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“Family Fun and Laughter”

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Kalahari Resorts & Conventions
Ranked #3 of 34 Hotels in Sandusky
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 August 2006

We had a great time. My wife and 7 year old daughter and I went to the Kalahari July 23-26. First let me tell you I travel and stay in hotels 85-100 nights a year for business and pleasure. This resort is tops on my list for Family Fun. Check in was smooth and the bellman immediately was available to unload our vehicle. We checked in early to room 4411 to find a well appointed room that overlooked the outdoor pool area. The room was spotless and the beds were very comfortable. Our room was cleaned promptly every day. We utilized the onsite restaurants and room service and found the food be of excellent quality. I know some reviewers have complained about food prices but this is a resort and you should expect to pay resort prices. I thought the prices were very good. Example… I ate a grilled chicken sandwich (hot from the outside grilling station) every day for lunch by the outdoor pool. The sandwich came with chips, cheese etc and was priced around $6.50. Room Service for dinner is a good choice and delivery was prompt. I cannot say enough about the indoor and outdoor water play areas. There are lifeguards stationed everywhere and the feeling of security is enhanced by having one centralized exit/entrance to both the indoor and outdoor water areas. I saw several EMT’s patrolling the water park on foot. The indoor and outdoor water areas are very clean. Someone is constantly cleaning and picking up resort provided towels in all areas. You will be pleased with this resort. I would not hesitate to go again.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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10  Thank George L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,631 - 3,637 of 3,762 reviews

Reviewed 29 July 2006

First of all i would like to say that i've stayed at the kalahari in wisconsin dells which was excellent. I don't know how this hotel could possibly be related to the other.
It all started with checking in and the attendent was very inimformed. We wanted one night on my credit card and the other on my sisters. She looked like a deer in headlights. After much confusion we got to our room which i must say was pretty nice.
Now to the pool area. First of all the zip coaster that was one of the reasons we stayed there was not working any of the three days we were there. I dont think i saw a lifeguard over the age of 17. They were splashing the young guests as they got on the rafts and conversing with eachother nonstop. they didnt seem very interested in the job they are paid to do at all.
There was a no running sign. But there was no one there enforcing it. Little kids were running all over. Also at the simulated surfing ride, the lifeguards seemed to be going on it more than the guests.
Now heres the kicker. When we were just about to leave walking down the stairs from the front desk. My wife fell down the stairs very hard hitting her elbow very hard and making her neck really sore. And she was also holding our digital camera in her hand, which fell with her and broke on the ground.
Now mind you, the stairs are made of a material that isnt even necessary on flat ground. Why would even consider putting that slippery material in your resort, ESPECIALLY ONE WITH A WATERPARK! I talked to the guest relations manager and she was not interested at all in our problem and talked like she was reading out of a manual. She said that her boss who was the main manager was in a meeting and that he would give us a call as soon as he was out at noon.
We decided just to go out to lunch and come back. By the time we got back at about 12:15 we hadnt gotten a call from him and we asked the woman again if we could speak with him. She informed us that he had entered another meeting and would give us a call after that one!!!!
It is now a week later and we have been getting the run-around since our stay. We ended up talking to the "main" manager and he was the most unfriendly, uncaring, and unprofessional person i had ever spoken with. The whole resort displays the personality of their "boss". I will never stay there again and even though i like the one in wisconsin dells, i will never stay there again just for principle.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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11  Thank kb1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2006

My wife and I, along with my 3 children aged 4,7 and 9 went to Kalahari, Sandusky on July 23rd,2006. This is a very impressive
resort as far as appearance and activities. But that is as far as it goes. The majority of the employees lack professionalism and communication skills that are needed to provide adequate customer service.

Upon our arrival, I mistakenly drove on the valet side of the entance. We were rudely approached by an obnoxious valet parking attendant who rolled his eyes , shook his head in disgust and told me "How could I be on the valet side with a sign in front of my face!" First of all, it is easy to get distracted with 3 excited kids in the car. Secondly, who cares if I drove through valet 20 times. A resort that charges their customers so much should treat their customers like royalty. Instead, I was embarrased and belittled by a skinny white man in his mid 40's with an ego problem. This initial experience gave me an impression as to what to expect from this resort. Almost everyone who works here has an attitude problem. The lifeguards all have disgruntled ,sad looks on their faces. The food workers look like they are doing you a favour by serving you. It is ridiculous. By the way, the Flowrider attraction is a catastrophe in the making. My wife got catapulted into the hard wall and received cuts and bruises on both knees. The attendants were oblivious to her struggle to get up . No one offered medical assistance , not even an ice pack. Again , this gives you an idea as to the unprofessional service that is here.It is just a matter of time before someone hits that wall headfirst. If that happens, you can receive a life threatening injury. Kids should not be allowed on this dangerous ride.

