Little piece of heaven

I'm in love with a small town called Bethlehem.

I'm in love with a small town called Bethlehem.

It's not the dry open land or best piece of biltong I've ever tasted that have my heart pounding for this little town in the Free State - it's a little piece of heaven called Frontier Inn and Casino.

At first I was sceptical about taking the three-hour drive from Johannesburg, I mean, who wants to go to "the middle of nowhere" in the middle of winter?

I wasn't about to suffer alone so I took my kicking and screaming fiancée along.

We arrived at our destination on a Saturday afternoon. From the outside the building looked pretty small to accommodate a high-class casino and three-star hotel.

The warm welcome we received at the front desk erased all fears of a dull weekend, thanks to the beautiful women who greeted us with smiles and led us to our room.

Had someone told me that was the best room they had, I would easily have believed them. The decor is ethnic yet stylish.

I didn't know maroon and dark green could blend so well. Various accessories, from Gypsy cushions to a granny couch, side lamps covered in cloth and several wood-framed mirrors, offer a combination of African and Indian style.

The wooden features take up much of the space in the room but, as if intended, create that warm and homely feeling.

The hotel has 21 rooms, 12 superior rooms, 8 classic rooms and one special assistance room.

All rooms have a mini bar fridge, pay TV, and coffee and tea stations. Meals are served at a Spur inside the premises.

Broke as I was, I could not go to bed without trying my luck with the machines in the casino, which by 8pm was packed to capacity.

The entertainment centre is on the other side of the building and has a different entrance from the hotel.

It's not just the gambling that takes place on that side. One has the option of playing, winning and spending your winnings at Munchies Fast Food, Sweets from Heaven and a classy nightclub called Coachman's Saloon.

The club is open seven days a week and has karaoke evenings, sporting events, ladies' nights, stand-up comedy, music events and a lot more.

The casino has 120 slot machines that require from one cent up to R25 a game.

For the more advanced gamblers there are six American roulette tables, five blackjack tables and one punto blanco table and salon privé for discerning players.

All in all, Bethlehem is a beautiful place, except for the cold weather.