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“Lots of hype, but fails to meet expectations” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 34 Hotels in Sandusky
Newark, Ohio
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Lots of hype, but fails to meet expectations”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

Be prepared to spend hours waiting to unload, check in, navigate the lobby, and stand in line for water rides. The place is so crowded you can barely pick your way through the crowd in the waterpark or in the hotel. Unfortunately for such a high priced room there is only a one hour guest swim time before the day pass people are allowed to swarm the park and if you are trying to leave in a hurry make sure you have packed and loaded your car the night before, because the hotel allows guests to check in to your room before you have even been checked out of it.

The waterpark had many attractions that were down or not utilized to the full capacity making lines move slowly and incur wait times up to two hours for one attraction. Saw very little security on premises which is slightly disturbing for a family with young children.

This place has a nice concept and is very immense but it's poorly designed for the number of people who attend.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Hi Matthew! Thank you for visiting us and taking the time to review our resort. I am very sorry to hear about your negative experience with the waterpark. On popular days the waterpark can get pretty busy. I do apologize that this may have affected your stay. We do limit or close off any outside day passes during this time, but I know it can still be quite busy. Check-in does begin at 4:00pm. However, should you arrive as early as 12:00pm, you can pre-register and begin to enjoy the Waterparks. Check out is no later than 11:00am. After you have checked out, if you have the time, we invite you to stay with us to enjoy to use the waterpark until 3:00pm. I am very sorry to hear that you may have experienced anything other then this. I have already connected with our waterpark Director to look into your concerns of the attractions being closed or down. Also, I did want to assure you that we have a robust and full security team on at all times within our resort. I can certainly understand your concern in this area and appreciate hearing your thoughts. If there is anything else we can do for you, please don't hesitate to let me know. Take care!
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2,387 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (559)
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English first
Commerce, Michigan, United States
1 review
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

My family and I recently stayed at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky and it was a terrible experience. We had been approx. 6 times prior and it had always been our favorite but this time was different. Upon arrival we were greeted by a very nice and helpful staff member and was directed to our room, this is where it gets bad. Upon entering the room we had realized that the room was filthy, there was actually what appeared to be urin and toilet paper sitting in the toilet, the toilet had not been cleaned and there was hair all over the bathroom floor. The walls were dirty, the switch plates to the fire place and lights were covered with food, there was sticky stuff all over the floor and front of the couch. I noticed that a light in the living room had a shade that was burnt and the couch was all ripped up. I went to front desk and they sent housekeeping into the room but they only wiped down the couch and changed the lamp shade. After they had left the room which by the way they were very irritated I had realized that the lamp shade was burnt because the lamp was broke and the shade rested on the bulb so I immediatley unplugged the lamp and told the kids not to use it because it was a fire hazard. We were all very uncomfortable but at this point were trying to make the best of it so we went to the water park, which by the way was filthy as well. The hot tub literally had black funk all around the top of the tiles and the bubbles were brown from the filth, needless to say we left and had hoped in the morning the park would be cleaner because they would clean once the park closed. boy was I wrong...

In the morning we went to breakfast which was o.k. and back down to the water park and once again was filthy. The hot tub was in the same condition as the night before, band aids and gum floating around , black filth around the tiles, and brown bubbles. The wave pool was about the same band aids and gum, plus slime floating by you I could only assume it was snot. I am sure the filters were not working. We left the park within an hour and I went to speak to a manager the best they could do for us was to let us leave but would pro-rate us for the day, which by the way it was only a little after noon. I was told at this point that the park was clean and our room had just been remodeled which was all a lie. We spent the rest of the day in the arcade and eating trying to entertain the kids and make the best of it. We spent almost $300 in the arcade alone trying to have fun but was so disappointed we could not use the water park because of the unsanitary conditions. Ultimately after I wrote a bad review on Kalahari's face book page the woman that handled the page had management try to work it out with us and begrudgingly she offered us a refund of $189 out of the $689 the room had cost us. Since our return I have tried to get in contact with upper management with no success. Our main goal for this trip was to have fun in the water park, had I known this would have been the out come we would have just went to a hotel in the area in which we live to swim for about $90 a night. I will never return and the manager there Sue Peterson should be fired for calling me a liar and being so crude...

Did I mention the pull out was full of food, the couch reaked of urin, and the bedroom drapes were broke and would not close.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Hi Amy! Thank you for your review and continuously visiting us! I am sorry to hear about your past stay! Very disappointing and discouraging. Please accept my sincerest apologies. In the meantime, I am very glad that we were able to get you connected with Brendan and he was able to get you all taken care of. Thank you for connecting with me via Facebook. I apologize in the delay it took to have someone connect directly with you, but very glad to hear that it all worked out in the end. We look forward to seeing you again soon! Thank you so much and take care!
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Rochester Hills, Michigan
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

