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The Willows Resort & Conference Centre

Marine Drive, Schoenmakerskop, Port Elizabeth 6013 South Africa
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#16 of 143 Speciality lodging in Port Elizabeth
Full view
Property amenities
Free parking
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Conference facilities
Meeting rooms
Non-smoking hotel
Room features
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
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Wilhela G wrote a review Feb 2021
Port Elizabeth, South Africa12 contributions4 helpful votes
My unbelievable distressing weekend at the Willows because of the racially biased behaviour of the management and staff. Please read to the end and then tell me whether I was mistaken and that discrimination practices were not applied in my situation. I was at the Willows resort on the weekend of the 24 January and had a very relaxing adults only Weekend. Upon leaving the resort my friends and I decided the check availability over Valentines weekend for a family bonding weekend, spoiling our children and grandchildren. We booked "three out of the four available" rondawels 24, 25, 26, along the front row with premium view and we planned this weekend meticulously as we wanted our grandchildren to build lasting memories about their experience at the resort. On the Friday at around 13h40 on the 12th of February 2021, I received a frantic call from my friend that there are already a white family in the rondawel number 26, a unit which I had reserved, and a 50% deposit paid. I immediately telephoned the resort, and the manager was very apologetic citing that a mistake was made. She then offered to ask the family who booked unit 24 to move and then to give me unit 24, not realising that we booked all three units. I told her in no uncertain terms that she will not inconvenience another family in our group and that she should go back to unit 26 and explain the situation to that family. I explained that we all are there with small children with bicycles and we needed to be along the road to look after them. During all of this, she was not willing to approach the white family, now occupying unit 26 but was initially booked into unit 28, a unit next door to 26 to be moved. I asked why she moved the family to unit 26 and she explained that unit 28 to quote her directly, “was a mess”. I asked whether it was possible to clean unit 28 and that I was willing to then take unit 28. Her response:” Oh no, unit 28 is in such a mess”. To which I the asked her to confirm that unit 28 will not be available throughout the weekend, and she responded “definitely not” At that stage I had no clue where unit 27 was situated and she told me to enter the site to view the place. I was on my way to view the unit when my husband asked me what I was going to do if I did not take unit 27. My grandchildren were in the car and becoming restless. I return to ask the lady what other option I had if I did not take unit 27 and her short answer was that it was take it or leave it as they did not have other units available. I told her that I will be watching unit 28 very closely and she responded that unit 28 will remain vacant over the weekend. For the sake of the family, I accepted the unit. I told her that the discussions would continue come Monday. Now during all of this, there were two other staff members assisting with bookings. No response nor eye contact from them, but they were able to follow our conversation and should be able to collaborate this narrative, if they do not then there is a serious situation of collusion at the resort which warrant serious investigation. At that stage I believed everything that this lady told me and that a genuine mistake was made. I voiced my unhappiness but took occupation of unit 27 and spend the weekend running up and down a hill cooking in unit 27 and making use of unit 25 for anything else, this was a great inconvenience to all of us. As kismet would have it, we were opposite the four units and having full view of the units all afternoon. Nobody entered unit 28 from the time that we arrived on site until I heard a greeting from my nephew who was parked at unit 28, the disturbingly messy and unliveable unit 28. The Williamsons were moving into the unit 28. Their story is also quite interesting and will be told at a later stage. I will just add that they telephoned the resort at around 15h00, I must have just walked out of the reception area and were told that unit 28 had a cancellation and that they may have the unit. Very interestingly they mentioned that they were moved about in the past and that the staff regularly move other races around in favour a white family, no matter that you made a confirmed booking with a deposit for a specific unit. The staff always apologise profusely so you accept the change as a genuine mistake. It was at this stage that I realised that I was duped and intentionally lied to. I was at first incredibly sad that these practices are still allowed to happen. This spoilt my weekend and changed the course of my stay at the resort. I then took a snap survey with people of colour staying on the resort and found another three couples that had the same experience. In hindsight I should have recorded the conversations, but it is expected that the owners will validate these claims. To get back to the white family now in unit 26. A family member went to speak to them and told them what has happened and asked them how they ended up in unit 26. The gentleman replied that he had no idea as he was not asked to be moved but rather was told that they are getting unit 26, even though they booked the unit 28. This defies logic as unit 28 was not touched or cleaned on Friday afternoon, yet given to a family of colour? This experience consumed me over the weekend, leaving me disturbed and with sleepless nights. I felt degraded, insignificant, not warranting respect and the same excellent customer services due to any paying customer, irrespective of colour, race or religion. I obviously voiced my displeasure during my departure on the Sunday and am yet to receive a response to the feedback form submitted.
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Date of stay: February 2021
Sleep Quality
1 Helpful vote
Andre R wrote a review Feb 2019
Port Elizabeth, South Africa50 contributions9 helpful votes
This is by far the best resort in the Eastern Cape. Highly recommended for campers. Ablution facilities clean and well maintained. The staff is friendly and very helpful. Very affordable monthly rates for pensioners. Awesome resort!
