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Having stayed at and visited some of the best Hotels and restaurants in the world; including the Underwater Suite at the ATLANTIS Resort in Dubai, I could quite confidently say that Sun City was the best hotel/ resort in Southern Africa; especially from the levels of service I have received in 20 years of visiting Sun City.

This fact I was never shy to share with family and friends, telling everyone at every occasion that they should go to Sun City if they wished to have a world-class experience – in terms of service, client relations and facilities.

On Thursday the 18th of February, 2016, myself, my wife and my two children checked into room 121 the Cascades Hotel, expecting to enjoy the world-class services and facilities that we had come to expect from Sun City. Much to our dismay, by Saturday morning, 12:15am, our disappointment had reached the level of disgust, at the total deterioration/ lack of service that we had received at almost every contact point in the entire sun City Complex.

At this stage (12:15 am on Saturday the 20th) I made my way to the reception desk and requested to speak with the manager on duty. This was my attempt to discuss the lack of service we had experienced, in an amicable manner. The manager made himself available and we discussed our gripes accordingly. I began the conversation by saying to the manager that I had not chosen to express our gripes on social media as I felt that my feedback would be better given to the manager, before taking measures that could tarnish the hotel’s reputation. He express gratitude for my decision to discuss the matters with him, before taking any additional measures. This was done because at this stage, I still had a glimmer of hope that the rest of my time there would be more like the world-class service we had come to expect from Sun City. To follow are the key issues that I brought to his attention in this first meeting:
1. Only one member of the Entire Sun City Staff had the decency to greet me, before I greeted them (this person was Andrew the bellboy, who was given a hefty tip and praise for his fantastic manner). Unfortunately, NO OTHER staff member, across the entire Sun City Complex, greeted myself or my wife, before we made the effort to greet them. This lack of anyone greeting me became significant enough that I chose to test the theory through the course of Friday and Saturday and much to my disgust, NOT a single greeting… in fact, most of the time, my greetings were met with arrogance and ignorance; particularly from the life-guards at the Valley of the waves. On numerous occasions I witnessed the lifeguards treating children and in a condescending and arrogant manner – most times barking at people who made simple requests or enquiries with the lifeguards. Interestingly, if anyone was paying any attention to what the lifeguards are doing, one would quickly notice that 30% of the time they are paying attention to guests and their children and the remaining 70% of their attentions are given to jokes and laughs with their fellow lifeguards. Either way, I did not feel that my children were any safer with the current contingent of lifeguards at the valley of the waves. Their misplaced arrogance has now superseded their core purpose, to monitor and care for guests and their children, and their collective well-being. These observations were made over the Friday and Saturday spent at the valley of the waves.
2. On Saturday evening, my wife and I went to the casino/ hotel complex to have dinner and play the slots. After dinner, we made our way to the general gambling area in the centre of the complex. Many of my wife’s family and mine have MVG cards, since the inception of the card platform, but neither my wife or I do. So we decided that we would take the few minutes for the application (or so we thought) and get an MVG card. We went to the MVG registration area where we were not greeted again by a gentleman by the name of ‘Junior’. I ask him if we could load funds onto the MVG card in order to play the slot machines, at which stage he answered NO, and directed me to the cashier to get a card that could be loaded with funds for gambling. Both my wife and I were somewhat confused by his answer, because we have seen our family members using their MVG cards in the machines. None-the-less, I made my way to the cashiers desk, while my wife completed the relevant application form/s at the MVG desk. Upon purchasing the gaming card, I went to the machine to load cash onto the card, in order to play, where I saw another guest loading money onto their MVG card. I asked the guest and they seemed confused as to why I was using the white card, when my wife was in the process of applying for an MVG card. I then made my way back tot eh MVG desk, where I proceeded to ask Junior why he had directed me to the cashier desk, and told us that we could not load cash onto the MVG card, when that is actually incorrect. He proceeded to argue with myself and my wife, stood-up and left the desk… WOW! We were at this stage, gob-smacked by Junior’s level of insolence, incompetence and arrogance. Luckily one of his colleagues took-over the process, but did not greet us and did not utter a single word when we asked about the confusion, she blatantly ignored us… I am sure that your comprehensive casino camera system will verify visually what I have described above
3. When my wife and I arrived back at our room on Friday evening, we were welcomed by a Giant Roach strolling in the room – of which I have a photo for posterity (attached below). This was the final straw that brought me downstairs to have a discussion with the Manager.

