From the beautiful life-size carvings of animals arching out of fountains and hand-painted domed ceilings to the tusklike pens in every room, the decor of this fantastical hotel is totally over the top and a must for anyone even remotely interested in design. Standard rooms are large, but not as opulent as the public spaces (even the lifts feature wonderful detailing), so make sure you book a lake-facing room, where the view will make up for it. If money is no object, however, you can't beat a suite on the top floor of the Palace -- just ask Oprah Winfrey, who hosted a million-dollar New Year's Eve party at the Palace in 2006. Service at the Palace is outstanding; the staff-to-guest ratio is nearly one-to-one. For the best fine-dining experience in Sun City, book a table here at the Villa Del Palazzo, which serves northern Italian cuisine in a romance-soaked double-volume room overlooking the water, or the Crystal Court, where 7m-high (23-ft.) doors open onto rolling views of the Valley of Waves. If you can't afford to stay at the Palace, you can take a tour of the hotel for R65 ($9/£4.65); otherwise you won't be let in.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010