A filthy bath, a cockroach infestation, no air-conditioning, a broken fan and a blocked shower drain — that’s what greeted Vernon Naidoo of Pretoria’s group of 12 when they arrived at a hotel in Bela Bela, having paid for three nights’ accommodation in advance.
They arrived last Friday and spent two nights in the Elephant Springs Hotel, having no other choice at the height of the peak festive season. They were told by management that they would not be getting a refund, not even for the night they managed to find alternative accommodation in the town, also known as Warmbaths.
“The other family of six had travelled for almost nine hours from Durban, their first visit to Limpopo, to be greeted by that horror,” Naidoo said.
The group paid R13,000 for three nights’ accommodation at Elephant Springs self-catering apartments, and then another R12,500 for their alternative night’s accommodation in Warmbaths.
The family were moved from the cockroach infested “apartment” into the hotel on the first and third nights, but the rooms could not accommodate them all adequately, so the children had to sleep on the floor.
“We weren’t the only ones complaining — at reception we witnessed others saying they had been misled about the state of the accommodation and around the pool, the guests were all sharing their horror stories,” Naidoo said.
“I am shocked that the hotel still has a three-star grading and would allow guests to book, given its current condition,” he tweeted.
Hotel group South of Africa, which owns Elephant Springs, told TimesLIVE that both the hotel and the apartments had been graded as three-star by the Tourism Grading Council of SA, separately.
“We’re conducting an investigation into (Naidoo’s) feedback,” the company said. “We’ve been upgrading rooms, facilities and the main building this past year and will gladly co-operate in finding a solution.”