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Conrad Pezula {ZAF} (no longer Honors)

Conrad Pezula {ZAF} (no longer Honors)

Old Jan 20, 18, 5:44 pm
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by shadowline View Post
Staying at a Conrad for the first time ever next week. 2 nights at the Conrad Pezula.

What should I expect compared to a Hilton? Will there be a discernable difference in service/rooms/etc?

I'm a status matched Diamond
I've stayed at the Conrad Pezula and liked it. Though I'm not sure it is representative of the Conrad experience in North America, Europe or Asia. The environment is very pleasant, but less formal than those other countries - e.g. there was little mention given to being a diamond member - perhaps this is typical of South Africa generally.
But to answer your questions yes - better than most (but not all) Hiltons. Enjoy your stay - and sample the Malva pudding in the (casual) restaurant!
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Old Jan 20, 18, 10:11 pm
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by diamond club freeloader View Post
there was little mention given to being a diamond member - perhaps this is typical of South Africa generally
It's true - South Africa has a lot of diamonds.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 1:54 am
  #33  
 
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Thanks for the feedback - very very excited now!
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Old Mar 11, 18, 11:26 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by shadowline View Post
Thanks for the feedback - very very excited now!
Did you enjoy your stay? I think this property is pleasant -- especially with the Diamond status and perks like free breakfast -- but in general I don't think it's worth using your points here (most nights start above 50,000 points). There's just not enough "wow" factor here: you basically get a nice suite on a hilltop overlooking the harbor in Knysna. Knysna is certainly a pleasant enough place, but it's by no means the best place to spend your South African vacation. The Garden Route has some nice beaches (cold water though), but there's really no beach in Knysna. The property has a relatively small indoor pool with a steam room and sauna, but that's the extent of the "resort amenities" (unless you want to play golf). The outdoor pool isn't particularly impressive and it's really too cold to swim in it. The restaurant is not particularly acclaimed. Most of the guests are very affluent international tourists and, to my taste, a bit pretentious (you actually have to work on paying this much per night for accommodations in South Africa). If you're the type of person spending $1000 a night for a private game reserve, you'll fit right in -- although, perhaps, be a little bored by Knysna. The staff is accustomed to catering to their clientele so service feels somewhat obsequious. If you enjoy the friendly "real world" hospitality of the great value 3 or 4 star South African inns (under $100 with the usual discount strategies on the major online travel sites, and almost everywhere in the country), and which usually comes with a fine English breakfast, you'll wonder why you bothered.

Last edited by iahphx; Mar 11, 18 at 11:45 am
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Old Mar 11, 18, 12:14 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Did you enjoy your stay? I think this property is pleasant -- especially with the Diamond status and perks like free breakfast -- but in general I don't think it's worth using your points here (most nights start above 50,000 points). There's just not enough "wow" factor here: you basically get a nice suite on a hilltop overlooking the harbor in Knysna. Knysna is certainly a pleasant enough place, but it's by no means the best place to spend your South African vacation. The Garden Route has some nice beaches (cold water though), but there's really no beach in Knysna. The property has a relatively small indoor pool with a steam room and sauna, but that's the extent of the "resort amenities" (unless you want to play golf). The outdoor pool isn't particularly impressive and it's really too cold to swim in it. The restaurant is not particularly acclaimed. Most of the guests are very affluent international tourists and, to my taste, a bit pretentious (you actually have to work on paying this much per night for accommodations in South Africa). If you're the type of person spending $1000 a night for a private game reserve, you'll fit right in -- although, perhaps, be a little bored by Knysna. The staff is accustomed to catering to their clientele so service feels somewhat obsequious. If you enjoy the friendly "real world" hospitality of the great value 3 or 4 star South African inns (under $100 with the usual discount strategies on the major online travel sites, and almost everywhere in the country), and which usually comes with a fine English breakfast, you'll wonder why you bothered.
As someone who enjoys Knysna, the restaurants around, the hotel's beach, and the quiet ambiance of the place and also loves the Conrad Pezula, after reading your post I am beginning to think I must be a bit of a pretentious snob. I'll be there later in the week to engage my snobbery
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Old Mar 11, 18, 1:51 pm
  #36  
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Originally Posted by turtlemichael View Post
As someone who enjoys Knysna, the restaurants around, the hotel's beach, and the quiet ambiance of the place and also loves the Conrad Pezula, after reading your post I am beginning to think I must be a bit of a pretentious snob. I'll be there later in the week to engage my snobbery
Huh? The hotel, and Knysna itself, doesn't have a beach.

