The Palace at the Lost City, Sun City, North West Province in South Africa is a hotel where you go for indulgence and pampering with some baboons and monkeys thrown in for good measure.
A fortieth birthday present for my best friend from Dublin, who had been pining for years to grace the threshold of this grand hotel, did not disappoint.
When I first stayed at the Palace shortly after it opened in 1992, courtesy of a Johannesburg Press Club raffle, I drove up in my luminous green VW Beetle. Never having experienced a vehicle meet-and-greet-and-drive-away-and-park that I had only seen in Hollywood movies, you practically had to steal the car keys out of my hands! I learned well, and we drove up to the Palace forecourt, to check in, and casually exited the vehicle and handed over the keys… and the luggage and sauntered off to the reception.
Turning forty is not a standard kind of age, so a standard kind of room wouldn’t cut it, I went for the superior luxury room in order to kick of her next decade on this planet the right way. It did not disappoint: a lounge area, with a king size bed and full on bathroom, with robes, slippers, soaps and shampoos of the finest quality. Flat screen tv’s, beverage trolley, foot stools and complimentary snacks and bottle of wine set the pace.
Lunch by their magnificent pool is a must. Surrounded by crystal clear water and all sorts of trees and bird life one could feel the stress of working slithering away down the pool’s overflow pipes!
Being winter, the main Crystal Court restaurant was only open for breakfast (The Grill alongside the Crystal Court not being high on my restaurant list) so the restaurants at the Soho Hotel and below the Cascades Hotel were our places of choice to eat, and they did not disappoint. Breakfast at the Crystal Court is really a complete indulgence, although I do not get eating mince and pork belly in the morning! The choice of yoghurts, fruits, fresh breads and pastries, eggs and side orders, juices – you name it – was a temptation beyond the size of one’s stomach.
The walks around the Lost City Golf Course is always fully of surprises, this time three elephants walking along the hillside parallel to the golfers was a site for wide eyes, whilst avoiding a golf ball on your head while looking at the crocodiles in a nearby pond could be a matter of life or death, but worth it.
To our complete amazement monkeys large and small appeared on my balcony ledge, searching for those little milk sachets on the beverage trolley in the room. Those little milk sachets had already been claimed by one rather huge baboon sitting calmly on its backside in my room with its paws already on the goods, as nervously indicated to me by my bestie. It watched to see what we would do. Me, believing he was an ancestor of mine, made eye contact and grunted back, so Babs grabbed the sachets and ran outside to the hotel ledge and gazed at us as if saying “And now? What yer gonna do hoo hoo!”.
The service from the staff at the Palace is top class as is expected, but always pleasing to be a recipient of such outstanding service. From housekeeping to the limo drivers to and from the casino, we wore smiles as we meandered back to the rooms to turn in.
The decor of the Palace never tires. While walking through the reception area and all around the hotel, you never tire of what you see, it always warms you, it always sparkles your eyes.
If you are looking for me…. I am chasing Babs to see which side of the family tree he sits on, aside from the milky way side of course!