Riverside Estates, Hout Bay – Ultimate Bait and Switch

Riverside Estate Groupon Ad
Riverside Estate Groupon Ad
Riverside Estate Groupon Ad


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Lovely location

Horrifically Bad Service, Disgraceful Standard Rooms, Bait and Switch, Frustrating

Posted 02/08/2014 by


I’ve wanted to stay at the Riverside Estates in Hout Bay for years.  It looked and sounded really lovely.

Riverside Estates had a special offer on Groupon which we couldn’t ignore.  We purchased the voucher on 8 July and made our reservation on the same day.

The offer was as follows:

Choose between these options:

R945 for a two-night stay for two adults and two children
R1 389 for a three-night stay for two adults and two children

Sharing in a Cottage


Two bedrooms; both with en-suite bathrooms
Fully equipped kitchen leading into a lounge
Satellite TV and air-conditioning
Maximum occupancy: Two adults and two children

We purchased the voucher for 2 nights and were really looking forward to our stay.

We arrived late afternoon on Friday 2nd August.  We were checked in by Bradley who kindly showed us to our room.

Upon arrival at the room we noticed it wasn’t anything like the room advertised on Groupon. Our voucher was supposed to be for a cottage with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen with lounge.  This room was an extremely basic 1 room with bathroom.  Wanting to make sure of our facts, we checked the offer again and it clearly stated the voucher was for a cottage with 2 bedrooms, etc.

Not only was it not the right room/cottage, the room we were given was in a shocking state.  Marks on carpet, wall and ceiling. This room is in serious need of an update/clean and we couldn’t believe anyone with any respect for their guests would put them in a room in this condition.  This room would be below standard even in a 3 star hotel, let alone a 4 star.

My friend went back up to reception to speak to Bradley and point out that we had been given the incorrect room.  The message came back from Bradley that they had changed the voucher details and someone should have let us know.  That’s just how it was.  He was not interested in assisting us further.  This upset me, so I went up to speak to him myself.

He went from saying they had changed the voucher details to telling us Groupon had made a mistake.  It was not Riverside Estates ad, it was a Groupon ad and they had made a mistake and there was nothing he could or would do.

We went around in circles for quite a while – me not wanting to settle for anything less than I had paid for and him refusing to budge.  He even blamed us for not checking which room we would get upon arrival.  On our reservation confirmation it had said a standard room. We presumed the cottage they were advertising was classified as a standard.  He then tried to make us feel like fools for not knowing the difference between their rooms and cottages.  We’d never been to Riverside Estates before, so we had no idea what they called their rooms/cottages.

We even emailed him the original Groupon ad where it CLEARLY stated the accommodation was in a cottage and he still denied we were supposed to have a cottage.  Even seeing it in black and white he was in complete denial.  After going around and around some more he eventually backed down slightly and said he could give us a cottage for Saturday and Sunday night.  But not the night we had booked.  He showed no concern whatsoever when I brought up the fact that we would now need to go and find alternative accommodation elsewhere at the last minute. We certainly were not going to sleep in that shabby room.

We then asked for our money back, as they had sold the voucher under false pretenses.  He flatly refused.  I asked him to contact Groupon to arrange a refund for us.  Again, he flatly refused and told us to do it ourselves.

I was in complete and utter shock by his refusal to even try to see this from our side. In all my years of travelling the world, I have never had to deal with such a stubborn person who clearly did not care about the guests experience, comfort or satisfaction.  All he was interested in was being right.

We told him we were leaving, as this was a bait and switch and I would not accept being conned.

Not only has he single handedly chased away potential return guests, but he has also lost a lot of potential business for Riverside Estates.  There is no way on earth we would ever consider recommending this accommodation to anyone.  Rather very much to the contrary.

I am absolutely disgusted by his treatment.  Bradley is clearly not the correct person for this position or industry.

Is this the kind of service/guest experience that makes Riverside Estates owners/managers proud?  I would think not!