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“Good, Not Great”

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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Ranked #3 of 34 Hotels in Sandusky
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 3, 2012

We visited Kalahari at the end of March, 2012. We stayed one night-six people.

Upon arrival, they upgraded us to one of their suites. The upgrade was nice, but we spent little time in the room to enjoy it.

Kalahari is a get what you pay for kind of place. The water park attractions are nice, but the wait times for the slides are generally significant. We waited more than 40 minutes for most of the interesting rides during a weekday stay. Once on, the ride times are very short--owing to the limited elevation available for the slides.

Why Kalahari gets only an average rating from me is because of its management of arguably the best water ride in the park--the wave runner. The park features two of these rides. This ride is clearly one of the main attractions at the park and is featured in many of the resort's advertisements. However, on both our arrival and departure day, the resort operated only one of the two available wave runners for substantial portions of the day. Once you are on the ride, your time is limited to 60 seconds. Yet, the staff running the ride took between 30 seconds to 90 seconds to cycle people through the ride. Accordingly, a waiting line of twenty riders means 30 to 50 minutes to get on the ride. There is simply no reasonable explanation for featuring these rides in advertising and then not running both of them (assuming they are operational).

Kalahari is being cheap by not running the rides that they have available. That is the most visible corner that the resort cuts--if the resort is willing to cut that corner in the open, it is surely cutting other corners in other ways.

Also, beware that Kalahari forces you to walk you and your children through its plethora of pay to play electronic games and arcade in order to enter the water park. No matter how good the water park is, your kids are sure to demand that you drop a fair amount of $$$ in these games, too.

If you are looking for some indoor water fun, the park is the largest in the area. But, the advantage they have at being the largest is lost because they are not committed to operating all of the rides all of the time.

Because the resort and water park are not committed to maximizing the enjoyment of their guests, they get only an average rating from me.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank TJ_Shaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2012

Thank you for coming to visit us and taking the time to write this review. I have relayed your comments to our Waterpark Director for review. I apologize we did not go above and beyond your expectations! We strive to do so, so I am discouraged to hear about your experience. However, we very much appreciate your comments so that we can pinpoint what areas of improvement should be focused on. Thank you again for reaching out to us and do hope you will give Kalahari another try, so we can show you just how great we can be. Take care and hope to see you again soon.

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2,840 - 2,846 of 3,746 reviews

Reviewed April 2, 2012

I just came back from a two night stay at the Kalahari Waterpark in Sandusky Ohio. I visited with my husband, four grandsons (ages 12 to 6), daughter and son-in-law. We have visited numerous waterparks over the years including three Great Wolf Lodges, Castaway Bay at Cedar Point and several smaller water parks in Michigan. Kalahari is the largest, and in my opinion the best. We stayed in an African Queen Suite. I had considered staying in one of the larger Combination Suites but chose the African Queen because it was in the main lodge and, thus, closer to the waterpark itself. My main concern with the African Queen Suite was that it has only 1-1/2 baths rather than two. However, the half-bath has a shower so it worked out fine. The suite was clean and well-maintained, unlike some of the other water parks we have visited. We ate all our meals at the resort. I had originally thought we might go into Sandusky for dinners, but there is so much to do at the resort, even when the outdoor sections are closed, that we chose to stay in to eat. The food at the restaurants was good enough, but the service was not great. The restaurant personnel were all very nice, but it seemed as if the restaurants were under-staffed. One evening we waited an hour to get our food and then several of the entrees were cold. For the full-day we were at the resort, we rented a cabana near the wave pool. If you are interested in renting a cabana, you must do this in advance. All were rented at the time of our visit. The cabana cost approximately $300, but we think it was well worth the money. One of the reasons we rented the cabana is my husband hates to have to "stalk" the chairs and tables for a place to "set-up" for the day. The cabanas have televisions and WiFi service. The cabanas also provide a pager for restaurant servers to take your beverage and food orders so one doesn't have to wait in line. All in all, it was a great weekend getaway, and my grandsons really enjoyed themselves. That is all I really care about!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank GrandmaAudrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2012

So very happy to hear your family had a blast! Thank you for visiting us! It is truly our pleasure! I will be sure to let our Food & Beverage Director hear your comments as well. We are looking forward to having you and your family again! Take care and see you soon!

