Ready for your next holiday? This is what you can expect as Sun City re-opens
There are some things I didn’t miss during lockdown. People’s lack of manners and driving skills on the road are two such things, especially if you’re making your way somewhere on a Friday afternoon.
Then again, I’ve missed the excitement that comes with packing your bags, filling up the car, and hitting the road full of anticipation of what the weekend holds.
This past weekend I had a taste of that again as I made my way to Sun City to spend one night in The Palace ahead of the holiday resort’s grand opening on 2 September after almost six months of being completely shut down.
Despite the familiarity of a nostalgic weekend escape, it comes as no surprise that your experience will be very different if you decide to head to the North West for some of the spring fun Sun City promises to provide after months spent cooped up indoors.
For one, masks, sanitiser, and screening processes are the order of the day. Upon entry into the resort you will be asked to fill out a medical-screening questionnaire. Masks need to be worn in all public spaces, except when eating or drinking.
Your temperature will be taken at entrances — in some instances using cool new tech screens that will record your temperature and alert them if you’re not wearing your mask — and you’ll be required to sanitise your hands regularly.
As part of its phased reopening, only The Palace, Vacation Club, and Soho hotel will be opening. The Valley of the Waves, Sun Central and all other activities on the resort remain closed apart from the casino at Soho, the golf courses, and the Gary Player Health Spa.
No day visitors will be allowed yet and only MVG cardholders will be allowed onto casino floors (if you’re a resident in the resort and aren’t a cardholder you will be allowed to apply for one).
To ensure guests’ safety on the casino floor, visors have been put in place across the casino floor and social-distancing protocols will be implemented, meaning the capacity on both the tables and slot machines has been halved.
Swimming pools at the respective accommodations will be open but only 50 people will be allowed into a swimming pool at any given time. Bars will be open and restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol but the 10pm curfew on serving alcohol applies across the resort (and they are very strict in adhering to these regulations).
All the members of staff are excited about being able to return to work after months spent at home or in a largely deserted resort. Despite sporting their masks, you can feel their smiles as they greet you.
Lwazi Mswelanto, the resort’s new safety, health and environmental sustainability manager, says they’ve been hard at work training staff to adhere to health and safety protocols.
All staff members are required to wear both a face mask and a visor and strict no-touch protocols apply to meals and drinks delivered from the kitchen or the bar to your table.
Perhaps the most obvious measure that’s been put in place is that every imaginable item in the hotel has been individually covered in plastic — from the wine glasses, coffee pods, tea cups and toiletry bottles in your room to cutlery on the tables and individually packed portions at the buffet.
Some items such as magazines have been removed from the rooms and after guests check out, each room is fogged, cleaned, and sanitised. After that, he door to each hotel room is sealed and only opened again by the next guests.
The level of sanitation and safety protocols seem, in one way overwhelming but in another sense, at the risk of sounding clichéd, also feel like the new normal.
If anything, it feels good to be reminded that massages are still relaxing, a comfortable hotel bed still promises a good night’s rest, a meal can still be enjoyed in a restaurant, and an escape from reality can still be exciting. There are many things Covid-19 has changed but the thrill from a weekend getaway, I feel, is not one of them.
- Sun City Resorts opened to the public on 2 September. Rates in the Soho start from R 2 746 and R 3 887 in The Palace, including breakfast. Contact the resort to enquire about a stay in the Vacation Club. Visit suninternational.com/mysun/booking to make a booking or request a call back.