FIRST LOOK: Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate's new R100m refurbishment
A group of media were recently invited to the recently revamped Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate, which underwent an upgrade of R100-million.
I have driven to Mpumalanga on several occasions but this was the first time I flew into Skukuza Airport. It really does make a huge difference. You arrive fresh and the flight is 40-minutes long.
Upon arrival, we enjoyed a refreshing drink before jumping into the game drive vehicles escorting us to Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate, which is located on the banks of Sabie River. It was a 30-minute drive. The balmy weather made it a picturesque trip.
We got a traditional South African welcome, with dancers moving to the beat of the drum while another group sang, at the entrance of the hotel before being escorted to our newly-built safari-chic luxury rooms. Each room boasts the artwork and photos of local artists. There is a nice relaxing area with a couch and a little table, overlooking an inviting private porch area.
The bathroom is spacious, too.
Overall, it has a modern feel with homegrown furnishings.
After a quick freshen up in the room, the media made their way to the presidential suite for a quick speech followed by a tour of the family-friendly property.
As anticipated, jaws-dropped and selfies became the order of the day when everyone arrived at the venue. It was mind-blowing, with its own private pool area. Again, the decor is first-rate. It exudes African luxurious comfort.
Francois Meyer, General Manager of Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate, revealed: “During the rebuild, all labour was sourced locally. At times we had up to 120 local bricklayers, plumbers, painters and other craftsmen on site.”
Divided into different groups, the tour kicked off with everyone snaking their way along beautiful wooden walkways, supported by lush greenery wonderfully complementing the wilderness ambience.
One of my favourite spots is the new pool deck. It is a beautifully built-up area where you can chill with friends and family, order a drink or simply take a dip in the inviting pool. And the views of the Kruger National Park, where you can also spot wildlife around, is priceless.
Adjacent to the pool deck, on the bottom level, is a large pool area, which has another bar section.
I’ve been to a few boma areas while on a safari trip, but this one upscaled in a major way. Aside from the vast seating area, there is a cold room, where all the salads, starters, dips, cold cuts and desserts are laid out. It has such an inviting appearance as well - it’s like walking into your own personal pantry (if you lived in a Kardashian-esque mansion).
There are also private dining sections and conference areas with great panoramic views. Did I mention, they have a spot where you can tie the knot and it’s picture-perfect.
Gym fanatics can get their daily exercise while the little ones will love the recreational area, where they have plenty of games to keep them occupied.
Another new addition to the hotel is the coffee show, where you can enjoy a selection of drinks and beverage of choice.
Game drives can be tapered to your needs. The safari office is able to schedule self-driving outings or book an all-day, afternoon or night game drive.
Another interesting fact is that only a small portion of the property is developed. The rest is dedicated to the conservation and providing a habitat for indigenous fauna and flora.
“Reducing the property’s carbon footprint is also part of their conservation efforts,” Meyer added. “Over the last five years, we implemented several energy-saving initiatives which have amounted to a 22% saving in electricity. This effort to reduce our footprint is apparent throughout our new expansion, with technology introduced to continue improving our energy and water efficiency. In addition, all wet waste is recycled, and all grey water is cleaned and returned to the river.”
Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate has 145 rooms, varying between standard to large guest rooms, and, from executive to presidential suites. All rooms have an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, free wi-fi and in-room dining.
There are plans to open a sensational African-inspired spa overlooking the Sabie River.
“We are extremely excited to bring this unique offering to our guests. Many guests have spent family holidays at this incredible location and can now look forward to making new memories, bolstered by our new and improved facilities and services,” added Volker Heiden, Area Vice President, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa.
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.