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“Like the hotel, the waterpark has some issues”

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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Sandusky
Certificate of Excellence
Central Ohio
Level Contributor
74 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“Like the hotel, the waterpark has some issues”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2007

We spent Friday-Saturday, March 30-31 here (one night). We booked a special deal on the site so paid about 40% less than normal rate. This was our second stay here.

Our "nomad" room was great. There were only accessible rooms left when we booked so we didn't get a foldout couch, but we had a much larger bathroom and as we were only 4 people, it was plenty of space. The balcony and fireplace were well used, and the fridge, microwave and coffee maker appreciated. The room was spotless and the beds very comfortable.

The waterpark....well the zip coaster is down and we didn't know this when we booked, it was a ride we enjoyed last time. They continue to have issues with overselling the park, not sure if that's to day pass people or just the hotel but the Saturday it was next to impossible to get a tube and I heard more than one person complain about it. Friday was far less crowded so it wasn't an issue.

Lines can be long, and surprisingly, we always had to wait to get into the hot tub which can only hold a certain # of people and clearly the # is not enough.

Food and drink prices are high but not ridiculous, and we made use of our fridge and microwave to save some # on snacks and drinks. We did order pizza to our room which was fine, and spent a little time at Kahunaville - a bit of an odd scene at midnight on Friday but amusing. The bar in the waterpark served good pina coladas with a splash of dark rum for $7.

It was a nice getaway, but I wish they'd sell fewer passes as Saturday was really too crowded...if we hadn't had a nice Friday there I'd be more upset about that.

  • Liked — Clean and comfortable room
  • Disliked — Overcrowded waterpark
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank ohliz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,574 reviews from our community

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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Level Contributor
20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 17, 2007

Our family of 4 ( kids 7 & 9) stayed one night at this resort on March 15th. We booked the Kalahari Sampler package, we found it to be a very good value. We arrived around 3:00 pm, I was able to check in with just a few minute wait, we were able to get into our room right away. We utilized one of the bell staff to help with our luggage this was worth the tip to not have to fight for a luggage cart. Parking was not that bad if you unload your luggage at the front door then go park.

The Nomad room was large with 2 queen beds, a pull out couch, microwave, fridge, table, goodsize bathroom & sink in the room. The toiltires that were provided were of good quality as were the towels.

The water park was fun, arriving after 3:00 pm gave us the opportunity to use the park after the previous days guests had checked out. We had minium lines for everything except the family raft ride, but it was worth the wait. The water temperature was okay, I would have prefered it a little warmer but the kids were just fine with it, the same with the air temperature. The park really cleared out around 5:00 pm- 6:00 pm while people had dinner. If you can time your visit to take advantage of this you will have alot more opportunity to utilize the park.

After dinner, we took advantage of the arcade and the mini golf which was included in our package. If you have younger kids be sure to send them into the tree house, unfortunatley we didn't discover it until the next day just before we were leaving.

Our one disappointment was breakfast. We arrived at the restaurant about 8:30 am, which was perfect timing, as by 9:30 am there was a huge line. They were only serving breakfast on a buffet because of the number of people at the resort for Spring Break. I would have prefered to order off the menu as I do not enjoy buffet dining. The food was your typical buffet food, eggs, bacon, potatoes, french toast, panckaes, unless the pan of food was fresh it was cold. As breakfast was included in our package I thought it was okay and I enjoyed the yougurt and granola as well as the fresh fruit. They did have an omelet station where a chef was preparing them fresh and eggs benedict that were fresh and hot (when we got them.) However I would not recommend paying $ 12.00 for this breakfast buffet.

We were able to make use of the water park until 3:00 pm on our check out day. However after 12:00 pm when the people staying Friday night checked in the park got very busy and we left around 1:30 pm.

All in all a good getaway, 1 night was more then enough for us to experience the water park I think we would have been bored had we stayed another night. We enjoyed the hotel and the water park. Like I said the package we booked was a good value for our family.

  • Liked — Large room, clean, upgraded amenties
  • Disliked — Breafast Buffet
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank abbyndrewmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, PA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2007

I thought it might be interesting for you to hear a review from a person who purchased a day pass. My wife and I wanted to go to the water park, but didn't want to pay for a night's stay at the resort.
You'll have to check this because it might be cheaper for a family of 3 or 4 to stay at the resort; it would be expensive to buy that many day passes.

I'll mention what we liked about the water park first. The place was clean and there were always towels available. The slides that were open were fun and there were very small lines; we went on Friday, March 9, 2007. One nice thing is that you can buy your day pass as soon as they open and its good until 10pm. So, if you stay somewhere else, you can buy your day pass in the morning, hang out there for a few hours, go to your hotel to check in and then come back.

I wanted to mention that, if you're going to buy a day pass, you might want to consider going during the week. Before I went, I called
and asked about day passes and the lady said that, for the past 3 weekends, they ran out of day passes on Saturday. So, there's a chance that you might not get in on a weekend.

The parking lot is reasonably close (its easier to walk the distance if you're not toting luggage...) and when you get in, you can rent a locker to put your stuff in. The locker key works all day, unlike some of those types of lockers where you put the key in one time and can't pull it out until you pay again. This is the good thing about their locker system.

The indoor/outdoor jacuzzi is neat and there is also a less-visited jacuzzi near the back of the park.