There are definitely pleasant restaurants in town, though. You don't have to stay at the Conrad to eat in them, though. In fact, the Conrad is a little outside of town, so slightly more inconvenient for the restaurant scene.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 3:19 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Huh? The hotel, and Knysna itself, doesn't have a beach.

There are definitely pleasant restaurants in town, though. You don't have to stay at the Conrad to eat in them, though. In fact, the Conrad is a little outside of town, so slightly more inconvenient for the restaurant scene.
The hotel has a beach, or at least access to one. I'm not aware of the ownership of the beach as at least part of it appears to be public. But the Conrad Pezula maintains a towel and drink station on it. . Perhaps you did not take advantage of the resort bus, covered by the resort fee they charge you, which takes you to Noetzie Beach 5 minutes away at the base of the bluff which Conrad Pezula sits on. You can walk down but it would take longer.

You say that Knysna does not have beaches. I'll agree they are not in the centre of town which is on a shallow inlet but there are ocean beaches on either side of the entrance to the inlet including Brenton Haven which is a superb 5+ kilometre long sandy ocean front beach on the west side of the inlet entrance. These beaches are 5-15 minutes from the centre of town.

Admittedly, it is 2 years since I was at the resort and it's possible it has changed. I'll find out later in the week. But I found the restaurants fine and of good quality charging the sort of prices you would expect in a resort of this quality. I'll give at report after my stay.

I'd agree that Knysna does not sum up South Africa but there are not many places in this beautiful, fascinating and diverse country that do and I wouldn't think it would not make a lot of sense to just come to Conrad Pezula as you might to the equivalent in Bali or the Maldives.

I did probably react to your comment dismissing the clientele as a little pretentious and the sort of people who spend $1000 per night in a game reserve. I honestly think that is unhelpful and is a little unfair on the many who like this place. Rates for the next week are around $250.00 per night which I think is a bargain, particularly as a Diamond. I am not aware of any better hotels in this beautiful area.

As always, we all have different needs and aspirations.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 7:30 pm
  #38  
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If the Conrad still maintains some sort of beach access for guests, it's a mystery to me -- we asked the staff about recreational opportunities in the area, and it wasn't mentioned. I was actually a bit surprised by their lack of knowledge. We then went online and figured out by ourselves how to access the well-known Knysna forest areas north of town (which are certainly worth a visit if you're in the area, but are not spectacular).

In general these same online resources told us that while Knysna is considered to be a very pleasant town, it is not known for its beaches. If you want a "beach vacation," you generally stay elsewhere along the Garden Route.

I am sorry if I offended you by my comment about running into pretentious guests, but that was our experience at the Pezula. South Africa is a very unique country: there's basically a fairly affluent European country nestled within an African country. The existing income disparities are somewhat astonishing: whites earn about 5 times what blacks earn. That may not be good for South African society, but for foreign visitors it's not necessarily a bad thing: the affluence of the mostly (but not exclusively) white population creates a first-world infrastructure that enables visitors to very comfortably explore a country very different from their own. In most developing countries, all the nice restaurants and hotels and attractions are mostly for foreigners: in South Africa, there's a large segment of the local population that is enjoying these facilities as well. For example, you can travel to South African national parks and share them with the locals.

