Durban is the third biggest city in South Africa and also one of the major centers of tourism because of its warm climate and wonderful beaches. In 2015, it was recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities and it’s no wonder why because this city can amaze anyone.
When you visit Durban you will find the award winning 5-star Oyster Box Hotel, located in Umhlanga, a resort town 20 minutes north of Durban Central. It has been a top luxury hotel since the 1930s, that was originally built as a beach cottage in 1869 even before the town was founded.
The hotel is absolutely magnificent. Not to mention its luxurious rooms, I loved waking up to stunning views of the lighthouse and ocean and feeling the opulence the hotel exudes. The hotel is immaculate, it has shining marble floors, glass elevators, and posh furniture. The relaxed, old world charm of the place draws you in, transports you to another era and leaves you revitalized.
The pool with direct access to the beach allowed me to forget about the routine sunbathing while reading a book. Having High Tea and hearing the grand piano at the Palm Court was delightful. The massage I had at the spa was one of the best I’ve ever had, so were the cocktails watching the sunset at the Lighthouse Bar. We enjoyed having the private cinema all to ourselves and a unique location I particularly liked was the Clock Library where I got some work done in complete tranquility.
The Oyster Box hotel will grant you all the comforts, facilities, cuisine and services that you need; and its friendly and efficient personnel will be there to assist you in every need. Let me share with you the main characteristics of the hotel, the different kinds of rooms where you can stay, the various restaurants and bars, its amenities, services, and the activities that you can do.
1. Main Characteristics of the Oyster Box
a. Red Carnation Hotels
First of all, I have to mention that The Oyster Box is part of the award-winning Red Carnation Hotels which are a collection of family-run boutique hotels. They operate in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.
b. Prime Location
Only 20 min. drive from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, the Oyster Box is standing on Umhlanga’s beachfront, overlooking the Indian Ocean and the iconic lighthouse.
c. Easy Access and parking
The hotel has its own private docking place so you can swiftly arrive here by taxi or UBER. And if you are coming with your own car there is plenty space for parking.
d. Sustainability and Social Responsibility
The Oyster Box hotel supports green initiatives and local charities as the Amy Biehl Foundation. I loved that it also gives the guests the opportunity to participate:
- Keeping our Local Beach Clean: for every bucket of rubbish collected from the beach, you can have a complimentary cocktail or milkshake in the bar.
- Pack for a Purpose: your can help local communities by donating medical items, pens, or toys that The Oyster Box will deliver.
For the reasons mentioned above as well as for many more, The Oyster Box hotel has received several awards, one of the most important being voted No. 1 Top Hotel in South Africa by TripAdvisor.
Several actors, politicians, and sports players have stayed here. Outside the Chukka Bar, you can see the wall of fame that includes pictures of Prince Harry, Khloe Kardashian, Penelope Cruz, and Vladimir Putin.
2. The Rooms
With 86 luxurious rooms, suites, and villas, each one has a particular style.
a. My Room
I personally had the chance to stay at a Sea Facing Deluxe Suite and it was definitely a dream come true.
The bedroom had a king bed, air-conditioning, ceiling fans and flat screen TV. The bathroom had a large bathtub and shower equipped with heated towel rails. The room had a separate lounge area with tea and coffee making facilities, and complimentary mineral water and fresh fruit. And when I opened the windows of my room, I was in completely astonished by the sweeping views that surrounded me. I was able to swim in a nice small pool that overlooked the lighthouse.
- Garden Villa Lofts
- Classic Garden Facing King/Twin
- Classic Sea Facing King/Twin
- Luxury Sea Facing King/Twin
- Sea Facing Cabanas
- Sea Facing Family Room
- Luxury Sea Facing Suite
- Deluxe Sea Facing Suite
- Superior Garden Villa
- Presidential Suite
When you stay at the Oyster Box hotel, you get to taste a diverse variety of gourmet indulgence every day! Of course, incredible oysters are on the menu, even for breakfast accompanied by champagne. You can choose from the following:
a. The Palm Court
Four magnificent chandeliers, towering palms, amazing architecture and live piano music made the Palm Court one of my favorite places in the hotel. The atmosphere is warm and chic and you can enjoy Buffet Breakfast, High Tea, Evening Indulgence and a 24 hrs. limited menu here.
