Two of South Africa’s most famous hotels are back in business after a major refurbishment and a post-fire re-building, respectively.
Gold Reef City, located in the greater Johannesburg area, has “re-launched” following a multi-million rand refurbishment by Tsogo Sun.
The renovations constitute the first phase of a R630 million (US$43.7 million) investment in the hotel, which is intended to elevate it to a diverse, world-class entertainment destination. Says CEO of Tsogo Sun Marcel von Aulock, “This investment is in line with the group’s corporate strategy to invest in and expand its operations in South Africa. We are committed to ensuring that our properties stay relevant, fresh and competitive in the leisure market. Added to this, the selection of offerings at our properties are vitally important components in ensuring great experiences for all our guests.”
Gold Reef City comprises a theme park with thrill rides, a model gold mine, the Apartheid Museum, a casino, an opulent theatre, a cinema complex themed as a Victorian train station, 10-pin bowling, and a games arcade. The casino’s new Salon Privé features an opulent gaming ambiance with its own private entrances, playing areas, baccarat room, internet and cash desk facilities, lobby and VIP desk, as well as an exclusive lounge.
There are also several new and upgraded restaurants, including the stylish Back o’ the Moon, which has undergone a total revamp and offers accessible upmarket dining, Vigour & Verve restaurant, Spur Steak Ranch, Boston BBQ (a family buffet restaurant), Calisto’s Portuguese Restaurant, The Raj Indian Restaurant, Ocean Basket, Vida e Café and ColCacchio Pizzeria as well as a food court.
“Gold Reef City has a long history of providing a unique combination of educational, historical and leisure attractions to the city of Johannesburg. This great heritage has been enhanced with the addition of the new facilities, offering visitors an even wider range of experiences than ever before. This is a place to connect with our history, to do business, to be entertained or to spend a day getting the adrenaline pumping,” said complex General Manager Mike Page in a press release.
Over in Cape Town, luxury lodge Tintswalo Atlantic re-opened in early November after it was gutted by a major brush fire in March 2015.
The 12-suite cliffside boutique hotel started rebuilding only weeks after the fire, which devastated the hills around Cape Town and led to extensive property damage and the evacuation of thousands of people.
The look and feel of the hotel remains, but co-owners Gaye and Ernest Corbett and Lisa and Warwick Goosen took the opportunity to make some design changes, such as fitting new doors imported from Zanzibar and India, and adding porch swings that are perfect for enjoying the blissful sunsets. Hundreds of new trees were planted to replace those charred by the fire, and the burnt remains of the previous 300-year-old milkwoods were re-purposed into new furniture and a new bar.
The main lodge was also redesigned slightly, with the living areas getting more space and the deck getting an extension, which will allow for 12 additional guests to dine. The gorgeous silver-legged table was saved from the fire, and can be seen at the entrance.
“The greatest challenge initially was just getting over the shock of losing the lodge,” said Gaye to TourismUpdate. “We had to get to grips with the fact that it was all gone and to somehow see the rebuild as an exciting challenge and not a complete loss, which is what it felt like after the fire.”