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African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa
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Reviewed December 2, 2012

My wife and I recently stayed at the hotel for a long weekend. The hotel is just about an hour away from Sandton so it was a relatively short drive. The hotel is a good distance away from the centre of the town and at a higher elevation and one gets fantastic views of the area.

The main hotel building itself does not have any rooms and the "hotel" is generally made up modern and more rustic thatched units. There is a decent size swimming pool (cold water) just off the main hotel building, and a very charming secluded small warmish pool just off the main pool which has great benches in the water - I even took a gamble of reading my kindle while sitting in the pool. We stayed in one of the thatched units close to the small pool and the room inside clearly had been refurbished a while back so the outside can be quite deceiving as one has a modern inside with all the perks, which pleasingly included a safe, which for me should be a standard at every decent hotel.

The modern units looked very nice and the top end ones have their own patio deck with their own small dip pool. The gem of Mount Grace and appears to me to be their main draw card is their Wellness Centre, which takes place of pride at the top of the hill. I have been too a number of wellness centers and this one came out on top for me. Eye-catchers for me were the outdoor changing rooms, the themed music playing in the walkway, the great luxurious hot and cold pools and the waiting area with complimentary refreshments and light food. Could they improve it even more - I say yes on a couple of items (1) hide away the ugly electrical cables and pipes leading to the outdoor speakers - it ruins the whole effect and (2) cater for a wider variety of drinks. I wanted to order a cocktail while soaking in the hot pool, only to be told it would have to be arranged with the bar in the main hotel building.

what are the things that stood out for me? The golf carts that they use to take the guests all over - really charming. The free wi-fi was a surprise and a real bonus for me with my iPad. The walk through the mini-forest from the top of the hill to the lower section was great and made one think one was in a real forest.

As with all things, there are some areas of potential improvement and have listed them in no particular order:

1. If one is to offer wi-fi, make sure that the signal is not continuously dropping as that will become irritating over time.
2. Have a wider variety of food for dinner in the buffet restaurant - this is one place where I really felt that I did not get value for money.
3. Change the decor of the buffet restaurant - the orange wallpaper is hideous and does nothing to create a good atmosphere. Added to that is that the restaurant is way too well lit and could do with toned down lighting.
4. While I do appreciate that Mount Grace is for adults, consider catering for different types of needs and adults. As an example, I was quite surprised not to find a TV in the bar area so had to go back to our unit to watch the rugby.

Having listed all the above, we really enjoyed the stay and actually wished that we had a day extra which we rarely say about other places. We enjoyed the tranquility and the spoiling at the wellness center, and we would go back again and have no reservations about recommending it to others, but the key word is tranquility, as some might find too sedate and boring, as I think that is the niche that they have tried to meet.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Neil V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel_Management2010, General Manager at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 3, 2012

Dear Neilvend,

What a brilliant review! Thank you for the detailed comments on all services and facilities you enjoyed while staying at the Mount Grace Country House and Spa - but also all elements that you raised that require further improvement. Very helpful and much appreciated.

Some short comments on the areas of improvement raised:

• Wi-Fi – We have indeed experienced a lot of Internet and phone signal connectivity issues in recent weeks due to unforeseen weather circumstances. We have already taken various actions in order to minimalize future disruption. Apologies for the inconveniences caused.
• Variety of buffet – thank you for your constructive criticism on the buffet offering. We have discussed this at length with our kitchen and restaurant team and will address this accordingly.
• Twist Restaurant – We will look into reviewing lighting settings in the restaurant to enhance the ambiance during the evening and have taken note of your comments on the wallpaper during upcoming soft refurbishment.
• TV Services – Generally we do have this facility available (e.g. in our upstairs “billiards” room, but will discuss this comment with the management to see how we can facilitate for this consistently in future.

Again, thank you for your detailed comments and for recommending our beautiful hotel! We are looking forward to hosting you again soon!

Kind regards,

Nelson Rodrigues – General Manager
Mount Grace Country House and Spa

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

We had a fantastic weekend at Mount Grace! The perfect spot to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The staff at both the hotel and spa delivered great service and all worked extremely well to make us feel relaxed and pampered and make our stay memorable. The room was well equipped and very luxurious. We will definitely be back!!

Room Tip: We stayed in strelizia, these rooms are great as they have their own private splash pool. Wonderful to have a relaxing drink at your own pool with a beautiful view of the magalieberg. These rooms are also very close to the spa.
Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank La_B24_02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel_Management2010, General Manager at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Dear La_B24_02

At the Mount Grace, meeting and exceeding our GUEST expectations is our passion, so we thank you for giving us such an amazing review. We are thrilled to hear we have been able to make your wedding anniversary a memorable one.

