With the drive back to Johannesburg, we were able to be driven directly to the hotel we were staying at. For me, that would be to the final hotel of this trip, the Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel. The hotel is actually located inside of the theme park, which is different than most hotels associated with theme parks which tend to be on the outside of the park. This would serve to be a very interesting feature as we’ll see when getting a bit more in depth about the theme park itself.
The lobby of the hotel is modeled after an 1800’s bank to go along with the fact that the park sits on a former gold mine, while the rest of the hotel’s buildings are modeled to resemble the style of houses that were built in that era. The room itself was quite spacious, and the bed very comfortable.
One of the perks to staying on site at the Gold Reef City Theme Park hotel is that you receive free admission to the theme park! This was a surprise as I would have thought they would do more like other parks and offer a discounted rate, but it turns out it is included. All you have to do is go to the front desk each day before you start riding to get the wristband they give to all visitors. While I did get a chance to visit the park for a bit after settling into the room, I only managed one ride before the rest of the park closed, so I’ll save that for an update dedicated to the park itself.
Since the theme park was closed for the day, I decided to head to the casino hotel, which was the same hotel that was a stop for the City Sightseeing Tour route. Gold Reef City and it’s hotels are part of the same Tsogo Sun company that operated the Southern Star Hotel from the beginning of the trip, as well as the Suncoast Hotel and Casino visited back in Durban. Much like Suncoast, this hotel has a variety of different attractions and activities to enjoy inside, with the main one being the casino. While I normally don’t gamble a whole lot, since I had some spare cash left before heading home, I decided to give the roulette wheel a try, and turned R200 into R410! So it appeared that I wasn’t using that cash right away.
Along with the casino, the hotel also features a bowling alley, an arcade and a food court. These activities provide the kids and the adults who don’t gamble with something to do while at the resort as well.
I decided that tonight would be a good night to enjoy a movie since the hotel also had a movie theater. What set this one part from others was that it had a railroad station theme, with each theater in it being a “platform” and there was a tickerboard to present the showtimes like a rail station would display departures.
For this evening, I decided to see Ready Player One, and something else that was incredible to see here when compared to the American movie going experience, the prices are really cheap, not just for the concessions but for the ticket to the movie as well. At R40, the Jumbo Popcorn Tub was somewhere between $3-4 USD after the conversion. Even the ticket for the movie was surprisingly cheap, as it was R35, or just over $3 for the 3D version, which is usually between $12-20 back in the states. Granted, I did have to pay an extra R10 for the glasses, but even still, at around $4 for a 3D movie, I really can’t complain.
After the movie was done, I made my way park to the hotel taking a walk around the perimeter of the park to get back to the gate that gave access to the Theme Park Hotel. It was one thing to be on the outside of a closed theme park, as I have done so a few times when departing from a park at the end of the day, or when leaving with a group from Exclusive Ride Time during some past Theme Park Review Tours, or when leaving from work at Cedar Point and Disney World during my time working in the parks. This, however, was a first being inside of a closed theme park as a regular guest, and no an employee or part of a special tour/event.
Another great inclusion for staying at the Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel, breakfast. It was a buffet style, much like the Blue Waters hotel in Durban, served in one of the theme park restaurants near the buildings with the rooms. It was an excellent start to the last two mornings of my South Africa trip.
While a large amount of time was spent in the theme park, during the second day at the hotel, I made my way across the street to the Apartheid Museum, and later over to the Rand Show, and we’ll take a look at both of those next.
See more of 2018 South Africa Trip:
1: Flight to Atlanta & Delta Flight Museum / 2: Arrival to South Africa / 3: First Day in Durban /
4: Second Day in Durban / 5: Last Day in Durban / 6: V&A Waterfront / 7: Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours /
8: Table Mountain / 9: Ratanga Junction / 10: Rugby at Newlands Rugby Stadium / 11: Cape Town Walking Tours /
12: Cape of Good Hope / 13: Boulders Beach Penguins / 14: The Last of Cape Town / 15: Cape Town Water Shortage /
16: Sightseeing Around Johannesburg / 17: More Johannesburg Sightseeing / 18: Botswana Day Trip /
19: Kruger National Park, Day 1 / 20: Kruger National Park, Day 2 / 21: Kruger National Park, Day 3 /
22: Gold Reef City Resort & Amenities / 23: Apartheid Museum & Rand Show / 24: Gold Reef City Theme Park /
25: The Return Home