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“Rainy but still lovely”

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Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The area had had a heavy fall of rain, which may have contributed to the state of the road leading to the hotel, 10kms of potholes which took more than half an hour to traverse.

But, once we got there, so worth it!

It was pouring with rain, which was a shame, but what a wonderful spot. We had 4A, which had an unrivalled view out across the water to the other side of the river and out to sea to the left.

The rondavel room was beautifully constructed and the shower was outside! Even on a dull rainy day, this was lovely.

A bit of a pub quiz before dinner, which was fun.

Dinner and breakfast were delicious and the service impeccable. Everything was clean and well presented. We sat in the bar the next morning catching up on emails, wifi doesn't work in the room, fine by us!

Great for families with young children, but if you don't have them (like us), don't come here in school holidays...could get a bit wearing!

We loved our stay here, but would like to better avail ourselves of all the facilities, which we couldn't with the weather being so bad. We will be back!

Room Tip: Bear in mind, it is a hilly site, so pick one of the lower level rooms, if you have mobility issues.
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank SueLodder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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14 - 18 of 1,026 reviews

Reviewed 13 October 2017

Umngazi is located in an amazing setting. Lush forrests, the river right in front and the breaking waves of the ocean make you fall asleep quickly. I believe if you come with children, it must be great. For couples or solo travellers: the spa is very nice and absolutely recommended. The food is simple but tasty - if you don't mind buffet for lunch. Disappointing is that every room/bungalow is assigned a specific table - and you're only allowed to sit there. A bit annoying is that you have to sign for every drink order the second it arrives - would be nice to do that in one go at the end of a meal. It's not that difficult, especially seeing as the tables already correspond with your room.
The rooms are nice but also quite basic. Probably worth opting for the luxury suites right next to the spa with full on ocean view.

Room Tip: 51 and 52 have full on ocean view
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank flo_engi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review, and that you had enjoyed your stay with us, even though for just for the one night. With regards to the tables, they are assigned as we have a limited space within the diningroom and therefore assign guests tables so that all guests can be seated at the same time as you can imagine we have individuals, couples, as well as family's and groups of friends etc, therefore these tables are laid according to the numbers. the outside dining deck is free seating though which allows you to sit wherever you wish. On the drinks docket side, it just speeds up the process for the guest as they do not have to ask for their bill once finished their meal, they can just leave, otherwise they would have to wait for the waitress to go all the way down to the bar again to fetch the docket, delaying the guest unnecessarily.

Thank you for your support and I do hope we get to welcome you back again.

Kind regards,

Graham

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Reviewed 11 October 2017

We were pleasantly surprised with this gem in the Wild Coast. Umngazi is luxurious and certainly a treat. The rooms as clean, spacious and the service great. The food is 5-star quality and so generous!

The spa is probably my best spa experience thus far. Would take quite a lot to beat this one...

Just sad that we couldn't get closer to the beach with my husband being in a wheelchair.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank YolandeHeyns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 October 2017

Dear Yolanda,

Thank you so much for your wonderful review, I was happy to read how much you had enjoyed your stay with us and appreciated all that was provided by the team. I was sorry to hear your husband had not made it onto the beach due to access, it would have been our absolute pleasure to have assisted in making this possible if you had let us know.

Thank you so much for staying with us and I do hope we get to welcome you back some time again soon.

Best wishes,

Graham

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Reviewed 11 October 2017

The rooms and bathrooms are really nice. Outside shower a nice touch. Location superb. I lay in bed in the mornings and watched the whales from my bed. Linen and towels top class. I found the staff slightly arrogant and any suggestions to the chef was quickly dismissed by him. We all picked up a tummy / vomiting bug while there which i think is due to the many dishes heavily exposed to everyone. I suggest a more a la carte set up as this would be more hygienic. A kids (preteen and teen) dining area with more appropriate food for this age group was suggested as the children don't always eat the lovely fancy food that was offered to the adults. Gillys were totally overpriced (R250 for the use of one for an hour) and the use of the water fascilities should be part of the package. Everytime we wanted to use the canoes we were charged. WE asked if we could please charter the umngazi bus to the airfield but they wanted to charge us an exorbitant amount. This is silly as the best way to get their is by airplane as the roads are shocking and dangerous yet they don't seem to encourage it. This holiday cost us the same amount as a week trip all inclusive to mauritius so it really is expensive but always very special to be on the transkei wild coast.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank bains320
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 October 2017

Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you very much for your kind review, and great to read that you had enjoyed your stay as well as the beauty of the Wild Coast. Your suggestion about an a la carte menu is a relevant one with regards to the tummy bug that some of your party experienced during their stay, we have certainly found that although you feel better after 24hrs it is certainly contagious and therefore anyone affected should certainly not be dishing up for themselves and most definitely be using the handsanitizers provided in the diningroom. With regards to a dining area for preteen and teen dining area, this would be totally impratical as we already provide a dining area for kiddies and to provide another area with another different menu wouldn't be possible and not something that I believe necessary. I will email you with regards to the Gilly charge as this does seem to be correct as the contracted price for an 8 hour day is R130 per day and R45 per hour so I am not sure why this unusual charge came about? The private charter fee of R800 for the bus to take you from the Hotel to the Airfield is less than it would cost you than is provided by a local transfer company. I do agree with you Umngazi is not a cheap destination but certainly a Value for Money one.

We do of course value your support and hope to welcome you back to Umngazi in the not to distant future.

Best wishes,

Graham

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Reviewed 9 October 2017

Nestled on the coast of the Eastern Cape, far away from the city buzz is the ultimate family getaway experience! With excellent service, good food, lots of activities, one of SA's best spa's and an all round good vibe, Umngazi is highly recommended by us!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Jessica H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 October 2017

Dear Jessica,

Thank you so much for this wonderful review, was great to read that Umngazi made sure your holiday was an enjoyable one and that you enjoyed all that was on offer.

We really appreciate your support and look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

Kind regards,

Graham

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

Address: I, Port St Johns, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Port St Johns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Hotel Class:4 star — Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tucked away on the Wild Coast, in the heart of Pondoland, and encompassed by a rocky coastline, indigenous forests, secluded coves and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, lies the award winning Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa - an award winning family resort & spa. The thatch-roofed bungalows are situated amongst the indigenous gardens which provide the perfect setting for a totally relaxed holiday. Weekly fly-in packages are available Friday to Friday from Durban where you fly at 500 feet above sea level along the beautiful coastline - a wonderful way to start your holiday. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Umngazi River Bungalows Hotel Port St Johns
Umngazi River Hotel
Umngazi River Resort

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