Re-imagining your stay
View? Tick. Privacy? Tick. Enchanting treetop destination? Tick.
Teaser: Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate has undergone a multi-million rand makeover and Lowveld Living was invited to check out the cool new space.
The hotel prefers to call it a re-vitalisation rather than a revamp, due to its extensive and expansive rebuilds and additions. And we would have to agree. Located as close to the Paul Kruger Gate as one could be, location is a major drawcard. Traditional, dark-olied wooden walkways welcome you while elevated decks veer off from the open-sided reception area, creating a special treetop ambiance. We were welcomed by charming local dancers and performers, which added a touch of authenticity to this proudly African lodge.
At the entrance, the newly built reception and safari tour desk sit side by side, panelled in gorgeous bronze; they house a team of friendly and helpful staff. A water station offers cool water and iced tea, as well as cold hand towels to cool you off before and after a game drive. The new coffee shop offers an all-day choice of coffee, cakes, muffins, sandwiches, and quiches so that you can grab-and-go on your game drive, or en route to your meeting or conference.
Amongst the many areas that have been done up, 42 new rooms have been built. (38 new larger guestrooms, 3 executive suites and 1 presidential suite). Spacious, modern, fresh and trendy is what comes to mind. The rooms comprise an ensuite bathroom with a shower and bath, a really big and comfortable bed and a sitting area. Furniture is locally made using sustainable wood and the décor is tasteful and cool, featuring various portraits of Paul Kruger himself, alongside African maps and other objet d’art. Each room has its own small yet private patio opening onto lawns or bush for a little respite from the busy resort.
We discovered the newly done Shilovo Bar, lounge and library. Simply put, it is quite sexy and not what one expects from a four-star lodge outside the Kruger. Hanging chairs, oversized seating, beautiful lights, and leather couches provide a very pleasurable space to have an aperitif before supper.
Meals are taken at Kudyela Restaurant or the Lapa Restaurant, a traditional boma, besides an open fire and under the night skies. Feel the sand in your feet while you enjoy an extensive buffet-style dinner. We were so impressed by the food. The cliché of meat and pap is nowhere to be found. Instead, we entered the cold room and indulged in the biggest variety of salad we have ever seen. Accompanied by Carpaccio, chilled calamari rings and various breads, we were set, although we would return to the slick cold room later that evening for a large dollop from the ice-cream bar. Think over 15 types of toppings to choose from. The hot side of the buffet was a smorgasbord of delicious choices and the wine list sublime.
Facilities include the family pool with a bar offering a selection of draft beers. Nearby a large and beautiful wooden veranda, the African Ebony viewing deck, wraps around a horizon pool and overlooks the Sabie River. Chill under a canopy of indigenous trees, sip cocktails, nibble on pizza, have a dip or just soak up the beautiful views. Further along the fabulous elevated wooden walkways, you will find tree houses, which are lookout points and private dining areas. View? Tick. Privacy? Tick. Enchanting treetop destination? Tick.
The kids will be kept happy and busy too. Besides the family pool, there is Ping-Pong, putt-putt golf and tennis available on site. And for some relaxation, a brand new spa is currently underway.
Good stuff to know
Extensive conferencing facilities for up to 255.
Seven self-catering units.
Family rooms available.
Presidential Suite with the option of adjoining Executive Suites.
Self-drive game drives or book Park excursions with a game ranger.
Speciality coffee shop open from 4am until 7pm.
Rooms are available from R3600, rate inclusive of dinner and breakfast. Children under the age of 12, sharing with a parent receive free dinner and breakfast. www.marriott.com.