I canceled my reservation with immediate effect upon checking into Ferndale Manor on the 23rd. The self-catering apartment I was allocated was located a kilometer away from the guest house itself in an unsafe part of Randburg. It stunk of cigarette smoke. The door handle fell off in my hand. The cupboards and TV required maintenance.
I was assured by the manager then that if I sent my bank details to the owners, I would receive an appropriate refund. However, after several e-mails, phone calls, and visits in person, the owner has now said that they will refuse to give a refund because I didn't "allow time" for them to rectify the situation. However, I believe that a room should be totally ready upon check-in, not awaiting the guest to report a laundry list of mistakes. Furthermore, I believe the cancellation policy of 100% payment is null and void if a guest checks in and finds the facility to be far below the standard promised.
I am especially disappointed as a resident of the neighborhood where this guest house is located. I had booked it for visiting relatives over the holidays, who were then forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor. The owner, Johan, offensively told me that because I am foreign (actually, an ex-pat permanently settled in South Africa), I "wouldn't understand" what is safe/not-safe or quality/not high quality.
Beware: Owner told us that he is closing the Guest House at the end of the year. Our observation is that he does not care about poor service or dirty facilities. On arrival at 14:00 we had to ask for towels, toilet paper, hangers and cups! The towels were stained and the bedding not as neat as it should be!
We booked for a conference at this venue - The arrangements were fine - The venue needs a fresh look, all a bit tired - We were cramped into a small room which were not ideal for effective conferencing. The food was plated, which left you with no choice of what you want to eat and the quantity. Not enough toilet facilities for a conference venue.