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“Loved it, didn't want to leave!”

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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Sandusky
Certificate of Excellence
toledo, ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Loved it, didn't want to leave!”
Reviewed 9 February 2008

We loved this place. It was clean, Staff was very accomodating and friendly. The hotel itself is beautiful, all decked out in African decor. The waterpark was the funnest place we have ever been. We will definately be back this summer when the outdoor part is open. I did not think the prices were to bad either, some people did, I could not find a single thing to complain about. I think the trick is to go during the week, rates are cheaper and there are not as many people there.

  • Stayed February 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bobbij1079
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (851)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Flint, MI
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2008

My husband and I booked two nights at the Kalahari, and we were blown away. We had a "Hut two night special" package for $249. When we checked in, we asked about upgrading our room, and the really nice receptionist offered to give us a suite for $30 extra per night. It was way worth it, as the new room had a full kitchen, two TVs, whirlpool bath, and separate bedroom. The room was very clean and ready at 1:30 when we arrived (check-in was supposed to be at 4:00).

The water park was great, some of the lines were kind of long (mainly the family tube ride and the flow riders), but other slides had no wait.

They had a very nice selection of slides: body slides, two large family raft slides, a raft slide where you go into the sort of "toilet bowl", racing slides where you use mats, a lazy river, wave pool, adults only indoor/outdoor spa, all ages spa, kids water play area, water basketball...

The water in the pools and lazy river was warm, but a few of the slides' water seemed pretty cold. Not too bad though. The indoor/outdoor spa was really cool, being outside in February was a neat experience. The mixed drinks were steep ($8 for a Mudslide), but getting a drink from a "swim-up" bar was something I always wanted to do.

We ate at Kahunaville, and the food was really good. My husband got a steak, which he was impressed with. It was pretty expensive, but not more than we expected (we actually paid more to eat at a Rainforest Cafe the few days prior). There are alot of good places north on Route 250 if you want cheaper food (I suggest Chett and Matt's on Strubb Road, really good pizza!).

My husband signed up for the 1.5 hour flow rider lesson. It was REALLY worth it, since he was the only one who signed up, so it was one-on-one for a loong time. The instructor, Matt, was awesome. He says that most Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning lesson sessions have very few people, so definately look into it. It is kind of early (we had to be there at 7:10am), but being in the empty water park for an hour and a half trying out the Flow Rider was the best value of the trip for us. I got to go in too and take pictures.

We will definately be going back. Probably in the next few months. If you get a chance, go to the Candy Hut and buy some chocolate covered strawberries. They are INCREDIBLE, and worth the $2 each.

  • Liked — Water park, room, everything under one roof
  • Disliked — Kind of expensive
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank laura2000mi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 February 2008

This place really has me scratching my head. They have obviously invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the property.
There is nothing similar in size and ammenities in Ohio or surrounding states. But for all their investment, they must have had no money left to hire good management. Any property that lets check-in lines get an hour long is slitting their own throat. The poor employees that do work there get so many complaints that they have no way of dealing with that their frustration is apparent. The Kalahari motto has to be summed up as "If you aren't happy with our service, pay your bill and leave, cause its a big country we live in, and someone else will fill the room." If you have tons of patience I think you may like this place, but if you feel a couple hundred dollars a night entitles you to some pampering you are going to be very, very frustrated.

  • Liked — Waterpark
  • Disliked — Understaffed undermanaged lack of service
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Buckeye75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2008

