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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
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Reviews (3,913)
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Reviewed March 17, 2011

This is our 4th time at Kalahari - we've gone the last 4 March Breaks (Ontario), every time for 2 nights. We got a combination suite this time with another family and luckily we were as close as we could be to the actual waterpark, while staying in the Sands building. Unfortunately our room wasn't ready until 4:30, but they don't guarantee rooms are ready until 4 (every other hotel is 3 pm). Anyway, it's just more of a hassle. Our room was fine - a few minor quibbles; not even worth mentioning.
My big issue is the new lifejacket requirement. I'm all for water safety; we have a backyard pool. My 6 year old is under 48 inches, and she required a life jacket in the wave pool (I totally agree with this), except that even in the wave pool, she couldn't go past the 4 feet mark. The lifeguard was blowing his whistle at us. Not sure why, since she has a life jacket on? Seems a silly rule. BUT, this is my big beef, she also required a lifejacket in the kiddie section, which has water up to my ankles. No exaggeration. Anyone under 48 inches required a life jacket in this area. She was so upset and in tears, because she didn't need one last year, but this year she does and in such shallow water? She can swim very well. I know kids can drown in an inch of water, but life jackets don't flip you over, they only keep you from sinking. If a kid was to fall and bump their head and get knocked out, lifejackets would do no good here; it's just too shallow. It is so ridiculous. As well, she needed a life jacket in the climbing section (not sure what it's called), where the kids climb all over, and the tipping bucket is, and a couple of smaller slides are located there as well. The water here is a little deeper, but not much (was not even half way up my leg). It makes no sense to me. She didn't need a lifejacket on some of the big slides and the Cheetah Race, but she needs one on these attractions? The other problem is the inconsistent enforcement of this rule - depending on who was working sometimes they made her put one on, sometimes they didn't. One evening, I took her and her friend in the lazy river. I didn't know about the lifejacket requirement here, because I didn't see the sign, and she didn't need it last year. They SWAM the whole way around - no tubes. They would swim a couple feet, put their feet down, then swim again. I was right behind them the whole way. Not one lifeguard said anything. The next day, we went to go in the lazy river, and they said no, the kids needed lifejackets. These kids were upset and in tears. Other friends of ours that were there at the same time have a 9 year old (she just turned) who is very tiny (under 48 inches). They actually went to the front to complain, b/c this poor girl would sometimes be let on rides without a jacket, sometimes not and she was in crying. They finally gave her a special bracelet so she could ride the slides. The height restriction really needs to be revisited. Not sure what happened to make them change the requirement since last year, as this was not the case when we last came. As well, a couple of the rides that used to allow double tubes (the green and blue slides), now only allow singles tubes/riders.
The other issue I have is that they took away some free kids activities I remember from last year (bingo, spoon races, etc). They also replaced the mini putt with black light golf, that looks cool, but costs a whopping $6 per person. That would be $24 for a family of 4 for 9 holes of mini golf! That's ridiculous. There's also a mini bowling for $3 - not sure how long that's for.
So it appears that Kalahari is taking away some simple free things that the kids like (and it's March Break), and replacing it with much more expensive options. Next year, my daughter will be 7 but still probably will not be 48 inches. She was so upset this year about the life jacket, that we probably won't go back. Maybe it seems like a silly reason, but when you see how shallow the water is, you'd understand what I mean. And the fact that you could have a short 9 year old child requiring life jackets in the extremely shallow area, is asinine. I know they have to pick a height and draw the line somewhere, but 48 inches for the shallow areas seems too extreme.
However, Kalahari is so busy that one or two lost customers probably makes no difference to them. I know they read these boards, and I know other people have complained about this, so hopefully they'll look long and hard at that issue.
So, time to find another March Break destination. Bye Bye Kalahari.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank soccerlovin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2011

Don't stay at kalahari resort in Sandusky, Ohio if you are concerned about CLEANLINESS!
found someone's nasty tank top at the foot of our bed this am in the sheets. had been there the ENTIRE time since they never changed the sheets our entire stay-which means THEY never changed the sheets from the LAST guest!!!!!!! EWWWWWWWW. housekeeping also left coffee grounds all over our counter but i was willing to overlook that, but this is disgusting.
When i complained -they would only give us an upgrade on next visit
-WON'T be going back!!!!!!!!!! i told them this was an unacceptable dealbreaker situation.
They REFUSED to do anything else even though i told them we won't be back.
i travel over 15 times a year for business and pleasure so i know what's a good hotel and what is not.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled on business
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6  Thank tcrites
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KalahariResortOhio2, Guest Relations Manager at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded March 16, 2011

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your stay. I apologize for the issues you encountered while at our resort Cleanliness is very much a priority and we take all complaints very seriously. I have forwarded your comments to the Housekeeping Director for review as well as our Director of Front Office. Please contact us directly to discuss your stay further.

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Reviewed March 14, 2011

Did not stay overnight, just went to waterpark the day after going to Castaway Bay. It was our first time at both waterparks, and let's just say there's no comparison. Kalahari costs a little more, but definitely worth it. It's an entire resort under one roof. Just because it's indoors doesn't mean it's a scaled down version of a waterpark like the others. There didn't seem to be a lot to do at Castaway Bay and we were cold the whole time. There's plenty to do at Kalahari and it's warm enough to feel like you're in the tropics. There was a lot of people when we were there, but it's so big that it didn't feel crowded.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
    • Location
1  Thank RPK76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KalahariResortOhio2, Guest Relations Manager at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded March 16, 2011

I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed your day at the water park. Thank you for taking the time to let us know. It is always great to read about positive experiences at our resort. We look forward to your return visit.

