I have a simple rule for going on holiday. Where ever I lay my head down needs to be at least as comfortable as my own home. I had really high hopes for Fordoun and while I had a good stay, it certainly wasn’t great.
Situated 1.5 hours from Durban and 4.5 hours from Jhb, Fordoun Hotel & Spa is a 5 star country retreat in the heart of the KZN Midlands set on what used to be one of SA’s oldest dairy farms. You can feel the peace as soon as you enter. The grounds sport a trout dam and has still managed to maintain its “farmy” feel after all this time.
- The view – this is the home of tranquil and serene. The grounds are manicured to say the least.
- The size of our room (more like a cottage) – it was very, very spacious, loads of space to move around and they even cordoned off a dressing room/closet area (bonus!).
- There were some luxury touches I didn’t expect but were great to have – heated floors and towel rails – divine!
- Warm and friendly service throughout the hotel – it’s a very homely environment.
- The check-in process may have been the most efficient I’ve ever soon – 30 seconds literally. Brilliant.
- I loved the little touches for example when as part of the turn down, we found sachets of Africology sleep oil on our pillows.
- We were delighted to find ground coffee in our room but there was no plunger to make it. We called for one & the discussions & explanations that followed were exhausting, but 45 mins later, we did get a plunger delivered to our room.
- The menu was limited, especially if you can only have halaal options. The food was a mixed bag, some of the dinner items we didn’t enjoy at all and didn’t finish but the Eggs Onassis (eggs Benedict but on a sweet corn fritter instead of an English muffin) was our firm favourite for breakfast!
- Room service ends quite early, at 9pm. I stand to be corrected but I always thought that 24 hour room service was a pre requisite for an establishment to be 5 star.
- We were booked into the spa and were shocked that we weren’t in a couple’s room for our massage. I enquired and was told it was occupied and this needed to be specified upfront when booking.
- Like I said, I notice details and there were a few things that were just off kilter:
– Our shower, leaked. There was a visible prior attempt at fixing it, but no luck.
– There were multiple tears in a leather ottoman at the foot of our bed. One tear was 20cm.
– The linen didn’t feel premium. Polly cotton and micro fibre don’t make the cut. Sorry.
– The bathroom amenities were a house brand – I was glad I packed my own.
– Overall the décor and furnishings in the hotel, spa & rooms were not to my taste or premium and reminded me of my grandmother’s lounge.
All of above said, I peered at the guest book as we checked out any heaps of people had glowing reviews – perhaps Fordoun just wasn’t my taste. I filled out a comment card in the room relaying some of the sentiments above & three weeks on no one has been in touch with me to discuss it. What I did get the next day though, was what looked like an automated “thank you for your stay” email from the owner. Pity.
If I ran the place
- Overhaul the décor, fix the all the little things, add more variety the menu. And in that order.
Need to know
- Follow directions on their site to a T – don’t use a GPS. Yup, we got lost. Badly!
If country is your thing, Fordoun is worth a try though I won’t be back.
Nottingham Road, Midlands, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
+27 (0) 33 266 6217 / +27 (0) 82 600 9862