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The Oyster Box Hotel was built in 1954, and many years later it was bought by the Founder and President of the Red Carnation Group. The hotel then had a full restoration and re-opened in 2009, where the wonderful 1950s charm was marvellously maintained.
Boasting luxurious accommodation, fine dining and a magnificent spa, The Oyster Box Hotel has it all for an exceptional stay. In this piece, I talk about some of its features and why I love it so much.
The Oyster Box is located in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban and sits along the beautiful Umhlanga Beach promenade, a famous site in South Africa. The hotel looks out to panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and the famous Umhlanga lighthouse. So it has the perfect backdrop for that afternoon cocktail on the terrace or dip in the pool. If early starts are your thing, you can take a stroll or jog along the promenade, which the hotel has direct access to, to watch the beautiful sunrises above the Indian Ocean. Watching the sunrise over the sea in Durban is one thing that I think should be on every visitor's bucket list, as it’s just incredible and there is no better way to start the day.
Just a few minutes walk from the Oyster Box is Umhlanga Village, with its vast selection of restaurants, bars and shops to enjoy. From Steakhouses to local Bunnychow, to cocktail bars and sports bars, the village has it all.
There is a variety of both sea-facing garden rooms and suites available, all of which are luxurious and stylishly decorated. The sea rooms all boast beautiful views of the Indian Ocean, and the garden rooms are nestled among the peaceful lush gardens. For a luxurious stay, the sea-facing deluxe suites are pretty special. They are located on the ground level and come complete with a private plunge pool and terrace. However, the Presidential Suite is the pinnacle of suites and offers incredible luxury and features. Breakfast is included with every room, and it is quite some spread.
A stay at the Oyster Box gives access to the magnificent swimming pools, and the main one looks out to the lighthouse and the Indian Ocean. The signature red and white sun loungers and parasols perfectly match against the red and white lighthouse in front of the pool, makes a picture-perfect scene.
There are numerous bars and restaurants, most of which I have had the privilege to enjoy. The Ocean Terrace has beautiful views across the Indian Ocean and serves a Bistro-style menu. Lunches here are a must to enjoy the sea views, and at night the famous Curry Buffet is a unique culinary experience. For a delicious High Tea in beautiful surroundings, The Palm Court is another must.
All of the pastries and baked goods are produced on-site, and there is a vast selection of freshly baked pastries, scones, cakes, quiches and sandwiches to enjoy while listening to the live Pianist. There is also The Grill Room that offers fine dining, which visitors has been renowned for 70 years. An intimate and elegant space, The Grill Room serves up classic favourites as well as the restaurant’s signature dishes and contemporary creations. I loved the Classic 1920’s Hors d’Oeuvres Trolley, which had an extensive range of 18 delicious ‘old world’ appetisers. For something extra special, there is the Chef’s Table, which is a private fine-dining experience where you can watch the chefs prepare your delicious 5-course wine-paired menu.
Of course, if you are dining at The Oyster Box, then a drink in one of the marvellous bars is a must. During balmy sunny afternoons, I love nothing more than a sundowner or two in the Lighthouse Bar. With vast views of the Indian Ocean and live music, there is no better way to start the evening. Alternatively, The Oyster Bar, with its long marble bar, is perfect for pre-dinner drinks or an afternoon coffee. It also has an Oyster, Salmon and Sushi Bar, that serves up a delicious selection of sushi, fresh oysters (of course!), home-cured salmon, Asian tacos and prawn cocktail, and fresh prawns and crayfish. For the after-dinner nightcap, the Chukka Bar, which is filled with old-world charm and character, offers an excellent selection of cigars, whiskeys and specialist beers.
Surrounded by secluded tropical gardens, The Spa is a tranquil place to relax and unwind in luxury. On my recent visit to The Spa, I had a magnificent facial treatment and then spent time unwinding in the plunge pool and tranquillity room. I also enjoyed the drinks and healthy meals on offer and I left feeling incredible. There are numerous other treatments to enjoy, including massages, The Hamman, Rejuvenating Spa Journeys, to name a few, so there is something for everyone. If you are looking for a more active trip to The Spa, there is also a fitness centre and outdoor yoga classes.
In summary, if you are looking for an elegant and luxurious hotel with 1950s charm, that boats fantastic food and drink, incredible sea views and a wonderful Spa then a stay the Oyster Box in Kwazulu Natal is a must.