We had high hopes of White Lodge in Constantia (a four-star rating), where we were staying for the last two nights of our South African trip. The reviews were good, Rachel had been very helpful when booking our room and a couple of restaurants. She had taken the trouble to call us at home in England a few weeks beforehand to ask if we could check in between 10 am and 11 am as it was Boxing Day and the staff were having their Christmas lunch. Of course, we said, and set off early from our beloved Akademie guest house in Franschhoek to arrive on time. Surprisingly, our room was not ready. OK, we thought. Rachel explained she only had a skeleton staff, everyone else had a day off. Not a problem for us. Then, looking for pool towels, which were supposed to be in the cupboard, but weren’t, we found loads of stuff left over by a previous occupant: a Kindle, adaptors, medicine, clothes… We gave them to the maid on duty.
The room (room 7) is large and airy, accessed by a wooden staircase. It has tea and coffee making facilities, a large bed, a sofa and is painted in muted tones of beige. It was a very hot day and the temperature in the room was over 30oC so we decided to put the air conditioning on. It tried for a while to bluster some coldish air then died. We asked the duty manageress (a lovely young woman who was very caring), she said one had to shake it, which she’d done and it worked. We tried but it still didn’t work. A young man came up and scratched his head. Still not working. In the end, we had to switch it off and hope we’d manage to sleep with the door wide open.
The next day, Rachel assured us an engineer would be around to look at the air conditioning unit but also told us that they ‘don’t advertise air conditioning’. What a strange statement: if the unit is in the room, it should be in working order. Was she implying that because AC is not advertised as being available, then, if it does not work, it’s OK and when it does, it’s a bonus? A few hours later, she told my husband the unit was not an air conditioner but a dehumidifier.
The next evening (which was much cooler), we were given a fan which I understand had been bought for the occasion, which was a nice gesture. When we came back from dinner that night, we found the ‘dehumidifier’ completely unplugged with a hole in the wall where the connection hose was. The label on the side of the unit read ‘mobile air conditioner’ with a cooling capacity of 9,000 Btu/hour.
We had an uncomfortable first night’s sleep. The bed was not a double bed but two singles pushed together – leaving that unmissable and uncomfortable ridge in the middle. A group of four Brits were playing a Trivial Pursuit-style game right underneath our room by the ‘honesty bar’ and were rather noisy for a couple of hours. The plumbing is also quite noisy and every time someone was running water, it woke me up (when I had finally managed to get to sleep). The walls are thin and you can hear people’s conversations (and coughs and worse) from other rooms.
There is no fridge in the room but there is one in reception, from which you can help yourself to drinks, writing down your consumption in a book. Sadly the fridge did not stock any water when we arrived (it was re-stocked by the time we left). The room contained a jug of water which was warm, because of the weather but useful for making coffee. The prettily packaged biscuits and cupcakes we were given on Boxing Day’s evening were a nice touch.
The bathroom of Room 7 is in need of a spruce up: two cracked floor tiles, mould on the grouting, mould and dirt at the bottom of the shower tray. The towels are new and good quality but there are no facecloths A magnifying mirror would useful. No soap (some of us are not terribly fond of liquid soap and 2-in-1 shampoo). The loo could do with a new seat and the bathroom dustbin lid was pitted with rust.
The Wifi signal was weak and I could not download even the simplest of emails nor get into my Yahoo account unless the place was empty and then only after several attempts. It took me over 20 minutes to log in the first evening.
Breakfast is OK (good pancakes and cooked breakfast but packaged orange juice and cheap jams). The lady who served breakfast was very pleasant and friendly.
The pool is small but there is a great gazebo under which you can sit and read away from the sun. Parking facilities are secure and the area is pretty and easy to get to from Cape Town.
Rachel very kindly offered a very late check out time on our last day which was a really helpful - and much appreciated - gesture as we were flying quite late. It allowed us to spend the day in Cape Town and have a shower and change before going to the airport, and we are very grateful to Rachel for this.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Constantia White Lodge is wonderfully located, nestled in the heart of the Constantia Valley, one of South Africa’s most famous and picturesque wine-growing regions. The residence is set in tranquil, park like grounds, with an abundance of natural bird life and beautiful mountain views. Constantia White Lodge is located within easy access of Cape Town’s bustling city centre, major tourist attractions, as well as beaches, wine-estates and world-class golf courses, making it the ideal address for the discerning holiday or business visitor. Three of the top 50 restaurants in the World lie only 5 minutes from our door. A shopper’s heaven is a 4 minute drive away to Constantia Mall, where you will find an abundance of chic boutiques, fine jewelers and stylish café bars and restaurants. Guests are accommodated in luxurious king/twin rooms, each with its own private entrance and on-suite bathroom, beautifully decorated in relaxing and tasteful designs. The rooms offer quality beds, cri ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Constantia White Lodge Cape Town, South Africa