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
What was meant to be a treat for my wife for her birthday at the Fairmont Zimbali resort hotel turned out to be a huge disappointment. The room we stayed in was separate and far from the main hotel reception area and generally in good condition. The service from the personnel throughout the three nights we stayed there however was poor to say the least. In some instances the staff’s command of English was of such a nature that they do not belong in the service let alone the hotel industry. The breakfast area on the deck outside was filthy and reminds of a 1 star hotel one would find in Thailand.
The hotel is in dire need for an upgrade, looking old and tacky. The lounge chairs by the pool are mostly broken and not what one would expect from this establishment.
The final straw came upon our departure and despite three calls to reception for the porters to come and collect our luggage we ended up lugging our own luggage up the hill to reception.
The assistant front desk manager “Oma” made a superficial attempt to apologize for this.
Think long and hard before you choose this hotel as your choice of destination. I don’t mind paying a lot of money for a great experience but this was a case of paying a lot of money for a very disappointing experience.
Lastly - One can’t blame the staff but rather management. Poor management yield poor service levels and visa versa. Very disappointing.
I had the chance to spend 4 days at the complex, as I was lecturer on a seminar that was taking place there. Everything is 5-stars. Rooms are fantastic, service is very good. If you like seaside holidays this is the perfect place. They have wonderful facilities. Architecture and design are very good.
Definitely recommend this place if you want to have a quiet holiday by the sea, enjoy the beach and also take chance on other attractions in the area.
This is our 2nd trip, this time we decided to stay at the Fairmont Hotel, as we booked in we where told that our room is not ready, this was at 2pm - booking in time. Then I came down to have a bite to eat, the waitress serving has been excellent, however the Club Sandwich very disappointing, dry and no flavor. Then some guy told me to move from where I had been sitting for over 2 hours as he now had to set up his gig, didn’t go to the waitering staff as one would expect in a Hotel of this standard. Most disappointing, and we have only been here for 2.5 hours.
Picturesque views and tranquil environment - that’s where it ENDS. My wife and I have made the Fairmount Zimbali Resort a yearly retreat where we could relax at one of the many swimming pools, enjoy a scrumptious snack whilst sipping on a delicious cocktail. Unfortunately, over the past 3 years, we have been exposed to diminishing standards from both the restaurant and hotel staff.
Our last trip was on the 15th November 2018, which turned out to be a complete waste of money as this facility is poorly managed with absolutely no drive towards customer satisfaction.
We visited the Ayoba café situated at the beach club for lunch, after 15 minutes of been seated with no service I eventually had to walk up to a waiter and ask for our orders to be taken. As I have various food allergies, it is important to understand the contents and how certain dishes are prepared – of which the waitress could not provide any assistance. Service was negligible as I had to physically go to a waiter to order something additional. Needless to say, the price of food is definitely not worth the taste.
The 31-degree bar located in the lobby area was not well stocked and we had long led times before we received our orders. The standard of the high tea plater has dropped significantly when compared to past experiences– the variety of snacks was less, the cakes and scones were not palatable (dry) and the bread tasted stale.
In terms of the rooms, some plug points were not functional, the telephone plugs were disconnected of which I reconnected myself and flat pillows and poor room service has resulted in an unpleasant stay. On one occasion, it took 5 calls and 3 hours before receiving a bottle of water and shower gel in the room. On a separate occasion, no answer after 5 attempts resulted in walking down to the concierge to order water. The hot water bottle turndown is a nice service but is unpleasant when the previous night's hot water bottles are not removed from bed when the room is tidied the next morning.
The breakfast buffet lacks variety when compared to the likes of other 5 star hotels in Umhlanga and Durban. The seating area is not large enough to accommodate the hotel guests, let alone accommodating Zimbali lodges guests. Even though breakfast was included in our room rate, the waiting period experienced one of the mornings and poor standard of food replenishment resulted in us having breakfast, on two occasions, at a nearby restaurant in Ballito Lifestyle Centre.
I have expressed my disappointment to guest relations (Mark), which I have been rest assured that he would look into the matter and provide me with feedback – up to now I have received NONE!
In summary, poor management, lack of interest and poor customer service from staff has definitely overshadowed the beautiful location. As a loyal guest, I am reluctant to go back and would not recommend this resort as it is not worth the value for money.
Room without a view, although booking stated pool and sea view. When we wanted to change rooms, we were told rooms are fully booked but after insisting, then a room became available on the second floor. We checked it out, it had a better view and we opted for it.We we moved to it, there was no toilet paper, no bathroom towels, no slippers, and only one gown (although it was 2 adults). Toilet paper was added the following day but we had to call and request towels.Breakfast restaurant was full, had to wait for 20mins, and then some of the food is not there. On day of departure, we figured since restaurant would be full, to order in-room breakfast. We were told it would be delivered in 30-40mins. It took 1h15 to arrive and the order was incomplete (e.g. one egg instead of two, no sausage, potatoes, beans and tomato on an order which those items are standard).Not the best customer service.