Montecasino is Gauteng’s most visited leisure destination, attracting more than nine million people a year.
Montecasino was designed to replicate an old-world Tuscan hilltop village – although it’s probably a fair bit bigger. Say what you like about imitations, the complex has amazing décor.
As the name suggests there is a casino area with more than 1 600 slot machines and 65 gaming tables, as well as five-star conferencing and event facilities. The 1 830-seat Teatro at Montecasino is a world-class venue built at a cost of more than R100 million and is the largest theatre in the country. I can assure you it has a sound system second to none. There is also the more intimate Pieter Toerien Theatre.
Moviegoers have 15 screens to choose from in the cinema complex, including the Il Grande Theatre – the largest cinema screen in the southern hemisphere. For the hungry there are 27 restaurants and coffee shops and 10 fast-food outlets. You can also shop till you drop at 32 stores.
There are attractions such as the Magic Company family entertainment centre and the Montecasino Bird Gardens.
Conference and events facilities include La Toscana, Montecasino Conference Centre and the 700m² Montecasino Ballroom, providing a function venue large enough to seat 400 people banquet-style.
Then there’s the huge Montecasino Piazza, complete with its musical fountain. It is about to play host to the SA Tattoo, which has evolved into a sellout international spectacle.
There are three hotels at Montecasino and all offer fantastic show-and-stay packages, designed for those attending the spectacular productions in the Teatro or the Piazza outdoor events area.
Each package includes a two-course dinner in the hotel restaurant, theatre/show tickets followed by a stay-over and full English breakfast for two.
The funky and trendy Sunsquare Montecasino – as its name suggests – leads on to the piazza. There is also the modern and contemporary Venetian-styled Southern Sun Montecasino and the premium, luxurious, Tuscan-style Palazzo Montecasino. This is a most elegant hotel-cum-palace.
The walls are massive and even if Joburg collapsed down a mine shaft, I imagine the Palazzo would remain intact. Those walls are a beautiful light honey colour, adorned with decorative Italianate art and paint effects. The rooms are sumptuous, with all the bells and whistles you could wish for, including wi-fi.
Fittings are elegant and of superior quality. I particularly liked the concealed tea and coffee station, with its own coffee machine, which glides out from the TV cabinet.
It’s tempting to while away the hours on the veranda, gazing over the lovely gardens and water features. However Montecasino is a 24/7 “world at play”, with buskers and entertainment around every corner. There is a real buzz and vibrancy – all protected from the elements under an enclosed arching evening sky.