The sheer audacity of developing a 5-star hotel in a dusty stretch of bush in the North West Province caught the public imagination in 1992, and 30 years on The Palace of the Lost City remains the stuff of legends.
- The hotel came complete with the fable of an African kingdom lost in the mists of time.
- Over the past 30 years, The Palace has accommodated the rich and the famous, royalty, rock stars, and ordinary South Africans.
- The Palace of the Lost City continues to be a symbol of luxury and grandeur, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe.
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When French composer and performer Jean Michel Jarre lit up the sky of the North West at the inaugural celebrations of the Palace of the Lost City back in December 1992, a hospitality legend was born.
The opening of The Palace was a glittering affair that was attended by many celebrities who were big names at the time including Bo Derrick, Jean Michel Jarre who performed that night, Jerry Hall and Joan Collins, Hugh Masekela and Johnny Clegg and Savuka. But it is equally important to note that many of these international stars returned multiple times and some, like Witney Houston, Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown, came incognito to simply holiday at The Palace.
// General Manager: Sun City Resort, Brett Hoppé
There are few places in the world that can boast a historic list of guests quite like the Palace of the Lost City, including Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh Bachchan, Anna Kournikova, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Black Eye Peas, Bryan Adams, Luciano Pavarotti, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey, Nina Simone, Nelson Mandela, Morgan Freeman, David Copperfield, Cindy Crawford, and Forest Whitaker, just to name a few.
No detail was spared to stress that it was, indeed, a place of myth and wonder. From the moment The Palace flung its impressive 8m tall doors open to reveal its bold, glamorous interiors, visitors have been awed by the hotel’s splendour. Each of the 326 luxurious rooms and suites offers spectacular views over water and jungle. For a bird’s eye view of the entire area, guests can visit the King’s Tower, which, at almost 70m, is the tallest of the 10 towers at The Palace.
The hotel’s architecture and décor weave a rich and colorful tale of Africa’s creativity, its textures, intricate designs, patterns, wildlife, and the talent of its craftsmen and women. The King’s Suite alone contains 800 custom-crafted items, including fabrics and carpeting.
The evocative African landscape painted on the underside of a dome ceiling at the entrance took nine artists nearly 5’000 hours to complete, while hand-painted murals cover an area of 3’400 square meters. The tapestries in the Royal Entrance Chamber behind the concierge and the reception desk took two full years to weave. In the Crystal Court, a massive rock crystal chandelier that is suspended 4.2 meters above the ground and spans five meters in diameter overlooks a Bösendorfer piano once played by Liberace and Elton John.
In addition to an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an intricate mosaic ‘sun’ design, a trip down a lush tree-lined stairway leads visitors to the Royal Baths, Adults-Only Pool and Amphitheater overlooking the Lost City’s popular Valley of Waves. Well over 300 famous performers and heads of state have stayed at the hotel, whilst Sun City Resort has played host to the biggest events in the world, from international musical performances and Hollywood movie productions to the glittering Miss World pageant, as well as spectacular conferences.
The iconic hotel, with its trademark minarets, appeals to guests across different age groups, as there is something for everyone, from small children and young couples to grandparents, to see and do at The Palace. With its rich history, exquisite architecture, and world-class amenities, The Palace of the Lost City remains an unforgettable destination for those seeking an extraordinary experience. As the years go by, The Palace will undoubtedly continue to add to its storied list of illustrious guests and enchant visitors with its magical ambiance.
Brett adds that although it would be difficult to improve on the original structure, rooms have undergone a refurbishment to bring them up to date, and the hotel can finally boast of having a luxurious spa and salon too.
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