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How we are fighting COVID-19
18 March 2020

ORION HOTELS & RESORTS STATEMENT ON CLEANING PROCEDURES        18 MARCH 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the Nation on 15 March 2020, and declaring COVID-19 a national disaster. Standards of hygiene and cleanliness in our Hotels are taken very seriously and we are taking the necessary steps to enhance the safety of our guests and staff.  Orion Hotels & Resorts has been monitoring the World Health Organization statements regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) closely. On a daily basis, our Hotels are working to ensure that they meet the latest guidance on hygiene and cleaning. Our Hotels’ health and safety measures are designed to address a broad spectrum of viruses, and include everything from hand washing hygiene and cleaning product specifications to Guest room and common area cleaning. Specific actions Orion Hotels & Resorts are taking: ASSOCIATE HEALTH, SAFETY AND KNOWLEDGE:  Hotel staff – and their own health, safety and knowledge – are essential to an effective cleaning program. Here are some ways we’re supporting them:

  • Hand Hygiene: Proper and frequent hand washing is vital to help combat the spread of the virus. In our daily meetings, our teams are reminded that cleanliness starts with this simple act. It’s important for their health and of our guests
  • Ongoing Training: In addition to training on housekeeping and hygiene procedures, Hotel staff are also completing enhanced COVID-19 awareness training
CLEANING PRODUCTS AND PROTOCOLS: We work with our partners and suppliers to make sure our Hotels can procure and use anti-bacterial products. Our Hotels use cleaning products and protocols which are effective against viruses, including:
  • Guest Rooms: Hotels use cleaning and disinfecting procedures to clean rooms after guests depart and before the next guest arrives, with particular attention paid to high-touch items
  • Public Spaces: Hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in public areas, with a focus on the counter at the front desk, elevators (and elevator buttons), door handles, public bathrooms and even room keys. We are providing all Hotel guests or staff with Hand Sanitizer that contains 75% Alcohol
  • Back of House: In the spaces where staff work “behind the scenes,” Hotels are increasing the frequency of cleaning and focusing on high-touch areas like staff entrances, locker rooms, laundry rooms and staff offices
EVENT NOTIFICATION: If we are alerted to a case of COVID-19 at one of our Hotels, we immediately work with the relevant health authorities to obtain the facts and guidance on steps to take with both guests and staff. We undertake an additional cleaning and disinfecting protocol of the common areas of the Hotel as well as the areas we know the guest has been during their stay. In addition, the Hotel seals the guest’s room (e.g., preventing entry by staff or others) and undertakes a room recovery procedure that is designed to disinfect everything in the room including sanitizing the air. We are doing our utmost best for you to enjoy your stay with us. Loving to have served you better today Dr. Antoinette Gmeiner CEO Orion Hotels & Resorts

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Heineken South Africa’s visit to Velmoré Hotel & Spa
10 September 2019

Velmoré Hotel & Spa welcomes Heineken and hosts their annual sales conference

For every single South African the word “beer” means a lot. It’s entrenched in our culture and our history. What would a Braai be without a few cold ones? When one of the big powerhouses of the beer industry came calling and gave us an opportunity to play host to their annual sales conference, you could just smell the excitement in the air at Velmoré Hotel & Spa. Heineken, yes Heineken. The “world’s most international brewer” with more than 250 International, Regional, Local and speciality beers and ciders. Heineken has an international footprint in more than 70 countries. The eagerness and excitement finally set in. Our conference venue De Bastille was set up in such a manner to display all the different brands that fall under Heineken SA and showcase the essence of each brand. There was an upside-down room and a ball pit. The entire conference room was set up in a walk through exhibition style, where everyone at in the conference room had headsets and at each station, a member of each brand would educate everyone at the relevant station without all the noise interfering with their presentation. This made for a very easy transition between the different stations. Moving on to the actual business part of the week. Our conference venue called Tres Sage catered for 400 Heineken delegates having a mass brainstorm session and planning the future of the company. With the business side of things taken care of, there was a sense of party in the air, after all, we are talking about Heineken. Our pool area was converted into a staging area with a DJ making sure the vibe is set. With the sun setting in the backdrop and the Hennops River in full flow, cold beers on ice and a few dry snacks, it definitely set the mood right for the evening. Moving on to the red carpet set up with a full draught beer station, making sure everyone can have a cold Heineken on the red carpet at any time. Traditional African dancers welcomed all the delegates to the main attraction of the entire week, the Marquee tent. This brings us to the tent and it’s not just any tent but a marquee tent that can hold up to 500 people comfortably. The marquee tent was complete with not one but two fully stocked bars with brands available such as Windhoek, Amstel, Strongbow, Millers and of course Heineken. You could see people were getting thirsty just looking at the bars. Literal walls stacked with lit up Heineken, surrounded by 41 tables decorated in a timeless style, with accents of gold and a dash of nature. The entire marquee was lit by candles that unquestionably set the mood for the Gala Evening. Entertainment was provided by The Muses playing their rendition of Toto’s Africa, that was absolutely spine-tingling. We also had our very own Rugby World Cup-winning captain and Heineken Ambassador John Smit as guest speaker, giving some interesting insights into the culture and the reasons why that team brought home the William Webb Ellis Cup. By this time hunger set in. For starters the Chef created Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Roulade. The main course was a buffet with selections of meats, veggies and salads. What would a Gala Dinner be without something for all the sweet tooth’s out there? Yes, we are talking about Desserts. Each table had 2 platters with a selection of Mini Cheesecakes, Mini Milk tart Brownies, Mini Doughnuts and Pavlova. After the Gala Dinner finished, all delegates could let their hair loose and enjoy the evening with a few cold ones and good company until the early hours of the morning. Hosting such an well-known company was an honour and a privilege. We look forward to many more!

