Palace of the Lost City Hotel, Sun City, South Africa

The Palace of the Lost City hotel at Sun City in South Africa (which is about 2.5 hours drive from Johannesburg) is positioned as the most up-market of the 4 hotels that form the complex. But as we soon discovered on arriving at Sun City, the concept of “up-market” and Sun City are not entirely linked!

Admittedly it had some glamour factor as Oprah Winfrey was also staying there, but overall I found Sun City and the Palace Hotel as overall unpleasant a place to visit and stay.

The saving grace was the brilliant Valley of the Waves water park which had 5 great water rides and a remarkable wave pool. This complex although packed, was great fun.

The Palace is a very large and ambitious complex, having created impressive gardens and waterfalls in the African bush. It is a grand building inspired by Las Vegas (and you see the gem of an idea that Sol Kerzner who created Sun City would later turn into the much more ambitious Atlantis resorts).

It was also, as a foreign visitor, a very expensive place to stay for accommodation. Though it is evident once here and looking at rates locally much less expensive for locals. The hotel is manically busy, as is the resort, but to do so is clearly attracting a budget crowd. It is not an upmarket resort to stay at.

Service is variable and slow overall. We had to ask 3 times to get the minibar stocked, queued for about 40 minutes to get to breakfast and about as long to check out. Room housekeeping was erratic and inconsistent. Food overall was average. Though the expensive Villa restaurant was good.

We were due to spend 5 nights there, but knew that was too long when the chap who took our bags seemed surprised we would stay that long. A maximum of 2 nights would be more than enough.

The Entertainment Centre is awful, and full of poor fast food places. The sun City hotel is a better casino (though very small) and the Orchid Restaurant was ok. If one was a golfer the course seemed good. The gym at the Gary Player centre was fine, though small considering the size of the complex.

Our room was large though very dated, and assume is still the 15 year old style from when it opened. It smelt musty and slightly damp. The lifts were a bit erratic. The huge pool was good, though in need of some attention and painting.

There is only internet access in the business centre and then only 3 stations and so not easy.

Making the trip of 2 to 3 hours by car from Johannesburg is not worth it at all..

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