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“Good but still some flaws”

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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Sandusky
Certificate of Excellence
Loudonville, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Good but still some flaws”
Reviewed May 22, 2011

I just recently stayed and decided that the fam and I would go all out and buy a lodge room and a cabana for the waterpark. Well let me start off by saying the cabanas are very nice they are clean and nicely done however we got cabana I which is off in the middle of no where close to staff quarters and not a very good view so I do recomend making sure you don't get it, all the other cabanas face the pool except I which faces nothing great to look at. Well the some of the life guards and other waterpark guests decided to chill out in our cabana even though they were not invited, I feel like I wasted my money. We had a lodge room which was wonderful except if you do get that kind of room be prepared to have the food smells from the previous guests in your room, housekeeping was great about trying to febreeze and get rid of the smell but it didn't work (and it wasn't housekeepings fault god love them for trying). Also the pull out sofa beds are horribly uncomfortable thin and you can feel the springs when you lay down.

I really like the hotel the staff was wonderful except for the douchy life guards who made themselves at home in our cabana. I do recomend bringing your own alcohol because it is like $20 for a mixed drink and almost $5 for a beer which isn't bad but if you are a heavy drinker like myself it can get expensive. Also I have to say that many of the guests are rude so if you have small children watch them closely because even adults would run into them and just look at you like you were stupid and they were inconvienanced for you having a child. Also despite the great attempt by security to keep people quiet the hotel is loud late at night I was very upset with hearing people party all night long and no matter how much complaining you do it doesn't stop.

Theres so much to do so plan ahead we were there for 2 days and didn't get to experience everything we wanted to.

Room Tip: be cognizant of your room type and cabana
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
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3 Thank ashleyjean6906
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2011

Staying Monday night and there is some type of karaoke party playing at rock concert volume in the outdoor pool area. Unbeleivably loud at 9:30 at night - how the heck I am supposed to get my daughter to sleep while drunks yell "lola" at the top of their lungs? Glad that management can make a buck renting out the pool area and not take responsibilty for the noise when I call the desk to complain.

  • Stayed May 2011
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Helpful?
4 Thank Tecumsehjohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keyport, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2011

Today marks day 3 of our 4 night visit to Kalahari (OH). This is our first visit here. It naturally draws comparison to Great Wolf Lodge. My family of 6 (4 kids, 1/3/5/8 y/o) visited GWL in the Poconos in December, and in different ways Kalahari falls short while at the same time exceeding GWL. Starting with the positives: Kalahari feels more like a destination resort. While being a huge building, it is reasonable to get to everything from anywhere without too much hassle. The restaurants are nice. We enjoyed a table for 14 at "The Reserve" and enjoyed a very nice, fairly priced, meal. The animal park was also a nice activity. Pricing at $5/ person was ok (~30 minute activity), but it would have been nice if that included re-admission for your entire stay instead of just the same day. I would have liked to take my 2 littlest kids back to see the kangaroo and bunnies for 5 minutes each day but wasn't going to keep paying $15 a pop to do so. The outdoor waterpark hasn't opened for summer yet, so I can't comment on it. The indoor water park is nice, but it fell short of our expectations in two areas. First, there are no waterslides catering to the 4-6 year old age range. The baby section is very good with some ~10 foot slides, but then you have to jump up to 75'+ slides in the "Leopard's Lair" section. My 5 year old son didn't like that you had to walk under a lot of falling water to climb the stairs to that section, including the potential of being hit by the giant bucket that dumpes every 5 minutes or so. They are doing construction outside on an expansion of the convention center, to which my son said "I hope they are building more rides for kids like 4 to 7." (i kid you not). Since the indoor waterpark was the primary reason we came, it will be hard for us to come back again until our littlest ones get a little bigger so that they can enjoy more things. Secondly, a large number the waterpark staff surprising was quite challenged by the english language. They were nice and attentive, and I didn't see any safety concerns, but at least 4 members of the lifeguard staff that I talked to couldn't answer a relatively simple question because of their lack of english. Quite odd in my opinion.
So, overall, there is a lot to do here. We took a drive yesterday off property to a Merry-Go-Round museum in Sandusky just to get a little break, but otherwise we didn't feel like there was ever a lack of things to do here. The "Treehouse" play area is great for little kids, although the ball shooters and vacuum system needs to be refurbished (half of it didn't work, not enough balls, vacuum for balls to second floor not connected). Mini-golf and mini-bowling are nice. The arcade was loud, and you have to walk through it often to get around, which was a negative.
Our room (combo suite, 2br with 2 doubles in one, king in the other) was well furnished. They had to change our room shortly after check-in since the first one had a broken front door (hinge screws stripped, should have been caught by housecleaning since door wouldn't open/close). The replacement room was identical, and the only issue we had was that the dishes/shelves/etc in the full kitchen were not properly cleaned. I ran two loads through the dishwasher and quickly resolved that. Again, comparing to GWL, this room clearly exceeds that of GWL at a comparable price (although we are part of a huge group and had very good rates).
I'd give it a 3.5 rating if there was such an option. Had the waterpark fit our needs better, it would be a clear 4 out of 5.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
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Helpful?
8 Thank BrLucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
Reviewed May 10, 2011

