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“Great value and huge rooms”

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Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 3, 2013 via mobile

The rooms in this hotel are huge and very comfortable. The food great. Kids have a lot of options on the menus and at the buffets. The pools are great. Overall a brilliant holiday for the family at really reasonable rates. Gloria is a star and does all she can to help out with any queries. We will be back again!

  • Stayed: December 2012
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1  Thank Agmna
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 January 28, 2013

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you very much for sharing your feedback. We hope to welcome you back to Fairmont Zimbali Resort in the near future.

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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785 - 791 of 913 reviews

Reviewed December 28, 2012

My wife and I had one of the best vacations we have ever had. We chose the Zimbali Resort, because we have stayed in Fairmont several times and as this was our first trip to South Africa, we knew there would be a comfort level.

The lobby of the resort was stunning; having stayed in AAA 5 diamond properties in the past, we were blown away by the utter chic-ness ( another reviewer said it was reminiscent of the Ritz lobby in Hobg Kong and I can agree with the similarities).

The staff was very accommodating, Clinton (the guest services manager) was very attentive and treated every request as if it was of the upmost importance and Ashley (I think he was the F&B manager/Director) stopped by with recommendations on what to order. Even the GM, Mark, was clearly visible and interactive with guests.

The food was wonderful. I highly recommend having a wonderfully cooked steak at OSA or stopping by for a glass of wine in the evening at Vinum that has extraordinary views go the Indian Ocean.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Donald F
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 December 31, 2012

Dear Valued Guest

We're absolutely delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. We hope to welcome you back again soon.

We will ensure that the staff who have been mentioned receive recognition for living up to our service promise- "Turning moments into memories for our guests"

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Resort Team

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Reviewed December 18, 2012

We spent 4 nights at the Zimbali Lodge just up the hill. Being on the same property we could enjoy the Resort's amenities as if we were resident in the hotel. So we went down twice to see the sights...

We had supper at OSA restaurant one night and it was as close to perfect as one could expect.
Good vibe, good decor, great hostess (didn't catch her name) and fantastic service and quality of food. Really a top notch experience. Highly recommended!

Then, a day or so later, we thought we'd go over for a morning coffee.
The place doesn't look so great in the harsh light of day, let me tell you.

First you get the lobby which is a glam affair reminiscent of the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong but clearly didn't cost as much. The grand piano is a bit tired, has coffee mug stains on it and is in need of a tune. Just after the piano you get a circular flight of stairs which leads you down to the restaurants, rooms and the pool deck areas.

On level three you pass the breakfast area. The space seems to be a bit of an after thought as I couldn't see anywhere in the restaurant which presented diners with a view of the sea. The only view you have is of the stairwell and what seemed to be a large, all encompassing brick or faux rock wall. It's all a bit dingey.

Never mind, press on and on level 5 you get OSA restaurant. Closed during the morning (with the cheapest looking curtain I've seen in a long time) one is forced to exit the stairwell area through what looks like a service door. Once through the door you're presented with that faux rock wall except this time it's so massive (two stories higher now, you understand) that one starts to get just a hint of an idea of how Frodo must have felt going to that place on the hill.
This is the way one accesses the outside spaces.

Once you've walked past someone's room, over a disheveled spot of grass and down a little path you start to approach the pool areas. How shall one put this delicately? It left much to be desired.

The top most pool seems to be an adult pool area (maybe?) but there was nobody there so it's difficult to say. The reason nobody was there might have been because there were a few deck chairs pushed to one side, as if being stored or readied for repair, and that just left a very large and very empty, unwelcoming expanse of faux rock around the pool.

The middle pool is lined by rows of deck chairs and umbrellas. I'm sure it's nice enough but the piped music which comes at you quite loudly is a little on the clubby side. Please don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good beat and a bit of fun in the sun but this felt just a little forced. Maybe it was because it was a family pool? Screaming kids (it's expected, they're having fun) and a beach club vibe DO NOT mix. It has to be one or the other, not both.

It is at this level where we stopped at the restaurant / bar / terrace / watering hole thing. For that coffee we came for. They don't serve coffee. We had water. While enjoying my water, looking up at the huge hotel rising above us and around us, a manager came to ask us how everything was. Not a gesture I really appreciate but there you go, he was doing his thing. During his interrogation into the quality of our bottled water experience a cleaning lady came past. She had a cell phone in her pocket which was playing "kwaito" very loudly. She squeezed between a railing or a pillar or something on my left and my left elbow and gave it a bump. No worries, i didn't mind much. What struck me though was that the little manager person with his badly tucked shirt didn't even notice.

