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Sun City Hotel Review

Last Adjustments : 25 Aug 2013
reviewed on 17 Sep 2009
by South Africa Travel Online

As I edited the photos I'd taken of Sun City, our 2-year-old looked at them and clamoured for "more, more, more, I want more please" (which summarises our visit to the Sun City Hotel better than I could).

elephant bridge at the Sun City resort in South Africa

The Sun City Hotel is the original hotel in the Sun City resort, and opened in 1979. For a hotel from that era, I was pleasantly surprised at what a modern feel the room had - lovely bath, toilet with modern flush, neat desk. I've stayed in the Ritz Hotel in Cape Town before, which is also iconic and from the same time, but the room there felt very 70s. The highlight of the stay at the Sun City Resort was lazing the days away at the Valley of the Waves and dining at the Santorini restaurant.

Sun City Hotel in South Africa, with the pool in the foreground

Outdoor activities

Staying at the Sun City Hotel, one can freely enter the Valley of the Waves, by walking through the entertainment centre some 200m away. Towel rental is also free if you're staying at the Sun City Hotel, and you get a discounted rate on beach umbrell's (but we saved that expense by simply sitting under the shading they've built there). What was a bit odd is that you're not allowed to take your own food into the Valley of the Waves (we left ours with the helpful gentleman at the entrance...but we did get the feeling he was doing us a favour by helping us out there), which of course means you have to pay the prices they charged for food and drinks (e.g. R21 for an iced tea). The weather was glorious, and I've come to the conclusion that September is a great month to be at Sun City and enjoy the Valley of the Waves.

Sun City Hotel and its garden

Kong Gates

As you exit the entertainment centre on your way to the Valley of the Waves, you'll see the Kong Gates, with an inscription reading "The massive Kong Gates once guarded the entrance to the valley of the ancients. They were built to keep out the Sasangador, a ravening six legged carnivore that preyed on the villagers. The splintered timbers show how strong this extinct beast was."

Kong Gates at the Sun City resort

elephant bridge at the Sun City resort in South Africa

Sasangador at the elephant bridge in Sun City, South Africa

statue of monkeys with outstretched arms in Sun City in the Pilanesberg

Sacred River tube rides

Sun City's Sacred River, offers the opportunity to laze your way round on a tube, going under bridges and through caves, rapids and fountains. I made my way around with my delighted 2-year-old. Next to the river is a plaque reading: "Sacred River: When the ancients had nearly finished digging a moat around some of their dwellings, they struck an underground river, filling the moat with a gentle, circulating current which flows to this day. The awestruck people named it the Sacred River, a river with no end."

riding a tube down the sacred river in Sun City, South Africa

Other water rides

Whilst anybody can go for tube rides on the Sacred River (small ones accompanied by adults), there are also some more vertical rides for those a little older - include a very high and steep ride, and a tube ride which is underground, so you cant see where you are about to go.

water slides at Sun City

Wave pool at the Valley of the Waves

Without a doubt, the Valley of the Waves was the highlight of our stay at Sun City, and our 2-year-old was raving about it for days afterwards.

wave pool at Sun City, South Africa artificial beach at Sun City, South Africa
Valley of the Waves in the Sun City resort, South Africa Valley of the Waves in Sun City
Fake tattoos

You can get fake tattoos done at the Valley of the Waves. Our little one loved the panda and seahorse tattoos (they fade away after about 3 days).

fake tattoos at the Valley of the Waves

Bzzzzzzzzzz

Even the bees know that it's all good at the Valley of the Waves!

bee at Valley of the Waves

Trampoline

At the Valley of the Waves there's a fun trampoline to jump on.

trampoline at Sun City's Valley of the Waves

Helpfulness of staff

Ten out of ten for the courtesy of the staff members at the Sun City Hotel and in fact everywhere in the Sun City Resort - they are very very helpful and very well trained.

Children's games

There are loads of games in the entertainment centre for kids to play.

children's games at the Sun City Resort's entertainment centre win a bunny in the entertainment centre

Santorini restaurant

We had dinner at the Santorini restaurant next to the Cascades Hotel. To get there in the evening, we walked through this tropical forest filled with lights which made it look like a fairyland, and as we ate we could hear the monkeys screeching in the jungle. We had lunch there the next day, and the setting which the restaurant is in, is absolutely stunning during the daytime.

The Santorini restaurant is situated amongst pools and forest.

It's pleasant to sit under the shades with the view of the pool and forests.

Santorini restaurant and pools from the top floor of the Cascades Hotel

Santorini Restaurant at Sun City, South Africa

A stray cat at the Santorini restaurant.

