was nice, but again, because of the size, it often took them a while to get around to you. We were there for 3 nights early in the new year while most South Africans are on holiday with their families so it was very busy (with LOTS) of noisy kids running around.

We went to dinner at the Zimbali Lodge one evening (transportation was provided between the two) and it was more our style. A beautiful spot full of character - next time, I'd consider staying there.

I wouldn't necessarily NOT recommend this property - but I would keep your expectations in check. I also think that traveling at a different time during low season may provide a different experience.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank vacation-bugs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2012

Dear Vacation-Bugs

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences at Fairmont Zimbali Resort with us. As a brand we welcome guest feedback of any kind, as this helps us to grow in our service offering and to ensure that we meet the expectations of our valued guests at all times.

We are delighted that you enjoyed your dinner at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, and will certainly be passing your comments on to the team. We do apologize most sincerely for the challenges that you experienced. We pride ourselves on delivering a quality service that is consistent throughout the year.

We hope to welcome you to either of our sister properties again soon!

Kind Regards
The Fairmont Zimbali Resort Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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786 - 792 of 886 reviews

Reviewed February 25, 2012

Very few places can beat the view, weather and beauty of this place. But you can also get all of these things without paying exorbitant 5 star prices for absolute shocking hotel service.

During our entire stay, I keep thinking that at any moment someone is going to jump from the bushes and shout "You have been PUNKED" - but no... all I'll have at the end of this stay is awful memories and a hefty bill.

I'm here with my two children aged 4 & 8 years and my husband. Our flight landed late and so we checked in late. We booked two inter leading, sea facing rooms. The kids room was everything you'd expect from a 5 star hotel, house keeping had even done the turn down. After settling in the kids, I went to our room. I was greeted by a foul mould smell. I called guest services - who suggested I should try air freshener...not quite a solution, but anyway. I phone my husband (who had arrived earlier) and tell him about the smell, he told me that he'd bought about 8l of bottled water because even the tap water smelled suspect.
I decide to deal with it in the morning. I switche off the light and pull back the duvet, go into bed and feel something crawling on me. Cockroaches!! Not one, but TWO cockroaches were in my bed. I 'll leave out the choice words I screamed at this point. Anyway - I call guest services again, they suggest that they'll send maintenance to come and KILL them. Lovely!
I then ask to speak to a manager, who also suggests I speak to maintenance. I point out to the manager how absurd her suggestion is. SHE must speak to maintenance or whoever.... And she must move us the hell out of foul smelling, cockroach invested rooms.

We were then upgraded to a suite. Which thankfully was clean. And we slept.
Next day, I was due for a SPA session, that had been booked weeks before as a birthday present to my sister. The birthday girl calls me in tears at the resort gate because security is verbally abusing her and won't let her in because she didn't have a "code" which the SPA had never told us about. I call the SPA to sort this out and I'm told "Oh, is this Mrs K? We've been meaning to call you, your treatments have been cancelled, because we dont have enough therapists". True story, every word.

Moving along! At this point, I'm in great need of a drink, so my husband and I decide to go down for sundowners at the Beach Club. Here we find not a sole working. Dirty towesl, plates, cups, glasses, left over food everywhere. Pretty soon a troop of monkeys come through and start helping themselves to the food and left over drinks. Monkeys are breaking glasses, emptying out packets of crisps and basically having a jolly good time. We thought it was a good time to leave when the monkeys out numbered the humans three to one and anyway, we'd been there for 30 minutes and had received NO SERVICE.
A great place if you're a monkey, though.

So have I recieved an official apology, explanation, flowers, wine, Gift vouchers, for all of this....Answer is no. But that's okay. Because I am never coming back here.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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6  Thank NQKhoj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbaliLodge, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 1, 2012

Dear Ma’am

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us in regards to your visit at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort. We are disappointed to learn that your experience did not live up to your expectations. Please be assured that the points you have brought to our attention have already been addressed with our management team.

Please know that the service deficiencies that occurred during your visit are absolutely not in keeping with the level of service we strive to provide to our guests, we sincerely regret this was your experience. The matter has also been taken up with the security company as we will not tolerate abuse of any nature. We sincerely regret that we could not honour one of your spa appointments. Unfortunately one of our therapists was the victim of crime and therefore unable to attend work.

