The Protea Hotel (by Marriott) Ranch Resort
25km south of Polokwane on the N1 R101, Farm Hollands Drift
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After driving for about two and a half hours from Johannesburg, you find yourself at the The Protea Hotel (by Marriott) Ranch Resort just 25km south of Polokwane. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking you are at a five-star establishment.
Even more so after experiencing the warm reception and treatment from the staff, as well as sampling most if not all that this four-star establishment has to offer.
It is quite difficult to please everybody all the time, however, this resort’s management has gone out of its way to try to make all guests, with their different tastes, feel at home and welcome.
Easily accessible from the N1 highway and the R101 main road, The Ranch is built on more than 1 000 hectares of pristine Limpopo bushveld where individuals, families or groups of visitors can book into the hotel that boasts 150 rooms. These include 20 two-bedroom self-catering units that face the golf course.
Adjacent to the hotel and conference centre, there is a game reserve where one can view 25 species of antelope, including the rare and endangered sable antelope, hyenas, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, impala, nyala, buffalo and lions that are kept in an enclosed sanctuary.
For birdwatchers, there are more than 200 species of birds that are complemented by the Kolobe Tented Bush Camp. It includes team-building facilities and tented accommodation ideal for groups and nature lovers. You can even throw a gig right deep inside the bush at the Bushwillow Venue. It boasts a stage and can accommodate up to 500 revellers, complete with a stage and a deck facing the lion enclosure.
In a nutshell, outdoor lovers can enjoy activities such as game drives, golf, horseback safaris, walking and cycling trails, spectacular game viewing and birding.
The self-catering units and the golf course overlook the Waterberg Mountains where magnificent African sunsets can be experienced.
For those who love their water – like one gentleman we saw taking a plunge in freezing conditions on the Sunday morning we were there – there are four swimming pools (two of them heated and another with a Jacuzzi), a poolside lapa and bar where parties and braais can be hosted.
There is a also safe kids’ area for the little ones to play in.
There are two restaurants on the premises, the Old Joe’s Bar Lounge where you can nibble on snacks and light meals while having drinks, and the Dazzles Restaurant, which serves some great meals.
The food in the restaurants is to die for and we were treated to a feast of a lamb neck prepared by Chef William as we watched.
For those who love being indoors and might be there just to rest or for peace and tranquillity, you will be spoilt for choice in the Presidential Suite. It boasts two bedrooms, a king-size bed in the main bedroom, a private garden, balcony and an extra-length bed that is available on request.
Next to it is an executive suite that also boasts two bedrooms, a king-size bed and a garden view. An extra-length bed is also available for this suite on request.
Other rooms consist of a variety of cottage-style-inspired rooms spread across the country estate. These rooms vary from:
. Guest room with a king-size or two twin/single beds;
. Larger/family room with two double beds; and
. Family room with a two-bedroom suite, a king-size bed in one bedroom, another king-size bed in the second and third bedrooms or twin/single beds.
All the rooms have a garden view and extra length beds are available on request.
Golf units have two-bedroom suites, with a king-size bed in bedrooms one and two and twin/single beds or a sofa bed in the third bedroom.
For conferencing and banqueting, there are 13 multipurpose venues that seat between 20 and 1 200 people.
Between 2005 and 2007 as well as after the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, owners of The Ranch splashed out more than R300 million on expanding the property to include several sports facilities.
As it is now, the place boasts a full-size football pitch, two multipurpose training pitches, a high-performance centre, accommodation and clubhouse facilities that are conveniently located nearby.
The football pitch and training grounds are fully Fifa-accredited.
These are ideal for professional sports teams and sports people looking for perfect high-altitude training facilities.
This is because the venue is situated 1 300m above sea level, with an ideal temperate climate and the 1 000 hectares of nature conservancy creates a perfect environment for a focused training camp away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
A number of professional clubs, including mining mogul Patrice Motsepe’s Mamelodi Sundowns, have used this facility for training camps.
Other sporting facilities include tennis courts.
Oh! And there is a beautiful huge rose garden next to a private chapel where couples can exchange vows as the place is also a wedding venue.
And then after experiencing all this, you can enjoy relaxing massages and facials at the spa situated within the property.
. Mseleku was hosted by The Protea by Marriot Hotels