b. The Ocean Terrace
Just in front of the pool, you will find the Ocean Terrace Restaurant in which you will be able to enjoy daily delicious buffet for breakfast, as well as an a la carte menu or the famous Curry Buffet for lunch and dinner.
c. The Grill Room
Under the culinary direction of Chef, Kevin Joseph, the legendary Grill Room has been renowned for its fine dining and outstanding cuisine for almost 70 years. Usually, it serves an a la carte menu for dinner but on special occasions, you can also find lunch.
a. The Lighthouse Bar
Even if you don’t stay at the hotel you should definitely visit the Light House Bar, it is one of Umhlanga’s hottest spots and offers tasty cocktails, snacks, live music and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and the iconic lighthouse.
b. The Oyster Bar
Right after the reception, you will find the Oyster Bar, which is the perfect place to have drinks with friends, business meetings or coffee with family. The Oyster, Salmon & Sushi Bar offers inspired Asian cuisine, and the Chef’s Table in the Wine Cellar is perfect for more intimate dining experiences.
c. The Chukka Bar
Surrounded by an intimate ambiance, the Chukka Bar made me feel like in a James Bond movie. It is the kind of place where you can look fancy having a sophisticated cocktail and a cigar.
a. Two Pools
The pool in front of the beach was my favorite, it had a cool vibe, nice bar, books and amazing views of the ocean making it the perfect place to sunbath and relax either reading or swimming in the pool. Did I mention I also got complimentary oysters?
There is also a more private pool nearby the SPA, which will be the best if you want a more peaceful and quiet place.
b. Direct Beach access
Enjoy direct access to the Umhlanga beach, with beach chairs, towels, and an umbrella to keep you comfortable.
c. In-house cinema
How cool is this? You also have complimentary access to the in-house cinema that includes popcorn & sweet treats. When I went there the room was empty so my friends and I enjoyed a private movie function!
d. The Clock Library
The beautiful Clock library made me feel like in the movie Titanic, its design is so elegant and stylized and the wide selection of books is amazing.
e. The SPA
Rejuvenate yourself after touring the city of Durban by booking a spot in the Oyster Box SPA. Skilled therapists perform a wide range of spa treatments. The SPA counts with 6 treatment rooms, Hammam (oriental heat experience), Manicure and Pedicure Salon, Tranquility Lounge with healthy treats, Plunge Pool and separate male and female changing areas.
f. Fitness Centre
For the guests who don’t want to skip on their daily regimen, the hotel has an equipped gym. It has a full range of cardio and resistance machines.
g. Meetings and Conferences
Five unique venues can handle different numbers of people. Whether it is for a large conference or workshop or an intimate meeting or seminar, the venues and technology support are perfect.
The Oyster Box is luxurious, elegant and magical. Proposals, engagements and of course weddings can be legendary here.
a. Friendly Staff
From the moment you drive up your car, receive a welcome drink, and get a tour of the facilities, you can realize the kindness and friendliness of the staff. The helpful staff is willing to go the extra mile to do whatever it takes to make your stay one that will never be forgotten.
b. Free Wi-Fi
Free fast Wi-Fi access is available throughout the hotel. I was impressed because the Wi-Fi was very fast, my favorite place to work was the main pool.
The hotel is pet-friendly and it even has a lovely cat named Skabenga which has its own Facebook Page! By the way, I also loved the cheeky monkeys on the patio, they are cute and will only come to you if you have some food – hide it if you don’t want a monkey encounter 😉
6. The activities
The Oyster Box prime location is perfect to enjoy all the activities that Umhlanga and Durban offer.
a. Kids Holiday Club
Children between 4 and 12 years have supervised activities. The children’s playroom facilities, include X-Box, Play Station, DVD’s and a selection of board games.
b. Restaurants and stores
There is a wide variety of restaurants outside the hotel. You can explore the area walking.
c. The Gateway Theatre of Shopping
The Oyster Box hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to this shopping mall which was a wide variety of retail outlets and restaurants. You should definitely visit it to buy nice souvenirs and taste delicious food.
d. Discover Durban
There are many places to visit as Victoria Street Market, Durban Botanical Gardens, St Lucia Wetland Park, Beechwood Mangroves, KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields, The Drakensberg Mountains, and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Don’t miss the chance to stay at the Oyster Box!
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