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Taste South Africa with every Conference at Ditholo Game Lodge
Heritage Month at Orion Hotels & Resorts
1 August 2019

Orion Hotels & Resorts celebrates Heritage Day!

It’s time to get all soft and gooey about our beautiful and one of a kind country, South Africa. What better way to celebrate Heritage Day by identifying 10 reasons why we love our Country!

10 Reasons why we love Heritage Day in South Africa:

1. The food, oh boy the food: South Africa might not be able to win the Cricket World Cup or bring the Soccer World Cup to our shores, but boy we know how to eat. If there was a World Cup for people that can eat, then I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to make at least the semi-finals. 2. The smell of a “Braai” around every corner: It’s called Braai Day for a reason and we are pretty sure Heritage Day would not be Heritage Day without a proper Braai. It’s not a Braai without the vegetable afterthought, the famous “4 Bean Salad.” 3. The languages come out to play: Whether it’s Howzit, Heita, Aweh, Sawubona, Molo, Unjani, Thobela, Dumela, Sharp Fede or just a simple Hallo. 4. It’s a fashion competition: Let’s be honest, South Africans are some of the most beautiful people in the world and on Heritage Day, it’s custom to bring that little bit extra, by wearing your traditional attire everywhere. 5. Springbokkies: Not the 2015 Rugby World Cup team or the cute buck. No, we are talking about the green and beige shooter. It should be the official Heritage Day drink, don’t you think. 6. Bomb competitions: Yes, there is nothing better than having a bomb competition on a hot summer’s day in the neighbourhood pool. Usually, it’s someone’s scale tipping uncle who wins. 7. Biltong! Quite possibly the most versatile snack on the planet! Loved by everyone, stored well it will last forever and only the best biltong is found in South Africa. 8. Shosholoza: One of South Africa’s most famous songs. There isn’t a stadium in South Africa where a rendition of “Shosholoza” has not been sung. It’s strange, it’s the one song everyone loves, but we all get it wrong. 9. Ubuntu: "I am what I am because of who we all are." 10. Nelson Mandela: We know you were expecting this one, but the Father of the Nation can never go unmentioned when he was the one who lead South Africa into the freedom era. At Orion Hotels & Resorts we plan on celebrating Heritage Month and Heritage Day the right way. With our Hotels located across this beautiful country, we thought it best to do a tribute to our awesome country and put our roots into conferencing, by sprinkling a tiny bit of South African dust on our conferencing packages and including a Shisha Nyama with every conference you book at Orion Hotel & Resorts. In Gauteng we have the stunning and enchanting Velmoré Hotel & Spa, with its unique architecture, combining both traditional and modern elements; you’ll definitely feel like you’re in a different world. The Venue Country Hotel & Spa in Broederstroom will definitely charm you with its quirkiness and stunning views. Safari Lodge, Hotel & Convention Centre will mesmerize you with its stunning views of the Rustenburg Kloof. In the Lowveld’s area of Nelspruit, you’ll find the iconic Hotel Promenade. Once the original Town Hall of Nelspruit. Did someone say Hippo? Ditholo Game Lodge will definitely put the bush in the bushveld in Bela-Bela. Coach House Hotel & Spa in Limpopo has become synonymous with elegant colonial luxury. Take the boring out of conferencing this Heritage month and book your conference with Orion Hotels & Resorts  

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Father's Day
Father’s Day at Orion Hotels & Resorts
6 June 2019

Celebrating Father's all around South Africa

Father's Day is a day dedicated to fathers, step-fathers, brothers, uncles, mentors or any important male figure in your life. We often forget the sacrifices and contributions of our fathers and male figures have made in our lives. Father's Day gives us the opportunity to show and express our love, adoration, and gratitude to these special people. On Father's Day, show these deserving men what special place they have in your life and what influence they have on you. Here are 10 reasons why you should be grateful for your Dad! 1. Dads are our role models From the moment we are born we look up to our Father’s as little girls we dance on their feet and search for a man with the qualities He has. As a boy, your Father represents the guardian of your family. 2. Dads always give good advice They are the best at giving advice in any situation. Their wisdom knows no bonds. 3. They are out DIY specialists Need a new curtain rail installed or a picture frame hang up. Trust dad to have all the tools required to help you. 4. Dads help out! On those hot days, they are there, cutting the grass, walking the dogs and just generally help out around the house. 5. Dads are adventurous Come rain or shine, you can always trust on dad to watch that horror movie, get onto that roller-coaster or taking part in extreme sports. 6. Dads encourage us to do better Dads always want the best for their children. They motivate us and keep us on track when reaching goals. They push us to be better, do better and eventually become better versions of ourselves 7. Our personal taxi service No matter the hour or the day, Dad will always give us a lift. To that party, the airport or to work. 8. They protect us From the boys who break our hearts, or the bosses who work us too hard. You can count on Dad to protect you. 9. They add Humour to our lives Imagine a life without Dad Jokes, our lives would b so empty if it wasn’t for their contagious laughter. 10. They teach us how to drive No one else would teach you how to drive, no one trusted you behind a wheel. But your Dad did and look at you go now, with the confidence gave you by teaching you the rules of the road. Love them or hate them, your Dad will always be your Hero, they are special and help us to grow even when we think we can’t grow anymore! Treat them to a great weekend away at any one of our hotels, this will make them feel extra special! In Limpopo, we have the enchanting Coach House Hotel & Spa where you feel transported back in time to the Old World. Relax at Velmore Hotel & Spa on Father’s Day with a buffet lunch fit for the Hero in your life. Or take it easy with the Lions at The Venue Country Hotel in Rustenburg, we are situated right next to the Lion Park, so there’s an added bonus to your trip! Hotel Promenade has starters, mains, and desserts covered for lunch! Our chef’s will be cooking up a storm and are serving, amongst others, a butternut and biltong soup! Is your Dad the more adventurous type? At Safari Lodge Hotel & Convention Centre we have opened a new Mountain Bike track! Speed the weekend with dad navigating the dirt trails on our property and head back to the hotel for a big lunch!

