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“Great experience” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Fairmont Zimbali Lodge

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Fairmont Zimbali Lodge
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2014

The public spaces of this hotel are outstanding, but the rooms do not live up to the same quality. The views and the comfort of the public areas are amazing, and the staff are really helpful and mostly seem to be proactive. This is not a city hotel so don't expect the same speed of response, but do expect helpfulness and friendliness at all times.

However the rooms are a bit of a letdown, after you have been in the restaurant and by the pool. Yes they are more spacious than the average hotel, but they don't seem to offer much more in terms of luxury - for example, there is a filter coffee plunger by the kettle, but no filter coffee in the tray. The verandah gives a view of dense trees so you can't sit and admire the view.

If you want utter relaxation this place would be for you - you can play golf or laze by the pool or use the spa. Other than that, there isn't much to do.

Overall, it was a refreshing break but I wouldn't go back, too soon.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KathyN575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, July 2, 2014
Dear Kathy,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your valuable feedback. We are so pleased that you had a great experience at Lodge. It is indeed ideally located amid the natural beauty of Zimbali’s forest canopy, complete with stunning views, golf, swimming, spa and host of other things to experience. We are delighted that you got to experience the engaging service our colleagues are known for and found them to be helpful and friendly, always.

We are very sorry to hear that the spacious accommodation fell short of your expectations. We would like to both apologise to you and thank you for bringing this to our attention. We do not like to hear that our guests have experienced these types of challenges and assure you that we genuinely value your feedback and will act upon it to ensure we constantly improve upon the guest experience.

When next you are in need of a relaxing and refreshing break we sincerely hope that you will return to the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge. We look forward to welcoming you back.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Meyer
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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362 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
29 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2014

This is a beautiful luxurious property located in the most magnificent and evergreen jungle of the north coast of Durban, Ballito. Spacious chalets (most of them with no sea views), each surrounded by tropical high trees. If you are lucky, you may hear and see the crowned eagles that live in this coastal piece of land. Delicious breakfasts and pleasant ambience. The common areas are delightful with the most breath taking ocean and subtropical jungle views, the ideal place to relax and enjoy the serenity of a real natural paradise in KZN. The downside is the service, slow and inconsistent. Room service can be frustrating, especially when you have to wait more than an hour for simple evening meals. The beauty of this property may compensate the slow service, but it doesn't stop the frustration of those who expect good service in exchange for 5* rates.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LoveThePlanetFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, July 2, 2014
Dear LoveThePlanetFamily,

Thank you for taking the time to share feedback on your recent stay at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

We are delighted that you and your family had a pleasant stay with us and enjoyed the luxury, ambiance, location and facilities that the Lodge has to offer.

We are however very disheartened to hear that you did not experience the engaging service that the Lodge is known for. We do apologise for the challenges you mentioned and deeply regret that this was a part of your experience.

Although it is never easy for us to receive this kind of feedback from our guests, we are truly grateful that you bought this to our attention giving us the opportunity to improve the guest experience. Providing engaging service to all our guest is of utmost importance to us.

We sincerely hope that the elegance and unspoiled natural beauty will see you and your family return to the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and we look forward to welcoming you back.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Meyer
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow Scotland
Level Contributor
101 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2014

We wanted to stay somehwere out of Durban near the airport for the start of our fly drive holiday and Zimbali Lodge was ideal. We had 3 nights at the start and one at the end and had a very enjoyable stay.
The Lodge is in an eco forest so the rooms are dark and sitting on the balcony you do feel you are in a jungle rather than a coastal resort.
The bedroom was very spacious with a seperate dressing area large bathroom and seperate shower and loo.
Everything you would expect from a 5 star rating was there - tea, coffee, ironing board, bathrobes.
My only observation was that I felt the walls needed freshing up as they were marked in areas.
The outdoor areas are lovely and the view of the infinity pool then on to the beach in the distance is beautiful.
We saw a small wedding when we were there and that added to our enjoyment as we were able to enjoy the music while relaxing with a drink.
We ate in the restaurant every night and while it was not a large menu the food was good and if you are a fan of Indian food then there is loads to choose from.
We found the staff to be very helpful particularly Vanilla who took excellent care of us at breakfast even setting up a special table for us outside which was great.
As the lodge is in a resort it is difficult to access certain areas however if you just want to relax for a couple of days by the pool in nice surroundings then this is ideal.
Having stayed in other 5 star hotels I do agree with other reviews that this is not quite up there however I would have no hesitation in returning.

Room Tip: All the rooms are in a forest setting so be prepared for quite dark rooms.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BellaGlasgowScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, June 17, 2014
Dear Bella,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share feedback on your recent stay at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge. We’re delighted you had a pleasant experience with us, and humbled that you and your partner choose to begin and end your holiday at the Lodge.

We couldn't agree with you more. Nestled within a coastal forest reserve, the Lodge provides sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Durban city and yet rather surprisingly, is still conveniently located near to the airport and other main attractions.

We are so pleased you found the rooms to be spacious and well appointed. Thank you for your valuable feedback regarding the accommodations. We are glad to advise that all of our rooms are undergoing a refurbishment; however the same atmospheric ambiance will be preserved.

It is nice to read that you enjoyed the facilities, views and had a pleasant dining experience at Thandi Restaurant. We are thrilled you got the opportunity to witness a wedding at the Lodge and that this was an enjoyable and memorable experience for you.

Our colleagues are known for their engaging service, so it is wonderful that this was your experience too. Thank you for recognising Vanilla, we will be certain to share your kind feedback with her and know that she will be grateful to receive the acknowledgment.

Thanks again for your review. We are so pleased that you will stay with us again, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

Kind regards,

Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richterswil, Switzerland
Level Contributor
47 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2014

I know it was low season, but the lodge seemed remarkably empty. With it the atmosphere was a bit flat and the staff seemed slow/reluctant to serve the few guests who were there.

