One of just two casinos in the world (and Africa's one and only) located on a racecourse, you'll find the Golden Horse Casino in the heart of Pietermaritzburg. Because of its prime location, you're always a matter of minutes away from any activity you could want. However, as we'll see below, there's so much going on here that you may never need to leave the complex for the duration of your trip!
With a glamorous and colourful decor, with plenty of feature lighting and velvet, the casino is reminiscent of traditional Las Vegas gambling venues. This feeling is only emphasized by the grand stone statues you'll find throughout the grounds. There's something about this casino that makes it feel both new and glitzy but also retro and classic, and all in all it makes for one great venue.
Golden Horse boasts hundreds of slot machines and 20+ table games, including blackjack, casino poker variants and American Roulette. Yes, it would be nice to see some European/French roulette and maybe a few other table games, but even so there's no shortage of action. There are also state of the art Electronic Multiplay Roulette machines to try for those who like their action fast and furious.
The casino regularly runs interesting promotions to spice up the action. For example, at the time of writing they're running a promotion where players can win cars as well as cash. This helps to elevate the action above that of a small-time venue or online casino.
Discerning eligible players might like to visit the Salon Privé, where they and any of their guests can enjoy a completely private casino experience with both slots and tables, as well as dedicated hosts and hostesses.
Whatever your palate, you'll find somewhere great to eat at Golden Horse. Try exciting Indian cuisine at Asian Fusion, seafood at John Dory's or hit the all you can eat buffet at Rockafella's, a restaurant themed around the jazz age of the roaring '30s. If none of those sound quite right, visit Vigour & Verve for anything from crispy pizza or sandwiches to layered cakes or ice cream.
For cocktails, you'll want to head to the sophisticated and elegant Derby Lounge. As you'd expect from a vibrant city centre bar, it gets pretty busy here at weekends so stake your tables out early!
If you're in the mood to explore, there are various other restaurants and bars in the surrounding neighbourhoods that you can check out too.
There's no shortage of accommodation close by, but if you really want to be near to the casino then you might opt for one of the 3 star Golden Horse Hotel's 96 rooms. Naturally, high rollers will opt for the presidential suite!
Chill out and watch a little TV, order 18 hour room service or take a dip in the outdoor pool. If you're really lucky, you might even get a room with a view of the racecourse so you can get in your robe and check out some of the action from your window.
The hotel, part of the Tsogo Sun group, really does offer some fantastic amenities as well as comfortable, luxurious rooms. It's the perfect retreat after a day at the tables or the track.
For those needing a break from gambling, Derby Lounge serves up both delicious drinks and live entertainment every Friday night. You'll find comedy shows, as well as live music and theatre, depending on when you stay at Golden Horse.
Because of the central location, the city really is on your doorstep but, if you're exhausted after a long day at the tables and don't have the energy to go exploring, head to Veritas for drinks and music into the small hours of morning.
One very big feature that we haven't talked about? The racetrack that's right outside! The casino might offer more than enough real money gambling action for you but, if you enjoy betting on horse races, then we have no doubt you'll be popping over there to place a few wagers. Events at the racetrack take place fairly regularly, so be sure to plan your visit around something like the Tsogo Sun Sprint if you're a fan of horseracing.
If you're feeling blue because you're missing your weekly golf game, don't worry! You can head to the Golden Horse Driving Range to hit a bucket of balls and polish up your game so, when you arrive back home, your opponents won't know what hit them.
There are also several amenities to keep the kids busy while you play, including the edu-care centre, a discovery area, computer centre and arcade. Golden Horse hosts weddings and conferences too so, whether your next event is business or pleasure, they've got you covered.
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