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Backpacking through the Drakensberg
What kind of Backpacker Traveler are you?
28 May 2019

Backpacking through SA?

A backpacker can be loosely defined as a person who travels or hikes carrying their belongings in a rucksack. They are free travelers, a modern-day nomad

Backpacker travelers can be seen at every airport in the world and they usually have the same look about them. They can be seen traveling in pairs or groups, hair is pulled back (both the guys and the girls) by a piece of very colorful fabric to hide, what I can only assume, is a head of mattered hair. They are very tanned like they have spent 3 weeks on a beach in the Caribbean (and they probably have). Their clothes appear to be different shades of brown, there are man-sandals, lot’s of man-sandals and of course, there’s the giant, un-missable backpack that completes the stereotypical backpacker traveler. Now that I have painted the picture for you, how much more do you know about the world of backpackers. Stuffing your belongings into a backpack and traveling the world is not for everyone, but these backpackers over the years have evolved and created a multitude of different backpackers ‘species’. Nomadic Matt has detailed these different species and we have pulled together a shortened list. Figure out what species of backpacker you are or what kind of backpacker you would be if you did become a backpacker. Backpackers - The Hippie Not wanting to be held down by the man, the hippie can be found wearing fisherman pants, dreadlocks, and lots of necklaces, and has a distinct “I haven’t showered in two days” smell. This species of traveler is often thumbing a well-worn book on social justice. Hippie travelers use local transportation, eat local food, and talk about cultural imperialism while watching the latest Hollywood movies on their Macbook and begging for money to get to the next place. They usually avoid most tourist destinations because “they’re too commercial, man.” Backpackers - The Gap Yearer Traveler gap-yearer is usually college-aged, English, Kiwi, or Aussie. This backpacking species tends to be traveling for exactly one year right before or after university. They follow the main round-the-world ticket route. Gap-year travelers like to party a lot, see the main attractions, sleep in dorms, and tend to stick to the beaten path. They are out to have a good time, meet other travelers, and come home with a few good stories before they start their career. They can be found wherever a round-the-world ticket will take them. Backpackers - The Partier Sporting sunglasses, shorts, flip-flops, and a comical t-shirt, partyoholic travelers spend most of their time getting drunk in each country. Most of their day is spent nursing the hangover from last night while avoiding loud and well-lit areas. You’ll probably see them still in bed when you check in at 2 pm. But they’re the first one at the bar each night. Very loud, these nocturnal creatures bounce from one party destination to the other. Backpackers - The Couple The backpacking couple spends most of their time sightseeing, touring, and doing activities. They avoid most of the backpacker ghettos and parties and tend to gravitate toward other couples or older travelers. The younger version often goes the opposite route and tends to party a lot while breaking up about ten times on the road. They are found worldwide. The “Remember When” Backpacker Traveller living-in-the-pasts has been traveling a long time (and usually to the same destinations). He’ll tell you all about how he remembers when the Full Moon Party used to be good and how Laos is too discovered now. This backpacker can be found in the same destinations he says are ruined now. The Backpacker Digital Nomad These creatures work online to afford their travels, often clustering with others of their species in spots like Bali, Chiang Mai, or Medellín. Carrying laptops, cameras, video cameras, and iPads, they spend much of their time behind their computer touting their free lifestyle and/or recent startup while often never seeing much of the destination they are at. Their first question is always about Wi-Fi. They are found behind their computer, talking into their phone, and wherever there is good internet access and a cheap cost of living. Life in a hostel on the backpacker trail sure is interesting. There is a lot of diversity out there in the hostel jungle! No matter where you fit into the world of Backpackers, at Orion Hotels & Resorts everyone is welcome. While backpacking through South Africa rest your feet (and back) at Mont Aux Sources Hotel. We have comfortable, convenient and private rooms for every type of backpacker species out there. Our accommodation rates are affordable and include breakfast and DINNER! If you are traveling in a group, we have a variety of self-catering options to suit your needs. Backpacking doesn’t need to be rough and tough; you can marvel at the beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains or hike through the Royal Natal National Park. It’s your adventure, you decide! Reference/Source: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/what-type-of-backpacker-are-you/

