Hotel from hell, writes Amanda Ngudle

Some things were not meant to be, I silently grumbled as we drove home from Morula Sun. The drive came a day earlier, thanks to my shocking experience at the hotel in Mabopane, north of Pretoria.

Some things were not meant to be, I silently grumbled as we drove home from Morula Sun. The drive came a day earlier, thanks to my shocking experience at the hotel in Mabopane, north of Pretoria.

Firstly, our booking almost had someone fired. The woman behind the desk insisted I did a no-show after my booking had been confirmed. On the second attempt, it was no better. I drove to the hotel without a confirmation and that was a mistake.

The porter, who was supposed to help us to the reception area, looked at us with eyes that hoped we would disappear.

So we dragged the kids and the luggage there ourselves.

"I don't have a booking for you," said the receptionist who refused to recheck. Her colleague, Gift, insisted I had booked and for that she almost got a slap in her face from her argumentative colleague.

Finally we were given a room. But when we got to the room, we were greeted by another shock. The room looked as if someone hadn't finished cleaning it. A few minutes later, the cleaning lady arrived to put covers on our bare pillows. By this time, I thought someone was playing a joke on us.

By dinner time the kids had been booked at Kamp Kwena. They later reported that they wished they lived there forever. And for just R10 an hour, we weren't complaining.

But dining at the Calabash, the Razoos or The Lakeside tavern was out of the question because my cousin's baby screamed blue murder. Room service was a disaster. I had never in my life eaten a hot green salad. The food had been warmed up with the salad already on the plate. We tipped the waitress anyway because we couldn't shoot the messenger.

The bill for the four meals and drinks came to a mere R224, which was very nice indeed.

But night time was like Saddam Hussein's last hideaway. The people in the next room thought they were in a shebeen. The thin walls made us lose our marbles - and our sleep.

At midnight, I found myself singing: We gotta get out of this place, if it's the last thing we ever do.

I was relieved when morning finally came. The kids wanted to visit Magic Company that boasted numerous techno games. They had a blast and again, I was impressed with the prices. They tested and retested all the games for under R50 and by the time we left, we adults were the only ones with a bitter taste in our mouths.

We were accompanied by a madam who had struck it rich, having "only spent R300 and won R15000".

Breakfast at KFC had never tasted so good that Saturday morning.

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