Fairmont Zimbali Lodge
What We Love
- Golf at the nearby Zimbali Country Club, plus beach time beside the Indian Ocean and nature adventures in the surrounding coastal forest
- Just 76 guestrooms and suites, most with private balconies and ocean views
- Top amenities including an Indian restaurant, two swimming pools and on-call butler service
- Marble bathrooms have twin vanities, walk-in showers and separate tubs, plus luxe Le Labo amenities
What To Know
- It's an easy shuttle ride down to the white sand beach
- Guests are also given access to the Fairmont beach club via the nearby Fairmont Zimbali Resort (where there’s also a Willow Stream Spa)
- The property was last renovated in 2013
- On the northeast coast of South Africa, it’s a flight from Johannesburg or Cape Town
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Part of the Zimbali Coastal Estate, on South Africa’s Dolphin Coast just 30 minutes north of Durban, the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge is the smaller sister property to the nearby Fairmont Zimbali Resort. All 76 guestrooms and suites are done up in antique lodge style, from the ornate hardwood headboards and decorative hurricane shades to the overstuffed armchairs and embroidered rugs. The marble bathrooms have twin vanities, walk-in showers and separate tubs, plus luxe Le Labo amenities. Most rooms have private furnished balconies with views of the resort, gardens or ocean. On the dining front, the indoor/outdoor Thandi restaurant is known for its inventive curries (and popular Monday night buffet); it also serves sandwiches, burgers and pasta dishes. The lodge is a haven for golfers thanks to easy access to and preferred rates at South Africa’s best golf course, the oceanside Zimbali Country Club. Guests can also make use of the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Resort, or walk or take the shuttle down to the white sand beach.
In the Area
Beyond the golf and spa time, the Zimbali Coastal Estate is a destination for nature lovers. Explore the surrounding subtropical coastal forest on guided walks, go bird and butterfly watching on the hotel grounds, or master your serve on the property’s two tennis courts. Farther afield, the concierge can organize deep sea fishing and scuba diving excursions in the Indian Ocean, or a chance to see dolphins on a special boat tour. History buffs should make a stop at the Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site to see the ancient cave paintings, the largest collection of cave paintings in southern Africa.
How to Get There
I booked a 3 night stay at Zimbali Lodge for our anniversary weekend. This “ hotel” is advertised as a hotel but this is very misleading. Only 2 rooms of this complex are hotel rooms and the rest are rooms which have been converted into self catering units. On arrival we were told there were no restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner - we would have to go to the Fairmont for that. However the next day when we phoned for transport to go for breakfast we were told “Oh sorry the Fairmont hotel is not available to you today for breakfast - but you can go to the Country Club” ( Even further away) On the first night - there was no hot water, but it did eventually get fixed. Although the rooms are clean and the beds comfortable there is no room service, very old looking furniture in the public areas, conference and meeting rooms that are now just empty shells and a feeling that this business is on its last legs. This is a classic case of where the photos on the website are from 20 something years ago and NOT an accurate reflection of what you get. It’s misleading at best.
This is not a hotel despite charging hotel rates. The website is a lie - it does not tell the truth. There is no room service, no breakfast restaurant (go to the Fairmont for that), no dinner (again, go to the Fairmont) and only two of the rooms have not been converted to self-catering (so far). The only remaining F&B outlet is the bar (which closes are 7PM) (Seriously ?!?!?!?!?) and serves “light meals”. Decoded: toasted sandwiches, fish and chips and four other “”choices”. The former meeting rooms and restaurant are empty rooms.
The furniture looks every day of its 20-odd years of age.
This a pale shadow of its former glory, and what is left is a sad and misleading scam. DO NOT pay hotel rates to stay here - it is a rip-off. Bring back real hotel operators like Sun International please and let the amateurs go and sell toasted sandwiches at a petrol station somewhere.
Thiaaaaa sometime so don't expect anything modern.
You can expect good food and good friendly service and you will be more than happy with a rim-flow pool off a floating wooden deck with amazing views and nothing but Zimbali wildlife surrounding you. The Restaurant and the bar are both on the pool and you can just lift a hand from your deck chair and have breakfast or lunch without ever leaving the views.