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Winter Weddings
9 May 2019

Plan your Winter Wonderful Wedding with us at Orion Hotels & Resorts

Winter Weddings can be such a treat especially in South Africa where our Winters are sometimes more like really cold Autumn days coupled with a chilly wind. We do not experience extreme wet and cold weathers like the Northern Hemisphere, nor do we get heaps of snow! The afternoon June sun is a warm welcome to sit and be merry with friends. Another great advantage of getting married in the Winter months is that most venues and hotels do provide you with a Winter Rate as these are usually the slower months for business. Whether constricted by budget or you are thinking of planning a June wedding, you probably are looking for some tips and tricks for your perfect Winter Wedding! 1. Invest in Winter Accessories Okay, so I know I just said that our Winters aren’t that cold but it is your wedding day and you don’t want to unprepared. Imagine just how cute a Faux fur wrap or cape would look. Alternatively, be as regal as Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day and opt for a long sleeve wedding dress 2. Boys plus Velvet You must be thinking, really? Velvet? Isn’t that 80s fashion? Wrong. It’s actually so on point at the moment and the thick fabric will keep those boys warm while they wait for you at the end of the aisle. 3. Oh no, chapped lips! In the days leading up to your big day, the keyword will be ‘moisturize’. Dry lips and skin are common during the colder periods, so keep applying that moisturizer to the outside and drink lots of water to moisturize from the inside. 4. Under your Dress… sssh! We won’t tell If you have a long dress, and it’s one of those very very cold days, you can always wear a pair of thick stockings underneath. We won’t tell if you don’t! 5. Winter footwear can be stylish, right? Instead of spending hours with your perfectly manicured feet in pain inflecting stilettos, opt for a more comfortable pair of shoes. How about a great pair of ankle boots or sneakers? 6. Don’t forget about your bridesmaids! Keep them warm too. Be ready with cover-ups for them and why not personalize each one to double up as the perfect bridesmaid gift. 7. Add extra romance with Candles Winter days are shorter, which means, the darkness creeps in much earlier. Although they can be expensive, I recommend allocating budget to candles which will add a sense of cozy-ness and warmth to your venue. Think a multitude of big, small, tall, short, fat, thin candles all bundled together on the floor, tables or steps. Romance level upgraded! 8. Talking about darkness, how much Light do you have? Wedding photographs has always been the greatest and single most important activity of the day. Calculate how much light you actually have for photographs, you might need to push your ceremony up by an hour or two, just to make sure you have enough daylight for all those family pictures! 9. Winter Colours Ever googled Winter Colours, the warm burgundy, berry, cherry black & gold are the perfect colors to create more warmth within your bridal party. 10. Keep your guests warm. Your guests are the most important people in your life, you don’t want them getting frostbite on their noses! Keep them warm by offering a hot welcome drink, spreading mushroom as heaters around or have a bonfire (if your venue allows this) Now you have the insiders tips and tricks to plan a Winter Wedding, what are you waiting for? Start planning! Unless he hasn’t proposed yet, then maybe hold off on the planning. Visit one of our 9 hotels across South Africa for a romantic weekend getaway instead! Did we mention that Mont Aux Sources Hotel in the Northern Drakensberg has in the passed experienced snow! Or go North to Tzaneen and experience true old world at Coach House Hotel & Spa with an indoor heated pool and a view that will literally take your breath away. All of the Orion Hotels and Resorts can host your Winter Wedding, with in-house experienced event coordinators we take out the stress of planning your perfect Winter Wedding!

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Golf & Stay at Orion Hotels & Resorts
3 May 2019

