What to expect
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Last 5 reviews
Our girls weekend at the Valley of Flowers..
Nestled on an idyllic beachfront stretch of Indian Ocean along the North Coast, what struck me at first glance as we arrived for our weekend at Zimbali, Valley of Flowers, was the convenience. This resort is just a short drive from King Shaka International Airport. It was not long before we were safely checked into our Deluxe Seaview Suite and had a chance to take it all in with a Lavazza espresso in hand. No trouble had been spared with regards to ensuring that every comfort in our room had been made available to us, along with unrivalled views of the ocean which has its own form of therapy and relaxation to offer discerning guests. Our weekend of pampering, cocktails and relaxation was off to a luxurious start! Famished after our travels, we headed off in search of sustenance and found it in the form of a delicious sushi feast and signature cocktail with a view, at 31 Degrees. As we took in the stunning views from this fifth floor restaurant, we joked with our waitress that Fairmont was just showing off as we were teased with views of both their main pool and the exquisite Indian Ocean below us. During our lunch, I was intrigued to learn that Fairmont Zimbali has a choice of not one but five outdoor swimming pools equipped with loungers and umbrellas for us to choose from and enjoy during our stay. Spoilt for choice? I thought so! The competitive streak in me raised its head and I must admit, I found it tempting not to try to fit in visits to all five pools in the first day. We soon found that pool relaxation is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the facilities that one could make use of during their stay here but it certainly is a fantastic way to start the holiday. The next day, we woke up early, expectant and excited, and first up on our agenda, some pampering, complete with an Aromatherapy Massage and trip to the Blow Dry bar for a wash and blow dry. It wasn’t long before we were settled in our spa gowns enjoying the ‘Great Lounge’ between treatments enjoying a chamomile tea and healthy muesli snack. Rejuvinated and refreshed after a day of relaxation, we headed back to our Suite to get ready for some pre-dinner drinks. To kick off the evening, we were seated in the Vinum Lounge where we were given a guided tour of the extensive gin range on offer, and a few cocktails later, we were ready to “delight in the flavours of India” at Fairmont Zimbali’s OSA Restaurant. For me, no trip to Kwazulu-Natal would be complete without a delicious curry (or two) during our stay, but what impressed me whilst looking over the menu, was that the menu also offers a selection of signature grills and other options to suite most tastes. Seated in a plush booth, cocktails in hand, our exquisitely plated starters arrived in the form of Zafrani Jhinga (Tiger Prawns) and Lamb Hariyali Kebabs cooked to perfection in Osa’s tandoori clay oven. Next up, it was onto an Osa signature curry for main which also did not disappoint! Full and happy, we made our way back to our comfortable suite for some balcony views and to fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. Our stay at the Valley of Flowers, flew by in the blink of an eye, and it was not long before we were homeward bound, already discussing when next, we could possibly return. What we left with.. Whether it be a morning stroll on the beach, enjoying an afternoon tea, tennis, golf, or an indulgent spa treatment at Willow Stream Spa that takes your fancy, one thing is apparent.. Fairmont Zimbali Resort really does have your interests at heart.
3 night stay
We ended our2 week garden route stay at this hotel where there was a clear lack of senior management grip over hotel room standards! We complained about the cracked wash hand basin, mildew and grime shower head and other unacceptable standards to be given a bigger room - a suite- to find significant other problems there. The GM was on holiday, there was no duty manager until the afternoon but we’re treated to a visit by the Chief Engineer who heaped platitudes on us and did nothing for the rest of our stay! He couldn’t have cared less. The hotel is only interested in revenue from Conventions and weddings and whilst beautifully situated is just not worth the hassle or money. I very strongly recommend giving it a wide miss!
Hotel feels ‚tired and unloved‘!
