Hotel Name: Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Address: 5 Corkwood Drive, Zimbali Coastal Estate, Port Zimbali, Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The resort is on the Zimbali Coastal Estate, about 30 minutes north of Durban and 15 minutes from Durban airport. The hotel certainly makes a good first impression. Upon arrival we were greeted by a traditionally-dressed Zulu man with a hand washing ceremony.
The resort is built into a hill that overlooks the ocean, so instead of the reception being on the ground the reception is on the top floor, with the hotel rooms being below. With this design the hotel blends into the surrounding environment and doesn’t tower over the beach. When you enter, the dominating feature is the Indian Ocean in the background. It’s a stunning visual, and especially appealing as we had just arrived from a colder location.
I was staying in a suite, which is the biggest rooms available on the property.
The suite included a separate lounge area, which in itself was bigger than most normal hotel rooms.
The bathroom was also huge. You enter by two sliding doors which reveals a bathtub as the centrepiece of the room. To the left was a storage area and robe room, and to the right was a separate toilet area and separate shower room. The shower had three types of shower nozzles to choose from.
There was a covered balcony with a table and four chairs, and here is where you get the sensational view of the resort and ocean.
The main pool is the centrepiece of the property which lies between the hotel lobby and the beach.
Go further down the resort towards the beach and there is another smaller pool at the beach club. From here there is access to the beach.
The breakfast is a big buffet-style with cooked and continental favourites. Outside the dining area I loved the smoothie bar where you can help yourself to a variety of fruity concoctions.
The beach and ocean here is more of a scenic backdrop than practical swimming spot. The beach is public but are no lifeguards here and the water is rough surf, so not for novice swimmers. Plus there are sharks, just so you know. That said the beach is a fabulous place to go for long walks. The property is completely gated and there is a gate master at the beach who will let you out. The beach stretches for miles and you can see the Durban city skyline from here.
If you prefer your exercise on the property there is a well-equipped fitness centre.
There is wifi in the hotel, though I had a hard time getting a reception in my room. I thought it might have been that the room – being at the end of the property – was too far from the router. I asked my colleagues who were in similar rooms and they were able to get wifi no problem. In the end I just sat in the foyer when I needed wifi on my laptop.
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For more pictures visit the Fairmont Zimbali Resort photo gallery.