Golf & Stay at Orion Hotels: Just imagine this for a second, the sound of birds chirping in the background, the smell of freshly cut grass and the African sun reminding us of the importance of sunblock. You’re on the tee box, as you start to visualize your tee shot, you get this sudden surge of adrenaline and nervousness as you notice everyone is looking at you. We like to refer to this as the first tee jitters. All you keep telling yourself is please don’t slice it and that little voice inside your head is getting louder and louder. Eventually, you muster the nerve to start your setup as you approach your ball. You settle down and calm the nerves. All you keep telling yourself is to just keep your head down and the rest will take care of itself. You start your backswing and in your mind, you look like Tiger Woods…you hit the ball and suddenly a huge sense of relief kicks in as see the ball head straight down the fairway only for a sprinkler head to get in the way and launch your ball straight into the rough. All you think to yourself is “this is a great way to start a round of golf”. At Orion Hotels & Resorts we don’t want to simply sell hotel rooms, we want all our guests to rather have experienced every time they visit one of our Boutique Hotels. One of the things we really wanted to do is partner up with a few of the local golf courses in and around some of our hotel. Therefore we are happy to announce that we now offer “Stay and Play” packages at 4 of our hotels namely The Devonshire Hotel, The Venue Country Hotel & Spa, Safari Lodge Hotel & Convention Centre and Ditholo Game Lodge. The Venue Country Hotel & Spa: We have partnered up with Pecanwood Golf Club in the heart of Hartbeespoort about an hour’s drive from central Johannesburg. Pecanwood Golf Club: Pecanwood Golf and Country Club is a legend of South African golf and one of five Jack Nicklaus designed signature courses in the country. Situated on the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam this course has been carefully crafted to test your skills to the full. The fairways are generous and inviting and the Crenshaw bent grass greens are immaculate all year round. Although the course is flat, there are high mounds, carefully crafted water features and strategically placed bunkers that have been set amid the scenic mountain surrounds and vast expanses of water to create a challenging and interesting golf experience. The signature hole is the beautiful par 3, 13th hole that plays alongside the dam to a green flanked on both sides by bunkers. Pecanwood Golf and Country Club is a five-star experience and has all the golf facilities offered by world-class resorts including a driving range, pro shop and 3 practice greens. The Devonshire Hotel: We’ve partnered up with 3 very well known Golf Clubs in the Johannesburg area namely Parkview Golf Club, Observatory Golf Club and Killarney Country Club. All of which are in the top 200 Golf Courses in South Africa. Parkview Golf Club: On a sunny Saturday afternoon in July 1916, about 200 of the city’s sports enthusiasts and business dignitaries gathered in the largely undeveloped veld about 10km north of the young town to officially open a golf club. They called it Parkview, probably because that is what it offered. The clubhouse had been built on a site where Parkview Junior School stands today and was an imposing building housing a comfortable lounge, change rooms and a bar. On the opening day a leading golfer of the time, CT Elliot, cracked a ceremonial drive northwards more or less down Denbigh Road. It’s a perverse irony perhaps that the man recognized as the original architect of Parkview golf course was Mr LB Waters. On all but one of the Parkview’s 18 holes is there a real chance of a golf ball getting wet. Observatory Golf Club: Observatory Golf Course stands tall as the oldest club in Johannesburg still operating from its original grounds. The club started out life in 1912 as a 9-hole before being officially established in 1914 with the 18 hole layout it carries today. Of course over the years the layout has been changed and upgrades are a continuous part of the process for a club with such an immense history. Today, the lush course offers an incredible test of intellectual golf with its narrow fairways and smaller greens. Popular South African talk radio presenter, John Robbie, has recently gone on record calling Observatory a “magnificent course which offers true value for money,” and indeed that is the case at Observatory Golf Club, though a fine course by any standard, Observatory isn’t interested in playing games of golfing opulence, just a great game of golf. The two signature holes are the par-five 7th for its beauty and view of Johannesburg and the par-four 10th for its intimidation factor. Hold your head here and you should make it out alive. Pop on down for a round at Observatory Golf Club the next time you’re in the area and add it to your list of must-plays. Killarney Country Club: The Club is perfectly positioned just off the M1 highway with the main clubhouse situated between the 11th Avenue and Glenhove Street off-ramps. This makes the Club very central and easily accessible, with secure parking on site. Our golf course is a Robert Trent-Jones designed narrow park-style course which is both challenging and well-manicured with a par 70 layout of 6154m for men, and a par 72 for ladies playing at 5294m. The greens are fairly generous in size, which affords the golfer an excellent chance of scoring well when playing from the fairways. There is nothing better than having a pub lunch or a sundowner after golf on the verandah overlooking the 18th green and dam - a bit of paradise in Joburg! Our golf course is a Robert Trent-Jones designed narrow park-style course which is both challenging and well-manicured with a par 70 layout of 6154m for men, and a par 72 for ladies playing at 5294m. The greens are fairly generous in size, which affords the golfer an excellent chance of scoring well when playing from the fairways. Safari Lodge Hotel & Convention Centre: Safari Lodge Hotel & Convention Centre is proud to announce that we have partnered up with Rustenburg Golf Club. Rustenburg Golf Club: Nestling alongside the foothills of the Magaliesberg and situated among some of the largest and richest Platinum mines in the world, is Rustenburg golf club. The ever-growing Rustenburg community knows that this club offers a layout and camaraderie few clubs can equal. The course has Royal Blue Cynodon grass on the greens which make the putting a little different than other bentgrass courses. Recently completed dams on numbers 1 and 6 have made the course a little tougher but still fair. The great condition is evidence of a great greenkeeper and his dedicated staff. The club currently ranks as number 76 in the country, making steady progress in the last 3 years. In the clubhouse are two full sized snooker tables, two bars and various function halls that are very popular and very often fully booked thanks to a superb catering department. Anybody finding themselves in this part of the world must come and have a look for themselves, they'll be pleasantly surprised. With the new N4 Platinum highway making the course easily accessible from Pretoria and Johannesburg, there is no excuse. Ditholo Game Lodge: Ditholo Game Lodge is proud to announce that we have partnered up with both Elements Private Golf Reserve and Zebula Golf Estate and Spa. Elements Private Golf Reserve: There are many non-residential, second home golf estates in South Africa and very few can match Elements Private Golf Reserve. A stunning, unique golf estate on 495 hectares of property located only one and a half hours drive north of Pretoria in the magnificent Waterberg region of the Limpopo Province. The setting for Elements Private Golf Reserve is one of the biggest factors that count in its favour. The surrounding bushveld terrain varies between natural hillsides and open plains, with mountain views and perennial streams. The golf course meanders through a fertile valley of indigenous vegetation and artful landscaping. The Clubhouse is located on a rise overlooking the golf course from which 11 holes can be seen and offers an unsurpassed view of the course and surrounding landscape. The reception, administrative offices, kids playground, bar, restaurant and main kitchen areas is located on the upper level.  The lower floor houses the locker rooms, halfway house, golf shop, spa, conference room and covered patio. A small portion of the restaurant has been cordoned off to create a kids play area.  This has become a popular addition to keep the kids occupied while mom and dad are enjoying drinks in the bar or a meal in the restaurant.  It has play tables, ball games and even a full-size pool table for the older kids and young adults. In addition to golf and excellent practice facilities, the estate offers mountain bike trails, tennis courts, hiking, game viewing, bird watching, swimming, a spa, conferencing, and a comprehensive food and beverage offering in the clubhouse. Limpopo golf at its finest.   Zebula Golf Estate and Spa: The Zebula Golf Course is located in a basin of the most pristine African bushveld. Surrounded by game lodges, nature and wildlife reserves, Zebula certainly boasts one of the best locations for a bushveld course. Zebula is the only 5 Star golfing resorts in South Africa. It’s not all looks though; the Peter Matkovich designed course reveals his usual flair for being both challenging and accommodating. Four tees are on offer for your preference with the longest one measuring 6829m. Peter went out of his way to ensure the lands natural contours were followed and the result is a seamlessly integrated bushveld course that is second to none. Peter’s approach to golf design is best expressed in his own words “Golf course design is an area where we have immense responsibility. Besides trying to create the most enjoyable and memorable courses for golfers to play on, we need to ensure that we do it in such a way that those who come after us, can do so with the same wonder and awe at all of nature’s beauty. Golf courses can and should have a positive impact on their surrounds, which is essential for the game to grow.” This sums up golfing at Zebula perfectly.   Make this weekend a golf weekend with Orion Hotels & Resorts; after all, it’s more than just golf!!

