When was the last time you were amazed?
Now I don’t mean, coin behind the ear ‘wowed’, I mean “Holy Shit Look at that” amazed. I ask, because that’s how the Palace of the Lost City made me feel. Amazing really is the only way I can describe this place.
I remember when The Lost City was first built back in the early 90’s, its completion (only 2 years later) was covered non stop by every media publication and television show at the time! Of course I was only 14, so really it meant nothing more to me than a fun family day out and a new waterpark to get sunburnt at. Now, at the ripe old age of 38 it meant pretty much the same, except this time, I was packing a SPF 30.
Truth be told, we wanted to hate it, Elzaan and I had prepared ourselves for opulence so garish it would cause irreparable damage to our corneas – we packed double sunglasses. We laughed and joked about it on the short 2 hour drive from Johannesburg right up until we turned the corner and it lay before us. “Okay shit, that’s impressive” were honestly the first words out of my mouth, I definitely wasn’t 14 anymore.
The Lost city is supposedly inspired by the myth of a lost African Kingdom with the Palace fabled to be the royal residence of its ancient king. NAILED IT!!!!
From the moment you step out the car you can not help but be blown away by the sheer magnitude of the Palace. From the 3 storey front doors that dwarf your arrival to the 25m high ceiling dome above the royal entrance chamber no detail is spared and you CAN NOT help, but be transported back to this mythical Kingdom. Now, I know that the term “no detail was spared” is generally thrown round like a hackey sack at Afrika burn, but this is something entirely different. Nearly everything for the palace was custom made and you can see it. Most of the the furniture is hand carved, as are the 8m high doors that greet you, the 50 000 square metres of carpet was custom designed and there are 38 different shades of marble in the lobby’s hand laid mosaic alone.
But, thats just the inside, to build the palace almost 2 million cubic metres of earth was moved (excluding some 300 000 cubic metres of blasted rock) and during the first year of construction an average of 1 million bricks were laid each month by a crew of 200 bricklayers – tallying 30 million bricks in the end! Almost 15 000 custom-made pieces of pre-cast were used on The Palace facades and the result, even 25 years later, are astounding.
Okay, I lost track with the impressiveness of all the details, but I’ve honestly never seen something like it. Okay, moving on.
Check-in was seamless and everyone for the most part is incredibly help full. The rooms are either a little dated or perfectly fitting the theme – it was hard to tell and I couldn’t decide. The bed and bedding was possibly the most luxurious of any hotel we’ve ever stayed in, so much so that on the first night we decided to just order room service and have a bed picnic in our fluffy robes! The room service menu was a little limiting but the Philly cheese steak sandwich that arrived was awesome enough to forget all about that!
The next day we explored the Lost city and beyond, even taking a childhood meander through Sun City to possibly try our hand at a little roulette – COME ON 21!!!!! (it was 15). The highlight of our day was of course the Valley of Waves waterpark and it’s 2 new thrill rides (courtesy of the R1 billion revamp undertaken in 2016) which we basically went on in repeat like two 8 year olds after a bag of sour worms. It was all the fun that 14 year old me remembered.
To bring us back to our 30’s however we retreated to the adults only pool to sip cocktails and get our tan on while we finished reading our books. So adult!
There is one last thing that needs to be mentioned from our 2 night stay at The Palace, and it’s yet another experience that tops our ‘Best of Ever’ list. It is the Royal Breakfast at the Crystal Court. To be fair, its not actually called the Royal breakfast but one thing is certain, it sure is fit for a king. Heyyyyyooo!! : )
The buffet breakfast at the Palace is nothing short of astonishing. I mean where else have you ever started your day with Champagne and Oysters while a live pianist gently tickles the ivories to set the mood? Seriously? Where?
The breakfast options are truly limitless. Fruit, they have all of them. Cheese, they have all of them. Dried fruit, nuts and yogurt, they have all of them. You want an omelette? Okay, what would you like it with? Salmon, chorizo, ham, crispy bacon bits, cheese (please pick one of 20 different kinds). How about a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice? Not in the mood for a traditional breakfast, okay, how about a roast pork or some sushi? Done with breakfast but not quite finished? How about a freshly made waffle? A Pancake topped with literally anything you can think of?
I could go on, but I think you get the point. The breakfast alone is worth the stay.
In the end, I think it’s clear we enjoyed our 2 days at The Palace. Sure, it’s a little worn round the edges, but what mythical lost African kingdom isn’t – If you ask me, it all adds to the charm of this place.
If you’re looking for a little bit of 5 star luxury with a lot of African charm, I highly recommend you make a weekend of it! And if you do, don’t leave breakfast without a waffle!
Okay. Travel safe and stay fancy.