We do hope that you will come back soon to celebrate another special moment at our beautiful estate as we look forward to hosting you again!

Kind Regards

Nelson Rodrigues – General Manager
Mount Grace Country House and Spa

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Reviewed November 26, 2012

This might be along review, but I need to explain various things about our stay at the hotel. Our stay was literally divided into 2 days of 2 different experiences. So I’ll start with our first day.

We arrived early for breakfast prior to check-in to enjoy with the rest of our family that have already booked in the previous day. The hotel confirmed that breakfast is R185 per person, which we did find a bit steep, as the food and variety of the breakfast wasn't what we experienced 1 year ago. The hotel was fully booked the previous night with conferences, so breakfast was also a bit of mayhem with people running around and service not up to scratch.
After breakfast we retired to the lounge, where there was no service again, as we had to ask for tea twice and finally arrived after about an hour. We realised that the hotel was full of various conferences the weekend, and the main lounge area was made smaller for conference guests and as a result, chairs and loungers were squeezed into another small lounge area. At lunch time we decided to order drinks, and yet again we had to go to the inside bar and order ourselves as no staff were around to attend to guests. Another big conference arrived and took over the bar and 2 restaurants with various year-end parties, with the result that whenever we wanted more drinks, we had to go to the bar inside and order and take the drinks ourselves. To the extent that one of our party came out with 4 wine glasses & open bottle of wine in his hands.

During the above time we also queried at reception for an extension of stay for some of our party as their balloon flight was cancelled due to weather. We also wanted to confirm when we will be able to check into our room, and we were told that we would be phoned on our cellphones to confirm all the info, but we never received any calls.

We went up to the spa to relax and use the facilities, but with the amount of conference people at the hotel, it was extremely busy with everyone eating, sitting, waiting, using the pools etc. We went to reception again to find out if our room is finally ready, and we were also given confirmation on the extension of stay rates, 4 hours after the initial queries.

We retired to our standard room which we found extremely small for the rate that is being charged for the stay. All amenities are in the room are as required, and the room has everything you need, but it felt more like everything was squeezed into the room just to tick all the boxes, than a luxurious room. Sound proofing between the 2 adjoining rooms weren't great, as you could hear the next door guests going about their room and talking etc. The bathrooms were also extremely small with literally a shower, basin & toilet and sliding door to the bathroom as a normal door cannot fit into the small space. When 1 person used the bathroom, the bathroom was literally full and no-one else can enter.

The evening we had a gourmet food & wine dinner in the fine-dining restaurant. This was superb. The food, wine and service during the evening was outstanding, and we enjoyed the evening thoroughly. The relatively new executive chef surprised us with the execution, taste and presentation of the food, and we commend her for it.

When we retired to our room at 23:30 we realised that there was another function in the conference hall right next to our room, and dance music was playing so loud that with even earplugs in, we could hear the music in our room. At 00:00 we phoned reception to complain, and they said they will send security to tell the party to turn down the music. The other people in our party had more conference guests in the heated pool in front of their room that shouted, swam and partied until 01:30 that morning, with no security staff or hotel staff to quieten them.

Breakfast the following morning was exactly the same items as the previous day, and again mayhem with all the people and staff not being able to cope with the amount of guests. One of our party requested poached eggs, which arrived after 30 minutes after querying about it three times.

After breakfast all the conference people checked out and then the hotel turned into what we actually expected from the first day. Staff was everywhere again and helpful with any query while the ground were being maintained and peace returned to the hotel. The afternoon lunch on the porch was extremely peaceful with service and the attentativeness that we initially expected.

So, it wasn't a good weekend at the hotel. The Sunday was a very relaxing day and we did enjoy it, but it seems that when the hotel is booked with that many conferences that the paying guests are completely neglected. We felt that our rooms are also highly overpriced for what you receive. Hotel management should definitely also ensure that conferences do not disrupt the peace and service of the other guests, especially at night. The hotel grounds really are beautiful and well maintained with the various pools and lovely parts of the garden. The spa is also beautiful, but should also be used when there aren’t many people.

We will probably return for a lunch, dinner or day at the spa, but we will definitely not be staying over again. And if you are planning on staying there, ask about the amount of conferences at the hotel, as this will surely affect your stay.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank mitxcoac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel_Management2010, General Manager at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2012

Dear Mixtcoac,

On behalf of the entire TEAM at the Mount Grace Country House and Spa, I would like to sincere apologise for the disappointing start of your stay with us.