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10 Steps to Plan a Successful Conference
15 March 2019

Orion Hotels & Resorts helping you plan your next Conference

So you got a big task to plan your company’s next conference or meeting. So the big question is where do you start? What do you need? With every conference or meeting planning you need to organise, never go without your passion while planning this great event! Don’t overthink the small things and focus on the bigger picture. But don’t panic, we’ve got you covered! We’ll tell you a bit more about what we value and see as the ultimate conference planning guide. Here we go, you ready? Step 1: Choose a Theme for your Conference It’s awesome to have a theme for your conference, this ties everything together. What is the main focus of the conference? What will the key speakers talk about? And what do your delegates expect when they're done with the conference? This is the great, fun and creative part. Themes are normally catchy, relatable, and trigger an emotional response. For instance, “One Team” is a much stronger message than “Building one Team for all employees” Your Vision will also guide your branding and promotion, from creating a logo, inventing social media hashtags to printing your posters, brochures, and other collateral needed. Further reading on themes: • A brilliant guide from TED Create a Theme • Choosing a theme made easy 127 Themes and concepts for your next corporate event Step 2: Plan ahead and set a Time Scale Depending on the size of your conference and if it’s an overnight conference where you will need accommodation as well. You will need up to 6 months of planning. If you don’t have 6 months, don’t worry, we are here to help. Your timing should depend on the speakers you have in mind to book and the venue you want to use. Timely decisions and meeting supplier deadlines are crucial to lead to efficiently event execution. Try to stick to your supplier’s lead time as this will pay dividends in the long run. Orion Hotels & Resorts has 9 hotels, located in 5 provinces: Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo. Have a look at our venues we have to offer for all your conferencing needs, big or small Orion Hotels & Resorts Step 3: Set a Budget The biggest factor when planning your conference is money. The big bosses always want to know what the money gets spent on and why. You always need to know where your money is being earned or spent. If your conference is sponsored, you still have to do a budget nevertheless. This will give you a holistic view of what you will need for your conference and this will make the planning much easier. A few common aspects to focus your budget on: • Venue • Accommodation • Transportation • Catering • Speaker Fee • Activities / Team Building • Marketing • Team Members With this budget, you can see where you need to cut and in which areas you need more funds. This is a great opportunity to negotiate prices with your suppliers. Further reading on budgets • Steps to develop a good budget Budget for your conference Step 4: Book your Speakers Your speakers make or break your conference. The Speakers are the stars of your conference, and delegate attendance can be affected by the quality speaker you choose. If good speakers are hard to find, plan well in advance. Start looking for leaders that focus on the same theme as your conference. Create a prioritised list of potential speakers you’d like to invite. Then start making those calls and writing those emails. The faster you act on this the better! Go through your list as quick as possible and fill up those time slots with quality speakers! But don’t get rid of the list just yet! You always need back up speakers, anything can happen, that’s life! So that being said, you always need a Plan B. You can also consider recruiting some local speakers. You’ll save on transportation and lend an air of authenticity to the conference. Further reading on speakers • Top Speakers in South Africa SA’s Best Speakers Step 5: Choosing your Venue To choose a venue sounds simple, but it’s actually not. There is a lot to consider when making your decision about the conference venue. Here are some few pointers when choosing your venue: • Size: It’s important to find a venue that can accommodate your size of conference with ease. We don’t want too many people squashed in a small room or too big of a venue where your delegates disappear in the background. • Location: How convenient is it for everyone to get to the venue? Is it close to an airport if you have delegates flying in for the conference? Is public transport easily accessible? Or is your theme to get out of the city for a great team building or breakaway for those tedious strategy sessions. • Facilities: Does the venue have a proper layout and can you choose your conference room style? Does the venue have the necessary facilities, for example, extra room space for break-away sessions, private dinner areas etc? • Accommodation: If you are planning a 24hour conference or in other words, an overnight conference when accommodation is needed, it’s best to go with hotels as they offer these services already. Then everything is at one place, as delegates are not keen to drive from location to location when staying over for two nights or more. • Catering: If you are not using a hotel as your venue, you need to know if you need to organise the catering separately from the venue. And if it’s not, is there restaurants or café’s nearby? • Transportation: How easy is it for participants to travel to the venue by public transport? Are there enough parking spots for those who drive? • Technical Aspects: Does the venue have the right IT, audio, and video equipment? You’ll need projection screens, microphones, plenty of charging spots for delegates, and don’t forget the WIFI access? Is it free or do we need to pay? At Orion Hotels we offer a seamless booking tool for your convenience and to get an instant quotation online in these 4 easy steps! Remember that the quotation is still negotiable and not set in stone. Visit this link to get your conference quote Enquire Now Further reading on venues • How to choose your venue How to Compare • Seamless Online Conference Quote GET IT NOW Step 6: Talk to your Venue If you are unsure about anything or would like their opinion on decisions you need to