It is always important to ensure all feedback both positive and negative are heard to ensure that we are growing as a hotel and as a brand, therefore, thank you again for contacting us.

We apologize for falling short in delivering the service you had come to expect from our brand. We hope you will consider these events as isolated incidents, and give us the opportunity to show you we can do better. We will be in touch with you shortly to personally discuss the challenges that you experienced during your stay with us.

Kind Regards
The Fairmont Zimbali Resort Team

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Reviewed February 25, 2012

I agree with everyone about the location and styling however these are only important on arrival. After that it's down to service and that is where this magnificent resort fails dismally. Staff at the poolside restaurants only help when asked, we waited 30 minutes before we had to get up of our seat to call someone to help. Staff in general are not friendly and guests don't seem to be a priority. The toilet facilities at the pools not up to standard. God forbid you get here whilst there is a wedding. Then there are no shuttles for guests as they are being used for the wedding so you have to use your own vehicle or walk. There seems to be a general attitude that these are the rules and that's it instead of trying to help you the guest. For the price you pay it is definitely not worth it. I certainly will not come back here nor will I recommend this place to anyone I know. And please note you will need to pay for wi-fi of you want it.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Traveller2473654321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Our room was huge, the bed was incredibly comfortable and we loved the balcony which looked out onto a tropical forest. The decor has true Bali charm. Service was excellent and everyone that we dealt with was very friendly and helpful.

We went for lunch at the Zimbali Resort at the Ayoba restaurant - we had delicious crumbed prawns, and the most amazing pizza we've ever had, if you ever go there order the Rustics pizza!

The private beach is a non-swimming beach (although you can wade in, there are no shark nets or lifesavers). If you want to go to a swimming beach you need to leave Zimbali Estate. The shuttles taking you to Zimbali's private beach leave at 9am and return at 5pm - you can't drive your car to the private beach due to restricted access and its a very long walk so if you want to get to the beachfront for a sunrise, it's really difficult.

Very close to King Shaka Airport, to shops and some of Ballito main beaches and restaurants.

We booked using a half-price special, if we'd paid full price, I wouldn't have felt that we'd gotten value for money.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Lee C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2012

We held our annual conference at the Zimbali Resort. The meeting facilities were excellent and took care of the vegans and vegetarians. My room had an amazing view of the ocean and to hear the waves crashing at night was spectacular. The room layout is unusual and you can have a bath looking over the ocean, so well thought out. We ate at all of the resort restaurants, all were very good. Our drinks bill was rather high, but we did want to sample all the excellent South African wines. Overall an enjoyable experience. Wish I had more time to explore the local area.

Room Tip: Ask to be away from the lifts for a quite room.
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled on business
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2  Thank Chris_Nial67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2012

i just spent the best part of a week in this great hotel. A truly refreshening and beautiful place! From my room in one of the bungaloes, i could see and listen to the waves crashing on the beach. lots of cute monkeys cavort about - careful not to leave your windows open when you are out as they like to steal and eat your lipstick! food very good and staff very kind, thoughtful and friendly. I wuld definitely recommend this place. the only thing is that to go anywhere you really have to drive - the beach in front of hotel not safe for swimming (great for a long walk) because of sharks.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank ParisFifi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2012

This hotel is built on prime property with fantastic views. But really there is not much else to recommend it. I have been sitting waiting for the past 30 minutes for Maintenance as their is a leak in the ceiling and the floor is covered in water. The hotel is only a year or two old but looks tired and in need of a serious make-over. The spa is mediocre: I went to shower after a massage and one shower was out of order while the other had empty liquid soap and shampoo containers. The hotel also could not offer a paid late check-out due to "high occupancy and peak arrival expected for the day". The irony is the hotel is almost scarily empty and if you go on to reservations, there are many vacancies.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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6  Thank ElizabethDurban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fairmont Zimbali Resort

Address: PO Box 17, Zimbali | 4420, Ballito 4422, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Ballito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Price Range: $186 - $423 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Zimbali Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 154
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito

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