We spent 5 nights at the Fairmont, our stay was more than long enough! Never ideal but a couple of friends had ‚raved‘ about the place, our expectations were quite high to beginn with! I think the fairest thing to say is that the hotel feels and looks tired. Everything is a bit grubby and old! The place just doesn’t feel loved! Apart from the entrance at the reception and the spa area, theres no part of the hotel that inspires you or feels luxurious ! Rooms are damp, as are all your clothes after a couple of days stay. You cant air the rooms for long as the monkeys come in through the windows! Its very amusing but you seriously cannot leave the window open day or night! Food choice is very basic! Unfortunately the beach bar was closed for renovations during our stay, a good sign for sure but the alternative for lunch at the pool bar every day was very basic. Not much to choose from and very basic service! Buffet dinner in the main restaurant was very tasty but no atmosphere sitting here whatsoever! The highly praised Indian restaurant was a huge disappointment! Few dishes to choose from, none of us enjoyed our meal! Breakfast buffet was lovely, sadly the gardener starts blowing away the leaves around the pool area from 07:30 onwards so breakfast with a stunning view in peace and tranquility’s not possible! That‘s what i mean by nothing feels loved.. no feel for what guests are looking for in a resort hotel! No attention is paid to detail to make you feel relaxed or special. The staff are very friendly but a tad too relaxed for a 5 star hotel! The concierge and reception team should train the waiting staff, these guys couldn’t do enough for you! The nicest touch we experienced was the ‚turn down‘ from housekeeping- that was unexpected and lovely how they prepared your room in the evening! All in all a very disappointing stay from a world ‚Fairmont‘ Hotel.
Not a pleasant stay
I booked a bay window room and when I checked in I was booked in one of the garden suites. The first problem was the key not working. Then one of the staff opened for us. Then there was no kettle in the room. When I called to ask for one the phone in the room didn’t work. I called with my cellphone and I asked to get another room. That was not possible. They said they would get someone to fix the issues. Not sure if someone is coming or not. In the meantime we can’t leave the room because our door doesn’t lock from outside. Not impressed at all
Cockroaches! NOT a 5*
This was the last leg of our honeymoon. Over 14 days we had stayed at six different hotels, all varying stars and areas from Cape Town to Durban. This included staying in the Bush at one point. Not ONCE did we experience anything like we did here in this hotel that is ‘’5 star’’. On the first night we had to vacate our room on the 4th floor because my husband and I had to jump around the room chasing cockroaches that ran across the floor, fell from the TV mounted on the wall and running over the main desk where all our belongings were. We ended up being moved to another room and getting to sleep at 2am. I had first seen one cockroach and then managed to film another one crawling over the table. I took the film down to reception, spoke to the manager and asked for bug killer. He looked shocked about it and apologised. I went up to tackle the two and had to contend with another 4. My husband collected them in a cup to show the manager. One member of staff looked visibly disgusted. To be fair on the manager, he moved us to a better room and apologised. We were under the impression that this was a one off. Although I was pretty horrified I was placated by the swift response of the manager. Not only was the room a better room, but it was on the same floor as one of the main dining areas/restaurants. I thought - there’s no way there would be cockroaches here! Wrong. On our last night, I found one in one of my luggage bags. My husband spoke to reception and the response was more revealing. Staff said that this was an ongoing issue with the hotel because it had been built on an area where cockroaches lived and they were constantly getting the exterminators in. They weren’t surprised at all that this had happened. On the morning of our departure, I saw another cockroach scuttle across the room! So, even on the floor literally doors away from the restaurant, there were cockroaches! While there were many pleasant things about this hotel - the staff, the pool, the food - I cannot believe that it is a 5 star hotel! There is no way! I even have pictures of our first room having not been cleaned properly, and the rooms have a subtle smell of mould. I’m lactose intolerant so can’t have the milk left in the room - on the last night we asked (and this was after the more recent cockroach findings) for almond milk, and was told we would be charged for it. We were really surprised by this as it wasn’t that I was being ‘fancy’ by asking for a lactose alternative and just needed a cup of tea after the cockroach saga to be honest! I was surprised not to have seen any reviews that mentioned the cockroaches given that the hotel staff had admitted this was a problem and although they did try to make us feel better, I feel that you don’t go on your honeymoon, or any holiday for that matter, where you’ve spent thousands of pounds, to get cockroaches roaming around in a 5 star hotel you’ve booked. There had been some comments about it being warm and wet at the time so they were more likely to be seen but this isn’t an excuse for this standard of hotel and as I said, even when we had a room in the Bush, we didn’t have cockroaches running around. It was pretty gross and so so disappointing at the end of a great honeymoon holiday. I’d never recommend this place to anyone.
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