My son's baseball team recently played in the Kalahari Tournament in Sandusky, Ohio. We travelled with several families and stayed at the water park for two nights. The park has a very polite staff, impeccably clean, offers a ton of value from food to fun and is the ideal quick getaway for the family.

We had a great time!

  • Stayed May 2011
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Helpful?
Thank cfoli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lambertville, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 28, 2011

We had a great time, the room was clean and the beds weren't hard as rocks like most hotels. We were pleasantly surprised at the front desk when they "upgraded" us to a "better" room. And were just so pleased at the fireplace and the tv, that we didn't notice til we were climbing into bed, that we had actually been downgraded from two queens to two full sized beds and that was the whole reason we reserved the room that we did. The prices on souvenirs were so ridiculous that we didn't buy anything(and we always get souvenirs). Other than that, things were fantastic. Everything was clean and well kept. The park was large with tons to do. There was plenty variety in food choices. The locker room was huge and well cooled(unlike other indoor water parks, where I tend to over heat trying to get dressed). The game room is huge with plenty of games to choose from. We will definitely be going back,

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank cmchamp13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 218 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2011

Fourth trip to Kalahari. Rooms are nice, clean, and spacious. Atmosphere is pleasant and informal. Very well themed hotel. Love the bakery/coffee shop and candy shop. All staff (front desk, housekeeping, shop staff, and lifeguards) were cheerful and informative. Lots of fun water slides and attractions in the water park. Good food in the water park. However, some changes have diminished the water park experience. There were fewer staff members in the park...with the result of longer slide lines and a very unruly lazy river. This was particularly disappointing with the larger crowds for the holiday weekend...which Kalahari obviously had to expect. The blue and green tube slides used to be staffed by two guards at the top and loaded four tubes at a time. There was only one guard loading only two tubes at a time. Additionally, they no longer allow double tubes on slides...both decreasing the 'fun' factor and lengthening the lines. We expected the lazy river to be crowded with some pushing and shoving...but had hoped the lifeguards would have been more vigilant in controlling the crowd. In a couple cases, some young teen boys were punching each other, jumping on each other and jumping on other patrons in the river. The guards did nothing stop the dangerous behavior. Also, because of low staffing levels, several attractions did not open until later in the day. They do indicate this will happen during 'low' season/attendance. Easter break is far from low attendance. Before this trip, Kalahari was at the top our water park list because of the variety of attractions. However, with the changes and increasing crowds, we all agreed that the larger Great Wolf sites (like Mason) have moved ahead. WIth the changes to Kalahari, the attractions at both parks are more on par with each other...and Great Wolf only allows hotel guests in the water park...controlling the crowds.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank skeeziks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2011