make. Don’t be shy and ask your venue. They have a lot of experience and are more than willing to share it with you. Your success is their success. At Orion Hotels & Resorts we can assist you with a whole range of services from décor, entertainment, audio-visual equipment and facilities, specialised culinary choices, custom linen and with any other technical or aesthetic need or desire you have. Our expert team is there for you and will help you completely plan and organise your event down to the tiniest details. We know that every event is different with its own specific needs and objectives. We strive to assist you to create a tailor-made event customized to your every whim and requirement. Step 7: Recruiting and Managing Registrants All conference must effectively market their event to fill every seat in the house. Attendance is the single most important factor in the success of your event. Good attendance in delegates brings revenue and sponsorship opportunities. Your best choice is to make a professional website for the conference. You need to at least include the following on your website: • Choose the domain (i.e. www.myconferencename.co.co.za) • Important details about the conference (where, when, who, what, why) • Available to browse conference calendar / programme / agenda • Registration form where people can sign up or buy tickets It’s now very important to add your conference website to all marketing and info material going forward. Step 8: On-site Planning You need to know how your conference will flow on the day. From parking to walking to the conference room to dining and accommodation. Have you decided on your conference room layout or style? What problems might arise on the day of the conference with the flow? Step 9: Take a look at our Winter Conference offerings at our 9 Hotels Orion Hotels has a great offering for your conference you’re planning this winter. Book your accommodation and get your conference FREE! Isn’t that just great! Have a look below at our hotels and start planning your conference with us! Looking to host your conference in Limpopo? Orion Hotels has 3 beautiful hotels in Limpopo. We have Ditholo Game Lodge close to Bela-Bela that can host up to 40 delegates for an intimate bushveld experience, boma fire dinners, game drives, breakfast in the bush, paddle boats and volleyball games, just to name a few. Coach House Hotel & Spa is located in the beautiful Tzaneen area. We can accommodate 150 for conferencing and 76 sharing for accommodation. Agatha Spa is also on the property if your delegates require some pampering during their stay. For those intimate dinners, a comfy wine cellar is available for your use. Magoebaskloof is a well-known area and Magoebaskloof Hotel is our gem in the Kloof. We can host up to 250 delegates in conferencing and 124 sharing in accommodation. We can team up with our preferred Team Building company to get you the real Kloof experience with a little bit of adventure or an adrenaline rush. Gauteng, South Africa’s golden province Orion Hotels has 2 hotels in Gauteng. Velmoré Hotel & Spa, Erasmia, Centurion and The Devonshire Hotel, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Pretoria, more known as Jacaranda City, we have a beautiful 4-star hotel, Velmoré Hotel & Spa. We boast with the capacity to host events and conferences with a maximum of 1500 delegates. And for the overnighters, we can accommodate 198 sharing. We have great outdoor space for big events or festivals. Bakwena Spa is also on the property to give your delegates the pampering they deserve. We have various Team Building options available to enhance the delegate experience. In the hip and happening Braamfontein, we have the legendary The Devonshire Hotel, this hotel is a historic building in Johannesburg, and backdates to the 1930s. We are capable of hosting up to 250 delegates and 114 sharing for accommodation. There is a lot of activities in Braamfontein to entertain your delegates. At The Devonshire Hotel alone we have Devonshire Arms, a rustic Irish pub and popular under the working class. For the young at heart, we have Basement, this is a shebeen that sells alcohol in quartz, and it’s very popular under the students North West, only the best, right? Orion Hotels have 2 hotels with very much their own identity. We have The Venue Country Hotel & Spa in the Magaliesberg region, Broederstroom, very close to Hartbeespoort Dam.  So can you imagine the views of the mountains and roars of the lions at night (from next door), what better way to conference? We can host up to 200 delegates and have 132 sharing for accommodation. A 4x4 track is available for the adventurous and if you would like to be pampered, we have a Bakwena Spa Exclusiv available for the beauties. Close to Sun City, you will find Safari Lodge, Hotel & Convention Centre in Rustenburg. Hosting a maximum of 500 delegates and can accommodate up to 262 sharing. A private dinner venue is available for conferences less than 320 delegates. Under 1 hours’ drive from Sun City and Pilanesberg. Free wifi is also available. Mpumalanga is also on our list of hotels A Short distance from Mbombela Stadium you can find Hotel Promenade, located in Nelspruit. We can host up to 250 delegates and 144 sharing for accommodation. We are only 50kms away from Kruger National Park, so we are a great overnight stay on your way to the wild. Northern-Drakensberg, what a beautiful mountain We are very privileged to have Mont Aux Sources Hotel in our group. With a magnificent view of the Amphi-Theatre, we can host up to 300 delegates and accommodate 168 sharing. Hiking Trails are available for the fit and not so fit. Located next to Royal Natal Park. We can organise horse riding or Team Building for your delegates, just say the word! Step 10: The Follow Up Remember your delegates! Always let them feel special. Post-event communication: • Say “Thank you” - this will enhance your chances of retaining your delegates to come back to similar conferences you host. • Survey Time – it’s important to get feedback from your delegates about their experience. This will help you in future planning of your conferences to enhance your delegate experience and to make them happy Written by Antoinette Kleyn Marketing Manager

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Kids Stay Free at Orion Hotels
22 February 2019