Reading your detailed and much appreciated feedback on your 2 night stay, it sounds like we dropped the ball on day one and it certainly does not seem as if you received the true Mount Grace offering and service.

We will be sure to readdress these issues identified when experiencing high volumes of conference guests at the property, as there is no excuse for this to affect your hospitality experience in any way.
All of our GUESTS are our top priority and must always be attended to in a warm, professional and efficient manner, irrespective of other functions at the hotel.

We can assure you that your experiences on day one are not a reflection of the high standard of service we strive to achieve and will be discussed in detail with all management. We really hope to have an opportunity of making it up to you and prove that we are proud of our country house and the services my TEAM provides.

Warm regards,

Nelson Rodrigues – General Manager
Mount Grace Country House and Spa

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Reviewed November 24, 2012

This is a beautiful resort for a weekend getaway from Johannesburg. The grounds are immaculate, the rooms are nice, there is a beautiful view of the mountains, and the restaurant food is good. If you're coming for a true "African" experience, I wouldn't recommend it, because other than the thatched roofs, you could get the same thing in Florida.

If you are looking for a place to relax and don't need much service, you may like it.

My group ran into problems, because, being from abroad, we needed help navigating the area. Here are a sample of the problems we had:

1) We asked the concierge to arrange a trip to the Sterkfontein caves for a group of seven. The bus came on time, and delivered us to....Meropeng. By the time we realized the problem, it was too late to get to the caves in time for the last tour. Thankfully, the people at Meropeng were kind enough to arrange a private tour for our group for an extra charge.

2) I arranged to have a car pick me up for departure to Pretoria. When I didn't show up promptly, the car left without anyone alerting me. When I asked why I wasn't alerted, I was told that the person who made the reservation neglected to note my name. Fortunately, they were able to call back the car. In addition to not noting my name, the concierge also neglected to note my destination.

3) Getting to my destination was a nightmare. A one hour ride turned into a 2.5 hour ordeal, because the driver kept getting lost. OK, maybe not the hotel's fault. However, at the end, when the driver couldn't produce a receipt, we agreed that he would leave one at the hotel the next time he was there, and the hotel would forward to me. Completely unable to get that receipt despite multiple tries.

All of these could be forgivable errors of rookie staff. But what I couldn't excuse is the two week ongoing struggle I've been having to resolve these issues with management. The two simple issues were: 1) reimbursement for the extra expense of the cave tours and 2) getting a receipt from the car company. I've called and emailed probably 8-10 times with no resolution so far. Phone messages left with the desk have gone unreturned. It was a challenge to find an email, since the home page lists a nonexistent one. When I tried the reservations email, those messages were ignored. I finally found the email for the general manager, who replied, confirming that someone else had already taken care of my issues (they hadn't.) I've had a slow exchange of emails with the general manager since then, with no resolution.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Ken2012_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel_Management2010, General Manager at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Dear Ken2012_12,

I would like to apologise most sincerely that you encountered such a disappointing experience while making use of the various transport service providers involved while staying at the Mount Grace Country House and Spa.

I would like to thank you for discussing your experiences with me in person and for bringing these service lapses to my attention. As mentioned, I understand your disappointment and frustration.

As mentioned previously, although the hotel does not manage these parties concerned, I am more than willing to assist you with your efforts to seek some form of resolution from the parties involved. And we have placed this as a priority concern allowing for better quality monitoring of taxi services and tour agents going forward.

Please contact me directly, allowing me to provide further personal assistance on the matter.


Kind Regards

Nelson Rodrigues – General Manager
Mount Grace Country House and Spa

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Reviewed November 11, 2012

What a true gem in the middle of nowhere.. The rooms are all seperated and the grounds are beautiful. I had the opportunity to eat in the restaurant for dinner and lunch and it was fantastic. My only 2 complaints were that the gym is extremly small and the internet is very poor (little to no connection).
The spa is great and with the exchange rate from the US it was very cheap.

Room Tip: Note if you would rather be at the reception area or the spa area. There are a lot of rooms that are spread across the property. Hills and a lot of walking may be required.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
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Thank jwumfs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotel_Management2010, General Manager at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2012

Dear jwumfs,

What a "GEM" of a review! We very much appreciate your kind recommendations of our hotel and the entire TEAM is extremely happy to hear that we have been able to provide you with a memorable and relaxing experience while visiting our beautiful country.

Do make sure you pay us another visit soon, both to South Africa as well as the Mount Grace Country House and Spa!

Warm regards,

Nelson Rodrigues - General Manager
Mount Grace Country House and Spa

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