ATKV Resorts, I was in two minds about staying here as it’s not the usual type of establishment we would stay at and, most of my English friends gawked at me when I said I was thinking of spending a weekend here. Just the little man and I as the Man was in Congo. But little dude and I were itching to get away and with me hunkering down at my day job and with the little dude at school, we had to find something close to Durban. Accommodation close to Durban with fun activities for kids, where you can leave after work on a Friday and make it with more than enough time to still have a blast outdoors before the sun sets…ATKV Natalia.
Snooping online I found that it had a few options catering for small to large groups in the hotel type accommodation and even offered camping for those on a budget (or if you just prefer to experience camping with the kids – you know, toughen them up). Unfortunately, all availability for a two sleeper was fully booked thus I had to book the 4 Sleeper which in the end worked out just perfectly as the little dude asked if his best friend could join us for the weekend.
Booking was fairly easy, you telephone the ATKV line and an invoice is sent to your email address with proof of payment being sent to secure your booking. Granted, I had not heard from them after making payment and thought I would receive some confirmation of my booking. I had to telephone to confirm that I was booked for the weekend and that my payment was received. But, considering how big the establishment is and how many bookings they must deal with, this is understandable.
All set for fun activities with the kids on our weekend vacation near Durban.
The road there
It is an easy drive from Durban taking the N2 South Bound but note, leaving after work on a Friday is probably not the best idea as the rush hour traffic added quite a bit of time to our travels. It’s suggested you leave an hour earlier before rush hour as this will definitely shave off some time and frustration. Pop the address into your GPS and it will take you right to the entrance of ATKV Natalia – 35 Elizabeth Avenue, Illovo Beach, Kingsburgh.
Now we’re here…
Driving through the campgrounds you make your way to the hotel. Take it slowly as there are children playing and monkeys bounding about. The parking space at the hotel is limited and if you’re unlucky, you have to park quite a distance from the hotel and walk up a hill or flight of stairs to make it to the hotel reception. And when you’re lugging a load of luggage, this can be a real a grumpy start to your vacation. However, I believe in making your own luck and circling around the resort twice I found someone leaving and stole their parking…
Going to reception we checked in, were given our keys as well as a little bag containing a remote for the TV in our room. We were told where to go to get to our room (either up four flights of stairs or take the elevator). Now, for any parent with two children in tow, you know that there is a lot of stuff to lug when going away even for a weekend. They do have trolleys that you can load your luggage onto to make the trips a from the car to your room a bit less labour intensive but unfortunately there were none available when we were checking in as these had been carted off by guests and not returned after they had unpacked. Thus, we had to lug all our luggage up to our room in 3 trips and found it faster taking the stairs as the elevator is small and was always packed when we came round with our next load of luggage.
We were only able to get the four-sleeper as mentioned earlier and this was one that was not sea facing thus you look over the campgrounds and it can be a bit drab. But we weren’t here for the view but to have fun so didn’t mind this too much. The rooms have everything you need with a well-appointed kitchen. However, there is no balcony and if you’re wanting to sit and enjoy some fresh air, yip, you’ve got to make your way down four flights of stairs or take the elevator (smokers, be warned, every time you light up, you’re going to have to take a brisk walk to get your fix – maybe a good thing for those lungs..)
On the Saturday we had a busy, busy day. Breakfast at the restaurant on site followed by a swim in the heated pool, round of miniature golf, game of giant chess, swim at the beach, up and down the water slide, jumping on the trampolines, to the shop to buy ice-creams and floaties… Okay, so the kids had a busy day. I was just there to follow them around making sure they didn’t drown or cause any nuisance to fellow guests. Managed to finally finish the book I had been reading for a week already.
The restaurant had some delicious and uncomplicated offerings and the shop is very well stocked. You can find a little bit of everything and if you’ve forgotten to bring some supplies from home or want to have a braai at one of the braais (barbeques) around the pool, you can get everything you need from the shop.
Lunch was pizza from the restaurant and the rest of the day the boys spent in the heated pool. There was a light drizzle but with the pool being heated, no one seemed to be fussed.
Finally pulling the boys out of the pool at 7 in the evening, we made our way to our room for a dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese which went mostly uneaten as well, the boys were pooped. They definitely had a blast!
It’s the long weekend
Did we mention we booked for the long weekend? It was packed and understandably so. The boys were excited for another full day of activities. Unfortunately, the shop had closed due to stock take thus we fixed up a breakfast of bacon and eggs in our room and headed to the pool (the waterslides only open at specific times).
Due to it being the long weekend, the pool area was packed and although there are signs everywhere stating that no alcohol is allowed at the pool area, this was ignored. One is even sent the rules when booking making it clear that no drinks or food around the pool area. This did put a bit of a glitch in our plans to have a fun time at the pool as there was glass lying about as well as food wrappers and masks to wade through to get to the pool. Never had I felt the need to have a ‘Karen moment’ and ask for management to request a clean-up but, it wasn’t a good experience and with large crowds sitting on the edges of pools a few drinks in and the next one sitting on the pool ledge I was feeling very Karen’ish. I hate making a fuss and try to look for the best in every situation, but it was bad…
A went in search of someone to assist to try and reign the crowds in, get them away from the pool area with glass, do a bit of a clean-up as it is dangerous for kids but, and this is where I really got fed-up, there was no one to be found. I decided it was best for all to rather edge away from the resort and chaos for the day and spent the remainder of our time on the beach. The kids were upset as they wanted to enjoy their last day at the resort but they ended up having a whole lot of fun on the beach making sandcastles and swimming.
We left early the next morning and I think, given that it was a long weekend, given that the staff were running stock-take, considering how they must have worked hard that weekend, that they were probably also stretched thin, we will probably go back, give it a second chance but, we don’t think we’re brave enough yet for a long weekend.
RATING: 5 out of 10 – Let’s go 50/50
Various accommodation options
Full DSTV Bouquet for those not wanting to miss the sport
Self-catering with a well-appointed kitchen in hotel
Fun activities for children
Well stocked shop
Braai facilities at the pool area
Restaurant on site
Private access to beach
So, this was not one of our most flattering pieces and, we hope to change that in the future. We do believe in giving every establishment a second chance as we understand that things don’t always go as planned and there are ‘off’ days. Keep your eyes on our page for when we head back to ATKV Natalia…
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +27 (0) 31 916 4545