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“absolutely terrible”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Santos Express

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Santos Express
Ranked #11 of 52 Mossel Bay B&B and Inns
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“absolutely terrible”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 19, 2012

where to start... i was not shown to my room, just handed a key and told a number.
the bathrooms were dirty, had sand in them, cold showers, bugs...
the 'bed' was actually just 2 seat cushions together, with a blanket with it.
no outlet in room.
window was stuck fairly closed.
the food was not good and the whole time i was there (24 hours as i decided to leave mossel baii after seeing santos express) the bar and restaurant were empty.. really tells you something about a restaurant when you dont see one other person eating there.
the wifi was expensive and slow and the front desk staff were not friendly and did not have many resources for mossel baii... when i asked for simple directions to a grocery store, the staff had me walk through a museum ground of some sort, which you were charged for...

the price is the same as other accommodations in town so dont even bother with it... im not picky when it comes to hostels, you really cant expect much for R100 a night.. but santos express was the worst backpackers ive ever stayed at. the only good thing about it was that it was right on the beach..

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Emma M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, Manager at Santos Express, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
Dear Emma M,

Thank you for your review. We regret that you did not enjoy your stay with us last year in June 2011 and only bring it to our attention now. We have since made a few changes for the better and trust that we have addressed all the issues pertaining to your complaints. We have introduced free WiFi service for all our guests and our restaurant has been revamped. The shortest route to the nearest shopping centre is through the museum and we are sorry that you were charged by the museum staff, that was unnecessary and unfortunate. We do struggle with the sand in the showers, due to being right on the beach and most guests do not think to rinse their feet before entering the bathroom areas. The showers are gas heated and it happens occasionally that the pilot lights are extinguished by wind. We have since added informational signs and we request that guests inform us so that we can re-light the gas heaters. We do apologize for your cold shower! We have added outlets in the rooms for cellphones and laptops, with larger outlets supplied in the bathrooms for hairdryers.

We provide unique accommodation and try to maintain it’s originality, which we feel enhances the experience. Most of the fittings and furniture are still originals from the mid seventies, when our train was operational. Apart from keeping it as clean and tidy as possible, we are dealing with antique fittings and furniture, which are extremely difficult to replace and obviously brand new replacements are not available. We are considering a total revamp, but this would mean that none of the original pieces can be kept, which in turn is against our preservation and restoration policy. We regret that you were not able to enjoy the experience and the unique charm of the accommodation.

Unfortunately you stayed with us during our quietest time of the year and you should definitely plan your next visit for a December, when all the action is right here and the weather is fabulous. We appreciate your candor and do hope that you will visit our amazing little town in future, as we do have a lot to offer, more than can be experienced within 24 hours.
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366 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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centerbrook
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2012

I do not recomend this place because we were charged a different amount then what my reservation receipt was for. I was suppose to have paid R450.05 however I was charged R610.00
When I questioned the woman at the front desk she turned very rude and told me that it was the correct charge. My reservation receipt clearly showed what I had reserved but she would not honor it. The reservation was for 1 two bed room and 1 bunk bed in the shared room.

Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank m d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, Manager at Santos Express, responded to this review, June 5, 2012
Dear M D

Thank you for the review.
The reason for the price increase was due to your original dormitory booking being changed to a single room booking by your request.

Regards
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Travelers are raving about these Mossel Bay hotels

Fairbanks, Alaska
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2012

I have stayed here twice now and have absolutely no complaints. For the price (160 Rand - about $21.00 USD) the old railway car rooms are just fine. Yes, they are extremely basic, but I think great value for the money paid. Many hostels charge similar if not more to stay in a 6-10 bed dorm. I suspect those who expect maid service and the like are simply inexperienced tourists as opposed to bonafide TRAVELERS. Bottom line - you get what you pay for, and then some with a nice restaurant and bar on premises.

Room Tip: The first car (CarA) has the best showers
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Elton P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2012

This is the accommodation from hell - really for the most basic of Backpackers! We booked the Caboose (Guards Van), which is the best ensuite accommodation available, but there was no maid service available to us, and therefore the room and bathroom remained uncleaned for the duration of our stay. We made our own bed. The train accommodation is literally falling apart - has obviously been there for many years, and is in simply dreadful condition throughout. Fantastic position, though - right on the beach, and about 15m to the ocean! The 'plus points' are that Mossel Bay must be the best kept secret along South Africa's Garden Route, because it provides beautiful beaches, safe swimming, and a plethora of delightful little pubs and reasonably priced restaurants. But give the train a BIG MISS!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Edward190
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, General Manager at Santos Express, responded to this review, March 5, 2012
“ Dear Edward190,

Thank you for your review. We do regret that you found our backpackers accommodation too basic for your needs. While we aim to provide value for money accommodation, we are unable to include daily room service in our already reasonable rates. We do have cleaning staff available from 7am until late, which we did offer to you free of charge, but you declined their services.

