My sons, ages 12 and 16, and I have just returned from the Kalahri Resort, Sandusky and all I can say is that it was a disapointment. Coming from cold Michigan, we were excited to go somewhere "exotic", fun and warm for a few days. We decided Kalahari would meet our expectations and it was close to home (anything to get our minds off the weather!).
My first impression wasn't a very good one. I had decided to take advantage of the valet parking ($9.00) since it was starting to sleet and I didn't want to walk the long distance from the parking the door. However, I was not able to move my vehicle under the roof (too many vehicles)and had to unload in the sleet anyways. Okay, I told myself they are busy, I can understand that. Later, when I checked out, I still had to walk pass 5 or 6 cars down the drive to get to my truck. I thought valet meant drop off/pickup right at the door?
As I entered the resort, I couldn't help feeling like I was walking into a mall. There are several shops, a candy store, resturants and a coffee shop. To get to the desk you had to walk past these and up a small flight of stairs. From this point it looked more like a resort and was decorated quite nicely (with the exception of the plastic plants) with alot of African flair. But we later found out this was pretty much it for their African decor.
We stayed in one of the Dessert rooms which was sparsely decorated, two small 11x14" pictures and fancy headboards. The hotel hallways are long (2 football fields long we were told) and sparse also. No chairs or pictures either. There was not enough racks to hang our towels or surface areas to put things down on. Most of our "junk" was put on the table making it unable to be used for eating. The microwave (which didn't fit)is on top of the refridgerator (which we unplugged because it was so loud), and all the lights are controlled by the main switch at the door. This became a bother when you wanted only a small light on, not to mention when going to bed you had to find your way in the dark.
Don't waste your time eating at the Karoo buffet. Most of the food is cold by the time you get it to the table. Service is lousy. We had to wait forever to get ketchup and it took at least 20 mins. to get our bill after I had told her we were done. Not much to choose from either considering the price..$11.95 for adults. We had the breakfast buffet which I got ill from later on that afternoon. The Kahunaville resturaunt had much better food and the prices were resonable. Do call ahead and make reservations. We had to wait 1/2 hour for a table without one. However you must have a least 6 in your group we were told. The pizza station near the arcade has good pizza if you can see it in the dark! Not enough lighting ..what was with that?
The waterpark itself was fun. The only problem here is that there are no elevators that go to it (it is on the lower level) and the only way to get to it is to go out to the main lobby area. The stairs to go down to it are at the base of the stairs you take to check in. So you must squeeze through the crowds and hope no one falls. This is an accident waiting to happen. The stairs tend to be slippery (they are not carpeted) and I stubbed my rubber soles on the uneven steps several times during our stay. (How do the handicapped get to the pool?) You then have to walk back past a store, through the arcade, past the putt putt and then around the corner to the waterpark entrance.
They need to put up signs showing how to get to some of the water rides. It tends to be a bit confusing and somewhat like a maze. We could find plenty of exit signs put not too many enter ones. We were also confused by the height requirments on some of the rides. You had to be 48" to play in the play structure, 48" for the basketball area (even with a parent) but only 42" to ride the Zip Coaster (a very adult type ride) and infants were allowed the indoor outdoor hot tub. Not to much for the little ones to do.
What can I say about the Zip Coaster. This is another accident waiting to happen. The ride's rafts were constantly getting stuck. When this happens, you have to wait in it untill someone comes down the tube to get you and then you are escorted down an emergency stairway. But my big concern is with how the ride stops at the end. You do NOT get splashed down into a pool of water, you DO get stopped quickly at the bottom of a tube. You have to sit a cetain way with your hands and legs braced, however we braked so hard that it threw me forward, smashed my toes against the lip of the raft and I got a bruise and rug burns on my arms where my hands were knocked out of the grips. And this is for children 42" and up?
There were also other safety issues that came to our attention. At night, many of the lifeguards do not seem to care as much. On one slide I had to ask three times if go because the guards were talking with one another. His answer was "Sure go ahead". On the same slide, different night, the alarm had rung saying it was closing time. My son and I were on our final slide for the night. The lifeguard told us to go ahead only seconds from a little girl who had just gone down. I said "Are you sure because she just went down" and he said "It's okay". I told my son we were going to wait. I'm glad we did because after going through and at the bottom the little girl had just gotten through the tube herself. If I hadn't, we would have collided with her.
Overall, we will not be coming back to this resort. I think this could be a very nice place if they spent their money better. Put less money into your suites and more into overall appearance, redesign most of it, get some elevators and take care of the safty issues. They might want to check out The Great Wolf Lodge. They could learn a little about "themes" and decorating etc. I know the one here in Traverse City is great and both my boys liked it better. I'm sure in the future we will be visiting the Wolf Lodge instead.
- Also Known As:
- Kalahari Waterpark Resort
- Kalahari Hotel Ohio
- Kalahari Waterpark Hotel
- Kalahari Waterpark Sandusky
- Kalahari Resort Sandusky Oh
- Kalahari Waterpark
- Kalahari Waterpark Hotel Sandusky
- Kalahari Water Park
- Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Sandusky, Ohio
- 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