Stayed at Kalahari Easter weekend with husband and 10 year old daughter. It was very crowded but since the weather wasn't very nice, everyone was inside rather than outside which would have helped with space I think.
I kept telling myself not to compare to Disney (we go to Disney every other year) But with Disney pricing at Kalahari, I believe it is a fair comparison. The breakfast buffet food was outstanding. The dinner we had was not the greatest actually less than average. I wish we would have eaten at the Reserve restaurant which I plan to do next time. Service was good though.
We used Valet because I saw someone here wrote that it's a good idea upon arrival. In my opinion, the Valet group are the hardest working people there! Very busy and they did an awesome job. One of my bags went missing but they were very quick to find it and fix the situation. I felt that the Valet folks we were talking to dropped everything to find my bag and they took it very seriously.
I read some reviews about the shower water pressure - very true. There's hardly any water pressure at all!
Housekeeping neglected to replenish our coffee supply on Saturday so I had to track down housekeeping. I did leave a tip so I don't know why they didn't give me new coffee. Seems like they should have a check list for each room.
I have seen some other reviews here stating it's a long walk to the waterpark from the Hut Rooms and also some people didn't like walking through the game room. It is a long walk but the place is huge so that's just how it is. I actually enjoyed walking through the game room every morning.. It's exciting with all of the lights, etc.
The lines for most rides were quite long due to he crowd but that's to be expected anywhere - inlcuding Disney during peak season.
The Candy Hut was our favorite stop each night. Everything we had from the Candy Hut was outstanding ---- high quality and very delicious.
My daughter was crying when it was time to leave because she enjoyed herself so much and was ready to leave. I had a great time too but was ready to leave just because I was so exhausted from all of the activities and plus I was running out of money. Prepare to spend money at Kalahari because it's impossible not to. I had purchased a package that included game tokens, pizza, breakfast both mornings so I didn't think I'd be spending too much more but I was wrong. We spent money in the shops, eating snacks and lots more game tokens.
We went to Kalahari from Columbus and I'm not a big fan of the route to get there - driving through the country a lot but there's not much anyone can do about that.
If you want a Cabana - reserve it before you go. I wish I had and when I tried to, they were all taken. I ended up getting a locker and a table and that was fine. I really wish they allowed for more time in the mornings or even some time at night for hotel guests only in the waterpark. As soon as it opens to the general public, it gets crowded almost immediately.
We got to the Waterpark when it opened on Saturday and had the hot tub all to ourselves - that was a true luxury. The slides and rides are great and I was very pleased with the water temperature. Also, I was warm while in the park too and I'm a freeze baby! All in all, we had a great time and would definitely go back. I'd like to go during the week maybe or sometime when it's not so crowded - if such a time exists.
We did have an issue with noise in the room next to us. We called down at 11:30 and asked if the hotel could address it. Within 20 min. all was quiet. I think they were having a little get-together in the room next to us...
I felt that everything was handled very quickly and efficiently by the hotel staff. Considering how many people were there, it's quite amazing actually.
We did visit the zoo which was cute. The guy that sells the tickets didn't seem too pleased to be there.. There's just a small amount of animals but my daughter loved feeding them..
My daughter also loved doing Karaoke so that was a great activity. They have lots of on-going activities for kids to participate in and that's great because there's always something to do even if you want a break from swimming.
When you get there, if it's before check-in time at 4:00. Have a small bag packed with swimsuit so you can start using the waterpark right away.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank janet2639
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 review, May 4, 2011
Thank you for providing your valuable feedback regarding your experience while staying at our resort. I hope that other TripAdvisor users will find your comments helpful. I have also passed along your comments to our other departments to read the positives and negatives that you encountered to ensure that your next visit will be even better.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Property: Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Address: 7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870-8628
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 Business Hotel in Sandusky
#2 Romantic Hotel in Sandusky
#2 Family 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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