I'm sure the resort has all the bells and whistles but it strikes me as tacky. It's trying too hard to be something it can't be. It has bad flow and isn't very welcoming. Again, a leaf taken from the Ritz Carlton's book. From what I saw on my two brief visits there is NO way we'd stay there.
Did I mention the pool villas are right next to an access road? Yes, the view from your pool is a road and the two are separated by no more than 3 meters. You're swimming on the sidewalk, in effect.

But that's enough for now. You get the idea. The place is a bit of a fail. Pity, it's in the most beautiful spot!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Location
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Thank Marius71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2012

We go to the Zimbali Resort every Xmas, or around Xmas time. We like to book early and take advantage of the early payment and the big discouunt you get. i must warn you though its not refundable under any circumstances. Not that we have had any problems with it. The Resort is mind blowing, its on the beach, with swimming pools, and every thing imaginable for a 5 star Resort. You name it, they have it in the Resort. Its in a Gated Estate area, where people also have homes that matvh the Zimbali theme in looks to keep that Zimbali feel about it. The Durban airport is about 15 minutes from Ballito, where the Resort is. Its just north of the centre of Durban. The rooms are exquisite. The egyptian linen, the mega towelling, the huge bath, the cupboards. T.V in both the bedroom and lounge (we always book a suite.) With the exchange rate, people coming into South Africa, will get the holiday of a life time, at a dirt cheap price. Do yourself a favour, look on the web at the Zimbali Resort South africa, and read about it, look at the Gallery, see the amazing rooms. The staff are so polite, and there are luxury cars waiting to take you to the beach or anywhere else on the estate like the Zimbali Lodge, at the flick of a finger. This Resort is the best. I have only had one comparable holiday destination, and that is the One & Only Hotel in Cape Town, which is also a 5 star Hotel, and I have to say equalis the Zimbali Resort. So look at both, decide whether you want to stay in Ballito or Cape Town and get your moneys worth and more in beautiful Suth Africa.
Cindy.

Room Tip: All rooms are good, there are none that I can say you must avoid. If your budget permits, book a su...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jedanna O
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 December 17, 2012

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you for your wonderful review. We look forward to seeing you again this year!

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.
Reviewed November 22, 2012

I spent several days at Zimbali golf estate. I stayed a in stunningly appointed garden cottage with a beach view. The natural surroundings were unparalleled and the estate itself is magnificent.The check in facility and staff assistance on site was good but the local housekeeping was a bit underdone. Although the rooms are large with a lovely bathroom the shower control was problematic and the bar fridge was not functioning. The were small details: broken veneer, faulty plugs, no cords on the bathrobes that took the shine off what is supposed to be a five star experience. Honestly though the infringements were minor and for the not too fussy guest who is quite relaxed these details may not bother them. Overall the stay was very pleasant. I will say that the food and restaurant service is not five star and local service providers have a lot to learn from top end restaurateurs in Cape Town where the cuisine and service is most definitely a cut above.

Room Tip: My recommendation is to choose a garden cottage. The appointment is really stunning.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Hendricks-Henley
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 December 17, 2012

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you for your feedback.

We definitely agree - the Garden Suites are one of our favourites too! We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. A note has been made of the details that need some attention and you can rest assured that on your next visit these will all be taken care of.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Resort Team

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Reviewed November 19, 2012

Not impressed, this was the most over priced and poncy experience! The food was average, the service was average and the rooms were average. I had to change rooms 3 times as the staff checked me into a room with a broken window, and human excrement in the toilet. I will never pay to stay there. The conferencing was disorganised and over priced. No one checked up on us, and we were consider high priority clients. Will not have an event there again.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank SassySista
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 December 17, 2012

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that your experience was not up to standard. The challenges that you experienced have since all been addressed and resolved.

Once again we apologise and hope that you will visit again to give us the opportunity to improve on your visit and exceed your expectations.

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.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Stayed at the resort as I was attending a meeting at the nearby Lodge (much smaller, colonial building).
Highlights - the reception area is great, modern, light, sleek lines. Rooms are good sized, if a little oddly designed (there is a bath in the middle of the room, think wet foot prints etc). I liked the room service menu, Durban curry recommended. The service front the front desk team was very slick.
Lowlights - I had a sea view room and the wind from the coast whistled around the doors every night. Couldn't get rid of the sound, perhaps a design feature of the doors (or I was doing something dumb with the door). Most importantly - the gym closes at 7pm each night (when I finished work....). My gym kit was left untouched for the whole visit - a hotel like this should keep the gym open until at least 9.

Room Tip: Not sure I would choose a sea view room during windy weather
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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Thank UrbanFox99
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 November 14, 2012

Dear Valued Guest

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are delighted that you had a great experience. We will definitely take your suggestion for extending the gym hours into consideration.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Fairmont Zimbali Resort in the near future.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Resort Team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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: $174 - $485 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Zimbali Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 154
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito

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