Other dissapointments were that our room smelled like a smoking room even though it was non-smoking. The air conditioner and fridge did not work properly. The air conditioner was off when we entered the hot room and that probably contributed to the bad smell. Their are only 2 channels on the television for kids, even though this resort is supposed to be geared towards them. We complained to the front desk about the smell and received lame excuses.

It is very obvious that the employees are not trained properly in communicating with customers. If you make a mistake and come to this place, just make sure to avoid anyone who works here, unless absolutely necessary. This resort needs a human resources department that actually knows how to train employees. They need to go down to the resorts in Disneyworld or in Mexico to learn how to act around customers. If they can do this, this place could be a world class resort. But for now, it is just a one star hotel that thinks that having a few waterslides makes you a superb resort. In reality, the best resorts are the ones that treat customer like royalty.

The people who are giving this resort good reviews probably had minimal encounters with workers or management. They probably checked in, had no problems, and avoided or ignored everone here. In summary, it is a shame that such a beautiful resort will eventually be run into the ground because of the egotistical , inbred behaviour of the workers who operate it.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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20  Thank tannoujohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2006

We had done our research ahead of time and had booked the Kalahari based upon the fact that it seemed family friendly and had an indoor water park. We were pleasantly surprised to find a african theme that was tastefully done. It was a very nice hotel with friendly staff, well maintained facilities and nicely appointed rooms.

Our group consisted of two teenage boys (14 and 15), our 25 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. Everyone enjoyed the waterpark including us adults!

The waterpark being indoors without having to worry about sunburn and being able to feel safe with your children hanging out there was a major plus for us.

I would highly recommend this hotel in every aspect, with the exception of the prices at the onsite restaurants, which was to be expected. We ate off site for all of our meals and saved a lot of money.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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6  Thank butterflyjohnson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2006

our family consist of two teenage boys. Our first stay was in the summer and we really enjoyed ourselves. It is pleasant to the eye
but i do not recommend the food. For the price the meals really did not match. The water was at a comfortable temperature in the summer. However, the winter water temperature was not comfortable at all. Matter of fact it was so cold we only went on one ride. we did not get to enjoy the water park at all and that was the reason for our stay at the Kalahari. We were very disappointed that we waisted not only our money but our time. This trip was in feb. for the kids mid- winter break. They were very excited at first but was quickly disappointed when they touched the water.

  • Stayed: February 2006, travelled with family
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7  Thank lonia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2006

Count me in as another person who can't understand some of the extremely negative comments posted here. Thankfully, the nay-sayers appeared to be in the minority, so it didn't discourage us one bit from booking a one-night stay at this fine resort!

We had a thoroughly wonderful time from start to finish! Everyone was super-friendly. The service was fast and efficient. The check-in/check-out process is smooth and quick. Our room was actually ready at noon. They have the most comfortable beds we've ever had away from home.

The food was fantastic, from the pizza at Cafe Mirage and Safari Snacks, to the Kahunaville restaurant (menu ordering), to the buffets at the Great Karoo Marketplace (which also offers menu ordering).

A note on the prices: they are not as high as one of the previous reviewers noted. At the Great Karoo Marketplace, we were charged $9.95 for an adult breakfast buffet, and $4.95 for kids 6 - 12. Their dinner buffet was $12.95 for adults and $7.95 for kids 6 - 12. (For lighter breakfast eating, the coffee shop next door to the Marketplace offers pastries, fresh fruit, and cereals, among other small assorted items.) At Kahumaville, our entrees were $12.99, with the kids' meals at $6.99. Plus, they did have cheaper adult entrees on the menu. I don't think any of these prices are out of line with what many restaurants charge, and the food was first-rate.

An unexpected side benefit were the 2 FREE games of mini-golf we got! We had dinner at the Kahunaville restaurant on our first evening - our daughter won a coloring contest there, and we got a coupon for a round of mini-golf for 4. We ate dinner at the Great Karoo Marketplace on our second evening, and the staff was passing out the same coupons to guests upon being seated. Even so, the cost for the mini-golf is modest, ($3.50 per person) so we were planning on doing it anyway - to get 2 free games was an unexpected bonus.

We were able to use the waterpark from noon on the day of our arrival through 3 PM the next day. Even so, we didn't leave the resort until shortly after 8 PM on the second day, because the fun doesn't end with the waterpark! They have a super-huge indoor dry play area for kids up through age 12. There are several levels to this structure, with many places where the kids can shoot foam balls.

