Hotel Check: Sun Meropa Hotel

Polokwane, South Africa


BACKGROUND: The Meropa Casino and Entertainment World has been in operation for 15 years with accommodation supplied by a City Lodge hotel. In September 2016, Sun International broke ground on Sun Meropa and officially opened the hotel on 29 July with a grand celebration for its first hotel in the province.

WHERE IS IT? In the Meropa Casino and Entertainment complex, about five kilometres from the N1 highway in Polokwane. It’s about a three-hour drive from Johannesburg.

ROOM FACILITIES: The hotel offers 60 three-star rooms, including six suites. The decorators went with a Moroccan theme – dark wood furniture, blue-and-white patterned tiles, accents of red splashed through the rooms – to complement the Moroccan-style architecture, with the two-storey hotel built around a central outdoor pool area. My room was compact and the space was used well. The work desk, with multiple easy-to-reach plug points, and tea-and-coffee station were separated from the sleeping area in an alcove by the window. It’s a small detail, but it really made a difference to the space. The bathroom was snug, with the shower door very cleverly doubling as the bathroom door, but it never felt tight. In the bedroom was a massive Samsung Smart TV with DsTV which faced a king-sized bed.

RESTAURANTS & BARS: The Kasbah Restaurant is situated next to the hotel’s reception. Dinner on this special occasion was a Moroccan-inspired buffet. Appetisers included a prawn and avo salad, lentil and blueberry salad and hummus with a selection of breads served by passing wait staff. The main course consisted of dukkha-spiced peri-peri prawns, corn cakes, spicy pumpkin soup with croutons and beef and prawn skewers. The meal was rounded off with towers of colourful macarons, trifle cups, profiteroles in chocolate cages and chocolate mousse with caramel in pastry casings. The breakfast buffet offered the usual selection of fruit, cereal, pastries, cold meats, cheeses, scrambled eggs, bacon – both shoulder and streaky – mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns and sausages. There was also a flap jack and waffle station, complete with an assortment of toppings. While the wait staff were happy to bring coffee to my table, I had fun making espressos at the DIY coffee-pod machine. The Harvest Wine & Grill, next to the casino floor, serves a variety of dishes, from aged steaks and burgers to ribs, wings and chargrilled chicken. Jembe Tavern serves authentic African cuisine and offers live entertainment. The Ngoma Bar is located on the main casino floor, making it easy for players to grab a drink without stepping away from the action.

BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: There is a conference centre on site with capacity in the main hall to accommodate 600 delegates. The three smaller meeting rooms are perfect for intimate meetings of up to 20 people. There is a single computer station next to the conference centre reception. There is wi-fi throughout the hotel. Both my Apple and Android devices picked up the connection automatically; I didn’t need to search or sign in once to use the service – a real plus.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The Meropa entertainment complex offers a number of ways to unwind. There’s the go kart track for a bit of motorised fun; a Mangwanani day spa for a bit of pampering; a mini-golf course; a cultural village; the Magic Company with games for the kids; and the WildThingz bird and snake garden for a walk through nature. The casino, operational 24 hours a day, is a big draw card. It offers 417 slot machines and 17 gaming tables.

VERDICT: A really great option for your next trip to Polokwane. Clean, comfortable accommodation, tasty food and friendly, helpful staff all make for an enjoyable stay.

Kate Kennedy

A: Plot 59, Sterkloop, Roodepoort Rd
T: +27 15 290 5400