The Oyster Box: The Lowdown

 

Extraordinary Africa> South Africa > KwaZulu Natal> The Oyster Box

The Oyster Box has a long history, and a legion of fans, both Durbanites and international visitors, and today, it’s very much the charming, grand old lady of the glamourous suburb of Umhlanga Rocks.

What’s the Oyster Box really like?

If we’re honest, we’d expected not to like the Oyster Box, so it was rather a treat to be proven gently, but comprehensively wrong. Opened in 1947, there’s a definitely colonial feel to the hotel- it’s the sort of place you can imagine a piano tinkling away during afternoon tea, and there were several leather armchairs in the cigar lounge that we imagined had heard a story or two. Alongside this is a distinctly South African flair- the light and airy Oyster Bar serving excellent local wine, and delicious curries in the restaurant.  Outside there’s a spectacular pool overlooking the lighthouse and the ocean, and there’s a second pool that’s close to the rather excellent spa. We should also mention the kid’s club. Being far too old we weren’t allowed to join in, but from a peep through the door it looked like a huge amount of fun.

Upstairs and outside, there are 88 rooms, ranging from classic rooms, through larger luxury rooms, to cabanas with four poster beds, a variety of different suites, and several family rooms. There are also a number of villas tucked away in the gardens which can be adapted to have two bedrooms, and come with a plunge pool. A handful of rooms face out of the gardens (some of the classic rooms, loft rooms, and the villas), but most face towards the ocean.  The Oyster Box has hosted everyone from royal honeymooners to countless delighted families, so we do genuinely think it’d suit almost any travellers, unless you’ve got a serious penchant for cutting edge modern design.

What can I do at the Oyster Box?

One of the great delights of staying at the Oyster Box is that you’re well located for popping out to the shops and restaurants of Umhlanga Rocks, and many of our guests will stay here with a hire car. There’s the beach outside the hotel, deep sea fishing and diving trips that the concierge can arrange for you, and an in-house cinema for guests. As well as the spa, there’s also a small gym for guests wishing to keep fit on holiday, though we’d also recommend a gentle sightseeing jog along the promenade.

Giving back at the Oyster Box:  The Oyster Box does much to limit its impact on the surrounding environment- using heat from the air condition to warm the swimming pools, deploying solar glazing and energy efficient lights and lamps, and recycling grey water. Left behind books and magazines are given to local schools, and the hotel is part of Pack for a Purpose, so if you’d like to do a bit, please let us know.

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