But the Conrad Pezula is so freakin' expensive that even the vast majority of affluent South Africans could not afford to stay there. So their clientele is almost exclusively foreigners. Very rich foreigners. The type of people who hire drivers because they think it's too dangerous to drive themselves around, or the kind of people who wouldn't dream of staying in a SanParks safari camp and would only stay at luxury private camps (where they will only encounter other extremely rich foreign visitors). Given that I think the "magic" of South Africa IS interacting with the locals -- who tend to be extremely friendly and helpful to us folks from "away" -- you can probably understand why I think some of the Pezula guests are a bit pretentious. Your mileage may vary.
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Old Mar 12, 18, 12:48 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Your mileage may vary.
I don't regard myself as an expert on South Africa (I've been 3 times for a total of 4 months) but your generalisations do surprise me. Conrad is a 5 star hotel and attracts people who can afford it just like 5 star hotels around the world. As you say, YMMV.

Added: A note on the website says that access to their beach is temporarily suspended because of the devastating fires they had last year in the region. That might explain why they didn't mention it to you. Other beaches around Knysna are apparently open.

Last edited by turtlemichael; Mar 12, 18 at 1:07 am
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Old Mar 12, 18, 1:29 am
  #40  
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
There are definitely pleasant restaurants in town, though. You don't have to stay at the Conrad to eat in them, though. In fact, the Conrad is a little outside of town, so slightly more inconvenient for the restaurant scene.
Agree it was a bit outside of town itself. Too bad about the fires- was wondering about the discussion as beach access was advertised when I stayed here years ago. Sadly was on a forced march so didn't get to partake here.
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Old Mar 12, 18, 6:58 am
  #41  
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Originally Posted by turtlemichael View Post
A note on the website says that access to their beach is temporarily suspended because of the devastating fires they had last year in the region. That might explain why they didn't mention it to you. Other beaches around Knysna are apparently open.
That would make sense. The area did have a very bad fire last year. We saw evidence of it as we drove around Plett and Knysna. It seemed to us concentrated near the shore. While tragic, the closure of the Conrad beach would seem to be one of the few inconveniences tourists will experience because of the fire. In other words, I saw no reason to avoid visit the area because of the fire.
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Old Jun 4, 18, 12:03 pm
  #42  
 
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What happened to this hotel? Google reports it as permanently closed and it has disappeared from the Hilton website!
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Old Jun 4, 18, 2:15 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by ringingup View Post
What happened to this hotel? Google reports it as permanently closed and it has disappeared from the Hilton website!
That's certainly odd. I do know that the property has been in bankruptcy the past couple of years, so my guess is that it has something to do with that.

Business Rescue | Pezula

If you want to look on the brightside, if the property is actually permanently closed, it isn't much of a loss to travellers. There are better ways to spend you money in South Africa, and better ways to use your Honors points elsewhere.
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Old Jun 4, 18, 2:40 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
That's certainly odd. I do know that the property has been in bankruptcy the past couple of years, so my guess is that it has something to do with that.

Business Rescue Pezula

If you want to look on the brightside, if the property is actually permanently closed, it isn't much of a loss to travellers. There are better ways to spend you money in South Africa, and better ways to use your Honors points elsewhere.
Where would you stay in that part of South Africa?
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Old Jun 4, 18, 7:14 pm
  #45  
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Originally Posted by ringingup View Post


Where would you stay in that part of South Africa?
It's on the Garden Route. There are probably 500 decent places to stay.

The best value (and most enjoyable) accommodations in South Africa are at small inns and b&bs. You can start your search at kayak for the town you're interested in staying (like Knysna). Look at the reviews, the photos and the prices. Take a look at the booking channels. Hotels.com (expedia) has many South African listings and you can usually buy hotels.com gift cards at a substantial discount and then also use a 10% off promo code (and maybe cashback). You get more from your money on South African lodging than just about any place in the world -- as long as you avoid the crazy private safari lodges that cater only to high-end foreigners. Honestly, I thought the worst lodging deal I've gotten in South Africa was at the Conrad -- and I'm a Diamond who was using points!
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