We thought since it was spring break it would be crazy busy and there would be very long lines, well we went Wednesday until Friday and it wasn't that busy. A few of the most popular rides were about 30 min wait. There were plenty of other things to do in the hotel for kids and parents from the arcade, black light mini golf (9 holes), mini bowling, painting pottery, spa, exercise room, having your picture with a live kangaroo and/or lion and I am sure I am leaving off other things. The only real complaint I have is they need more restaurants or maybe just more servers at the ones they do have. They have 2 restaurants currently. We went to the Reserve the one night and there were at least 12 tables empty and a 45 minute wait. I am not sure what was going on, if they didn't have enough staff or what but if you have a busy season like mid-winter break and the hotel is sold out, you make sure that you have enough staff and that those tables are cleaned and filled as quickly as you can. The more money the restaurant would make! I asked the host about the empty tables and he just sat us in one of those empty tables. I would go there again, but maybe make different dinner options. Kids don't wanna wait 45 + minutes for dinner and you can't make reservations either.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Our family recently stayed at Kalahari for two nights, and we had a great time. The lines were long on president 's day, but we expected that. It was very noisy around our room which was at the very end of the building. There should be no smoking aloud on the balconies. Our neighbors braved the wind just to smoke and talk late into the night. If they couldn't smoke there it would have been quieter. The slides and pools were great. I agree with the other commenter that the chemical levels were outrageous, my son coughed the entire time we were there. We will probably go back, but only stay one night and maybe in the summer when we can get away from the fumes. Our second night was super quiet, we would go mid week of we go in the winter again.
The room was nice, we upgraded to a suite and enjoyed the spaciousness. Our package came with food vouchers, which is definitely the way to go. All the staff was friendly and helpful.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Fraser, Michigan
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

We try to go to Kalahari at least once a year. The waterpark has something for everyone. The children's play area is great for little ones. Our 5 year old spends almost all her time in there. The wave pool and lazy river are definitely the most popular attractions as they are always filled with people, often too crowded to be enjoyable. The water slides are a lot of fun but the wait can be lengthy if it's a busy day. One big disappointment is the water coaster. It's always shut down, I've only gone on it once because it's always closed when we're there. They have a nice outdoor waterpark which is geared more towards kids. It's nice going there in the summer because people are more spread out, not all crammed inside. The 21 and over hot tub with a swim-up bar is a definite plus, there's nothing worse than sitting in a hot tub trying to relax and have kids and teenagers swimming around like it's a regular swimming pool! There's none of that in the adults only hot tub.

The rooms are nice - not overly fancy but they have all the amenities we need. The walls are paper thin though so if you plan on being awake past 10pm, make sure you whisper or you'll have a visit from security.

The rest of the resort is ok. The arcade is always crowded with kids trying to win enough tickets for the prizes. The restaurants have good food but they are very pricey. i recommend bringing your own food and drinks if you're looking to cut costs. The Candy Hut has amazing treats. We always end up spluring but we can't resist the caramel apples and other goodies. The apples are coated in everything from Oreos to gummy worms to m&ms...

Overall we love Kalahari and always look forward to our trip there. If there was one recommendation I would make to the resort it is to not allow people to come in off the streets and use the waterpark. I understand they make a ton of money doing this, but the waterpark becomes so crowded that it's not enjoyable. On our last visit (2/14/13-2/15/13), the line to get in on Friday snaked through the entire arcade. The lazy river was so crowded there were numerous "traffic jams" and it became anything but lazy with everyone trying to push their way through. It would also be nice if they offered more special rates - a one night stay was $180 and that was just for their basic room. We only stay for one night when we visit because it's too expensive for our family to stay longer than that.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this review, February 22, 2013
Hi Ann!

Thank you for connecting with us and taking the time to review our resort! It is certainly our pleasure to have you and your family time and again! Please know, we sincerely appreciate this. Glad to hear you share in the love of the Mud Hut this is such a nice little escape. We certainly have some popular days when the resort is filled. Hopefully you can snag a special that works for you and come a time when you have your run of the place. I did connect with our waterpark director about the Zip Coaster. They need to look into that and I will follow up with him on that. Thank you again for everything and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
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Royal Oak, MI
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

