The Oyster Box is a grand, old style hotel, oozing period charm set beside the well-known Umhlanga lighthouse. Sadly, the building had fallen into disrepair by the early 21st century but has since been lovingly rebuilt. The present hotel retains many of its original features such as the colonnaded terrace, revolving entrance door, elegant wrought-ironwork and distinctive black and white floor tiles, which give it the feel of a bygone era.
Great attention to detail is evident in the decor of the 86 rooms and suites. Murals, tiles, paintings, window shutters and antique furniture are combined with modern comforts such as air conditioning, flat screen TV, CD and DVD player, free Wi-Fi and lavish en-suite bathroom. There are several categories of accommodation, some facing the gardens and others with sea views, and many have their own balcony or terrace.
Between them, the four restaurants serve a broad range of cuisines including succulent grills, tasty tandoori dishes and pizzas cooked in special ovens, gorgeous afternoon teas with sweet and savoury treats, and, of course, freshly prepared oysters gathered from the hotel's own oyster beds. There's a choice of bars, too.
The hotel has two outdoor pools, one facing the ocean and the other tucked away in the grounds, both with sundecks. If you'd like some beach time, the hotel provides deck chairs, towels and parasols, or you can find a quiet place to sit in the gardens among the ponds and water features. Other amenities include a gym, cinema and spa with a choice of treatments including massages, a hammam and spa pool.
Images supplied by The Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Open: The Oyster Box is open all year.
Location: The hotel is on Umhlanga Beach, north of Durban in KwaZulu Natal. It is about 19kms from King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) in Durban.
Rooms: There are 86 rooms in total in several categories: classic rooms, luxury rooms, family rooms, cabanas, garden villas, deluxe suites, luxury suites and the presidential suite. All have individually controlled air conditioning, ceiling fans, tea and coffee maker, mineral water, minibar, flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, IDD phone, Wi-Fi internet access, safe and en-suite bathroom with heated towel rail, bathrobes and slippers and hairdryer. There are garden facing and sea facing rooms, the latter having balconies. The family rooms have 2 bedrooms each. Cabanas are on the ground floor and have private terraces. Villas are set in the gardens and have a lounge, bar and deck. Each can be combined with a garden villa loft to provide 2 bedrooms. Suites have a lounge and terrace with a plunge pool. The presidential suite is arranged over 2 floors, with a large bedroom, his and hers bathrooms, a second bedroom, lounge, dining room and terrace with infinity pool.
Activities: The hotel supplies beach gear including a beach bag, deck chairs, sunshade, bats and ball and suncream if you fancy some time on the beach. Umhlanga village centre is just a 5 minute walk away, and Durban with all its shops, markets, cafes, bars, restaurants and botanical gardens is a short drive from the hotel. There are a number of golf courses in the vicinity. Hotel staff can arrange various activities including snorkelling, diving and helicopter flights, and excursions to St Lucia Wetlands, Beechwood Mangroves nature reserve, the Battlefields, Drakensberg Mountains and Phinda Game Reserve.
Facilities: The hotel has a choice of restaurants – see below – offering different cuisines and dining styles. The Chukka Bar and Lighthouse Bar both serve a range of drinks, the former being the hotel’s sole smoking venue and the latter with a terrace overlooking the beach and lighthouse. There is an on-site 24-seater cinema showing 5 films a day and offering you the opportunity to select a film of your choice from their collection. There is a large spa complex with 6 treatment rooms, a hammam, beauty salon, health bar, plunge pool and gym. Outside there are gardens and 2 swimming pools and sundecks. There is a business centre. At the time of writing the hotel has a resident cat, Skabenga (scallywag), who you may well come across during your stay.
Dining: There are 4 restaurants: The Grill Room, Ocean Terrace, Oyster Bar and Palm Court. The last is used primarily for afternoon teas. Children’s menus are available.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. The hotel offers a Holiday Club with supervised activities and a playroom for children between the ages of 4 and 12. Children’s menus are available and there is a baby-sitting service. All rooms can sleep up to 2 adults and 2 children under 12 years.
Health: This is a low risk malaria area.
Communication: There is complimentary Wi-Fi internet access in rooms and social areas.
Notes: Pets are welcome at The Oyster Box, and garden villas provide suitably secluded accommodation.
Explore the Battlefields and the scenic Drankensburg and is some exciting game viewing and finish up relaxing on the beach, this is the perfect holiday whether you want to self-drive or be driven.