I grew up holidaying on the Natal South Coast, so I have many fond memories of the walking to the beach in the humid, muggy mornings and swimming for hours in the warm Indian Ocean. I haven’t been back in a couple of years, so when my friend Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad invited me to join her for a night at The Oyster Box, I threw my swimsuit in a bag and booked my ticket to Durban in like ten seconds flat.
The Oyster Box is the iconic red and white beauty set right on the water in Umhlanga. You probably know it for the red and white lighthouse that’s front and centre on the beachfront and forms part of the patio and swimming pool view. It was voted the number 1 hotel in South Africa for 2017 and after visiting, I can totally see why.
We arrived early on a 6am flight from Cape Town and headed straight to the pool. Durban is pretty summery year-round and it never really gets too cold to swim. So despite it being autumn, I got a nice tan while lounging around between dips in the luke warm pool. A hot tip for your visit, is that the spa pool is really quiet if you’re looking for a little privacy.
I really loved the laid-back luxury of the hotel, which is opulent and lush, but comes with friendly smiles and relaxed hello’s from staff. We stayed in a villa, which had its own pool and downstairs lounge and in the morning we feasted on the breakfast buffet, which includes sparkling wine and fresh oysters.
Between swimming and tanning we managed to make some time for High Tea, which is really popular with locals, so I recommend making a reservation. The tea room is honestly the perfect place to nibble on tiny sandwiches and miniature cakes off fine Royal Albert china. It’s a nice excuse to get a little dressed up, too.
In terms of things to do, if you feel like the beach, two pools, a spa, the bar and the restaurant aren’t enough for you, you might enjoy their private cinema, or the Beauty and The Beast-esque library room. The hotel also offers complimentary scheduled transfers to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping every day from 08:00 until 20:00.
This was honestly my favourite hotel stay in South Africa and I can’t wait to go back. If you’re looking for a little local getaway or somewhere to escape the dry Joburg or rainy Cape Town winter, this is your spot. Keep an eye on their website for winter offers and special deals.