My family recently stayed at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. Our initial greeting at the front desk was great. Our room was ready 2 hours early which was wonderful. Our room was fine. It appeared clean and the amenities were fine as well. The water park itself is amazing! There is so much to see and partake in. There's no way any child would be bored at this place. My problem is this: The chlorine levels in the park, and I mean in the AIR as well as the water, must be absolutely toxic! Whether you're in there for 8 hours or 20 minutes, you will taste the chlorine in your mouth and lungs for hours and hours afterwards. Both of my children spent each night coughing up a storm from the chlorine taste in their lungs. As I stepped out onto my balcony I could hear children in every room around me coughing up a storm as well. It explains why there is and endless supply of cough syrups in their Trading Post convenience store. I can't express enough how absolutely toxic we all felt the chlorine levels were! I have since talked to a few "pool experts" who informed me that when you can taste the chlorine for hours and hours afterwards it is a sign that there are problems. The experts also informed me that children that are exposed to such high chlorine content can develop lung cancer or at the very least asthma, as their lungs are not fully developed yet. YIKES!!! The water park had several areas that had to be continually "shocked" with chlorine, mostly the wave pool, which had very cloudy water. At one point they shocked this area several times within a 1 hour period... not a good sign. The staff at the resort are wonderful! Each and every employee that I interacted with was absolutely pleasant, friendly and helpful. Kudos there. Next, I would highly recommend that you bring your own food supplies. As I realize that "convenience" has a price, the prices within the resort are mind blowing. $6.01 for 2 small poweraids, not to mention the restaurant prices. It's a bank account drainer if you have to rely on the resort to feed yourself and your children for days at a time. My biggest complaint, aside from the toxic chlorine taste in my lungs, which didn't go away until day 2 of being home, is the NOISE!!! Do not expect to get ANY rest whatsoever. I can't stress this enough. After being at the water park for hours on end each day, REST is needed... but you won't get any of that here. The resort clearly states on it's "welcome" flyer that between the hours of 10pm-8am it is "quiet time". There is not a person there, it seems, that actually adheres to this rule. At ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT there are children absolutely screaming and running around the hallways. It is incredibly loud at night because of this and you will not find the "down time" that all of us parents need at the end of the night. In every single review of Kalahari Resorts online there is a response by a Kalahari Resort Manager. Not once have they addressed HOW they are working on handling this on-going problem. The incessant night time noise level is an ever present complaint, yet all you see as the reply (by management) is how "sorry" they are... never a reply that tells us HOW they are going to correct the problem. A simple sign placed in each hallway every night between the hours of 10pm-8am that says: SHHHHHH... IT'S QUIET TIME, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL is my solution. How hard is that? It's not, period. I find it very insulting that a typical "form letter" response is all anyone gets. Shame on you, Kalahari, I thought you were better than that.

Room Tip: Do NOT choose a room down the main artery to the water park, there is non-stop foot traffic and chil...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this review, February 22, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review us and express your concerns to the way in which we address guest concerns, which I received in your email last night as well. We do take this very seriously and appreciate your time. While it was clear through your email that you would not want response, it is our expectation as a company and my own expectation personally that we connect back with all of our guests, good or bad, to let them know we did in fact listen to their thoughts. In fact, I do connect with our owner and our management team daily to address specific and reoccurring issues, so that we may find a solution that will work for everyone. These are typically not items that can be decided and implemented in a single day, and can take some time, but please understand that just because I don’t have the perfect solution at this moment, we as a team at Kalahari are doing our best to go beyond yours and everyone else’s expectations and deliver a product that you expect and deserve. I can’t express enough, that I may not have all the solutions all the time, but when I say I will connect with someone that does, I most certainly do. From there, I leave it in the hands of our very capable management team to implement the best solution we deem appropriate. Then I go back to doing what I do, read, organize and reassure our guests we truly do care. I apologize that you took my effort and attempts to make Kalahari the best it can be as anything other than pure love and appreciation for my job and this company. Letting our amazing guests know that they have been heard was my only intention. I will be the first to apologize if that ever came across as any other intent.

Moving forward, I did put you in touch with our Guest Services Manager as I think she will be the best person address your concerns about our chemical levels and noise issues. As Su mentioned, we do have the signs in all the hallways, and you mentioned on our welcome flyer. Also, we do have 24hr security if any issues may arise. To your point, this didn't seem to help the issue. We as a company need to regroup on what we can do about this. In regards to the pool chemicals, I believe Su noted we do have a computerized monitoring system that would alert us if any irregularities were occurring and we back that up with multiple tests a day. David Gower, our chemical expert will be in touch with you to go over your symptoms and thoughts. He is the best resource for this topic.
Again, thank you for your concerns listed here and through your emails. I hope all of us working together can resolve any hesitations you may have about us. Take care.
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

Probably the nicest indoor waterpark we have been to. They definitely have the nicest toddler area that we have seen at an indoor waterpark. There was plenty to do for all ages. The water and air temperatures were good.

The bellmen were very prompt and nice. They took our luggage to our car in the parking lot when we needed to check out, but were still going to use the waterpark. Check-in was rather slow, though they were nice.

The room was spacious and nice. There is a small refrigerator and microwave. The towels were rather hard.

We visited on President's Day weekend at the resort was at capacity. Other than fairly long lines at the rides, things went well. Overall, we were very pleased.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Address: 7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870
Location: United States > Ohio > Sandusky
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Sandusky
#2 Business Hotel in Sandusky
#4 Romantic Hotel in Sandusky
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kalahari Resorts & Conventions 3.5*
Number of rooms: 884
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kalahari Resorts Sandusky provides water parks, Safari Outdoor Adventure Park, indoor/outdoor water park, catering/wedding facilities, spa, salon, fitness training in fitness center, dining options, and more.Over 850 beautifully appointed authentic African-themed guest rooms and suites offer coffeemaker, vacation sized refrigerator, microwave, free high speed Internet access, voice mail, TV, iron/ironing board, in-room safe, pay per view movies, and much more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kalahari Waterpark Resort
Kalahari Hotel Ohio
Kalahari Waterpark Sandusky
Kalahari Resort Sandusky Oh
Kalahari Waterpark Hotel Sandusky
Kalahari Water Park
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Sandusky, Ohio

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