Our accommodation is aimed at the more adventurous spirited and seasoned traveler, affordable without any unnecessary costs for luxury services. We aim to provide a unique
sleeping experience in an authentic train containing all the original fittings. Please keep in mind that our coaches are original pieces that were operational in the mid nineteen seventies. Apart from keeping it as clean and tidy as possible, we are dealing with antique fittings and furniture, which are extremely difficult to replace and obviously brand new replacements are not available. We are considering a total revamp, but this would mean that none of the original pieces can be kept, which in turn is against our preservation and restoration policy.

We appreciate your honesty and we hope that you visit our beautiful town again, we may be able to assist you in finding more appropriate accommodation at one of the five star hotels in the area. “
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Mossel Bay, South Africa
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2012

My stay at Santos express was very interesting! I lost my phone down the side of the trin and the maintenance guys were fantastic at getting it back for me without waking any of the dorm guests up! Good service at the bar, restaurant and at reception.

Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank zippy_di_doo_dah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2012

This is really just a back packers. The people at the service desk ignore you and pretend to not see you. It is very old and not well maintained. There are spiders in the bathroom (oh and expect cold showers) and a wretched smell throughout the train. The windows barely open, the door of the unit I was in couldn't close properly and the walls are so thin that you can hear the conversations of the people next door. The breakfast was below average and the fruit not fresh. The service in the restuarant leaves much to be desired. They say that quality and service are their main objectives but I can say that they are failing dismally at this. The waitresses ignore you and the simple things, like the advertised cocktails on offer are not available, or a clean glass of water comes dirty. The Wi-Fi offer is over priced and you cannot access it in your room but only in the restuarant. You cannot plug anything other than 2-pin plugs in the room. If ever you are really that desperate, then stay and eat here, otherwise, pay that little bit extra and get decent service.

Room Tip: Just make sure its max 2 people in the room. Anything more will be too cramped. 2 people is already...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GuguJohannesburg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, Owner at Santos Express, responded to this review, January 12, 2012
Thank you for your review. We do class ourselves as being a backpackers establishment with a unique twist. We try to keep it, as much as possible, authentic and in good condition, most of the fittings are original, which we feel lends a certain charm to your experience. As we are situated so close to the beach, small spiders do tend to creep in from time to time, and as we are as environmentally friendly as possible, we relocate them instead of killing them on sight. This particular one may not have checked out in time, we do apologize. Keeping things clean and tidy so close to the beach is a challenge, we therefor have cleaning staff on duty from 7am until 22pm daily. As you stayed with us during the busiest time of our peak season, it may not have been as squeaky clean as you would hope, due to the massive numbers of clients we have passing through. With shared facilities it is always a challenge to keep things neat and tidy on a permanent basis throughout the day. We are not aware of any wretched smell, it may be the pine fragrance cleaning products we use and you not be partial to that particular fragrance. We do apologize for offending your nose.

All of the doors to the compartments are still original and do not close completely when locked from the outside, they do however close snugly when locked from the inside. Unfortunately the rooms were not designed to be sound proof, as the movement of the train would have disguised most of the background noises on the carriage. This does however allow the sound of the waves to lull you to sleep at night, which most people find very soothing.

All rates include a continental breakfast (excluding dorm rates):
Tea / Coffee which is full Arabica ground beans
Fruit Juice
Selection of cereals
Toast and spreads
Fresh fruit / fruit salad

We do have a full a la carte menu available and all day hot breakfast is served from 7:30am onwards.

We offer electrical outlets in all rooms that are able to charge cell phones and laptops free of charge. Every second bathroom also contains an outlet where hairdryers may be used. For any other electrical equipment needs, we offer guests the use of our office outlets, also free of charge. We do offer a WIFI hotspot and ours is available throughout our restaurant, bar and deck areas.

We apologise for our staff not attending to your needs immediately, but with a few hundred customers making use of our facilities over the New Year, it may happen that guests are not immediately attended to.

We regret that you did not enjoy your stay as much as expected. The Santos Express Train Lodge was voted one of the most unique places to stay in the world and we are geared towards the more adventurous spirited and seasoned traveler and is not for everyone. We are sorry it was not to your liking.
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Boca Raton
Level Contributor
75 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

We really enjoyed our stay here. You can't beat the location of the train right at the beach, and the restaurant and bar are very convenient. The rooms are as you would expect- small and cramped but it was wonderful to wake up to and fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean and the beds were comfortable. Definitely recommend if you want to be close to the beach and don't mind the small quarters. It is a 10 min walk to the center of town.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bluepassion264
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Santos Express

Property: Santos Express
Address: Munro Road | Santos Beach, Mossel Bay 6500, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Mossel Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 52 B&Bs / Inns in Mossel Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Santos Express 2.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Accommodation is in a train parked just 30m from the beach.We have an onsite restaurant and fully licensed bar. Function/Conference venue is available, perfect for a beach wedding. We can accommodate large groups comfortably. ... more   less 
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