The Oyster Box
Glamour Has A Name
The Indian Ocean breeze drifted through the terrace scenting the Oyster Bar, lobby and Palm Court with the delicate and unmistakable fragrance of jasmine, fynbos and protea. Delicate, distinctive and the perfect introduction to one of South Africa’s coastal cities, Durban fondly referred to as the warm city, a caption well earned not just for its sub tropical climate but also for its hospitable soul. My destination was the shore of Uhmlanga Rocks, laidback, hip and across the headland from the steamy soup of Durban.
A dream job filming the iconic Oyster Box hotel a jewel on this part of the coastline, defining original glamour with echoes of a colonial past it carries an art deco accent with all the comfort of 21st Century convenience. Exquisitely furnished rooms face the breadth of the Indian Ocean or the tranquillity of lush gardens sheltering secret reading spots and a lounging pool. Oh and not to forget the shoulder dropping spa...whose atmosphere charges the bones of a weary traveller with an instant tonic.
Like a watchful parent a post box red lighthouse stands between the sea and the hotel keeping its siblings in check, both are afforded generous views of each other. Perhaps the best vista is enjoyed from the lighthouse bar at the top of the hotel, its terrace is gently lit by blinking storm lanterns, there’s no better place to sip a Manhattan and watch the sun and sky mimic the colours of the cocktail. Whilst down below the four restaurants flambé, grill, bake, sauté and steam treasures from surf and turf, the Oyster Box’s gastronomic policy doesn’t involve eating it’s about feasting and the 10,000 oysters consumed on a weekly basis verify the well earned name of the Oyster Box.
If you’re after a piece of solitude it’s best served in the Clockhouse Lounge a private space for guests reminiscent of the Carlton Club, complete with supple leather chairs a chiming clock and mature library overlooking the ocean swell and if thirst grips your throat service is just a push button away.
The Oyster Box feeds the senses, a rolling sea to rest your eyes upon, taste and smell is encouraged to go on an adventure in the hotel’s playground and touch?..well the rooms are just a tease. Whilst the hotel is evocative of a decadent era, there’s no room for snobbiness here, the team greet you like an old friend, no wonder they call it the warm city.
Photo credit: Chris Roche
I’m up for a return visit!