Guests were treated to a feast of flowers, fine food and fiery performances at the official opening of Sun Meropa Hotel on Saturday night.
Tourism role players, members of the Limpopo Gambling Board (LGB), government officials, representatives of Sun International and local businesspersons attended the event.
As soon as guests stepped through the doors, they were whisked away to a kasbah in Morocco where all the senses were stimulated by the beautiful interior, hundreds of candles and lanterns, delicious dishes and massive displays of flowers and fruit, creating a sense of abundance without being ostentatious.
Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters started the official proceedings by welcoming guests and congratulated all involved on a world class opening event before introducing Peter Guthrie, General Manager of Sun Meropa, formerly known as Meropa Casino and Entertainment World.
Guthrie said the development reaffirms Sun Meropa’s commitment to supporting the city’s economic priorities, and growing Polokwane into a destination of choice for international and domestic travellers.
“We continuously strive towards excellence to enhance Sun Meropa’s appeal so as to promote tourism to the city and thereby contribute to the local economy. By enhancing Sun Meropa with a quality hotel, offering a high standard of accommodation, we believe we can increase our contribution to economic growth and tourism in the area. We are delighted with the results of what has been a demanding, yet exciting, construction phase.”
Both Guthrie and Anthony Leeming, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sun International stressed the fact that Meropa is going through an exciting period of change and development in order to offer the best possible service to the people of Limpopo. The development, which includes the new hotel, is also an economic boost for the city of Polokwane, bringing more people to the city and creating jobs.
“The opening of the upmarket Sun Meropa Hotel comes less than a year since Sun International and the Domba Empowerment Corporation (PTY) Ltd. announced the expansion plans for the complex. Construction workers and equipment have swarmed the site since September 2016 to complete the project ahead of schedule,” Leeming said.
“Sun International’s R76 million investment in the hotel at Sun Meropa forms part of the company’s commitment to the City of Polokwane and the Limpopo Gambling Board (LGB). In the last financial year, Sun Meropa directly contributed over R1,2 million in socio economic development projects, mainly in education, sport and culture initiatives. Through the Domba Trust the company has also ploughed back over R8,9 million in various projects focused on education.”
CEO of the LGB, Serobi Maja spoke on behalf of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism MEC Seaparo Sekoati and had the audience in stitches with his quips. He congratulated everyone involved in the development of the hotel and said this was exactly what Limpopo needed.
The official opening of the hotel was not done by cutting a ribbon, but rather by creating a spectacular fire show where the Sun Meropa Hotel logo was lit in a breath-taking ceremony. Afterwards elly dancers entertained the audience to add a touch of Moroccan flair.
The evening ended with guests mingling and enjoying a feast of desserts.
Story and photos: MARKI FRANKEN