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Review of Zimbali Lodge

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Zimbali Lodge
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Reviewed January 7, 2008

I have been to many top hotels and must highly recommend Zimbali Lodge. The attention to detail really impressed me, as a perfectionist. The location is spectacular, like living in your own rain forest. Arriving back at the room on the first night, a magical experience awaited us - candles, rose petals, champagne on ice, bubble bath ... amazing. For a change this is a five star hotel with a restaurant that deserves 5 star status as well. The overall service was really great,always very friendly and willing. The spa offers a range of treatments, but can pay more attention to small details to deserve the 5 star status. The only thing i would criticize is not having pancakes with strawberries and cream at the poolside in the afternoon. Expensive, but put it on your "must do" list !

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank TravelBabeSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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376 - 382 of 440 reviews

Reviewed September 25, 2007

This is a five star hotel in a delightful setting. Attention given to every detail. Wonderful bedrooms with huge beds and great dressing room and shower as well as great huge old victorian bath.

  • Stayed: September 2007
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Thank Sybilsybil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2007

We have just returned from a 3 day week-end at Zimbali Lodge. The hotel is magnificent and we have seldom experienced such incredible service before. The beds were so lovely that it was hard to drag ourselves out of bed in the mornings. We had breakfast in our room on the first morning and the food was great. We stayed in a forest room and it really felt like being in a tropical forest. Our butler introduced himself on our arrival and showed us through our room; from then on he attended to our every need. I do like the idea that there is no reception counter, just a desk manned by very professional check-in staff. During the afternoons we had great lunches buy the pool. The evening meals were great and they have a good enough wine list. The pool looks lovely but even though the weather was quite warm it was impossible to swim as the pool is not heated, this is the only negative I have about the hotel. I left one of our cameras in the restaurant on our first night and only realized that it was gone on the third day, we phoned the concierge and it was duly delivered to our room –AMAZING in this day and age. We are already planning to go back.

Stayed: June 2007
3  Thank JPCS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2007

We stayed at the lodge this past week. Despite the wonderful setting we found the service to be awful. My mobile charger went missing from our room and despite speaking to 3 different personnel regarding the matter, it was not returned nor was anything done about it. Our bath was not cleaned on the second day that we stayed there, we waited 20 minutes for ice to be delivered to our room, coffee was brought without milk at breakfast, hot milk was ordered and cold milk delivered and to top it all off, the beds are the most uncomfortable in the world ! I'm sorry to say that for the money you are paying it's definitely not worth it. We will not go there again nor recommend it to any of our friends.

  • Stayed: May 2007
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1  Thank UglyPig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2007

We loved this hotel and loved the service!

have no idea how those who posted before had bad service but I am starting to learn that the bigger a jerk you are the poorer service you get. That being said, we are super happy and friendly people and LOVED our stay there!

We were there for a wedding and I was also a host of a bridal shower on the deck. Every server and catering person and even porter were SO NICE, so friendly and SO helpful.

The food was divine both in the restaurant and at the wedding! Special thanks to Pinky and Kevin at the restaurant, they took such good care of us.

The setting is beautiful and the property immaculate. The room was so comfy I had to drag myself out of bed both mornings. We absolutely LOVED this hotel. We will go back if we find ourselves in South Africa again.

I can not say enough good things about this hotel. 5 star, all around!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled on business
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3  Thank Grohe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2007

Zimbali Lodge consists of a string of semi-detached suites (the "hotel"), and then an entire golf estate of houses scattered on hillsides. The setting is beautiful, the hotel had a freshwater pool and then 3 saltwater pools right next to the beach (which was closed), lovely restaurant, and great staff once the check-in process was complete.
Prior to check-in however, any reliable communication with this establishment was impossible.
My party of 5 was meeting up with several groups of visitors from the UK, for a wedding. We began emailing Zimbali several months in advance, and never had any sort of reply from them. Eventually, after numerous phonecalls, it turned out that the original person we'd been emailing had, in the interim, quit. So the booking process started again, and the Zimbali booking staff proved inept every step of the way. Other wedding guests we were in contact with had their bookings cancelled last minute, and in fact at one point there was a complaint from Zimbali that people should stop phoning because they couldn't understand the "funny" (UK) accents. Guests were only phoning in desperation because emails were consistently ignored...
We booked, via Zimbali, a shuttle from the airport, which never arrived. We tried calling the hotel but after being transferred from one person to another, we were eventualy cut off. 3 times. Eventually we gave up and caught a cab for the 65km trip.
On arrival at Zimbali, nobody had any record of us. We were left waiting repeatedly as one staff member after another disappeared to "sort this out", only never to return. Eventually a welcome pack materialized, with our full details including expected arrival time, but no access discs. Eventually these too were located, but the entire process took a good hour and a half.

Once installed in our house on the golf estate, things improved drastically. Our house was wonderful and blissfully air-conditioned, deer roamed the grounds and we had a golf cart for the duration of our stay. Unfortunately the whole experience was marred by that first day, and at no point was any sort of renumeration or free shuttle to the airport offered. We only received a belated, informal apology on day 3. This is a 5 star resort, yet one is expected to pay extra for airport shuttles and internet access. A beautiful location compromised by general staff incompetence.
If you stay there, phone often to remind them of your visit, and hire a car!

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled on business
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Thank CapeTownStudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2007

Technically speaking this place should be great but the service and management let it down. No one knew what was going on, room service was slow and ineffecient and there was no sense that the hotel was being managed properly.

This place has the air of being a sophisticated place but the cleaniness of the room definitely left something to be desired. You just kept thinking if they paid more attention to customer service this place could be exceptional - but it is a long way off.

When we checked in we had to clarify we were only staying for five nights; when we checked out? They charged us for six. We asked for a refund but they could not find the person who was responsible for this and we had a flight to catch. We gave our e-mail and were assured they would credit the refund that day. The result? We are still waiting for the refund to our credit card.

I would say this place is fine for a few days but I would not concentrate my trip around this single destination. There was no gym, swimming pool area was very small and the second by the ocean (which you cannot swim in) is crowded with families. Again this would be fine but there was not enough space for everyone to enjoy. Okay but for a short stay only.

Stayed: March 2007
1  Thank TravellerScoth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zimbali Lodge

Address: Zimbali Estate | Umhlali, Ballito 4390, South Africa
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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Price Range: $220 - $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Zimbali Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 76
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito
Zimbali Hotel

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