This experience has, by far, been the worst nightmare of any vacation we have ever had. My 4kids (ages 8,6,4,2), my DH and I were expecting a relaxing few days to celebrate our oldest child's 8th birthday. Here is a short sampling of what happened... From misinformation at reservation that was not uncovered until arrival, taking a deposit on our gift card and not applying it to our reservation, INDIFFERENCE was the best the staff could offer. Taken in isolation, each incident could have been overlooked but we saw a pattern emerging...while we waited for our room to be ready we were going to swim but were rudely told there were no family changing rooms available and it would have cost a small fortune to stash our 4 kids coats and street clothes in a locker. We opted to get some food. Our orders in the cafe sat for a long time because we were unable to hear our order being called. Room was promised by 4 pm then at 3:45 we were told they START check in at 4 pm so they could be ready anytime after that. Their website is VAGUE - the room dimensions are misleading. Some rooms much smaller than you would expect. The waterpark personnel is DANGEROUSLY INDIFFERENT. It is nearly impossible to find the required life vests for little ones hidden around a corner when someone finally informs you that you need one (they are very difficult to find and it is not clear that under a certain height they are required). Rule signs are usually hidden, not obvious, and in some cases VAGUE. Some water attractions have one height requirement at the bottom and it's different when you reach the top. Staff is not helpful when trying to locate towels/vests/etc. They will VAGUELY point in a direction and indicate "over there". Again, the website and the signs themselves do not clearly indicate restrictions of height, etc. until you have waited in line. Water in some areas was uncomfortable cold. The hotel room was insanely hot and dry. We used the A/C here in the middle of winter. One restaurant was out of an ingredient but failed to inform me until we had waited far too long for an expensive breakfast. After an unreasonable amount of waiting they informed me of the problem and offered a substitution - couldn't they have done that from the beginning? The safe in our room did not work. Front desk indicated 10-15 minutes for service. After more than one hour we went back to the desk. They were INDIFFERENTLY apologetic but did nothing to correct as the safe repair people never did show up. We were booked for 2 nights but couldn't bear to endure any more of this nightmare. Of course there was no senior manager available today. Front desk made a half hearted effort but really there was nothing they could do to prove to us their slogan "beyond expectations". How do you explain this disappointment and failure to an 8 year old on her birthday? I hope this review helps someone to avoid this colossal mistake or prompts the resort to take notice of how they devastated one family's getaway. The only getaway we got was the need to getaway from there.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — everything else
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank mykidsma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Niles, Ohio
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2008

First of all - this is a VERY LARGE hotel and HUGE water park - (this automatically has its advantages and disadvantages - use your common sense as I am not going to mention the obvious things) there are easier places to go if you are not interested in throngs of people on the weekends, long walks to and from the park, parking lot, (check in on weekends) etc.

The new expansion now includes wave pool and some awesome water rides. Also, the suite arrangement suited us and when splitting the cost - was less money than a room by ourselves.
>>>TIP 1.There is really only one entrance - the main one Try to arrange yourself so that you do not have to go back and forth to your vehicle - especially in the winter
>>>TIP 2. Arrive on a Wed. or Thurs. if at all possible - check in is a breeze - We arrived at the hotel on Thursday Jan. 31 at about 3 pm having booked a combo suite with my wife, 4 girls (8, 4, 3, & 2)
(yeah --- I know !?!) & the inlaws through the hotel website - this is a regular type hotel room with 2 small "queen" beds connected by a door to a larger suite with a kitchen, living room and seperate king bedroom (Rms 2538, 2540) floor plans are are available on the hotel website- we stayed until about 3:30 pm on Saturday - our rooms were clean and everything worked
>>>TIP 3. Bring something to hang on the window that will black out the light - it is very bright as mentioned in previous reviews and even an unbroken shade will not keep it out if you like it dark.
>>>TIP 4. Don't use valet parking if you don't have to - we did not - we simply drove up and parked in the unloading area - there was NO wait to check-in and the receptionist was cordial and had us ready to go- in minutes -
>>>TIP 5. Have your photo ID ready - I forgot mine and had to run out and get my wife's - they were insistant about that
we were in the water park by 4 pm.
>>>Tip 6. Ask for a room on the same floor as the lobby so you do not have to use the elevators when you check in and out - this would be the 2nd level - the water park is on the 1st level but it is easy to get to - from our rooms in the first wing of "kondos" it took us about 7 minutes to walk to the park (that is with a toddler) all carpeted and wide halls
>>>TIP 7. Bring a stroller if you have a small child - not only for them to ride in but can hold all kinds of things - OUTSIDE food is not permitted in the water park but we did bring the kids sip cups in.
BE AWARE - ONLY 2 bathrooms in the park itself - and they are not in the back of the park - also you can only get your towels at the entrance - get all you will need. They had plenty when we were there
>>>TIP 8. Use the bathroom when you come in/get your towels
BE AWARE - Several of the water rides require you to carry your float or mat all the way to the top - on Thu and Fri. am. we did not have any wait so it was great but you get quite a workout carrying and walking up the steps - BUT the rides are worth it - and the older kids love them - wave pool allows floats and can get hectic when busy for little kids
The new area also has a much better/larger small child pool area
Under height kids need life jacket in wave pool
>>>TIP 9. On busy days get life jacket early as they will run out!?! Also you can only get them near the entrance - by the lazy river/ but they are the comfortable kind and much better than Castaway Bay's life jackets
Plenty of chairs around the park
We tried the Grill in the center of the park and it was fine - but obviously higher $$ than a McD's (common sense)
I was told at checkin that the hotel was at 15% on Thursday and then would be about 80% by Friday nite and 100% by Saturday nite. This may be typical of the winter season.
Staff was courteous and helpful - many life guards were students from Brazil on summer work program - few spoke english - some acted like this was their first week lifeguarding - ?
>>>TIP 10. YOU be responsible for your own kids - life guard them - they are the most precious things in this world.
The surfing ride is very interesting and not as hard as it may seem - TRY IT
Some final points:
> Fireplace not a big deal - don't pay extra for this
>Several restaurants on site - we did not try any - cooked and ate in room - no problem with the pillows or noise and there was a teen cheerleader convention there on Fri/Sat
>You do have to walk through the game room to get to the park - so what!?!
>My family LOVED every minute and wore themselves out - we did not have one issue that I can complain about - we will definantly go again.

