Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate Review

This Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate hotel review explores the property after it has recently undergone a R100 million refurbishment and added 44 new rooms to the property, 3 executive suites and a presidential suite. The existing rooms at the Marriot Kruger Gate have got a much needed soft makeover. The hotel also has a nice coffee bar in the reception area that is a new addition and the viewing decks looking over the Sabi river towards the Kruger National Park have been upgraded.

Where Is The Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate?

On the Sabi River at the Paul Kruger Gate on the R536 towards Kruger National Park. Most people would reach the hotel via the town of Hazyview and follow the R536 to the hotel. The R536 is not in great condition and I would NOT drive this road at night. Beware of animals, pedestrians, taxi’s and traffic police. We saw over 6 different traffic police stops on this road so stick to the speed limit at all times. The entrance to the hotel is very clearly signposted.

Check In At The Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate

Arriving at the hotel, the friendly security staff were waiting to take our temperatures in keeping with COVID-19 regulations and directed us to the free parking area. The hotel is set up in a lodge style with wooden walkways connecting the lobby area to the rooms and dining areas. The 145 rooms are spread throughout the property and some are quite a distance from reception. The check in was fast and efficient and the porters helped take the bags to the room.

After quite a walk to the room, I had a very bad sprained ankle so every step counted along the way, I could not wait to put my aching ankle up and relax. But alas its was not to be, the room key did not work. Luckily the porter went back to get a new key cut and it was time to relax. Well actually no, not yet. Wrong room type and a nice letter addressed to someone else whose room I was now in. This was not a very good start to the Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate at all. The plus was I was able to photograph the room before contacting reception about the room.

Reception staff allocated the correct room type and off I hobbled to the correct room type to put my aching ankle up. This room was one of the newly build rooms. The design of this was modern with an African safari feel to it and very different from the original rooms that the hotel offers. The room had a nice warm feel to it and boasted a king size bed with a curtain dividing the lounge area from the sleeping area. The lounge or seating area offered very comfortable leather seats perfect for relaxing in after a full day of safari in the Kruger National Park.

If you are making a booking at this hotel, make sure that you get the correct room type as the rooms are very different in design and look. The actual size of the old and new rooms are pretty much the same but the design and feel of the rooms are vastly different. Note that the new rooms offer no mobility accessible rooms.

Room Amenities At Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate

  • King Bed
  • Complimentary water in room
  • Tea and Coffee maker
  • Free WiFi in room
  • Desk with plenty of plug points
  • Fridge
  • Safe
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hair dryer
  • TV with satellite channels
  • Walk in shower and bath

Exploring The Hotel Grounds

The Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate offers guests two swimming pools. The pools are not heated as is the norm and when temperatures rise, colder is better! My favourite swimming pool, the infinity swimming pool over looking the Sabi river and into the Kruger National Park. It is possible to swim and watch big game along the Sabi river at the same time.

If swimming is not your thing, the area offers plenty of comfortable seating and a bar area that you can sit back and relax and enjoy 20 gin and tonics while watching the sunset over the Kruger National Park. The lookout deck is also great for looking up at the African night sky and trying to spot nocturnal animals drinking at the Sabi river.

The hotel also offers a fitness centre and a spa which is perfect for a massage or facial after long hot days in the Kruger National Park. 

Outdoor Boma Dinner

You might be wondering what a boma dinner is? Traditionally, a boma is an enclosure were cattle or wild animals are kept in. In most African safari camps, a boma is an enclosure where guests can relax outside under the African sky at night and enjoy candle lit dinners and open fire pits to add ambiance to the whole dining experience. 

Walking into dinner that night, body temperatures are taking in keeping with COVID-19 requirements and social distancing is practiced. Masks are required when you are not eating and drinking at your table. The dinner is served buffet style and plastic gloves are supposed to be used when dishing up. Some people used them and others ignored them and the staff did not indicate if they were required or not. 

Dinner was good with a wide variety of starters including some healthy salad options that I stayed far away from, the mains offered a wide variety of choices with vegetarian options available and for dessert, a smorgasbord of sugar to drive anyone into sugar overload. Lots of chocolate, ice cream, baked goods and a variety of cheeses are all on offer for your desert.

Breakfast At Kudyela Restaurant

I woke up looking forward to a hearty breakfast before heading out for a day in the Kruger National Park exploring the wonders of nature. Breakfast I am told is the most important meal of the day, but the staff at breakfast were pretty disinterested in us on arrival and looked like they would have rather been at home in bed than at work.

The buffet style breakfast was very average and you could get eggs made to order. I ordered a omelette but sadly my order was given to a hungry Russian gentlemen and I am still patiently waiting for my order. The whole breakfast experience was very underwhelming and was not something I enjoyed or would recommend.

If breakfast is not included in your package I would suggest breakfast at the Cattle Barron at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park over breakfast at the Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate. Check out was quick and easy and it was a quick 2 minute drive to the Kruger Gate to explore the Kruger National Park. My photography gallery gives you an idea of what you can exploring the the Kruger National park and check out my guide to safari photography here.

My Thoughts On The Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

I left the hotel with mixed feelings as there had been a number of misses with service and the hotel was not even half full and looked quite empty. So there was no real excuse for poor service and wrong room allocations. If you are looking for great personal service and good food then you unfortunately wont find it at the Protea Hotel by Marriot Kruger Gate.

I think if you are looking for a convenient location just outside the Kruger National Park without spending a fortune staying at a 5 star lodge in the Sabi Sands Reserve then this could be an option. The new rooms at the hotel do have a nice safari feel to them with modern decor and design. These are the rooms that I would book. This hotel could be really great but the service offered lets it down terribly.

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