Proposed to be located to the north of the current Wanyama Reserve and Zufari ride area, and to the north west of the current Resort Hotels, the latest plans for the safari lodges propose 34 standard lodges, 31 of which will be of a standard layout, and three will be fully accessible. The lodges will be set out in a single cluster with the front of all the lodges facing in towards the centre of the circle. Located in the centre of the cluster will be a wooden themed play area which will be able to be seen from every lodge, easily enabling parents to keep their eyes on their children.
Each lodge will have a layout similar to that seen in The Enchanted Village at Alton Towers Resort, with the entrance to the lodge leading directly into the adult sleeping area containing a double bed, and the bathroom and separate children’s sleeping area, including bunk beds and a pull out truckle bed, towards the rear. At the front of each lodge will also be an external timber deck allowing guests to sit directly outside their lodge should they wish. The external appearance of each lodge will be designed to complement the already established ‘African/safari style’ of the Wanyama Reserve and exisiting Resort hotels.
Unlike in the original plans submitted in April 2017, these latest proposals contain no additional facilities for guests to eat and drink, instead stating that the food and beverage offering will be situated within the existing Safari Hotel Restaurant and Bar. There will be some question marks over the ability of the existing facilities’ ability to handle what could potentially be an additional 170 guests with the Safari Bar and Grill already regularly fully booked during peak season.
Also removed from the proposals is the dedicated check in building. Instead, guests will now use the existing Safari Hotel entrance with internal changes being made to accommodate the new lodges. This will include a dedicated reception desk, and a new entrance/exit from the hotel bar onto a wooden decked area and footpath leading up to the lodges. Prior to arrival, guests will have the option to check in using the ‘Lodges App’ enabling them to avoid the queues for check-in at the hotel. Guests will also be able to nominate one of their own devices to use the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) function to access their lodge, eliminating the need for keycards to be issued. Also omitted from the new proposals are the 11 premium lodges which were proposed for the site meaning the new proposals represent a much smaller development than that which was originally planned.
These latest plans will be of disappointment to some and represent a significantly scaled back development compared to what was previously proposed. The loss of the Watering Hole and giraffe viewing and feeding platform from the development will potentially mean a lot more pressure being placed on what is, at times, already stretched existing hotel facilities.
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