Drakensberg Sun Resort’s legacy of excellence
Tsogo Sun’s Drakensberg Sun Resort’s legacy of excellence has continued unabated for decades and it remains high on the preferred destination list for many family or twosome getaways, whether for action, relaxation, or romance, and for corporate retreats and conferences. Last year the resort celebrated its 30th anniversary and this year it achieved a TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award as number four in the Top 10 Hotels for Families in South Africa.
Roger Petyt, GM of Drakensberg Sun, says, ‘We have found that guests need only spend a day or two here soaking up the beauty and magnificence of the mountains and valleys and our excellent hospitality to feel totally rejuvenated – as though they have had a long holiday.’
The resort is situated on an 8.1240-hectare property in the heart of the Central Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal’s picturesque Champagne Valley, within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, about 30km from Winterton, 400km from Johannesburg and 220km from Durban. It has an established reputation as a haven for young and old, adventure-seekers and the more sedentary, outdoor nature lovers and ‘sit by the fire with tea and scones and a good book’ types, and it is also the ideal location from which to explore the scenic wonders of the majestic mountains.
The hotel has 78 rooms that include one suite and six executive rooms, and well-appointed conference rooms with stunning mountain views that can accommodate up to 250 delegates and are popular for corporate conferences and team-building events. Petyt notes that out of school holiday season, the conference centre is busy through the week, and then a ‘metamorphosis takes place’ on the weekend as leisure guests pour in for some well-earned downtime and fresh mountain air. The resort is equipped to cope with all of it.
The food and beverage offering is world-class and includes a sumptuous buffet menu at the Lakeview Restaurant, an a la carte menu at the Lakeview Terrace, a snack menu at the Poolside Terrace, and the Grotto Bar, and an outdoor deck with a view, a favourite meeting spot for conference delegates at the end of the day, and the convivial place to catch a big game on TV. For conferences, a variety of menus are available that can be tailored to suit any dietary requirements.
Activities within the Drakensberg Sun property are numerous and guarantee something for everyone. For children, the kid’s entertainment area, which is scheduled for an upgrade, is well-equipped with games, foosball, table tennis, arts and crafts, and more, with staff in attendance seven days a week to look after the children and ensure their entertainment.
For hikers, several Green Flag Trails have been established on the property, from gentle strolls around the dam to longer more strenuous hikes, as well as many excellent hiking trails in the hills and mountains nearby. For adrenalin-junkies, Canopy Tours has built a zipline through the beautiful Blue Grotto Forest, which is highly popular with the young and young-at-heart. Trout and bass fishing from boats or the shore of the resort dam is very popular.
Other activities and facilities that keep guests entertained throughout the day and well into the evening are the on-site spa, a playground for family games, bowling greens, horse-riding, mountain bike rental, paintball, pitch & putt, and rowing boats and canoes on the resort dam.
Indoor activities also abound – and on chilly days, reading, chess, cards, hot beverages and indulgent snacks, cosy fires, conversation, and many other options, keep everyone happily occupied.
About 130 people are employed at Drakensberg Sun, all focused on delivering the best experiences for every guest, all the time. Petyt says, ‘With our 30th anniversary last year, we also celebrated seven staff members who have been with the hotel since it opened in 1987. They were here when a fire destroyed a portion of the hotel in 1988, and were part of the team that saw the building wholly refurbished within four months. Our people are a great source of pride to us and it’s their willingness and determination to create special memories for our guests every day that make this hotel such a special place.’
Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 13 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles.