When Shane and I went on the Rovos Rail in November we started in Pretoria and ended in Durban. We had one day to spend there and so we stayed in the iconic Oyster Box Hotel situated on Umhlanga’s beachfront overlooking the Indian Ocean and it’s iconic lighthouse.
This absolutely beautiful hotel has such an interesting history attached to it. In 1863 it started out as ‘The Oyster Lodge’ and then in 1954 it was sold and turned into a tea garden, which over time became a restaurant and then The Oyster Box Hotel. The original owner of the hotel passed it onto her brother who in turn sold it to its current owners. This is the part of the story I really love – the owners Stanley and Bea Tollman were visiting the Oyster Box one day, Stan who loved the place so much and landed up proposing to Bea telling her that one day he was going to buy it and make it theirs, which is exactly what he did a few years later! Shane can I have a hotel, please?!
It was my first time at The Oyster Box and I was blown away by how absolutely beautiful it is inside and out. So much attention to detail has been put into every aspect of it that you just can’t help but feel a little fancy when walking through its halls. I think my favourite part has to be the main pool area which could live very comfortably in a Wes Anderson film, what with it’s red and white stripy lounges and ice blue pool. Unfortunately, on the day we were there it was raining and the cushions and umbrellas weren’t out. I also love the fact that you’re right on the promenade and all you have to do is walk down their private wooden staircase and you’re surrounded by the natural beauty that is Durban.
There are a few restaurants and bars within the hotel to choose from, offering proper fine dining as well as more laid-back options. There are private villas, sea facing rooms, rooftop bars, amazing little nooks and crannies where you can relax and breath in some wonderful sea air, a library, a cinema, a tea room and an award-winning spa, which was one of the most beautiful and tranquil spas I have ever been in!
Another thing I have to mention because the cake fiend in me nearly did somersaults when I saw it, was their High Tea set-up. Wowzers I have never ever seen such a colourful and inviting spread before, I think I took like a thousand photos of just that area. I’m talking cakes, mousses, cupcakes, marshmallows, chocolate fountains, biscuits, meringues and that’s just the tip of the cakeberg! So if you’re in Durban and you want to spoil someone or yourself for that matter, go to one of their High Teas, that happen not once but twice a day!
We got to stay in one of the Oyster Box’s private villas, which comes complete with its own heated plunge pool, lounge and master suit. The rooms are tastefully laid out and decorated and really make you feel like you’re being treated to something special. I must also mention that the snack selection in the room was crazy, they literally think of everything! I tucked into those like it was my last day on earth. They even spoil you with a little Lindt on your pillow before you tuck yourself into bed. Now that’s my kind of turn down.
Out stay was really short but really nice and one day I hope to go back, re-propose to Shane and tell him that The Oyster Box is now officially ours hehe.
Telephone: +27 31 514 5000
Address: 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga, Durban, South Africa