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Reviewed April 2, 2012

Just returned from a day/night at the waterpark. Rooms are nice, food is not outrageously prices as one might expect. What made the stay "average" are the slow moving lines. If one watches the process, the reason is not necessarily that the lines are very LONG, it's just that the polices are bit overly cautious. For example, on Wild Wildebeast/Elephant Truck (blue/green slides that you go down by yourself on a raft -- the guard will not permit you to even come onto the platform until the previous riders have completed their run. Well - it takes an average person about 20-30 seconds just to get into position and start going down. In summary, it's about 60-70 seconds of dead time between each rider existing the tube until the next one comes out. It's takes about 10 seconds for someone to get out of the pool, max. They could easily double the "throughput" and still completely avoid any chance of riders coming into contact in the pool. It makes NO sense. At least let the next two riders get into position and release them when the previous two finish. So much time is wasted. Also, on Victoria -- only 3 rafts???? The guard said one got ripped so it's much slower now....Why can't they get a new raft then?? Unfortunately we couldn't ride in the AM when the park is less crowded. So, after 8 hours in the park - we maybe got down about 8 slides (yes we took time to eat, hot tub, wave pool - but it was very frustrating to wait so long for slides when the wait should be much shorter with slight modifications to the procedures there.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Steven W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2012

You provided very insightful information that I am sure will enlighten our Waterpark managers. Thank you for your thoughts and time. It is very much appreciated so that we can pinpoint the areas of improvement we need to focus on. Hopefully next time you will be able to check out the Safari Outdoor Adventure Park or the Big Game Room Arcade. Thank you again for your time and hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed April 2, 2012

I really want to give this an excellent review and would have after staying in 2010, however, we returned this past weekend with our extended family and it was highly disappointing. I will start with our dining experience, we ate in the main restaurant the first evening and there was a long hair (which was obviously not mine) embedded in my cheesecake. I told the waitress and she acted like it wasn't a big deal!! Not to mention, the staff at all of the restaurants/coffee bar do not wear their hair pulled back or hats, so you can see how it could happen.
Now onto the waterpark, we LOVE the rides and the variety for all ages. We have 5 kids ranging from 13 to 4 months and there is something for everyone to do. They have a lovely toddler area!! I highly suggest a cabana for a large group also, but nice to have one on the main floor. One thing we noticed is how unprofessional the staff at the waterpark is! We have never seen so many tattoos and piercings, also poor attitude. These people act like they do not enjoy their job. I don't think I ever saw one of them smile. At Great Wolf the staff has to cover up any tattoos, it looks trashy for a family friendly waterpark. Also not sure what the chlorine level in the wave pool is, but our entire family and others became so severely itchy after going in that everyone needed Benedryl afterwards.
Upon leaving, we were rushed out of our room an hour before checkout because they wanted to clean our room. We vacation frequently and have never been rushed out like that before.
I think the CEO of Kalahari needs to do an "Undercover Boss" episode like "Great Wolf" has done in the past and they will learn alot about changes that should be made to make this resort what it used to be in the past.

