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Mossel Bay is all about the beach and Santos Express Train Lodge has the perfect location, right on the beach.
Mossel Bay is just under four hundred kilometers east of Cape Town on the Garden Route, the well-established tourist trail along the South African coast. Santos Express Train Lodge sits right on the beach in Santos Bay.
Rooms and Bathrooms
This is actually a reclaimed express train and the rooms are in the carriages. There are many doubles, twins, and family rooms, all quite small as they are built to fit in train compartments. The sixteen-bed dorm has a walkway down the middle with the bunks along the windows. The carriage is carpeted and clean, and we slept very well on the comfortable mattresses. There are lockers provided, but bring your own lock. However, there is only one toilet and one shower for the whole dorm. The carriages with the cheaper rooms also have the same problem with not enough bathrooms -- there really needs to be at least one ablutions carriage. Another issue is that the windows do not have curtains. Although the streetside windows are frosted for privacy, the beachside ones are not. The outside lights pour into the carriage all night, and at dawn, the daylight lights the carriage from very early. This could give some people trouble sleeping, as it's never really dark.
There are no common spaces for guests only. There is a public restaurant and bar. These also have an outside terrace and there is a "beer deck" just outside reception. An internet terminal sits just inside reception and there is free Wi-Fi, but it's not available in the rooms. The signal only reaches the reception area and the restaurant. There is an ATM inside reception also. For drivers, there is plenty of parking space alongside the carriages. The accommodation carriages are fenced from the public with access via your key fob and key, for which there is a refundable deposit to pay.
Clearly, novelty value gives this place good business, but there are issues here, some of them mentioned above. There are no self-catering facilities (a staple of South African hostels) and the lounging area is basically the public beach! That said, it's very clean and pretty comfortable in the dorm, though it could get a bit stuffy in the hot summer. The food in the restaurant is very good, but a little expensive for backpackers. The town centre is a fifteen-minute walk away where there are a lot of other options, though. Free breakfast is provided for private-room guests. Dorm guests must pay for breakfast. If you want convenience over anything else, then this place is great being right by the beach. Otherwise, it's ok for one night. It is very popular, particularly during the December/January domestic tourist season, so you'll need to book ahead.
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Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Published on 2016-12-04
Verified Reviews by our Community
All in all very good
Very friendly staff and a very cool place to stay. No bad things to say except for the wifi not reaching the room.
Age 28 | Finland
BAD BAD BAD
Advertises as safe-with a guard and cameras, yet our car was robbed and the camera is not functional and did not capture anything. When discussing the issue, staff was extremely aggressive, rude, and condescending. Worst customer service I have ever experienced, felt extremely attacked and belittled by staff following being robbed on their property! Beyond this our train compartment held 16 people that had to share a single bathroom, step on sleeping strangers to get into their bed, no hallway space to get through, and with one outlet in the entire room. Restaurant food very poor. I am extremely regretful to have stayed here and do not recommend it to anyone under any circumstances.
Age 20 | USA
Not what I expected
Very old. Really could do with a slight revamp -- like the duvets need replacing and it wouldn't take much to improve the toilet and shower areas. It's not dirty -- just old. Cheap. Expect this to be more comfy and convenient than camping. I'd say it's below a hostel and way below a B&B. They don't even have plug sockets in the cabins. I'd recommend it to those that really want to save their pennies -- but then they should take their own bedding and minimal luggage -- nowhere to unpack it.
A great place to stay for a couple of nights. Beds are comfy, staff are friendly and it is RIGHT on the beach.
I'm surprised this is listed as a B&B I'd call it a backpackers any day. Go there expecting a B&B and you may be disappointed. Go there expecting a backpackers and you'll probably enjoy it we did!
The cabins are tiny and the beds are a bit on the short side, but the views are lovely, the atmosphere is casual and the food available in the dining car is a good value. A fun place for a short stay.
Go to Santos Express Backpackers!!! It is a real train that is "parked" right at the beach! The cabins are tiny tiny tiny so be sure there are just two people in a room. All cabins are facing the sea and it's fun for one or two nights.
Santos Express Train Lodge Reviews from the Web
Staff are so accommodating. Feels very safe with 24 hour security patrolling. Have stayed there twice already and will be visiting again. Lovely place for solo travellers - would definitely recommend
Novel concept for a night but be mindful that its not the most comfortable set up. My room was probably 6 ft x 4 ft including the bed. No wifi in room either. Had to go to the bar/restaurant which allows smoking so is quite smokey.
It was greatly located and it is a nice different accomodation, but the doublebed room we got is not the same as in the pictures. It was very tight and narrow.
I loved the fact that it is right on the beach and has a restaurant. It is quite small but perfect if youre not sharing the space. Didnt like the fact that nobody shows you around, you are just given the key and expected to figure it out yourself. The breakfast is also not all that, a typical backpackers breakfast.
This was a lovely experience. As a local moving away and needing a comfortable place to relax, this was especially a wonderful place to stay. Friendly staff, from the night security to the restaurant waiters. Clean and safe with plenty of parking and the sound of the ocean through out. Definitely worth it!
Sleeping in a different way. Nice. Very small dorms. Nice stay for a couple of nights.