Dolmades, spanicopita, halloumi and falafel for starters.

stray cat at the Santorini Restaurant, Sun City

dolmades, spanicopita, halloumi and falafel

While eating we noticed how the trunk of this tree was shaped like people stretched out.

Our daughter went for the pizza slices.

people tree at Santorini restaurant

pizza slices at the Santorini restaurant

The entrance to the Santorini restaurant if you want to dine indoors.

Santorini Restaurant in foreground, Cascades Hotel in the background.

entrance to the Santorini restaurant if you want to dine indoors

Santorini restaurant with the Cascades Hotel in the background

Monkeys and marijuana

Who would have thought there could be so many interesting things happening in a hotel room. We were staying in room 645 in the Sun City Hotel (the top floor). When we got back from our walk and opened the windows, there was the unmistakable and potent smell of marijuana wafting through the air. A few minutes later a vervet monkey appeared outside our window, peering inside to see whether there was anything of interest to help itself to.

What can be improved

There was no wireless internet in the rooms. For most people that's not an issue, but for the odd internet junkie like me it hurts (especially since I'd been enjoying internet access in the rooms the previous day at the Bakubung Bush Lodge). Having said that, the 3G signal is fairly strong (not the weaker GPRS signal which we've experienced at other out-of-the-way places).

The curtains did an excellent job of blocking the light out in the morning, but this was negated by the fact that there was a (locked) door between our room and our neighbour's room. Our neighbour started playing music in his (yes, I could hear it was a him) room from 6am, which also served to wake us up, as the fact that there was an interlinking door meant that noise flowed freely between the 2 rooms. Sound-proofing on the doors may help prevent the sound coming through the doors.

This is the most ants we've seen in a hotel room since we stayed at the Auberge in Yzerfontein.

Avis Car Rental

I don't know whether Sun International has an exclusive agreement with Avis Car Rental at Sun City, but they were the only option for car rentals at Sun City which I saw there. I saw Avis parking and at the visitor entrance there was an Avis Car Rental kiosk.

Avis parking at the Sun City resort

Cascades Hotel

We didn't actually stay at the Cascades Hotel, so cant comment in detail, but it looks impressive, and there are some good views from the top floor (and the lifts to the top are interesting - you can see out of them).

Cascades Hotel in the background, pools in the foreground (from Santorini restaurant).

From the top floor, we can see the Cascades Hotel on the right and the Sun City Hotel in the background.

Cascades Hotel in the Sun City Resort

Cascades Hotel and Sun City Hotel from top floor

View of the Gary Player Country Club from the top of the Cascades Hotel.

Cascades Hotel at the Sun City Resort.

Gary Player Country Club from the top of the Cascade Hotel in the Sun City resort

Cascades Hotel at the Sun City resort

Reservations

Sun City reservations

011 780 7800 (telephonic reservations)

Palace of the Lost City

We'd love to show you what it looks like inside and its views, but we weren't allowed to get into the Palace of the Lost City - the doormen wouldn't let us in (hopefully we'll get another opportunity at some stage to properly showcase it).

Fountain outside the Sun City Palace where people like to have their photos taken.

Doormen guarding the Palace of the Lost City (only residents may enter).

antelope fountain at the Palace of the Lost City doormen at the Palace of the Lost City

Amphitheatre at the base of the Palace of the Lost City.

View of the Sun City Palace of the Lost City from the Valley of the Waves.

amphitheatre at Sun City Palace of the Lost City from the Valley of the Waves

Pool at the base of the Palace of the Lost City.

Pool bar at the base of the Sun City Palace.

pool at the Palace of the Lost City in Sun City bar at the pool at Sun City's Palace of the Lost City

A Sun City employee by the name of Frans drove the bus taking us from the Sun City Hotel to the Palace of the Lost City. Frans waited for us to take our photos and try to get into the Palace of the Lost City, before driving on and dropping us off at the Entertainment Centre, and was extremely helpful in telling us about the resort and where people like to take photos. Sun International - look after Frans, he's a credit to your organisation.

Sun City Hotel

Photos of the Sun City Hotel.

Sun City Hotel with the pool in the foreground breakfast at the Sun City Hotel in the Pilanesberg
monkey walking over the top of the Sun City Hotel pool at the Sun City Hotel in South Africa
room at the Sun City Hotel garden view from the top floor of the Sun City Hotel
view from the Sun City Hotel front on view of the Sun City Hotel

This casino chip waterfall is in the middle of the Sun City Hotel.

casino chip waterfall at the Sun City Hotel in South Africa

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