Then there is the arcade (at extra cost), with many of your standard arcade games, but it also has a shooting gallery and a 2-person 3-D motion theater ride. And, of course, the mini-golf (9 holes).

They have many things we didn't do, like the pottery that others have posted about, an outdoor pool, an outdoor play area for younger children with water slides, an outdoor dry play area, sand volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, and an indoor spa.

There are also scheduled activities and contests throughout the day. My husband and kids took part in the free cookie decorating and eating.

But, the main attraction is the waterpark, right? Well, I'm not a huge fan of rides and such, so I didn't go on most of the water slides or the zip coaster. My husband and daughter tried all of the slides and the zip coaster and they had a wonderful time. The waits were not long, if they had to even wait at all on most of them. My son is more adventurous than me, so he enjoyed the 2 water slides in Leopard's Lair, but he was a bit intimidated about going on the bigger tube slides, so he passed on that. Still, he wasn't bored - neither was I. He had fun dumping buckets of water on people. I let him dump on me a few times, plus I was one of the people running to get dumped on when the bell rang and the big bucket started dumping.

For the less adventurous among us, they do have the 2 open slides in Leopard's Lair. (I actually went down only the blue slide there a few times, as I said, I am not a big fan of rides and I am a bit intimidated by things that go fast. Still, I'm glad I did it.) One gentleman who looked to be in his 70s appeared to be enjoying himself on those slides and he commented to me that they were enough for him, the other ones were higher than what he was comfortable with.

So, whether you like your slides high up or lower down, open or enclosed in a tube, Kalahari has a choice for you.

We also enjoyed the hot tubs! The indoor/outdoor hot tub they advertise on their website is a bit hotter than the spa that is tucked away in the opposite corner of the waterpark. Very few people know about that other spa, because it is a little off the beaten path. I only found out about it when someone happened to mention it to me (and she had not found it until her second day at the waterpark, either). It's not quite so hot, so it was easier for our kids to stay in that one longer.

The lazy river ride is awesome. You can stay on it as long as you like.

The basketball pool was fun. I couldn't get the kids to even try it until the second day, because they thought it would be boring. Once they got in it, they didn't want to get out of it!

They have plenty of lounge chairs and chaises set up. I divided my time between the hot tubs, the basketball pool, the lazy river ride, getting dumped on and walking through water sprays and waterfalls in Leopard's Lair, trying out the blue water slide in Leopard's Lair, watching people (including my husband) wipe out on the Flow Rider, and reading my book.

Another note on pricing: the cost to rent a locker is only $5.00, NOT the $10 the complainers have been posting about. They're not telling you the whole story. You do have to pay $10 upfront - then you get $5.00 back when you return the locker key.

The locker rooms are clean with enough facilities for everyone. We didn't have to wait at all to use a changing room or a bathroom.

However, you don't even need to rent a locker if you still have a room at the hotel. They provide in-room safes for your valuables. We changed in the room and left our valuables in the safe. My husband kept our room card in the pocket of his swim trunks. I felt a bit awkward at first walking through the hotel in my bathing suit and barefeet, but then I noticed others doing the same, so...

Wet bathing suits aren't a problem when you want to return to your room. They have a contraption that spins the drips out of your suit, so you're almost as dry going back to your room as when you arrived in the waterpark. My husband noticed that the flooring throughout the hotel area was super-smooth, hard flooring and carpeting, as though it was designed specifically for comfortable barefoot walking.

You don't have to do it that way though, but we did find it more convenient than keeping street clothes with us and changing in the waterpark. Many people kept their street clothes in a bag on a lounge chair - I'd guess that most people only rented lockers after they'd checked out, like we did.

I find it interesting that some people complained that there wasn't enough for their young toddlers to do at the waterpark, so they felt ripped off. No, I wouldn't like it either if my kid was excluded from most of the water slides, but then I wouldn't book a trip to Kalahari until my kid met more height requirements either. It's called COMMON SENSE! Height and age restrictions for each ride or activity are clearly posted on the Kalahari website. I guess they know how to use the Internet to complain, but they don't know how to use the Internet to thoroughly research whether a trip to a certain destination makes sense for their family situation.

Now that I've rambled on way too much...

Kalahari in Sandusky gets a big thumbs-up with our family! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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15  Thank 1142011i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2006

My family and I have stayed at Kalarahi many times since it opened. We love it! I can't believe it has received any bad reviews! The staff have been excellent on every visit. They definitely treat repeat guests well too! The rooms are a good size and always clean. Beds are comfortable. We always feel like we're somewhere other than Ohio when we stay there. Love, Love, Love it!

  • Stayed: June 2006
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10  Thank sunnnychick
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

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: £109 - £306 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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