6 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Here's a place best left to 'legends' as the fact undoes the fiction!
"We stayed here during the wedding week of our best friends. Several guests from the wedding were put up here during the week prior, and all of them left with the distinct impression that never actually visiting the hotel does more for its reputation that being there, ie. the fictional alure of the hotel name only stays that way if you never visit the place. It's expensive and very badly serviced for the class of hotel it pretends to be. The checkin is the initial warning of the cold and unwelcome process the rest of our stay became.
The initial hotel impression is of wonder as a lot was done to overawe a visitor during that first day. However it left both my wife and I with the distinct impression there-after that the 'glory days' were over...
One lovely section remains, other than the thrill of the wave pool if you can still call that a thrill, and this is the walks you can have in the grounds, all of which turn out to be quite pleasant in general. Also if you are willing, take a game drive. For a short distance away from J'burg, you can enjoy a professional game drive with some good guides and with a nice halfway house right in the middle of the game park.
The above are the only two memorable moments in the time we spent at the Palace, and that's a shame, considering the vision with which it was originally designed and built. And for pitty sake, don't go all the way just to gamble as the casino is old, and should be mothballed, and this from someone who does not even gamble!
No, not a place we will go back to. A shame that it carries a name that is so directly opposite to the reality!"
- Travel date: Sat 9th of December 2006
"You get what you pay for!
I know the hotel well and have been a few times.
It is NOT authentic old africa, it is NOT like any other hotel in South Africa.
It is different, a play on the concept of an old African palace being unearthed in Africa. It is modern, glitzy, a bit over the top (but not in the way some in Dubai are)
It has an impressive entrance, water, statues of leaping animals, marble, that kind of thing.
There are some good swimming pools, and a choice to be made, depending on what you want.
My room was good, in a modern version of an African style. I found the service throughout at reception, restaurant and breakfast to be good and attentive.
A short walk, or Sun City bus drive gets you to the vast entertainment centre, where just about anything is available, bowling, restaurants, fast food, theatres, and plenty to keep the kids happy.
Staying at this hotel will get you free entrance to the amazing artificial swimming pool, with artificial beach and wave making machine. Great place for kids and teenagers.
Its NOT a real African location, but has been carefully constructed as an artificial one, but it is still good.
Played golf at both golf courses there. Both are world class, out of preference if I was to choose 1, make it the Gary Player course, this is a better golf course. Outstanding value for money, at the price, one of the world's best golf experiences.
Enjoy the hotel, it is what it is."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of November 2006
Would not return
"We stayed at the palace at sun city for 3 days of our honeymoon after a fabulous safari in madikwe. On arrival at the hotel we were astounded at the amazing architecture although it did seem to appear a bit of a monstrosity after the initial awe. I think after coming from somewhere so natural (the safari lodge) emphasized this even more.
We had to wait quite a while for the check in who were efficient but not overly friendly. we then had to wait for someone to 'show' us the hotel and where our room was although we would have preferred to just find the room ourselves!
the hotel was very cold in the communal areas and i think the air conditioning was too high considering the weather was not warm outside.
the room was nice and well equipped but not amazing. the food was ok although we went to the italian restaurant one night which was supposed to be one of the best in africa and we both thought it was the worst meal of the holiday! food at pool bar was delicious though if overpriced. drinks were expensive too.
room service was ok ..nothing special.
The entertainment centre was fun if the casino was a bit tacky but some of the food places there were nice and more reasonably priced. although it was freezing when we were waiting for the bus on the way back which took ages.
the valley of the waves was good although the water far too cold for us to go in so we just watched instead! main pool was freezing too.
Hotel security was good, and shops were ok but expensive again!
All in all we would not return to the hotel as it seemed cold and impersonal. The food was average and the service below standard for a leading hotel of the world member. It was a long way to walk to get anywhere in the hotel and there was generally a lack of any atmosphere.
having said that the building was beautiful as mentioned but we found it too ostentatious.
we did consider getting a safari from here but when we saw the vehicles thought we would give it a miss. they were very high sided and carried up to 25 people which means the viewing experience would have been very limited and uncomfortable. If you are coming here with a safari in mind don''t bother...go and stay at alodge. If you like all the big grandeur and posh restaurants then give it a try.
hope this helps!
Oh .. i left some new armani shoes here in the room, we rang back as soon as i realised (about 5hrs after leaving hotel) to get them posted on to us but they had not been found!?"
- Travel date: Thu 19th of October 2006
Best Resort for weekend break from Johannesburg
"We visit the Palace a few times a year for a weekend break, for us living in Joburg it is a great place to unwind and relax. The rooms are beautiful and spacious and the service great, there are two world-class golf courses to play, a wonderful spa for the wife, and kids can enjoy the wave pool and water slides(dad does as well). There are also jogging trails and tennis courts. You can also go horse riding. At Waterworld you can Para sail and ride on Jet Skiâs. Go and see the Extravaganza. There are lots more to do, or you can just relax by the pool (Palace residents only). Dinning is also top class though a bit expensive by South-African standards (you can get cheaper food at the entertainment center). We are not big gamblers so I really canât comment on these facilities. The only negative I have is that we have to pay for coffee in the morning as there are no facilities to make your own. Donât skip breakfast; it is one of the best breakfasts anywhere in the world. The Palace is over the top! And fake but we still love it. Having stayed at the Bellagio and Caesars Palace in Vegas this hotel is:
1- Smaller and,
2- Have better pool facilities,
3- You donât have to drive anywhere to play golf.
4- The service is better. (Not just a number, they greet you by name at breakfast and dinner).
We at the southern tip of Africa actually have the need for resorts like this. The other hotels in the resort are also great and the Cascades are great value for money, we just prefer the Palace. I donât think this is the place to come to if you want the wildlife experience, rather go to one of the great Lodges in a Game Park. Although the Pilanesberg National Park is just next to the resort you wonât get the same experience you get from staying at a lodge. It is my opinion that some people come to this resort expecting something totally different, and are then disappointed. We travel extensively all over the world but always look forward to our weekends here."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of August 2006
"Ok... it was not in the wilds of Africa on a safari, but I stayed here with my family for two nights as a stop over from the airport and it was pure luxury!! The reception was amaxing with the ornate ceiling and the dining hall was absolutely marvelous with a large elephant water feature in the center. There were beautiful, tropical fruit buffets for breakfast and delecious evening meals!
Even though i didn't use the golf course, it did look really spectacular, (i heard there were crocodiles on it)!
The pool was more like a massive water park with a wave machine, lazy river and the most near vertical drop flume i have ever seen!
This rooms were fit for a royal family and i would totally recommend this for a stopover to break down the journey from the airport to a game reserve!"
- Travel date: Sun 23rd of July 2006
nobody travels to africa to end up in disneyland..
"atrociously over the top! beyond kitschy and absolutely tasteless. not exactly what one expects from a trip to south africa. though it appears to be children-friendly, due to the variety of entertainment offered, kids under the age of 12 are only allowed to dine in the nearby casino. if one craves this kind of tacky atmosphere, i'd suggest a trip to vegas or disneyland instead."
- Travel date: Fri 19th of May 2006