I surprised my husband for his birthday by booking into the Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel for the night. The hotel is actually spread out between various buildings within the theme park. Our room was a block away from the reception area.
The room was well appointed and very comfortable, and we enjoyed the free access to the theme park. We took the mine tour, watched the soccer game on the big screen in the town square and enjoyed a drink at Barney's (the hotel restaurant). We've done most of the rides before and the queues are quite long, so we steered away from the majority of those.
We were enjoying our stay until Saturday evening, but unfortunately there was a large conference group staying for the weekend and the people making up this group were incredibly loud, rude and unpleasant. When they finished their session and came back to the rooms, they shouted continuously from room to room and down the corridors. Later, they pushed into the shuttle queue. They seemed incapable of speaking normally - everything was shouted, and when asked politely to "please keep it down" they got even louder and ruder, and some were quite aggressive.
Thankfully we escaped them for a few hours when we went to have dinner at the Gold Reef City Casino (there is a free shuttle that runs every half hour between 17:30 and 22:30 from the hotel to the casino). I had made a reservation at Back o' the Moon, a restaurant that plays beautiful live jazz music, which was lovely. Hotel guests can either eat at the casino, or at Barney's inside the theme park. Everything else shuts down at night.
When we got back to the hotel, we didn't have a good night's sleep, as the noisy group arrived back shouting and carried on well into the night. The next morning, their yelling started again at 6.30am. I have never come across louder, more obnoxious people.
Once they had finally left by the busload at about 9am, we had a very pleasant morning with a delicious buffet breakfast at Barney's. If it weren't for them, our stay would have been delightful. We actually complained to the hotel reception at one point, but nobody came to address the problem.
Overall, the hotel service was good (particularly the welcome staff and the porter) and the room was very nice. But, ultimately, at this establishment one's enjoyment of one's stay actually sadly depends on the other guests. Because the rooms are spread out and not in traditional hotel format, and because the hotel is inside the theme park, there appears not to be the same level of consideration one would normally expect from a four-star hotel. Even the cleaning staff yelled to each other as they worked.
It's not a bad place to stay and definitely worth it for the free theme park entry (especially for families). Bear in mind that the park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays when planning your stay. And hope that you get nice fellow guests.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to an age of elegance and grandeur at the Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel. Located within Africa's biggest theme park, the hotel is reminiscent of an authentic turn-of-the-century mining town. Staying at the hotel also gives you free access to a multitude of fun filled attractions and entertainment in the theme park. Please note the Theme Park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during Gauteng School holidays.The adjacent Gold Reef City Casino complex offers a variety of dining and other entertainment options. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Protea Hotel Johannesburg