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Date of stay: February 2019
PEcamper wrote a review Jan 2019
1 contribution1 helpful vote
Upon arrival we were faced with an extremely unfriendly women at reception. I suppose this set the tone for the holiday that lay ahead. We booked 4 campsites and traveled with 4 families all with 2 kids each, bearing in mind we have camped here for the last 4 years in a row. What once was a beautiful family and kid friendly resort is now anything but. Kids on bicycles were nearly run over twice by an impatient women that was speeding within the resort and driving to her site. She hooted at our kids and threatened to run them over. In fact there were two additional occasions where kids where nearly run over by vehicles during my 5 night stay due to speeding. There was no sign of a security guard nor life guard during our stay. My little 6 year old rode his bike down a hill, lost control and veered of an embankment and fell into the tidal pool area. He was lucky not to have been seriously injured, thank god for a good Samaritan that went after him and assisted. We rushed him to an emergency unit. The tidal pool is in a sad state. There is no fencing preventing what happened with my little one, neither are there people in the resort to assist. A family camping at a neighboring site told us that their son had lost both his front teeth on the very same day within the resort. Toilet facilities are terrible and dirty, they have a broken shower door that hasn't been replaced/repaired for two years! On night 4 a neighbor decided to whip out his DJ system and treat the resort to his choice of music. We complained and the reception replied that there was no security available. It took approximately an hour for them to ask him to turn it down. A beautiful place that once was is sadly no more. Sadly for my friends and family we won't be returning to the willows resort. Please be very careful with your kids.
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Date of stay: January 2019Trip type: Travelled with family
Response from Eugenie N, Marketing at The Willows Resort & Conference Centre
Responded 15 Jan 2019
At The Willows we pride ourselves in being a family resort where children can play in a safe environment and parents can relax and know their children are safe. We provide the necessary to entertain the kiddies like the tennis court, the super tube, the putt- putt, arcade games, table tennis and we have a holiday program for the youngsters during the Festive Season period. Our office is open from 07:00 to 19:00 and when the office closes any complaints can be lodged with the Security Officers at the guard office. There is also a Security Supervisor that drives around in the Willows vehicle from 06:00 until 24:00. There is a manager as well maintenance and housekeeping staff on duty 24/7. Trained Life Guards were on duty from 21 December 2018 to 6 January 2019 and clearly identifiable in the red t-shirts that is standard for life guards to wear. The resort has level 3 trained first aid staff that is available 24/7 as well as an agreement with ECMR ambulance service that will stabilize an injured individual on the scene and then transport them to an emergency room if necessary. It is sad when a guest experiences problems and does not report it to reception where it can immediately be addressed. Speeding in the resort is a serious disregard to our rules. Guests not abiding by our rules are spoken to about the incident that might have occurred. Depending on the seriousness of the transgression the guest is maybe spoken to a second time if the same complaint is received or requested to immediately leave the resort. If the receptionist was in any way unfriendly towards the guest we sincerely apologise for that. We are generally complimented on the friendliness of our staff. We discussed the matter with the life guard on duty and he does recall an incident where he attended to a young boy that was riding very fast on a bicycle and landed in the tidal pool area. The bike had no brakes and the young boy was not wearing any protective clothing. We were not informed of a boy that had lost his front teeth Speeding drivers should have been reported to the office and immediate steps would have been taken. We have checked our bathrooms and could not find a faulty shower door. It is hard to believe that a faulty shower door would not have been brought to our attention in 2 years. We constantly receive excellent reviews on the cleanliness of our ablution blocks. During the season we have workers attending to the ablutions from 05:45 in the mornings until 23:00 in the evenings. Spot checks are also carried out by supervisors at all times during the day and evenings. Security in the resort is outsourced. During the season 2 additional Security Officers are employed by the resort during the day and three at night. It is such a pity that PECamper did not request the assistance of a manager on duty to discuss his unhappiness regarding the resort.
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Simonie wrote a review Dec 2018
Northern Cape, South Africa5 contributions2 helpful votes
We as a family go every year and we love it there! Child Friendly, clean, friendly staff, very secure, small shop if you need something small as well as a coffee shop. We do the camping and they have great facilities: Laundry machines and dryers, if you prefer not to do your washing they have a washing service.
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Date of stay: February 2018
1 Helpful vote
erna o wrote a review Dec 2018
Pretoria, South Africa425 contributions129 helpful votes
We only had welcoming cocktails here for a conference at the Nelson Mandela university, but I was really sad that I did not book accommodation here. The function hall is large and on the sea with beautiful views and the food was served in beautifully decorated containers, fit for a wedding, with a crisp white and silver colour scheme. As always, the wind was blowing, so we enjoyed the view from behind the large windows. You do need a car to get there is it is located a few kilos outside the city in a nature reserve environment near the university. Want to go back - this time for a holiday.
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Date of stay: November 2018
Trip type: Travelled on business
the willows hotel port elizabeth
South AfricaEastern CapePort Elizabeth
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Frequently Asked Questions about The Willows Resort & Conference Centre
Which popular attractions are close to The Willows Resort & Conference Centre?
Nearby attractions include Cape Recife Nature Reserve (5.3 km), Sardinia Bay Beach (3.0 km), and The Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin (5.4 km).
What are some of the property amenities at The Willows Resort & Conference Centre?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free parking, meeting rooms, and kids activities.
Is parking available at The Willows Resort & Conference Centre?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to The Willows Resort & Conference Centre?
Conveniently located restaurants include TORO Sushi, Teppanyaki & Seafood, Shanna's Portuguese Restaurant, and Grass Roof Farm Stall, Restaurant and Bakery.
Does The Willows Resort & Conference Centre offer any business services?
Yes, guests have access to meeting rooms and conference facilities during their stay.
Are there any historical sites close to The Willows Resort & Conference Centre?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Prince Alfred's Guard Memorial (10.6 km), Holy Trinity Anglican Church (11.4 km), and Old Post Office Building (11.8 km).
Is The Willows Resort & Conference Centre accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.