we went to stay at the River Resort cottages at Emerald Casino a couple of weeks' ago. We'd picked up one of those deals that gave you accommodation, vouchers for food, the aquadome and the animal park for a low price.
Our feeling was that we were very glad that we'd gone on a deal and not paid full price, as we would then have been very disappointed.
The location is very nice, near the Vaal River with the large safari park providing a feel of being out in the bush (a bit). Our cottage overlooked part of the reserve and we pretty much saw all the animals over the course of our 2 days there.
The cottage itself was comfortable enough, pretty basic and small but still had 2 double bedrooms. The drawback is that there are loads of cottages and they are very close to each other. If you have a noisy neighbor there will be no escape.
Also, on arrival there were no basics there at all - no kitchen cloths, soap, toilet paper etc. We were rather horrified and had to rush to the resort shop - fortunately they realised and sent housekeeping to stock up our cottage. We were quite relieved but still a bit irritated.
The zoo/animal park was a big disappointment too. If you look on the website it really looks incredible. But it is very small, the enclosures are small and there were a number of empty ones. My 5 year old daughter still loved it, but we felt uncomfortable with the zoo atmosphere. The "game drive" would have cost extra, with no discount for kids, plus you had to book in advance of which there had been no mention! So we gave it a miss and were pretty glad we had as I think it would have been a waste of money. We saw most of the animals from the road and our cottage anyway.
The water world thing was our main reason for being there - my daughter loves the water! It was lovely and warm inside (bearing in mind it's winter here, though you wouldn't know it from our daily temperatures) and overall it was nice. My daughter was as happy as could be - lots of shallow areas for her to play in. On our first day the water was pretty cold and all the things had been switched off - the slide was closed, the jacuzzi pool was not operational. Still, we had fun though were a bit disappointed. Also, I didn't feel the place was very clean with the floor being visibly dirty and hair and stuff visible in the water.
But the next day, we went in the morning and the water was very warm and the place was cleaner. Also, someone went and asked them to switch the slide one which made me very happy!
The bathrooms and showers there were not pleasant at all. I would recommend returning to your room/cottage for that. They were not clean (a plaster in the plug of one shower and a chunk of hair in the corner of the other shower!) and the staff were sitting around in there having a chat.
We also ate at the Breeze restaurant as we had vouchers. That was nice enough, food was basic but good if not marvelous! Service was good and the staff were very friendly.
I was very glad we were there out of season as I have a feeling all those "features" would be pretty much unbearably packed full of people. As it was, we had most places to ourselves.
All in all, we had a nice time, a good break from the city and my daughter was delighted with just about everything. Which was what really mattered to us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- When you come to the Emerald Resort & Casino - part of the world famous Caesars Entertainment Group based in Las Vegas - you come on an adventure. Situated on a lush private estate on the banks of the Vaal River, just 45 minutes drive from OR Tambo International Airport, perfect for short breaks, finest dining and the up-close drama of a game drive at our Animal World. Our conference facility is the only venue in the area with the ability to seamlessly host sessions for anywhere between 3 and 3000, the only venue to be trusted to host an event for the United Nations. Our magnificent estate gives us the ability to offer and deliver an unrivalled range of three and four star accommodation and teambuilding activities. We are your premier entertainment and business destination in the Vaal. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Emerald Safari Hotel Vanderbijlpark