The rooms are a good size with great views, but ours seemed to be a little tired looking. All in all, it was great to spend a two very relaxed nights out of Durban, but it was just lacking the wow factor that you expect with it.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mike J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, General Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, June 19, 2014
Dear CMJohnsonn,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience of staying at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.
We’re so pleased you enjoyed the tranquility of the Lodge and were able to enjoy a relaxing two days away from the hustle and bustle of Durban city. Furthermore, that overall you enjoyed the spacious rooms and breathtaking views.

We truly value your feedback with regards to your room. We’re happy to advise that all our rooms are undergoing a refurbishment to update the furnishings and facilities; however the same atmospheric ambiance will still remain present.

The Lodge is generally quieter and offers a far more intimate environment than the nearby Fairmont Zimbali Resort. This is particularly the case during the winter off-peak season. Perhaps you may prefer the larger, more modern feel and energetic vibe of the Resort.

We are extremely disheartened to read that you did not experience the engaging service our colleagues are known for, or the memorable moments we strive to provide all our guests. Please be assured that these issues have been looked into and addressed. This is not the standard which we wish for our guests and sincerely regret that this was part of your experience.

We sincerely hope that you will stay with us again so that we may have the opportunity to impress upon you a five-star experience with added wow factor.

Kind regards,
Leon Meyer
General Manager
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge & Resort
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2014

We were here for a wedding in Zimbali. It's a very present hotel, set amongst some amazing scenery and has a lovely chilled vibe. The rooms are clean and have a real rustic feel to them. The food is ok, breakfast is very overpriced and average tasting, the curry dinner was very nice though but there were places off the resort that were also very good... and have a zero missing from the price. In general, the service was very slow, even when in the dining area there was only one other couple eating and the menus are definitely not vegetarian-friendly. We also weren't expecting a knock at the door for room service at 9am on Sunday morning.

We had some friends staying in apartments in the resort (a 10 minute walk). It was impossible to get to see them without being charged for a driver to take us due to barriers being everywhere and not being allowed a pass to open them ourselves without being liable to a fine. The security was way too stringent. When trying to drive out the wrong exit, leading to the same road a few 100 meters up from the correct exit (there are no signs explaining this) we were forced
to turn around.. just to get out. There were other security related issues. The staff
were pleasant and generally helpful (if a bit slow) when they could be but there seemed to be too many pointless rules. The stay wasn't bad, just not representative of the cost and it's 5 star rating.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Laurence A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, May 18, 2014
Dear Lozza999

Thank you very much for taking the time to provide us with feedback on your stay at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

We’re very glad to hear that you enjoyed the breathtaking scenery and relaxed ambiance of our beautiful hotel. We will most definitely look into your recommendation on including a wider variety of vegetarian meals. Our chefs are also always on hand to prepare meals according to guest requests.

We’re sorry to hear that you found the rules of the Zimbali Coastal Estate to be restrictive. As an upmarket private residential estate they do take the security of all their residents and guests very seriously. As a hotel we do our best to minimize any inconvenience to our guests, and we do apologise for any challenges which you experienced.

Kind Regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 10, 2014

My partner and I spent the last weekend of our honeymoon at the lodge and could not have asked for a more relaxing experience!
Check was fast and efficient and we were taken to our rooms by a very friendly porter on the golf carts. Upon entering our room we were welcomed by a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, two champagne glasses and a tray of sweets including macaroons and chocolates!!! This truly made us feel special and we could appreciate it on the beautiful terrace over looking the resort.
The room is spacious and very clean!
Dinner was at Thandi's where we were also treated to incredible food!

Thank you Zimbali for an incredible experience...we will be back!!!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stevie J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Dear Stevie,

Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience of staying with us. We are truly humbled you choose Fairmont Zimbali Lodge for your honeymoon, and delighted it was so memorable.

Please accept our congratulations again on your most happy union. We wish you continued happiness together and we look forward to welcoming you both back to the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

Kind regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2014

Booked in for our 6th wedding anniversary. All was well until our anniversary supper was spoilt. I made a reservation at Thandi Restaurant. When we got there,we were given a table that seemed it was pulled out of a conference storage and not part of the rest of the lovely furniture. It made me feel very inferior to the other guest. All propped up on their comfy chairs and my indian family of 4 get to celebrate our special supper that we were so hyped up for,in a 5 star restaurant, feeling worse than indentured labourers. The waiter was not helpful, saying that I should have called very early. What has that got to do with the no of tables available? You should accept bookings based on the number of people you can accommodate, keep up to the so called 5 star lodge you claim to be. No alternatives were offered by the waiter. The very next morning there was no sign of their conference chairs. A spoilt evening

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Prindha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontZimbali, Public Relations Manager at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, responded to this review, May 8, 2014
Dear Prindha,

Congratulations on the occasion of your 6th Wedding Anniversary. We are truly humbled that you chose to mark this momentous occasion at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge.

We are delighted you enjoyed your stay at the Lodge, however we were disappointed to learn that the challenges you encountered while dining at Thandi Restaurant marred the five-star experience for you.

Please be assured that these issues have been looked into and addressed. This is not the standard which we wish for our guests to experience and sincerely regret any inconvenience that this may have caused.

We do hope that you will return to Fairmont Zimbali Lodge in the future and allow us the opportunity to improve your view on the five-star dining experience.

Kind regards,
The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge
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 Lodge

Property: Fairmont 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 #2 of 7 Hotels in Ballito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Zimbali Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 76
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Fairmont Hotels, Priceline and Jetsetter so you can book your Fairmont Zimbali Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel Ballito
Zimbali Hotel
Zimbali Lodge

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