At the beginning of the year 8 of us committed to getting away locally more often. We put the Oyster Box at the top of our pile of travel plans, booked and let the year wear on. In the thick of winter and a break in dire need, our weekend sprung itself upon us and off we went to tropical Umhlanga for a couple of nights of luxury, lush weather and that iconic red and white light-house. The 5-star Oyster Box Hotel is one of the best in the world, let alone South Africa, in my opinion. The setting, the service, the climate, the design, they all work together to collide in a little boutique hotel on the Umhlanga coast that just nails it. It oozes charm and splendour and you never want to leave. It reminds me a lot of Raffles in Singapore, home of the Singapore Sling.
Umhlanga’s climate is balmy and the Oyster Box has harnessed this to create some of the most wild and wonderful gardens I’ve ever seen. If you’re a plant-lover you can lose yourself for hours in its thicket; beware the monkeys. We stayed in a salmon pink sea-facing room with magical ocean views. It’s not uncommon to be paid a visit by a furry friend or two in search of snacks. The rooms are lush, the kind that lend themselves to long baths and afternoon naps. Anywhere you can sleep with the doors open and dream to the sound of the sea is my idea of heaven.
You’ve probably heard of the famous Oyster Box buffet, complete with Champagne, oysters, and pretty much anything your heart desires. They do a mean high-tea and curry spread too, all of which can be enjoyed by day visitors, however booking is essential. We treated ourselves to a movie in the private cinema whilst the boys watched a rugby game up the road on the Saturday night. There’s a full library of movies to watch, accompanied by popcorn, sweets and tea. I was surprised by how warm the weather was mid-winter and we lay at the pool in the afternoons eating home-made ice-cream and drinking beer shandies. You can also order from the restaurant menu and dine on your lounger overlooking the ocean. There’s a roof-top bar that comes to life in the evenings with live music and super views. The whites and blues of the property are punctuated with red and white accents, obviously borrowing from the hues of its imposing neighbour; the beautiful lighthouse.
Do yourself a favour and spoil yourself with a stay at the Oyster Box in your lifetime; keep an eye out for specials here.
Address: Oyster Box Hotel, 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319, Durban
Telephone: +27 31 514 5000