IT’S all systems go for the new and improved Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World in Nelson Mandela Bay.
This week workers and management were hard at work putting the finishing touches to the revamped complex, furnishing rooms and testing the much-awaited musical fountain. Special staff training was also under way.
Next weekend the hotel opens its doors to the public, only 21 months after the Oriental Village was flattened to make way for the construction of the five-star hotel and international convention centre (ICC).
The upgrade is part of a R1-billion investment by empowerment company Emfuleni Resorts, owned jointly by Zonwabisi Resort Holdings and Sun International.
"Boardwalk staff have been among the special ‘guinea pig’ guests who have been given the full luxury treatment,” Boardwalk general manager Clifford Ngakane said.
"They have been enjoying freshly cooked meals in the signature Kiplings Brassier restaurant, sipping cocktails in the Tshawe bar and enjoying mouth-watering snacks in the lobby lounge while enjoying stunning views of Algoa Bay.”
He said since the beginning of the month the team had undergone training to ensure that the hotel opened successfully.
"Upon opening, guests will be pampered in our state-of-the- art Africology Spa that will capture the healing essences of nature,” he said.
Coming to the Eastern Cape for the first time, Africology formulates its own range of all-natural products for spa application, and has a range of health teas to help promote wellness from the inside, Africology founder and chief executive Renchia Droganis said.
Construction workers have ensured that they will meet their deadlines on the 140 sea-facing roomed hotel, the 3000m² ICC, health spa, hotel restaurant and smoking bar, despite recent delays caused by heavy rains. Ticket sales for Jonathan Butler, the first international artist performing at the ICC, have been selling well with almost 70% purchased for performances on December 20 and 22.
Ngakane said the finishing touches were being made to the multimedia water spectacular centrepiece on the lake, which is set to be a huge drawcard.
The fountain consists of more than 80 pumps capable of shooting a thousand tons of water an hour through around 100 individual water jets. More than 800 lights will add colour to the nightly displays, while multimedia presentations will be shown on a 144m² screen created from water.
There will be daily themed multimedia shows, which will reflect the seasons and celebrate special months. The first shows are expected to start before Christmas.
The multimedia fountain also adds to the selection of entertainment for the whole family. Nine restaurants have been revamped, upgraded and moved to the retail precinct.
They now overlook the lake so that diners can watch the fountain while they are enjoying their meals.
There is also one new restaurant in the hotel and the Bayside Pantry in the casino.
All the fast-food outlets are now housed in a special zone near the entrance through the main parking area off Second Avenue.
This is a version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, December 8, 2012.