HOTEL REVIEW | Riverside Sun, Gauteng
Nestled on the banks of the Vaal River, this peaceful hotel boasts more than enough activities to keep you happily occupied during a weekend break, writes Samantha Smith
Nestled on the banks of the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark, the Riverside Sun is an easy hour's drive from Joburg, and just a 30-minute drive to the quaint village of Parys. The river divides Gauteng and the Free State and the hotel has lush gardens sloping down to the water's edge. Be sure to book a front-facing room so you get those views of the garden, pool and river.
The Riverside is a perfect weekend getaway for couples and families. While the hotel building is, from the parking lot, an architecturally bland block of concrete, the manicured gardens and river views on the other side more than make up for it. Trees, outdoor tables and a sparkling pool give the grounds a peaceful, secluded feel.
Rooms are not huge (we stayed in a family room with two double beds) but they are polished and updated.
The balcony off the spacious lobby is a great spot for drinks. Large conferencing facilities also make this an ideal corporate getaway.
The staff are attentive and friendly and clearly take pride in their work.
HOW'S THE GRUB?
We were part of a large media contingent and were treated to the conference facility dinner dining, which was top notch. A generous buffet of steaks, lamb chops, seafood, pasta and vegetables - all served piping hot - was followed by a yummy dessert table.
For those not visiting for business, the hotel has a cosy wine cellar, which is mostly used for small, intimate events, as well as a general restaurant, where we had an awesome morning buffet with everything you could hope for. There is also a Sunday lunch carvery.
There is enough here to keep you occupied for a long weekend without having to leave the premises. Top of the list are the boat rides. A gentle sunset cruise past the multimillionaire riverbank homes is a great way to end the day, and the kids will love the speed boats and jet-skis, which can be hired by the hour.
There is also a gym, a giant chess board and of course that sparkling pool. A golf course is nearby.
Other good places to visit are the Vredefort Crater - one of the oldest known meteor impact sites in the world - the Sylviavale Heritage Museum, and the Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct.
BEST TIME TO GO
Due to the river frontage and pool, summer is a great time to visit. But competitive winter rates - along with a cosy fireplace in the lobby lounge - make this a good year-round destination.
The hotel is currently offering a winter weekend special, valid May 1 - August 31 2019. Rewards members (it's free to sign up) pay from R1,195 per room with breakfast for two adults. Kids under 18 stay free.
• Smith was a guest of Tsogo Sun Riverside Sun.