Now, for the bad. When you rent your locker, you need to have $10 available. $5 for the key and $5 for the key deposit. Beware of a big money maker for them: if you lose, forget or otherwise destroy your receipt, you won't get your $5 back. Period. Even if you give them their key back you won't get your deposit without that piece of paper. In my opinion, if someone doesn't have their receipt (such as me, who threw it away because I wasn't aware that I needed it), the person working the counter should be empowered to keep a customer happy instead of acting like there's nothing he/she can do because that's their “policy.”

Another negative. I was pretty psyched about riding the country's only uphill water coaster. Of course, when we went, it was down for "attraction enhancement." That was disappointing. It looked like it might be down for awhile, so if that's something you're really counting on riding, you might want to call and ask if its open. It did look neat, however. (I went March 9)

Some of the other reviews are accurate about the staff. They are efficient, but you'll have a hard time getting a smile out of anyone.
I wasn't disappointed because I read the other reviews, so I knew what to expect. But, I'm a little surprised because there is so much water-park competition out there that the staff isn't encouraged to go the extra mile.

To sum up: you'll have fun on the slides and other attractions, for sure. Just remember two things:

1. Hang onto your locker deposit receipt
2. Don't expect holly-jolly staff.

Stayed March 2007
20 Thank Saxmn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2007

This was our second trip to Kalahari since it opened and I was little concerned about it after reading the reviews. We found it to be as good as the first time.
The people who complain about the front desk staff are probably the ones being rude. We checked at the busiest time and Brandi, the clerk who helped us, looked a little weiry and stressed. I gave her a smile and asked her how her day was and just by taking some interest in her completely changed her attitude. A smile goes a long way.
I took the advise of someone else here and asked for an upgrade to a suite and after looking Brandi said it would be no problem. We were upgraded to a wonderful suite and were able to check in right away. If you've been to these waterparks you know you typically can't check in right away but you can you the waterpark. The room was clean and neat and we had everything we needed. We ordered a rollaway bed and it was in the room before we even made to the room and they didn't charge for that either.
The waterpark wasn't overly crowded this time either. Last time it was packed. The zip coaster and tipping bucket are still not working but I suspect that has more to do with safety issues then disrepair. I am just speculating on that.
The only knocks I would have was that the breakfast buffet was not very good and everything was cold and they did seem a little short staffed but I didn't have safety concerns until one of the lifeguards told me he had kidney stones and taken two vicoten. I asked if his boss knew and he sure but they kept checking on hime to make sure he was awake. He was finishing his shift when I heard this so I didn't report it. The only other knock would be the hottub. They should make one of them adults only. We tried to go in but it was always overflowing with kids and impossible to relax in. With the rest of the park open for the kiddies this should be one spot for the adults.
These are pretty minor complaints compared to the overall experience. We will be back in 2008 when the expansion is done!
Go to Kalahari. Be nice to the staff as they could always use it and have a wonderful time!

  • Liked — The waterpark, of course.
  • Disliked — The food
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4 Thank RBlanch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2007

There are many problems with this resort..
#1 parking..It is very far from your room and when you travel with family, you have a lot to carry. They did have luggage carts and you could unload at the door and then park BUT the line was long and not near enuf carts and the place is laid out so bad it seemed like a mile carrying all your junk. The day we checked out, I thought ahead and went down at 7:30 AM to retrieve a luggage cart..Absolutely none!!!!!! People had hidden the few in their room overnight!!!!!!!! (Honest) I had paid the extra $12. for valet when I arrived, expecting some service..BUT when we left, we had to wait like everyone else in line and the driver did not help load a thing and without a luggage rack, it was quite the job.

When we tried to order pizza for a meal, we got no answer for 20 minutes, so I called customer service and they took our order. After an hour, no pizza so we called again. It was not even started..So, after waiting, only half of our order did come and I had to call again after 30 minutes to see where the rest of our order was..We waited about 3 hours total in our rooms just to eat a pizza..
And I agree with other reviews, parents were in the kiddie pool and hot tub with glass beer bottles. The staff was oblivious to rules
They gave no late checkouts when we were there. Sunday Feb. 19. They say you can use the facility, but provide no storage for all your coats, luggage food, etc.
But otherwise, its a fun place to go on a winters day. Just bring lots of money...

Stayed February 2007
9 Thank 37countries
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2007

Stayed here for one night and enjoyed it with my 2 kids aged 5 and 7.
We booked the adventure package and took four upgrades such as the suite, tokens, pizza and movie. All this for 179.00$.
The room was huge with 2 bathrooms and 2 sinks. A fireplace, kingsize bed, 2 queens and a pullout queen. The room was very clean.
As for the waterpark the kids and I loved it. The Zip Coaster was not working but it was still a great time. My daughter is only 43" but the friendly staff still let her on the 48" ride. The water was warm and the temperature in the park was also warm.
Everyone at the park was helpful and friendly.
We have been to the Great Wolf Lodge several times and this place was superior.
I recommend the Kalahari to everyone.
I will definetely be going back with the kids.

  • Liked — Waterpark, cheap but good breakfast buffet
  • Disliked — 9 am waterpark and arcade opening. Too late for my family.
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank mightyjar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenwood, IN
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2007

My boyfriend and I were looking for a spring break that wouldn't be crowded, but would still give us a "summer" feel. Kalahari did just that. The place was practically empty. The longest line was about 10-15 minutes for the Flow rider (indoor surfing). The rest of the slides the wait was however long it took us to climb the stairs. We stayed in the King Whirlpool suite. It was amazing. I would recommend going during the off season for a fun but romantic getaway.

  • Liked — the room, the waterpark, the food
  • Disliked — Sometimes the water was a little cool
  • Stayed March 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank nbensel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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
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 (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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