At The Frontier Inn and Casino patrons are treated like royalty, writes Amanda Ngudle

It was obvious that our night at Milano, a restaurant in Bethlehem, would not end amid good conversation and the clinking of glasses because the child minder at Little Rascals creche, being a woman in waiting herself, was too lenient with the kids. She phoned to say that they were missing us.

It was obvious that our night at Milano, a restaurant in Bethlehem, would not end amid good conversation and the clinking of glasses because the child minder at Little Rascals creche, being a woman in waiting herself, was too lenient with the kids. She phoned to say that they were missing us.

Just one look inside that creche and I knew that she cared too much. The kids were behaving like Wild West cowboys and it didn't matter that one was a girl.

By now the casino, which is adjacent to the games room and the creche, was buzzing with components that would make this mini-Las Vegas every movie maker's paradise.

Patrons at the casino, who were dressed to kill, blinked at the gambling machines.

There were the sounds of slot machines, a cry from one loser at one end, the clapping of a winner's hands from the other corner, and so on.

It is the place to be for money makers, and like their venue, they never sleep.

We called it a night and made our way to our luxurious rooms.

I remembered manager Hennie Steenkamp's policy of his company's commitment to giving world-class service despite the resort being a three-star establishment. Patrons are treated like royalty.

The Frontier Inn and Casino is the sister resort of the Peermont Global Limited grand chain outlets such as The Emperors Palace Hotel Casino, the Grand Palm Hotel Casino, Graceland Hotel Casino and the Metcourt Lodge, to mention a few.

The cold morning was spent debating whether to dress for winter, autumn or summer weather.

"The weather here changes to all four seasons in one day," said our tour guide, Thulani, as he drove us to see the popular spots like the Golden Gate national park and residential areas.

We cruised to Qwaqwa and Phutaditjhaba and though the Sothos are no exception to the tilted scales of lifestyles' rules, one thing they all have in common is pride in their homesteads.

It must be the provincial culture because Clarens, though humble in its infrastructure, with dirt roads leading to the main street of the little town, boasts manicured gardens and immaculate shop and home yards.

Here you can shop till you drop. Every item in each shop is the perfect present for the people you love.

And you pay a pittance for stuff you would in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

We spent the afternoon watching animals at the Lionsrock Lodge, just 15 minutes from the hotel. But not before we indulged in another feast. Every meal was a mini-celebration.

But the cold weather that had swiftly turned from autumn to Alaskan conditions made this experience a damp one. So it was with glee that we cut it short and returned to our homely base - the Frontier Inn.

I, being of strong curiosity, headed for my Russian roulette lessons at the Salon Prive tables to discover what the pandemonium is always about.

The staff give free lessons to the ever-enthralled gamblers and we got to place bets with real chips and I felt the excitement of almost winning, which for me was enough because I'm a responsible as well as an unlucky gambler.

After dinner we headed to the Coachman's Bar, where we were entertained by the resident band serenading us with songs from the disco era.

When my head hit the pillow I was out like a light in preparation for the mystifying road that awaited. It seemed that a veil had been removed that made the experience all the more exciting.

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