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Reviewed 25 January 2014

There was some confusion over where we are staying as Sleepy Hollow used to be located here but it is now called PMB Backpackers. This was the only place we could find in PMB at a reasonable price so gave it a go. The staff were friendly but the building needs a lot of work. The rooms are quite shabby and dated. If they gave it a facelift it would be a much nicer place and they have an opportunity to do this as its the only backpackers we could find in PMB. There is a great indian restuarant nearby which they recommended - Tandoori Clay Oven. One night stay only here was enough!

Date of stay: January 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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3  Thank 575lucyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2013

I slept in a lot of backpackers in South Africa already, so I know what to expect: backpackers are sometimes very nice places to meet people, with an eye for detail and atmosphere. And sometimes just a quiet, nice and cheap place to sleep.

But Sleepy Hollow Backpackers in Pietermaritzburg is a different type of backpackers: shabby and expensive together. We booked a room because we needed a place to spend the night on our way trought South Africa. We slept there once before and we weren't very impressed back then. But hey. It was only for one night and we didn't know another place in Pietermaritzburg. So we called and tried to book a double room. There was only one more room available, but it was more expensive: 450ZAR. Ok. We really needed a place to sleep and for 450 rand we would for sure get the nicest room in the backpackers. Man, that was a wrong idea.

We got a room allright. It was the room of someone of the staff (don't know were he/she had to spend the night). It was located in a little building away from the other rooms and was very small. It smelled and the sheets were dirty. The person to whom the room belonged did her best to tidy the place up. But still: you were sleeping next to all her cloaths, her cofeemug and television. There was a toilet outside.

I wouldn't have mind the room if I it was given to us for cheap, but no: they charged 450 rand. More than you pay for the normal double rooms.

Sleepy Hollow Backpackers really isn't worth a visit. It looks like the owners wanted to make a B&B but failed and then converted it into a backpackers without a soul, class or planning. Not a nice place to sleep. We stayed there two times (we live here in South Africa for one year), but we surely never will go back to this overpriced, gloomy place.

As a side note: backpackers can be very nice places, so don't let this review get you down to try other backpackers in South Africa!

Date of stay: April 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TVRL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2013

I suppose for R130 per night you can’t expect much but if we knew what we were getting ourselves into we would have paid a little extra and tried other B&B's in the area!
Apart from dogs everywhere and having to step over their crap...the room was as basic as they get with pillows and linen so old and worn and even looked dirty, that we decided to lie on top of our towels and use our own pillows at night. The bathroom was scary that we showered with bags on our feet as we were scared we may just pick up athletes foot, most of the guys headed off to the local gym for a shower every day. We luckily only stayed for 2 nights and after day one a simple service such as to sweep our floors clean wasn’t even done.
Bottom line is you can afford maybe +/- R100 more then find somewhere else to stay...you have been warned!!!

Date of stay: July 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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1  Thank SouL_RSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2013

We stayed a group of 20 master students, for some days of sleep over before and after our field trip in the Drakensberg Mountains. The first thing we found in one of the dormitories was a dog poop, which one of us accidentally stepped on. The manager of the place has four dogs from a dog kennel, which were prioritised more than the visitors. One of them bit one of us, one of the first days. The common place was mostly occupied by the staff, so we had to sit at the grass among the dog poops, which was everywhere and not cleaned up. After sunset it was hard to see, and we unfortunately stepped on them.

Breakfast in the morning was a big joke. We were told that it would be put on the table. The first morning the only thing we found on the table was a frozen package of sandwich toast and a jar of peanut butter, after defrosting the bread in the microwave and toasting it ourselves, there was a scarce amount of peanut butter sandwiches. Ironically the manager was preparing breakfast for the dogs, meanwhile. In the afternoon when we came back, they accused us for having eaten their peanut butter and drunken milk for the coffee that was not for us. They also accused us for not cleaning the cups we used, even though we organised to do the dishes in the morning before leaving. Next day there was no breakfast.

Coming back after the field trip, there were breakfast arranged for us. Though, it was a scarce amount of very dry cereals and a half bottle of milk, which was only for the cereals and not for the coffee. There was not breakfast enough for all of us. The same dog tried to bite one of us again. After pushing it away, the manager shouted at us and not the dog. It ended up in an argument, where she also accused us of smashing a cup on purpose in the morning. We didn’t do it on purpose. It happened while taking the dishes.

Fortunately, all other people we met at our three weeks in South Africa were really friendly and hospital and met us with open arms. So we know that Sleepy Hollow is just an exception among South African guesthouses. I think Sleepy Hollow have to choose between to either run a hostel or dog kennel. A third possibility is to take a course in management and customer care.

Room tip: Avoid staying in the garage. You have to choose between open door and dogs in the room or closed door and lack of oxygen.
Date of stay: March 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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3  Thank Stoerner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2013

It could have been pleasant enough but unfortunately not the case. The only backpacker in Pietermaritzburg, our group didn't have a choice but to stay here and that's when the unfortunate incidents began to happen.

On the first day, someone entered his room to step on dog poo - and that's not the only time when the four dogs that reside at this place pooped in a room. They also pooped all over the yard (no one picks up after them), roam around bothering people and begging for food and try to bite people. I am a dog person and love dogs but if you run a backpacker, the dogs should be house trained and more disciplined. The manager cared more about the dogs than her hosts. When the dogs tried to bite someone, it was not the dog that was yelled at but the person the dogs tried to bite!!!! The dogs got a nice filling breakfast when we were left hanging without breakfast for the first couple of days. When we were finally given breakfast, it was dry generic cereal and milk. There wasn't even enough for everyone. We were told not to use the milk for our coffee, and use the powdered milk instead. The fridge was full of unlabeled and rotten food and we were accused of stealing food. The sink was full of dirty dishes (see picture of how it was when we left) but then we were accused of not washing our dishes, which was not the case.

We were never told the rules of the establishment the moment we arrived and then we were browbeaten when we broke a rule afterwards. For instance, some of the girls put their underwear to dry on the windows and we were told that it is only in the poorest neighborhoods of Pietermaritzburg when you would see this and that it is rude to do so. Meanwhile the folks that did leave their towels to dry on the clothes line had towels smelling of dog hair. Lovely.

The rooms were not cleaned every day and were dusty. When someone asked for new linen, the manager complained about it. Someone's phone also went missing because you can't lock any of the rooms (the manager complained that some people lost their keys once and she had to pay for a lockersmith so that's why she decided not to give people keys). The bathroom was appalling (see picture). Only 3 toilets for 25 people, the bath tub was disgusting and was clogged. One of the showers didn't have a hook for a towel and also wet all the clothes when inside it.

The rooms were okay, fairly quiet except when the dogs were barking and apart from the multi bed room in the shed - which was really packed with no room to put things anywhere. They tried to pack 8 people in that tiny shed, a bit over the top.

On the plus side, it is affordable and close to the university.

Date of stay: March 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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3  Thank Leavingtrails
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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