Orion Hotels & Resorts offers 6 hotels which cater to your children needs

“How long do children spend their time outside?” “On average, children aged 10 to 16 now spend only 12.6 minutes a day on vigorous outdoor activity compared with 10.4 waking hours being relatively motionless”.  Playing outside is fantastic for helping children practise their physical abilities. Exercises such as running, jumping, skipping and playing ball games not only strengthen little muscles, but they can also help with gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and overall health and well-being. If you are a parent, then you would definitely understand the importance of kids playing outside and having the time of their lives. After all, you were once in their shoes, where your imagination just takes over and the world was your oyster. Nowadays if something doesn’t have a screen then children don’t seem to be interested. Luckily at Orion Hotels & Resorts, we want all the kiddies to get some fresh air, enjoy the great outdoors and have some good old fashioned fun. We are very much a family orientated hotel group and we are always looking to provide an experience rather than just providing our guests with accommodation or a room. Make Orion Hotels & Resorts part of your next family adventure: Orion Hotels & Resort has 9 beautiful hotels spread across 5 provinces, each with their own unique style and charisma. Our hotels offer a wide variety of attractions and activities to keep the kiddies busy while you enjoy a fresh cocktail and relax. Orion Hotels and Resorts is a family-friendly hotel group. We have a Kids Stay Free policy whereas a maximum of two kids under the age of 12 stay free with sharing adults, and only pay for meals   Why not explore the Drakensberg and stay at Mont Aux Sources Hotel: One of our stunning hotels, nestled in the pretty little town called Bergville, also known as the gateway to the Northern Drakensberg, is called Mont Aux Sources Hotel. This is the perfect getaway for all families alike. The property is surrounded by stunning mountains and showcases nature at its finest. The best part is we offer a wide variety of activities to do for the entire family, from putt-putt to fishing and even mountain biking trails.   Rustenburg is the perfect weekend getaway: Nestled at the foothills of the Rustenburg Kloof and Magaliesberg Mountain, one can find Safari Lodge. The hotel is easily accessible from all the major metropolitan areas of Gauteng. The tranquil and relaxed country setting, together with its central location, making it the ideal holiday destination, from which to explore the many attractions and natural splendour. One thing to always keep in mind is kids grow up extremely quickly. So it’s best to make those family memories and cherish every single moment with them.

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Valentine’s Day at Orion Hotels
15 February 2019

Can you feel it in the air? It’s that time of year again where shop fronts are covered in red, white and pink. It’s Valentine’s Day. Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day by showering our loved ones with chocolates, flowers and cute stuffed animals. But do you really know the true origin of Valentine’s Day? In the beginning To cut a long story short and without boring you, we celebrate Valentine’s Day in honor of a Roman Saint, St Valentine who was martyred on the 14th of February 269 AD. This saint is widely recognized as the saint of love and was martyred for helping Christians in Rome who were persecuted during that time. In 469 AD Pope Gelasius established the feast of Saint Valentine in honor of the Christian Martyr. Today we know this day to be Valentine’s Day Since then we continue to celebrate Saint Valentine and this year will be no different. The tradition of Saint Valentine is not known to many and in our modern times we celebrate this day as the day of love. How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Every couple or person celebrates this day differently. Children write cards at school, boyfriends go in search of red roses, a symbol of love, others enjoy a romantic dinner with their partner. It is a subjective celebration of love in any shape or form. Looking for a new way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one? At Orion Hotels we have put together packages to help you in achieving the perfect expression of love. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Orion Hotels in Limpopo We have 3 hotels in Limpopo where you can sweep your Valentine off their feet. Coach House & Spa is preparing a romantic dinner for 2 with the added option to stay the night and truly experience the beauty of the country. Our offerings at Magoebaskloof Hotel is similar in setting, but the menu is very different. Each of our hotels are unique and bring a different type of romance, depending on your preference. Ditholo Game Lodge, located in Bela-Bela is our African Lodge where you can dine under the stars, listen to the sounds of wildlife and let the love between you and your partner become one with nature. Here you are able to stay the night or even the entire weekend. Why not celebrate the day of love over 3 days. Let Orion Hotels help you express your love in the Drakensberg Flanked by South Africa’s majestic Drakensberg Mountains, Mont Aux Sources Hotel has the romantic setting you have been waiting for. We have a 5 course plated menu and wine pairing waiting for you and your partner and you don’t need to worry about driving back home after your dinner, you can stay the night with us and enjoy the remainder of the evening. What about Gauteng? Orion Hotels have 2 properties within the Gauteng region. The Devonshire Hotel and Velmoré Hotel & Spa, each with their own uniqueness. The Devonshire Hotel has a dinner and stay offer that will surely you give you the city rush you are looking for. Unless you are looking for a more refined elegance which you will find at Velmoré Hotel & Spa. Both of these hotels have dinner and stay packages that will bring out the romantic in you. Still, haven’t found what you are looking for? Orion Hotels has more offers for you, because you know your loved one deserve it, why not book a table at The Venue Country Hotel & Spa where a 5 course plated dinner menu is what you can expect and if the drive is too far out of the city, you can spend the night or how about the whole weekend. Safari Lodge, Hotel & Convention Centre located in Rustenburg and Hotel Promenade located in Nelspruit have romantic packages to help you and your partner experience a romance filled Valentine’s Day. All 9 of our Orion Hotels are offering romantic dinners, romantic dinner and stay options or a full romantic weekend away. The decision is up to you, where will you go? What will be your choice, because we know Love is subjective we have 9 locations each with their own romance filled plans ready for you and your partner to arrive. We eagerly await your decision.

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