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“SANTOS EXPRESS”
Review of Santos Express

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Santos Express
Ranked #9 of 54 Mossel Bay B&B and Inns
Reviewed March 18, 2013

At the end of 2012, my brother made use of this facility to host his daughter's 21st birthday party. We were a party of about 30 people, ranging from 80 to 5 years old, and most of us spent 3 nights at Santos.
One has to take the accommodation for what it is, ie. compartments on old train coaches, with shared bathroom facilities, otherwise, this is not for you.
I would agree with comments in another review, that one needs to be able to secure one's compartment, during the day and at night despite having the windows open. The slatted shutters in our compartment did work, but this was not the case in all the compartments we occupied.
The only real negative for us as guests at the Santos Express, was the parking. We were there during the peak summer holiday season, and the general public flock to the beach from early morning, and despite the best efforts of a couple of gentlemen trying to control the parking situation, it was absolute pandemonium. Those of us who did need to use our vehicles, ended up having to park blocks away on our return, and then move our vehicles closer again late in the day. We did note this in our thanks to the Santos team following our stay, and our suggestion is that they try and secure the parking from outside their reception area, to the boom leading into the yacht club, for guests of the Santos Express.
Other than that, the most relaxing break I have had in a long time, and we have every intention of returning. 100% for location. Good food at the restaurant, with a lovely deck overlooking the beach. Very helpful staff. Fantastic beach.
An additional attraction for us was the little tram that travels between Hartenbos and Mossel Bay which was in operation during our stay, with Santos being one of it's stops. A few of us hopped on the tram to the mall, without having to negotiate peak holiday traffic and be hassled about finding parking.

Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
Thank BJN9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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263 - 269 of 405 reviews

Reviewed March 17, 2013

at 21h00 on the eve of our arrival, we had a sudden jerking of the door to the caboose with someone trying to get in. very scary and disconcerting. from there we had a mouse in the room scouring for the most part of the night making a noise behind the fridge. speaking of the fridge, sounded like an aeroplaone landing every 10 minutes, not appropriate for such a small room.

the room needs air-conditioning or fan; otherwise put burglur bars on the windows so people can sleep with windows open. it is way too hot!!!!

otherwie, the restaurant was lovely and loation is brilliant. very cute concept.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank debraharmuth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, Manager at Santos Express, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2013

Dear debraharmuth,

Thank you for your review. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay, apart from the heat and what turns out to be a faulty fridge fan bearing, not a mouse. Unfortunately you stayed with us during the warmest and most humid part of the year. We have been considering burglar bars for some time, but that would mean that we would essentially have to deface the original look of the train, which we find to be a very sad concept. The windows are however equipped with shutters, which do allow you to keep the windows open but safe, and the fresh sea breeze blowing through.

The caboose is currently undergoing a complete makeover and the fridge has a brand new fan bearing. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. Our security guard does his rounds every night and checks all the doors, to make sure that everything is safe and secure. We do apologize if he gave you a fright!

We do hope you will stay with us again in future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

This is traditional sleeper train car in an nontraditional place. Each compartment has either 2 or 4 beds. It's cheap and cozy. Open the window and enjoy the ocean and it feels like you're moving. The restaurant has good food and since there is a full bar, you are only a stumble away from your room! The three drawbacks are shared toilet and bath but that more of an inconvenience than anything. The second is the 40 years old mattress. The MAJOR drawback is the sink in the compartment, not to use mind you but if your neighbor is using it very much it will wake you from a dead sleep. The pipes rattle so loud that it be heard from 2 compartments away and if they use to say brush their teeth or wash their face it will drive you to hit the wall. Not kidding, but it's because they automatically shut off in a couple of seconds so you have to keep pushing it. They should just disconnect the compartment sinks from working at all. But still, it's fun and I would do it again.

Room Tip: No air conditioning but it's not needed. All rooms face the ocean. It's a train car with a...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank woodywould
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

This was one my favorite places during our 3 week long trip across S. Africa. Staying directly on the beach is awesome and staff were very friendly and helpful. The restaurant/bar offers good food and drink at a reasonable price on a deck overlooking the beach.
I would definitely recommend Santos Express

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Matt L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Very close to the coast, in the morning you'll hear and smell the sea.
It's an unique place to be if you take a room!
However, it's a hell if you take a dorm because there is no adequate way to close the door and windows of your dorm safely!
Example: You leave your dorm early in the morning, another guest leaves the dorm mindless by letting open the windows and your belongings dissapear by thefts!
My camera was stolen! Another guest told me that his smartphone was stolen!
It is a pity!

Room Tip: Take a room instead a dorm for your belongings!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Ceul_77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, Manager at Santos Express, responded to this reviewResponded February 14, 2013

Dear Ceul_77,

Thank you for your positive review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay and regret that you fell victim to someone else’s carelessness. We do however provide lockers in the dormitory, as well as extra locks at reception, should you not have your own lock. We also have a small safe in our office, which we offer to guests when they check in, so that personal and valuable items can be kept safe. It is a pity that you did not make use of the free lockers or safe.

Kind regards,
Management

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Reviewed February 6, 2013

How nice is that sleeping in a train and waking up with view on the beach from your bed!
We had a really nice time at Santos express, a warm welcome a clean room. Small but what do you aspect when you sleep in an old train. The bathroom facilities are clean and good.
Iff you jump out of the window you are on the beach and the village is on walking distance.
Further I want to compliment the staff, we had 'some' troubles with our further transport and they did everything they could. Even iff this meant the phone was ringing all the time for us!
I recommend!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank AnoekV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

The Santos Express seems like a great idea at first, even if just for the novelty sleeping in a train. However it was a total let down and almost ruined our short stay in Mossel Bay. Firstly, they are a Baz Bus stop which promotes the idea they are a backpackers. This couldn't be further from the truth and we were woken up on the last day of our trip round South Africa by screaming kids running around the carriage at 6AM.
The staff act as though you are an inconvenience to them, and were stupid enough to moan about the guests in Afrikaans, not realising that we (along with probably 90% of their guests) understood. The toilets and showers were not clean and the rooms are incredibly cramped. I would definitely recommend staying at another backpackers in Mossel Bay. The only redeeming feature is it's proximity to the beach, although even this cannot make up for all the other shortcomings.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Traveller41CapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantosTrain, Manager at Santos Express, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

Dear Traveller41CapeTown,

Thank you for taking the time to add your review. We do regret that you did not enjoy your stay with us. We apologize for the utterly unprofessional behaviour of our staff and aim to increase our training standards significantly.

We do not advertise our Train Lodge exclusively as a backpackers. We are merely a convenient stop for the Baz Bus, they do not have too many stops in Mossel Bay. We try to cater for as many different types of traveler as we can and we try to be as family friendly as possible. During the time of your stay, we did have a large group of mothers and their children staying with us. We apologize if they inconvenienced you in any way, but unfortunately we do not have any control over the parenting skills of our patrons. We try to be tolerant of all our guests, no matter their age or upbringing.

Unfortunately we cannot change the size of our compartments to make them more comfortable. We do realize that they are on the small side, but they are still the original compartments and fittings from the mid seventies when our train was functional. We try to maintain as much of the original train as possible, as we feel this enhances the uniqueness of the experience. We do struggle with the sand in the showers, due to being right on the beach and our cleaners fight a constant battle to keep the facilities in tip top condition.

We regret that you were not able to enjoy the experience and the unique charm of the accommodation. 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 a day or two.

Regards,
Management

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Additional Information about 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 #9 of 54 B&Bs / Inns in Mossel Bay
Price Range: $20 - $82 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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