We get it that not everyone makes it to Durban on their first visit to South Africa. But as ours was a four-week journey, it made sense to schedule a few days of down time—and what better place to do it than on the shores of the beautiful (and warm) Indian Ocean?
Besides, I wanted to see The Oyster Box!
Yesterday my husband and I were at Starbucks discussing what were our favorite hotels ever in our travels. We’ve had the privilege of staying at some of the world's best, including Four Seasons George V in Paris, the Saxon in Johannesburg and many others. So I was happy to hear Al say that my hotel pick for Durban was one of his favorites of all time.
As a 5-star hotel that’s part of the Red Carnation group, it was a given that the interior design of The Oyster Box would be impeccable. Not only did it not disappoint, but it repeatedly exceeded expectation.
The rooms are not all alike, but we loved the British Colonial look of ours. It seemed perfect for its place.
Our sea-facing room opened onto a grassy lawn. The beach was down a flight of stairs, and staff was on hand there to hand out towels.
The hotel’s perch was ideally located, with a rocky beach and tide pools on the left…
…and a sandy beach on the right.
We had many special meals during our four-week trip across South Africa, and one of them was at The Oyster Box’s flagship restaurant, The Grill Room. It's gorgeous, the food was excellent, and the service impeccable.
The waiters' uniforms were the perfect addition to help set the mood, and we had the pleasure of sitting at arm’s length from one of those stunning urns.
Because of the advantageous exchange rate, our chateaubriand—prepared flambé at our table—was only US $30 for the two of us!
Isn’t that worth jumping on a plane and going?
The Oyster Box had everything at the breakfast buffet…
But you could also order from the menu. (With a menu graphic like this, you know the place is going to be great, right?)
And that’s to say nothing about how fun the monkeys were. At least, they’re fun for the guests (maybe less so for the staff). One morning at breakfast, some of the little thieves jumped down from the rafters and made off with some sugar packets from the next table.
On the way back to our room, we saw others having a picnic at the expense of guests who left their second-floor balcony doors open. Here are two of the picnic pilferers. "Yum, Kit Kat and Pringles!"
Al and I even learned the lesson the hard way when, while sitting on our patio, a monkey scooted right past us, into our room, and stole a banana! Of course we were happy for him to have it—just wished he’d paused a little longer for a photo op. Here’s a different one who was more cooperative (no doubt eyeing her next treat).
The Palm Court is also the venue for high tea in the afternoon and delectable sweets at night. The ceramic chandeliers were purchased from The Savoy Hotel in London.
Also special is the Lighthouse Bar, from which this photo was taken. It’s a happening place on the weekends. Go early and enjoy the sunset.
I loved the Lighthouse Bar's Knole sofa with such a great, textured fabric.
There’s so much more that could be said about The Oyster Box. The private theater. The transparent floor under an inlaid table, through which is seen the Wine Cellar (available for private dining).
Or the library (really a museum) that can be accessed with just your guest key. You may be the only one in there, pretending for a few moments to be in another time.
In short, there are surprises and eye candy everywhere you look. We have no hesitation about booking clients at The Oyster Box. We think that, as with us, it will exceed expectation.
No matter that there was no one to pull the rickshaw. I didn't want to leave anyway.