Room Tip: If you are getting a Cabana do not even get one if it isn't on the main floor. With a large grou...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank madieshopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2012

Thank you so much for taking the time to review our resort and your insightful tips. I have already passed the information to the appropriate department heads including the Food and Beverage Director and the Waterpark Director. I love your "UnderCover Boss" suggestion. Although, I don't see that working for us as well, since we are only 2 locations, our owner stays at both properties regularly and frequents every department. I would be surprised if someone didn't know who he was. Maybe with a good disguise? :) I hope you will give us another chance at showing you how great Kalahari can be! If I can help with any questions you may have, please don't hesitate to contact me. KRizzo@KalahariResorts.com. Thanks much and hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed March 31, 2012

We've just returned from our first trip to the Kalahari and had a great trip. We stayed in a 1 bedroom lodge room which was great, very clean and a ton of space. BTW, I loved their organic soap/shampoo/conditioner products! The room was in the sands building which as other reviewers noted, is definitely a bit of a walk to the waterpark and indoor theme park. But, I have to say we didn't mind it at all and actually looked forward to it- gave us a good reason to walk off all of the food we were eating! Speaking of food, we ate at Great Karoo, Ivory Coast and Kahunaville which were all well worth the money and some of the best restaurants Wis Dells has to offer IMO. I was also especially impressed with the food stand near the waterpark entrance (think it's called safari snacks)- WOW- wasn't expecting such great food at the waterpark- fresh pizzas made right there, great deli style sandwiches and I was even able to order some (REALLY awesome) spinach/artichoke dip to take back up to the room. I also have to agree this place has EVERYTHING and between the waterpark, theme park, movie theater and bowling alley, we never found the itch to go anywhere outside of the hotel. Just a few things I'd love to see change for future stays, 1) I wish they had made some attempt at offering a "come back" offer as most resort hotels do. 2) The waterpark is huge so I understand why they allow non-resort guests access. However, I do wish they would make special hours (i.e. 8pm-10pm) where only resport guests are allowed or maybe some type of fast pass for resort guests. Being spring break, the lines to the popular waterslides were really long. Those two points aside, we had one heck of a spring break here, the kids had a total blast and I'm quite sure we'll be returning!

Room Tip: We stayed in a King Lodge suite on the 4th floor in the sands building overlooking the outdoor pool...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Angie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2012

Thank you for your review! Love the suggestions. I wanted to touch on those for you. A fast pass is a great idea! I will pass that along for sure! We do have "closed" hours specific to resort guests only every morning from 9 or 10 till 11 or 12 depending on the day. Also, if you would like to sign up for our newsletter, we do offer come-back offers to reward our guests. We call them typically "Our Gift to You" :). Thanks again for your great comments and staying with us! Take care and see you again so soon!

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Reviewed March 31, 2012

We were there busy holiday weekend and found plenty to do. Kids loved the waterpark, the climbing tree house, the arcade. Jacob our bellhop was awesome, concierge desk was very helpful. Our room came with free pizza. The restaurant was empty at noon and it took awhile for our food but server was nice. The kids French toast was very small portion, one slice, so not enough. Pancakes were large portion. We're charged extra to get another kid pancake peanut free, but we're happy they could accommodate an allergy.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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Thank cowz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2012

Thank you for your review! I will be sure to pass along your wonderful comments to Jacob. I'm sure you will make his day. Also, I appreciate your notes about breakfast. I have already passed the comments to our Food and Beverage Director. Looking forward to having you stay with us again! Take care!

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Reviewed March 31, 2012

My family and I have been to several indoor water parks over the years and this was our first trip to Kalahari. I usually feel clautrophobic in these places - they are so humid and feel like they are crawling with germs because people are packed in like sardines. I did not feel like that at all at Kalahari, it was huge and clean and had lots of stuff for everyone in our family! Our room was spectacular and our meals were excellent, especially the breakfast buffet. Except for the parking guys managing incoming guests for check in, the staff was very friendly. I had a nice, relaxing visit to the spa. Overall, like I said, if indoor water parks are not your thing, you should try Kalahari, we had a great time!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Jnifr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kassie R, Social Media Coordinator at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2012

Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay! Thank you so much for taking the time to review and visit our resort. It was our pleasure to have you! Looking forward to having you visit us again! Take care and see you soon!

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Additional Information about 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 Family Hotel in Sandusky
#2 Romantic Hotel in Sandusky
Price Range: $146 - $354 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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