The manager expressed his concern about the situation and poor levels of service that we had received and promised that the matter would be taken up with the relevant powers-that-be, first thing Saturday morning – assuring me that I would have feedback within 24 hours (at which stage it was roughly 12:45 am on Saturday morning).

Moving onto Saturday…
We prepared ourselves and our children for a day at the valley of the waves; including changing my 18 month-old daughter’s nappy. The bin was full, so the ‘Poo Nappy’ was placed on the table just above the bin, so that house-keeping would see it and remove it accordingly. I made my way back to the room to fetch a few items and some cash for food and beverages at the valley of the waves (mid-afternoon), after house-keeping had been there; based on the fact that the room had been partially cleaned, bed was made-up and bathroom was tidied-up. However, much to my disgust, the said ‘Poo-Nappy’ had been left in the room, exactly where it was when we left the room earlier that morning.

I then placed the nappy in a Zip-lock bag and placed it with the room-service plate (also not removed from the room) outside of my door, for housekeeping to remove, which eventually they did, thankfully!

I arrived back at the valley of waves and we decided to head back to the room to freshen-up and have lunch at the Cascades pool area. On the way out, my wife went to the ladies rest-rooms to relieve herself, but returned very swiftly as there was no toilet paper in the ladies rest-rooms… This is totally unacceptable, no toilet paper for ladies in the valley of the waves… Is this not advertised as a World-class international resort?

After rushing back to our room so that my wife can use the toilet, and enjoy the luxury of toilet paper, we went down to the Cascades Pool area, to enjoy lunch at the pool-side. We decided to order food from the Bocado Café, but this too seemed to be a challenging task… I beckoned the waiter allocated to our area THREE times over a period of 30 minutes and THREE times he said he was coming… I eventually made my way to inside the restaurant to place my order inside; only too see that I was not the only disgruntled guest who had to come and place the order inside. The same waiter walked past me and when I tried to get his attention, he looked at me and flatly ignored me. We finally managed to place our order with one of the other waitresses on duty – 45 minutes later. The restaurant was total chaos on Saturday, most guests carrying their own orders, food and drink, out of the restaurant back to pool-side, because of the total lack of service/ competence from the staff on duty. The Manager had clearly lost all control, wrong orders being made, and he himself screaming at staff, in front of guests… Truly appalling - no respect for guests at all.

I had still heard NOTHING from anyone regarding my discussion with the manager on Friday night/ Saturday morning, by the time we checked out on Sunday. When I enquired with the lady at the front desk about my meeting with the manager, she had no idea what I was talking about and proceeded to call the manager on duty for Sunday morning (different from the manager I had spoken to). He came to the desk and said that he had heard something about my enquiry but proceeded to pass the buck about what should have happened and who should have done what, and this one didn’t do that and, and, and…

Overall, this was the most disappointing weekend-away that I have ever had the misfortune of sharing with my family. I’m sure I’ll get better service from the likes of a Formula 1 hotel…

Even my visit to the gym was marred by the unfriendly staff and lack of variety in gym equipment, not even mentioning the Empty pool in the middle of the gym, with unsightly wires sticking out.

I don’t believe that the Sun City, the Cascades in particular are 5 Star and I at this stage I am ready to make an enquiry with the tourism grading council about what standards should be expected from and delivered by hotels and establishments that have been given a 5-star rating; because from a mere glance, already the 5 star-rating is questionable just based on the lack of the ‘Full-Housekeeping’ requirement, for a 5-star rating. Things have only deteriorated over the past 18 months, since our last visit – which was truly an unforgettable experience, fuelled by an Amazing Staff contingent, giving amazing service… what happened to that service? What happened to those people? 200 years of greatness, demolished in a matter of months…

I trust that this information clearly outlines our concerns and disappointments. Over and above everything else, this situation has saddened me because it means that even Sun City has fallen prey to the decay in service delivery that has taken hold of South Africa. I have no idea how a nation claims to have world-class offerings and services, when it is blatantly clear across all sectors of service in our beautiful country, that no-one really cares about the level of service given to, or the well-being of, clients, guests and customers. So it is sad but it is clear that the Sun has actually, and finally, set on the City of gold – Once a symbol of World-Class South African Capacity, now a shameful disgrace.

Sun International

Feb 24, 2016

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