It wasn’t long ago that Tsogo Sun’s hotel complex at Sabi River Sun underwent top-to-toe refurbishment. The result: the place looks better than ever. To complete the effect, the resort’s attention has shifted more recently to other areas in need of fix-up and a fresh touch – the clubhouse and bar overlooking Sabi’s renowned fairways, along with the hotel swimming pool and the main entrance gate.
“This an old, well-loved resort,” said the general manager, Wayne Wilson, “and the clubhouse had just reached its time to be refurbished. We started there, but also looked at other things that were ready for an upgrade.” As part of the clean-sweep, the clubhouse, bar and golf shop have been redesigned and rebuilt. Also, the swimming pool has been doubled in size, and the entrance gate moved deeper into the resort grounds. The refurbishments began in May and are due to be completed in September.
Wayne said they stemmed from a practical need to improve the facilities, and the focus has been as much on functionality as on style.
“We have timeshare owners who have been coming here for decades. They’re looking for a refreshed look and feel, and the clubhouse is definitely going to be a nice, new building. At the same time, it’s important for them that we don’t over-modernise things but retain the traditional Sabi River feeling and bushveld atmosphere.
“We’ve had very positive feedback from the owners. They can see the refurbishments aren’t over-the-top or unnecessary but practical stuff that needs to be done, and is being done in a way fits in perfectly with the property. Overall, they’re forever delighted when they come back every year and see all these sorts of changes. They get a real sense of comfort that their levies are being put to good use and that their money is being reinvested in the resort in ways that let them physically see the improvements.”
Wayne provided a walk-through of the changes and many value-adds owners can look forward to.
Golf clubhouse, bar and golf shop
“We’re giving the clubhouse a fresh look and feel as well as making various functional changes,” he said. “The new building is also designed to have the same colours, roofing, railings, and so on as the chalets, so that everything in the resort can fit together harmoniously.”
The refurbishment includes the following:
- Ablutions: The major structural change is the addition of a larger number of showers, this in order to accommodate more guests, particularly on golf days and at other special events.
- Locker-room: “The new clubhouse has larger locker-room facilities. Timeshare owners can store golf clubs there for the week instead of having to carry them backwards and forwards from the chalets anymore.”
- Bar: “We knocked down the bar, which was an old rondavel, and are rebuilding a new one on the same footprint. It’s getting a cleaner, lighter, more contemporary look and feel, and the patio viewing area is being enlarged, offering a lovely view of the first fairway.”
- Satellite kitchen: “Another change is that we are putting in a satellite kitchen, so that food and beverages can be served directly from the golf bar; in the past this used to come from the main hotel. After the first nine holes, you want to stop for a small bite and drink. You need to keep going – so it’s important this a very quick experience! With the satellite kitchen, we’re introducing a grab-and-go concept, which works well at other clubs. You grab a panini, say, and a fruit drink, and off you go.”
- Golf shop: “The existing golf shop, located at the main parking area, will move to its new location at the upgraded golf bar … It will be right where the action is, so you’ll be able to buy your golfing necessities as well as a bite to eat and something to drink all in the same area.”
- Golf course bridges: “The main hippo pool pedestrian bridge and the wooden bridge at the 14th hole have been redesigned and are being rebuilt. The end-result will be sturdier bridges that complement the aesthetics of the surrounding landscape.”
Hotel swimming pool
The hotel swimming pool has been made bigger – it is, effectively, double the original size. Additional deck space has been installed around the new pool area.
Main entrance gate
“The current main gate has always been a little too close to the main road, with the result that on busy days the cars start backing up onto it. Basically, we’re now just moving the main gate further in from the main road.
“We’re also further upgrading our security by introducing biometric sensors at the boom gates. You’ll be fingerprinted on check-in, and then afterwards you can get in and out of the resort by using your fingerprint.”