I still haven't figured out exactly how to rate this hotel. Kalahari does a lot of things really well -- the amenities are great, most of the staff we met were friendly & professional and the rooms are well-suited for a family resort.
But...having worked in a hotel before, I am not usually caught off-guard by unexpected fees and surcharges. I was at Kalahari, and it wasn't a great feeling.
Example One: I think most people expect higher price tags when staying at a themed resort. Likewise, we didn't flinch at the roughly $14/person room service breakfast. The food and service were fine. That said, I was puzzled by the 19% "Room Service Fee" on the receipt. Not an automatic gratuity...a 'fee'. I asked the room service person if her tip was supposed to be included in this fee, and she said that they were not authorized to say. Huh? I don't love automatic gratuities anyway (since you can never be sure if the server actually receives them), but a mystery fee is even worse.
Example two: Our room rate was just over $600 with tax for one evening (African Queen Suite). When I had booked the room I was under the impression that I was also paying for access to all of the general park activities as advertised in the Kalahari brochure.
Turns out I was incorrect. Although my Kalahari brochure includes the Zip Line in the general list of outdoor park activities, we found out later (after our kids were booted out of line) that it was an additional $19.95 per person.
Again, we expected to pay extra for stuff like the arcade, etc. The Zip Line, however, gets prominent mention in the brochure along with the water slides and other feature park activities and there is no mention in any of the literature I had about an additional charge. (Though I should mention that it is listed at the bottom of the Kalahari "Safari Park" webpage I saw after we returned home.)
To some readers it may sound like I'm splitting hairs, but I think it is a disservice both to the guests AND to the resort employees when prices are not explicit and direct. There were other examples during our stay (a $9.95 'Resort Fee' added to the room bill, etc.) that lacked transparency and generally made us weary.
I hope the Kalahari management seriously reconsiders their billing practices. We'd like to return -- the kids had a blast and I have to compliment the resort on providing a very safe, well-run and well-equipped park. It would just be nice to enjoy it without feeling like there was going to be a "gotcha" moment every time you opened your wallet.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotwire so you can book your Kalahari Resorts & Conventions reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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