Rustenburg is my home. I was born and bred in this small town, which is slowly growing out of being regarded as small, although most people who have never really experienced it see it as rural.
Nonetheless, being born in the popular township of Rustenburg in Tlhabane means I’m in the proximity of the gorgeous Sun City resort; a world within a city. So you probably think I often visit this beauty, but I don’t. Most people from the North West don’t, ignoring the splendour just a quick drive away.
But recently I took a drive from Johannesburg to Sun City, and passing through the semi-rural Phokeng and Ledig I understood the common misconception that exists about Bokone Bophirima (North West) province. I eventually arrived at the gigantic gates of Sun City and suddenly Rustenburg looked different. To be precise, I had forgotten I was still in this town.
Driving through Sun City trying to get to The Palace of the Lost City, a magnificent hotel within a majestic space, I passed some of the resort’s jewels: the Cascades, the Cabanas and the big animal statues that look real at first glance, from crocodiles to the elephants at the first traffic circle. Truly artful, I thought to my amazed self.
Finally, I arrived at The Palace. I wondered if it would indeed resemble a palace and I was pleasantly surprised: It did. I have never been to a “palace” in my entire life, except in my dreams, but this surpassed the image I had in my mind. The Palace of the Lost City is the epitome of what a classic castle looks like.Because I had so much beauty to take in, I stood in front of that enormous building for a few minutes to let it sink in that my dreams were restrictive and my scepticism shameful.
Heading for the reception area, I walked past a fountain comprising life-size statues of sable antelope heads spouting water from their long horns. The ceiling of the reception area had trees and a variety of animals painted on it and cement poles moulded into the shapes of trees and animals.
Walking into the welcoming area, which is a floor above one of the hotel’s restaurants, draws one’s eyes to the floor below, where there was the elephant fountain. It’s true that water has a calming effect and after that two-hour drive these two fountains relaxed me a little before lunch time.
In the left wing of the palace nestled The Plume restaurant, where lunch would be served on that day. I made my way in to the sound of a harp being played exquisitely by a lady in the corner of the room.The tables were impeccably arranged. Tuna tartare on a cucumber mat, red onion, sweet-and-sour leeks and wholegrain mayo was my starter. That was followed by grilled line fish, potato croquette, artichoke and fennel salad and lemongrass crème. Then there was Amarula mousse and vanilla parfait for dessert.
From here, I went for a much needed massage. The tension I have been feeling in my neck throughout the week was about to be erased and that short bus ride to the Gatsby Spa in Sun City allowed for more sightseeing. Gatsby Spa has been awarded the first elite supplier status from TheraVine South Africa, and sells the products it uses in its treatments. After experiencing the royal treatment that makes you relax and release more tension that you thought you had, anyone would be eager to purchase a bottle or two of those body-soothing products.
A back, neck, arms and hands massage is what I asked for. The pressure was just on point, the music was restful, and the space simple yet sophisticated. Now I was yearning for a nap, so I headed for my huge and comfortable room 645 at The Palace of the Lost City. It was actually bigger than my whole flat in Johannesburg. The bed was big enough for three people, but lucky me, I was about to have it all to myself.
In one corner was an extremely comfortable couch with soft pillows covered in beautiful prints, while the other corner accommodated two antique chairs and a table with two glasses of water on, an ice holder, a cute pot plant, a telephone and a notepad with a pen that screamed “ancient but elegant”. The room had an ancient feel, from the antique TV cabinet to the wooden sliding door that opens on to a big bathroom with a vintage-style round mirror. I thought to myself, it is a palace after all, a place fit for royalty.
Dinner was at The Grill Room, an exclusive restaurant in The Palace of the Lost City that ensures an intimate dining experience. The cuisine is fantastic and there is one of the most notable wine lists in the country. Here you can get the best rump or fillet steaks and pork belly possible – or spicy hot wings and Vietnamese ponzu vegetable salad for a starter with a glass of champagne. Dessert was a stunningly plated baked crumble, berries, cinnamon crust and candy floss; not too sweet and portioned just right for a person who just enjoyed a 350g grain-fed steak. Then it was time to call it a night and I slept like a baby.