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Reviewed March 14, 2011

My two children 5 and 8 stayed here before and had a wonderful time. We just recently arrived home from our stay on the 11th and 12th of March. We have no intentions of returning unless we are assured things will be better. The first problem is the park was to full. The park was so full that it felt unsafe. Even the wave pool was so crowded that people were constantly bumping in to each other. The lines were so long on Saturday we only rode the water slides twice before giving up and returning to the room. We booked a family suite for just over 600.00 for two nights. The ventilation system in the park needs some attention. In the center of the park it was so ripe that even the kids complained. I am a runner and I thought it was hard to breath. The prices are getting out of hand also. I bought three small slush drinks for the kids and it was almost 24.00(not kidding) We saw people everywhere eating pizza and decided to order pizza for dinner. We called the Pizza Pub. It was 25.00 for a large pepperoni pizza. We googled a pizza place in town. They delivered us a large pizza with three toppings and bread sticks for under fifteen bucks. Here is my recommendation. They need to limit the number of people in the park. The food prices need to be in line with reality. I understand this is a business as I am a business owner. Making money and charging for a service is one thing. Packing people in a sardine can and charging them exorbitant prices for everything is quite another.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank livingthegoodliezzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KalahariResortOhio2, Guest Relations Manager at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded March 16, 2011

I am sorry that you did not enjoy your recent stay with us. Our water park does regulate the number of passes sold to the water park in order to maintain a safe capacity level. I apologize if you felt crowded. As for your concerns regarding the prices at our outlets, I have passed on your suggestions to the Director of Food & Beverage for his review. Please feel free to contact us directly to discuss your concerns further.

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Reviewed March 13, 2011

My wife and I along with our two boys ages 5 and 11 stayed for two nights at Kalahari for the first time. Our first impression driving in was something along the lines of "Wow this place is big!" Kind of remided me of the scale of those Las Vegas resorts without the casino.

The Hotel
Check in: It was busy when we arrived but I had no problems. Very fast and friendly service. Got the room key and directions to the room in no time. Great service there.

Room: Pros and Cons with the room. The room itself was pretty nice and had a nice flatscreen tv on the wall. The beds were comfy but had to request extra pillows which were sent up immediately after we asked for them. That was great. There were a few things I didnt like however. The room we stayed in was in the Sands building which is not very close to the water park. It is a long haul back and forth. I found it odd that we didnt have a sitting chair in the room. There were a couple of wood chairs that were with a table that was attached to the wall but no other comfy chair you normally find. I like to be able to sit in a chair and not have to always sit on the bed. Just a personal preference. The table was a bit small and useless. The last thing that I didnt like was the light outside the window on the balcony. Even though we had room darkening shades the light was so bright that it lit up the room more than I like. At night I like my room dark. House keeping took forever to get to our room and when they did they sloppily made up our beds and didnt even vacume.

The Water Park

The waterpark was great! The slides were awesume and the staff seemed very nice. The downside was that we were there on the weekend and the park got really crowded and the lines got really long. All I can say is I hope they expand the water park more to accomidate. At one point it got a bit crazy with all those people we decided to take a break. There was a line to get into the park stretching all the way into the arcade. I do appreciate the fact that hotel guests are allowed to enter the park and hour before the non hotel guests. Its amazing how much riding you can get done in that hour without the long lines.

Food
We ate lunch at the Reserve which was nice. We had a view overlooking the waterpark from our table. They brought out a tray with carrots and ranch dressing which was a hit with our kids. I also ordered room service from our room and had huge 20 inch pizza delivered to the room. Very good and the person who made the delivery was very nice and asked us how our stay was.

Other thoughts
All in all it was a great trip. You can overspend if you are not careful. We were shocked when we heard how much they were charging for one of those giant frozen drinks people were carrying arround. It was almost 22 bucks! I thought the mini golf was a bit pricey, it would have been nice to have a coupon or voucher for that when staying at the hotel. The kids liked the decorating the cookie thing. Didn't have time to do the pottery craft and have it fired in time. The arcade really chews through money. My son won a jackpot on one of the machines and was all excited until he saw what you can exchange your tickets for. It would be nice if you could pay cash to make up the difference to get something they really want. Chuckie cheese lets you do that.

To sum it up

Its a great destination. Just plan ahead, there is a fridge and a microwave in the room so you can bring snacks and your own drinks. Try not to get put in the Sands building because its really far from the waterpark. There is shopping and other restaurants off site just minutes down the road if you want to eat elsewhere. Oh and good luck finding parking when its busy. If you find a good spot you may not want to leave. You do have the option of spending extra money to have the valet park your car. There was no shortage of luggage carts so that was great. All in all it was great fun and awesume memories were made.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank buzzs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KalahariResortOhio2, Guest Relations Manager at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded March 16, 2011

Thank you for your detailed feedback regarding your stay. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the resort and had several positive items to reference. I have forwarded your comments regarding the cleaning of your room to our housekeeping department to review. Again, we value our guests feedback and appreciate you taking the time help us improve our service.

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