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tlewis541

Old and Outdated

2.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 23 Mar 2024
We were very surprised to see the condition of the Lodge. We remember when it was built and owned by Sun International. Buildings are in bad condition (i.e., rotted wood, poor paint. covered in trees, etc.). In addition, infrastructure was in bad shape as well as the vegetation and gardens. I know that Dream Resorts bought the property a couple years ago but they need to make some serious investment to bring this up to their typical standards.
Date of stay: February 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
2.0 of 5 bubblesService
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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Reviewed 2 March 2024

Beautiful surrounds and comfortable room. Bedding and towels look tired and need to be replaced. The service is terrible. Staff not trained, makes no eye contact and is not friendly with guests. Reception very abrupt and unwelcoming. Received friendly service at the spa and also from Mark the driver. No room service available. Can't compare it to our previous stay when it was the Fairmont Hotel. You can do so much more with this beautiful hotel. If you do not upgrade the service this hotel will be out of business soon. Very disappointed.

Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Judy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 20 February 2024

The warm Agulhas Current flows southward down the eastern coast of South Africa creating sub-tropical paradises. Just back from the Indian Ocean, which can feel like bath water to some of us northern hemisphere travellers, beyond the beach, tucked into the coastal forest, you will find one such paradise.

There are very few, if any resort style hotels in KwaZulu Natal, like those found in Europe where the grounds run to the beach. Well, here at Zimbali Lodge the hotel grounds do run to the beach and on the beach, you will find sun loungers, tables & chairs complete with parasols to offer shade from the heat of the sun. And if you do not want to feel the warm sand between your toes or the ocean waves splashing against you, then just stop at the bar. Yes, there is even a bar with restaurant, café, and swimming pool. And yes, here too there are plenty of sun loungers and places to sit and just take it easy.

On arrival at the lodge, after checking in, we were chauffeured to our room in a golf cart. There was always a cart and driver available if you needed a lift or wanted to be dropped off at the beach ensuring complete relaxation. Our room was stylish, luxurious, well-appointed and big, like the bed it contained, with ensuite bathroom including both a bath & shower. The patio doors led to the balcony where you really feel engulfed by greenery, bird song, and the occasional call of a vervet monkey. Zimbali, in Zulu, translates to “Valley of flowers”. And dotted among the various shades of green there are flowers, flashes of colour, providing nectar to a huge variety of butterflies.

The main lodge is a grand building spanning two floors with views over the greenery down to the warm Indian Ocean. The focal point is the palm tree lined infinity pool surrounded by walkways and patio. There is a main restaurant, dining area, where we ate a great buffet breakfast, and a smaller bar and restaurant where we dined in the evening. The quality of food was exceptional. The spicy chicken livers and lamb chops and seafood linguine we would highly recommend. There is also something very special about dining here outside on the patio in the warm night air complete with all the sub-tropical sounds that accompany it. I must also add that the service was exceptional and in true KwaZulu Natal style, everything came with a beaming smile from those that looked after us.

For complete relaxation take advantage of the spa and book yourself some pampering on the spa deck. For those more energetic you can follow a forest trail, you might be lucky like us and spot a bushbuck (antelope) or walk the beach. There are tennis courts and an excellent golf course where clubs can be hired.

The lodge is ideally located only twenty minutes from King Shaka International Airport and just over thirty minutes from the city of Durban. The town of Ballito is a few minutes’ drive from the lodge entrance gates. Ballito is a busy seaside town with great facilities and plenty going on. This is truly a resort in all senses of the word where you can spend some quality time. It is far from a stop off point between other places. You have everything here you need for a great holiday. And if you get the urge to explore then you have the option to, knowing that your base with all its amenities and comfort awaits you on your return.

Room tip: Spend a few nights here...
Date of stay: January 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank SafariKZN-Mark
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 18 February 2024 via mobile

We love Zimbali it’s so relaxing with beautiful views, friendly staff and incredible spa/ beauty room.
We managed to navigate the entrance and exit security eventually!
It’s an outstanding resort in a wonderful location.
However……….few points to consider
The wooden steps from the Spa to the pool are precarious and need upgrading before someone has a nasty fall on first two steps.
The pool loungers need replacing as tatty and stained
I feel ball games and kiddies pool parties should be avoided in fairness to everyone trying to enjoy the pool amenities .
I think a bus drop off from hotel to the Balito lifestyle centre would be an added bonus to guests.
The above points are constructive criticism and not meant to be negative. It’s a wonderful spot and cannot commend staff poolside and girls in the spa enough, very professional .

Date of stay: January 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank anne l
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 23 March 2023

When I got to this place the same apartment was rented out to someone else, after I have paid for it I was left stranded with my friends worst experience ever, I did not know that booking.com scams people.

Date of stay: March 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Nomad38661006194
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 2 March 2023

This hotel may have been 5 star 30 years ago but, not in this day and age. It looks tired and has seen better days. Lots of wooden interior beams styled not unlike a hotel you may see inThailand. Externally the brown wood is in dire need of repair and cleaning anf a few coats of varnish. Public areas need new carpets and the breakfast was just a badly presented low quality buffet. We had to change rooms because ours was dark and set low in the jungle foliage. We were movef to a top floor with see view which was much better.
The room was spacious but again old style and tired. Floors were grey painted concrete showing damage and scrapes. The use of carpets was very limited. I guess the hotel only retains its 5 star status because of where it is and the facilities it has eg. Spa, pool etc. I would not go back again unless the hotel was totally reformed and upgraded.

Date of stay: March 2023
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2  Thank 505colinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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