  • Liked — The endless options and fantastic new rides
  • Disliked — Some rooms seem a mile away from the water park
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank Ohiofiremn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
51 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2008

My wife, daughter and I stayed for 4 nights in mid-January 2008. Overall I was impressed with the place and enjoyed my stay, but there were a few details that prevent me from giving it a perfect score.
First the pros. Our king/jacuzzi suite was large and attractive, with a full kitchen and separate bedroom. The kitchen had a reasonably good set of dishware, cookware and utensils, electric range, microwave, full-size refrigerator, dishwasher and garbage disposal. The living area had a sofabed and electric fireplace (which ran on a timer, 30 min. max I think). There was a balcony off the living area which we didn't use but which would probably be nice in warm weather.
The staff was quite friendly. We were frequently greeted by everyone from cleaning staff to bellhops. No complaints there.
I went to the waterpark only once and used one of the hot tubs. My wife and daughter went several times. My wife said the water in the pools was kind of cold but not that bad. The park is very large and is kept very warm. Strong smell of chlorine but I guess that beats bacterial contamination. At times the pools were pretty crowded but people weren't packed like sardines so no big deal. We also enjoyed mini golf, the pottery studio, and the game arcade.
The food in the restaurants was surprisingly good, a cut above the chain-restaurant fare that I was expecting. Our 4-year-old loved the Kahunaville restaurant, where at dinner time kids can dance on stage and run around all they want. Our waitress gave us a free dessert, unsolicited.
The ice cream/candy stand is a must stop for anybody with a sweet tooth.
So what's not to like? For starters, our pillows were the most uncomfortable I've ever slept on. I don't think I'm too particular about my sleeping arrangements, but my head started to hurt after a while on these pillows. My wife agreed. I ended up going to WalMart and getting two $5 pillows that were better than the hotel's. The mattress wasn't that comfortable either, very hard, but the pillows were awful.
I was also under the impression that we had a 2-person jacuzzi but instead it was just a standard-size bathtub with jacuzzi jets.
Some small details could've been better, too. None of them are significant and I don't mean to sound like a whiner, but for the sake of being comprehensive I'll mention them.
The flat-screen TV was nice, but if you're going to splurge on a wide-screen, why not go all the way and provide HDTV?
In general, free amenities were absent. Maybe this is how resorts are, but I got the feeling that they try to nickel-and-dime you. For instance, I noticed that the vending machines sold various toiletries like nail clippers, combs, etc. Most hotels will give you that kind of stuff for free if you forget to bring it.
Ordering a pizza? Unless you get it from room service, you'll have to meet the delivery guy in the lobby. They're not allowed to go to guests' rooms, I assume to discourage guests from ordering from outside pizzerias.
No free continental breakfast, which is not surprising since the common areas are open to everybody, not just guests.
Again, that's all pretty minor stuff. If the bed and especially the pillows had been more comfortable I'd probably give it a 5-star rating. But all in all I enjoyed it and I'd go back, only with my own pillow.

  • Liked — Well-appointed room, friendly staff
  • Disliked — The pillows
  • Stayed January 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank yankeedave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southwest Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2008

I have travelled--a lot! I have travelled to countries where they do not speak English. I have NEVER been treated as badly as I was at the Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio.

The room was fithly. There was old, half eaten ice cream in the freezer, what appeared to be raw ground meat smeared on the counter top and the fridge was just GROSS. We check in on Monday, the room was not cleaned until Wednesday. Oh, and let us not forget the dirty carpet, bathtub and construction debris including 3 inch long rusted nails on the balcony.

Check in was a disaster. Had to wait in line for over an hour--twice!

The resort manager was so rude that he actually reduced my 19 y/o daughter to tears when she tried to tell him of our concerns. Yes, tears.

I cannot honestly begin to tell you how bad this stay really was. My letter to the resort is 4 pages long. Don't go, take the money and go elsewhere.

  • Liked — When it was time to leave!
  • Disliked — The staff was exceedingly RUDE
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank Media2go
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
Region: United States > Ohio > Sandusky
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Romantic Hotel in Sandusky
#2 Family 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 
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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