When I tour the country for various events, the most important part of the trip is my accommodation, because nothing can compare to a good night's rest in place that you're not only comfortable but with staff who are always helpful to assist when need be, which is why I am loyal to the Tsogo Sun group, no matter which part of the country I am, their establishments set the bar for hotels and leisure.
This past weekend while in Johannesburg for the Ultra Music Festival South African leg, the kind folk at Tsogo Sun Gold Reef City Casino Hotel hosted me for the weekend. Before I could even arrive to the hotel on that that Friday I already knew I was in good hands, and for that I must say special thank you to their communications manager Devashini Govender for arranging my stay and ensuring all was well while she was on leave. Not often you will get people going out of their way during their time off to assist you.
Gold Reef City Casino Hotel is situated just a few minutes outside Johannesburg CBD, it boasts casino, multiple restaurants, kiddies entertainment area and a movie house. The hotel has just gone under a massive renovation with certain areas still getting their final touch ups and I must say, after last visiting when I was a kid, the place has transformed and grown into something spectacular. Gold Reef City is themed around the Johannesburg Gold Rush just like it's sister hotel across the road at the Theme Park which we stayed at the last time. So a lot of of it follows the American Western style decor.
A massive fountain with golden Springboks leaping through greets you at the entrance of the Hotel and Casino complex and you enter into a massive triple volume atrium. The lovely staff at reception ensured my checking in was quick and efficient with one of them accompanying me to show to my suite. I was staying in one of the bigger suites at the hotel, the coffee and tea station greeted me in the foyer of the room, with the dressing room and walk in closet to the left, that led into the massive bathroom with a free standing tub, shower and toilet. The size of the bathroom was bigger than some hotel rooms I've stayed in!
The bedroom had a massive King Size four post bed, with a lounge area equipped with sofa's and a large screen LCD TV and bar fridge. A nice welcome gift from the hotel's GM stood next to my bed, a bottle of bubbly on ice, and so the celebrations of the weekend kicked off in style. The hotel area of the casino is only accessible by lift and is strictly for guests only so if you're staying there, you don't have to worry about any one making their way up. Security is of utmost importance at Gold Reef City, so much so I didn't even make use of the safe in my bedroom as I know my room was secure.
Being a working trip, I had to get some admin done while I was at the hotel, for this the Hotel provides free WiFi for all their guests, with a simple easy way to log in and super-fast speeds. If I were busy and didn't have time to visit one of the many restaurants and take out's downstairs, a full eat in menu was available for me from the hotel. anything from a simple sandwich to butter chicken and rice was on the menu. With great variety like this, I pondered whether it was really worth my while leaving my luxurious room and venture around?
Although I was there for Ultra, I had some time to explore the complex, the Casino being the focal point of Gold Reef City is situated in the middle and boasts a host of slot machines for your fancy and for the more hands on gamblers, a range of tables are on offer for you. Whether you're a Roulette man like my self or Black Jack is more of your game, it was all catered for. There is given quite a sizable smoking Casino just behind the main gambling floor. Enough about what the adults can do, the kiddies entertainment is well catered for as well. There is a 10 pin bowling area where the whole family can partake in some fun, gaming area as well as the newly opened movies which has an amazing clock feature in it's foyer resembling an old train station, as well as a time table board which mimics one from a station as well.
The walkway around the Casino has restaurants that suite any palette, from a cafe type bistro of Tsogo Sun's very own Vigor & Verve, to authentic Indian cuisine at The Raj, maybe some Portuguese Peri Peri at Calisto's or if you're in a mood for a great steak, Boston BBQ is your place to dine at. Other restaurants include Back to the Moon and everyone's favourites Ocean Basket and Spur Steak House. If you're in the mood for a quick bite, the food court has a range of popular take outs for you with adequate seating area for all.
|Chicken Malai Tikka starter at the Raj|
Being on the road for a few days, I was missing my curry so settled in for lunch on Saturday at The Raj, it's situated at the entrance to the undercover parking complex. After being greeted and seated by our waiter, he gave us a run down on his preferred choices off the menu. we eventually settled for the Chicken Malai Tikka starter with Lamb Rogan Josh and Butter Chicken for our mains. Every thing we ordered was delicious, so much so we ditched the utensils and opted to eat the authentic cuisine the way it was meant to be eaten, with our hands, just so we could lick our fingers at the end.
|Lamb Rogan Josh and Butter Chicken main with garlic naan|
The good food doesn't stop there, guests at the hotel enjoy their breakfast served at the Vigor & Verve Cafe, where they can chose something of the menu or help them self to the extensive buffet on offer. From a selection of hot foods, to pastries, fruits and cereals, it had it all and was a life saver after partying till the early hours of the morning at Ultra. After day one I opted for the buffet, which did not disappoint, after day two I wanted to sample something off the menu and being a lover of toasted sandwiches, I settled for the V&V Club Sandwich. It was a toasted chicken and mayo with bacon and egg, it more than hit the spot.
Overall, I couldn't fault one thing during my stay, apart from the luxurious room and great facilities, the staff of Gold Reef City Hotel must be commended, whether it was the guys at check in, to the security guards, everyone was friendly, helpful and always had a smile on their face. It shows that they not only enjoy what they do but are also proud to be working at Gold Reef City and it's that added extra which makes your stay that much more worth while, to know you have a team of dedicated personnel who take pride in what they do and are ever ready to assist. I will definitely be paying them another visit, maybe this time I will have better luck on the tables!