Our expectations for Santos were quite high, so we were disappointed. The location is great and the concept is fun, but once that wears off, it is basically a tight medium-good hostel. Walls are paperthin, the shower and bathrooms are shared and the door to our cabin didnt close properly. There was no soap in the bathroom and barely hot water in the shower. There is only wifi in the restaurant, and we were not offered towels neither the opportunity to rent some. I am not saying it is horrible, but just know what you are booking and if you think the fun of the concept is worth it.
Great experience and great location it is what it is but really good fun ,
Very nice place and the location is great.
We traveled with my sisters in August so, winter and there was no heat. It was very cold in the dormatory so, take a jacket.
The view is great, everywhere in the train, you have the beach view!
We've enjoyed our stay. Will surely visit you again.
We absolutely loved this stay!! so very unique and the location is wonderful.
We stayed in a suite & it was a great value. Would stay here again in a heartbeat.
Don't miss an opportunity to stay someplace really funky & cool
A very pleasant stay in this unusual accommodation. The female waiting staff in the restaurant needs to learn to smile.
This is worth a stay for the novelty value, but the backpackers' dorm isn't such good value. It's clean and comfy, but you don't get access to a kitchen like most backpackers' and there is only one toilet and shower to the whole dorm carriage. There's free wi-fi, but only near the reception.
I highly recommend Santos Express for a unique accommodation experience. We stayed in the "Honeymoon Suite" aka the Caboose, and it was cosy and comfortable. The view and location are definitely worth the stay. I suggest though that during winter, more blankets are provided because the compartments are not insulated and it gets extremely cold inside.
Keep it up Girls, You are the window and the flowers of the Company
My personal opinion is; If it was not for your Staff the Santos Express Train Lodge would not as nice as it was
Excellent Girls Excellent
Hats of to You
Fabulous hostel. We stayed in the dorm...we actually have stayed here twice because we loved it so much. Very clean, excellent location, and fair prices at the restaurant. Some things to note for travelers: wifi is only in the reception/restaurant. Also, charging stations in the dorm are extremely limited, so be sure to bring your own surge protector with additional outlets if possible.
Only two bathrooms per carriage isn't ideal
It was a great expierience ..was my first time...but not my last..
The rates in Coast-to-Coast were R320, but we were charged R460! In my opinion the 2-berth compartment is overpriced.
Due to an issue with the mobile website we arrived to find that only a single booking had been made. However, as the room showed two beds, we could only book by number of rooms and there were two of us we thought selecting "1" was the correct thing to do. On arrival we were given a very large sum of money that we'd have to pay to both use the room, we showed them the mobile site and they too could see the issue was booking with hostel club and fortunately resolved it for us so we could stay with no further payment. We'd recommend the hostel and the staff were very patient with us. However, I would not recommend booking through hostel club until the issues are resolved.
The Santos Express Train Lodge is a genuine train situated on the Santos Beach in Mossel Bay with all cabins facing the sea. With the ocean so close, you can’t really beat its unbelievable position and exquisite views. An invigorating sea breeze keeps everything cool even on really hot days.
We offer a unique stay in a double compartment or single coupe similar to the Trans Karoo. We are 5-10 min walk from the Dias Museum Complex, Harbour and Town Centre.
We have 5 coaches, of which 4 are identical, with 5 compartments (2-4 sleeper), 2 coupe’s (1-2 sleeper), 2 toilets and 1 shower. The 5th coach is divided into a 16 bed Dorm with lounge and the Caboose - an on-suite room with balcony.
We have also recently added two vintage wooden coaches called the Royal Suites. These were built in 1919 and 1921 respectively, then transported by boat from England to South Africa where they served the Rovos Rail company until they were decommissioned and made their last journey by rail to join our fleet in December 2013.
Double and single rates include a free continental breakfast and we also have an option to upgrade to an additional hot breakfast. We can accommodate a max of 114 pax and have special STO rates for groups of 30 pax and more (Low season). Seasonal rates apply. Menus can be customized to suit any budget and special requirements.
Our happening restaurant and bar serves all day breakfast, and other delicious meals such as steaks, seafood and our most famous traditional meals, that can be served inside or on the sundeck. The restaurant is open from 7:30 am until late
Our staff is on the ball and can help with all travel and adventure arrangements such as shark cage diving, boat-based whale watching, sky diving, game drives, quad biking, deep-sea fishing, pleasure boat trips to Seal Island etc.
We also offer the following services: BBQ; Internet & Wi Fi; Phone cards & Airtime; Baz Bus Stop; Laundry and Security.
Check us out in the Rough guide, Lonely Planet etc. We have been here a very long time and know how to do it
Location and Contact
• On the blue flag Santos beach, 5 min walk from town center, major attractions and just 30m from the ocean. • When coming from Cape Town, keep straight on the N2, towards Hartenbos. At the traffic intersection on Louis Fourie rd, De Bakke beach and sea on your right hand side, turn right into George Rd. You will see our billboards. • When coming from George or Oudtshoorn, pass Langeberg Mall on your way into Mossel Bay town. At the traffic insection on Louis Fourie rd, De Bakke beach and sea on your left, turn off left into George Rd. You will see our billboards.
Munro Road, Santos Beach, Mossel Bay (Mosselbaai),
Western Cape, South Africa
Santos Express Train Lodge is listed on the following booking sites: