Fairmont Zimbali Resort
What We Love
- Mix of beach time and nature activities on the Ballito coast, just 30 minutes north of Durban
- Choice of five outdoor swimming pools
- Popular with families thanks to the kids club, multiroom villas and varied dining options
What To Know
- The beach is a short walk or buggy ride away
- Expect to see some wildlife in and around the resort, and the occasional opportunistic monkey at your table
- Bathrooms have double vanities and stand-alone deep soaking tubs
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
A one-hour flight from Johannesburg or a 30-minute drive from Durban, the Fairmont Zimbali Resort is a destination for beach time, water sports in the warm Indian Ocean and nature-focused adventures in the surrounding coastal forest. The nine restaurants cover the culinary spectrum, from Mexican lunch fare at Ayoba and seafood favorites at OSA to cocktails and snacks at beachside Ma Khaza and themed buffets at Coral Tree. Common throughout are the use of fresh seasonal ingredients and knockout Indian Ocean views, where possible. The 154 guestrooms take inspiration from the surrounding beach, ocean and jungle landscape, with pale stone flooring, hardwood furniture and earth tones, from the throw pillows to curtains. The large open-plan bathrooms have a contemporary look, with double vanities and stand-alone deep soaking tubs. All are stocked with posh Le Labo Rose 31 products. Each room comes with a work desk and walk-in wardrobe, and many are available as adjoining rooms for families. Days here are spent by the pools or on the beach, or there’s the Willow Stream Spa for pampering treatments using local ingredients (marula, rooibos, aloe and more) and the nearby 18-hole Zimbali Country Club for a round of golf.
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
We were really looking forward to staying at this hotel. We weren’t disappointed by our room, which was very comfortable, views out to sea etc. Lovely swimming pool area.
However, we were completely underwhelmed with the catering aspect. The indian restaurant was excellent, great food and staff. Our only problem was we could only eat there once! It was closed for a private function one night and closes during the week the rest of the time. Why!!!!!!??? The Mexican restaurant was painfully slow service with below average food, not what i would deem 5 star. Because the service was so poor people were walking out. The Coral tree which is a buffet service restaurant had good staff but terrible food. It sat in hot plates, meat was tough and luke warm. Why would i want to have a buffet at a 5* hotel?
Whoever is in charge of catering really needs to get their act together. I cannot express how much of a disappointment it was to our holiday.
I certainly will not be going to Fairmont again.
We mostly enjoyed our stay at this beautiful hotel! The beaches are spectacular, the surroundings absolutely peaceful and our room was spacious and clean. The hotel made a very nice effort with the turn down service, leaving rose petals most evenings - it was special since we were staying here for our honeymoon. The pools are amazing and very well maintained and the restaurants are well situated in the hotel. The service was generally very slow and the staff was mostly unfriendly and unhelpful (although there were one or two exceptions to this). Expect to wait long for any food or drinks orders and don't expect staff to go out of their way or to even do the basics to assist you or to make the stay more pleasant. Prices were also ridiculous for some food and drinks items. I can appreciate that it is a five star hotel and that some markup is to be expected, but paying more than R400 for a bottle of wine that would not cost more than R70 under any other circumstances is excessive and makes one feel cheated. We do appreciate the effort that was made during our stay, but this hotel really needs to improve their service (and be a bit more reasonable with their prices) if they expect people to return, or to actually be called a five star hotel - one does expect a bit better if a hotel has this classification.
I was utterly taken aback by the poor upkeep of the hotel and the rooms. There was scuffing on the walls, the rooms we bare and the decor looked overused. I booked 2 suites for my family and they did not have the rooms fully furnished with enough towels, washing cloths, slippers, gowns, water etc. This hotel is not a 5 star at all! Calling and getting a pick up from the reception took at least 30mins of trying. The room service took so long, we had to call the kitchen again to check the orders. The restaurant is under staffed so getting assistance for tea or coffee or anything further was very difficult. There has clearly been a change of management because almost all the staff we spoke to were "brand new" to the hotel. I've stayed in Fairmont 5 star hotels in other countries and this is sadly a detriment to the standard of the chain of Fairmont hotels. Very poor experience all round and I feel as though my money was wasted.
Location: excellent, although no direct access to the beach
After booking an early check-in at a price of course, the room was not ready on arrival..
The spa experience was good, but spoilt by the clerk who couldnt find the voucher that was purchased online with the booking..
After booking diner, we only found out later that, a wedding was been hosted there!
Concierge had no idea about nearby beach access
Rooms have a good view, some fittings have aged.
Wouldnt return again, Poor service from an exclusive/expensive hotel
We would like to Thank Fairmont Zimbali resort Durban. A Special thank you to Opa and her team for excellent Customer Services and providing us a true 5* service! We will be recommending this hotel to our friends and family in the UK... once again thank you so much for our lovely stay.
Me and Mrs Jonker