Whenever you think of Umhlanga, just north of Durban in the KwaZulu Natal Province, you think of the very iconic red and white lighthouse…
The vibrant city of Durban has been voted the South African city with the best quality of life for several years which also promises for an unforgettable stay, especially when visiting the Oyster Box Hotel.
After doing your research about this part of the part, you will soon realise that the true “gem”, or as we would like to call it the “oyster” is in fact the Oyster Box Hotel, an upmarket 5 star Boutique Hotel, which has, without a doubt, got the best seat in the house over the lighthouse.
This iconic hotel has walked away with a number of awards in the past, and recently even received a prestigious accolade at the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards after being appointed as the ‘Top Resort Hotel in Africa’ category. This however comes as no surprise to us…
This hotel has a long sense of history to it which dates back to as far as 1863, when the original cottage, named “The Oyster Lodge” was built and the structure was used as navigational beacon.
In 1952, the original Cottage was sold and converted into a lovely tea garden, which became a restaurant, and then finally The Oyster Box Hotel, which opened in March 1954. Further restorations have commenced for nearly two years, since 2007 to 2009, and even though some of the original structures remain intact, it can be said that the Oyster Box Hotel, as we see it today, has been re-built. A lot of pieces collected from various travels aboard can still be seen throughout the hotel, which includes the inlaid hand-painted tiles and friezes.
The hotel consists of a number of “beacons / highlights” which includes the double volume, Palm Court, with skylights, allowing the natural light to flood into the courtyard area, so no, not only for the incredible afternoon tea which is served here daily, but for a number of other reasons also. This Hotel offers two more formal restaurants, which are The Ocean Terrace and Grill Room Restaurant – each whose food is incredible and can be highly recommended. Another highlight of this Hotel, also amongst the youngsters of town is the very impressive Lighthouse Bar, overlooking the iconic red and white lighthouse and the Indian Ocean – self-explanatory why it is so popular, not to mention their personalised Gin And Tonic Menu.
With the great weather, all year around, which makes for those lazy days lounging next to the either of the Hotel’ swimming pools a favourite for us whilst visiting. The main swimming pool offers amazing views over the Indian Ocean and it really does make you feel as if you are the sailor to your own ship. We love the fact that this hotel has incorporated the red and white colours of the lighthouse onto the sun-loungers and umbrellas around the swimming pools. There are beautiful gardens brimming with bird-life and monkeys throughout the property and for the eager-beavers wanting to feel their toes in the sand – there is direct access to miles of protected beaches and beach side walking paths. Whilst on the beach, support one of the many initiatives of the Oyster Box Hotel – one of which is their beach clean-up. For every bucket filled with rubbish do you receive a complimentary drink.
For those who wish to be treated even more, as if this Hotel and experience here is not a big enough treat already, there is also an award-winning Spa, with a number of treatments to chose from.
Unfortunately, we had to attend to the odd e-mail over our stay, but after stepping through the doors of the impressive library of the Oyster Box Hotel, it was a pleasure to attend to what had to be attended to “work-wise”.
The rooms are all very spacious and offers specific attention to the finest of details. We have visited a number of places before and have we seen some interesting amenities, but as this Hotel do by surpassing all expectations, have they also done so with their amenities – which even included a Hand-Sanitiser. We opted for the option of breakfast in bed; and was new meaning even given to this too, and can we promise that after you’ve experienced this, you would want to have breakfast in bed every day. You should give it a try. If this is not for you, and you opt for the option to sit down for breakfast in the Palm Court, we can reassure you that this option won’t disappoint you either.
This Hotel is also very child-friendly and offers a number of activities to keep the children busy and entertained during their stay.
In all the ways that reflect and celebrate the legend of The Oyster Box, the experience of the contemporary Oyster Box is one that holds the grand hotel’s history, heritage, heart and ‘home’ in perfect balance.
The Oyster Box has long been treasured as a place where memories are made and we are grateful to have included the Oyster Box Hotel in one of our “Leef Jou Reis” memories during Season 7.
The Oyster Box, definitely the oyster to our worlds…