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“Wonderful, full of Old World Charm- food average” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Oyster Box

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The Oyster Box
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks 4319, South Africa   |  
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Ranked #2 of 18 Hotels in Umhlanga Rocks
south africa
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Wonderful, full of Old World Charm- food average”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2011

Stayed here for a few nights and it is a beautiful hotel with amazing service! Love the decor and area. We stayed in a loft room- absolutely gorgeous! There are nice touches, like cinema for rainy days, free stuff for your kids etc. Only downside is the food- it was SO expensive (like R90 for a sandwich!), and sometimes food was good and other times a R80 salad would come with no dressing and few ingredients. I would order from the kiddies menu, as the portions are also so huge! I would rather eat a smaller amount and pay less for quality food. High tea OK- very pricey for what you get-West Cliff high tea much better!

Also-they have an excellent shuttle service, you pay for the pick up from the airport but to restuarants and activities nearby it's free andthe drivers are excellent!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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746 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (263)
Date | Rating
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English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2011

Excellent in every department. Wonderful friendly service from all the staff who make you feel at home straight away. Unlike some 5 star establishments, the Oyster Box is not at all stuffy. Just a very comfortable place to relax, enjoy the well appointed rooms and the food, etc.
Highly recommended.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2011

...so definitely good enough for us lesser mortals!
It is my regular stop over when on the KwaZulu North coast, multiple times per month.

It has all the ingredients to be a home away from home...well a little more luxurious then home...
It has grace, location, old colonial style and personalized service.
...and the best curry in town1

You will remember this place and they do remember you...like they have been waiting for your return!

Room Tip: Sea view rooms are definitely the better option
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2011

Having experienced the Royal Hotel on arrival in South Africa we had no wish to return there, so we transferred to the Oyster Box.
It is lovely - beautiful location, friendly staff, great spa, great food.
What more can I say.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2011

Three nights at the Oyster Box and you are another person. Excelent service, breakfast was a feast on its own! Dinner in both restuarants was first class with a good selection of wines. We watched the Rugby in the Lighthouse bar very early on Saturday morning and the staff made sure there was enough seating and coffee! Well done.

Room Tip: Sea view a must!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Aberdeen, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2011

Very nice hotel,right on the beach so if you like the noise of the sea this is the place for you! Stayed for 2 weeks in August,all the staff are extemely accommodating and friendly and nothing is too much trouble for them.Smashing breakfasts, especially the champagne and oysters they're well worth a try.The village of Umhlange is really only 2 minutes walk away not via bus,taxi,donkey but on foot. Durban city is 15 minutes by cab so you're out of the city but close enough.The hotel has been totally refurbished and is no smoking anywhere apart from your room or the Chukka Bar where John, David or Siphiwie will make you feel so welcome.I would recommend using a tour guide for any trips as the country is so vast you'll not really see it if you don't really know where you're going.Try Garson Expeditions in Umhlanga Village for a really professional,knowledgable.and efficient service.You can access the beach from the rear of the hotel going down a stairway onto the beach path.

Room Tip: All rooms on sea front are noisy there are quieter rooms on the side of the hotel away from the Indi...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knysna, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2011

We stayed two nights at the hotel and as it is the latest addition to the Red Carnation Hotel group in South Africa, we had high expectations, having stayed at their other SA hotels eg Bushman's Kloof and The 12 Apostles several times.
The Hotel itself is in a fantastic location directly overlooking the main beach and has been beautifully renovated with nice quirky touches such as the overhead fans in main hotel areas in the shape of ship's propellers. The staff are generally well up to the expected Red Carnation standard except as regards the management of the Ocean Terrace Restaurant.
Consequently, having recently written as rave review of their flagship hotel The Milestone in London, I think it is only reasonable to point out where I feel they are lacking at the Oyster Box.
Apart from Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court, we only ate at Ocean Terrace Restaurant, so we cannot comment on the hotel's 'fine dining' restaurant except in so far as second evening meal served at the Ocean Terrace.
At breakfast on the Terrace at 9am we were surprised to find two workmen varnishing the large double doors front the terrace. They had obviously been working there throughout breakfast service and at the point we were served our food they started working on the set of doors about a meter behind us. We were approached by the assistance restaurant manager and asked if everything was okay with our meal. I said "yes, but i thought that it was pretty poor that the hotel had scheduled such pungent work during breakfast time". The Restaurant Manager then came up and asked what the problem was. They both then went off and sent the two workmen away, telling me that they had been disciplined! The fault was with the management and specifically with the Restaurant managers who presumably had just watched these guys working their along the sets of double doors without considering or insisting that this job was done when the Terrace wasn't full of people having breakfast. Secondly, on our first day, I can only say that we were put under no illusion by our breakfast waiter that he was angling for a tip. This is something I have never come across at a first class hotel and certainly not at a Red Carnation hotel.
The Ocean Terrace has a wonderful Curry Buffet but on our second night, having already had Afternoon Tea, we opted to order from the a la carte menu. This was a mistake. Here's the thing, our waitress told us that apparently the hotel operates four kitchens and if you order a la carte in the Ocean Terrace, then that meal comes from the fine dining kitchen. Good you think. However, my fish and chips were cold and limp and my wife's fish cakes were like bullets having been completely over cooked. I fairness, the manager replaced the fish cakes but they were hardly any better but it seems to me that the problem is that the fine dining kitchen, which was not very busy that night takes less care when orders come in from the Ocean Terrace.
As I say the problem seems to be in a lack of management control at the Restaurant level in the Ocean Terrace. A small thing but when the waitress opened my bottle of sparkling water it exploded, spilling a third of the water on the floor. She continued to pour despite my suggesting that she wipe the floor in case she or someone else slipped on the floor tiles. She said no not to bother and left it. Sure its staff training but who is at fault? Not the waitress nor the woman who showed us to our table for afternoon tea who then proceeded to pour hot tea over my bare leg. Rather, it is a failure at management level.
Let's hope they get it right as its a great hotel and otherwise we had a pleasant stay.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Oyster Box

Address: 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks 4319, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Umhlanga Rocks
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#1 Business Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Spa Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Luxury Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Romantic Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Oyster Box 5*
Number of rooms: 86
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
THE LEGEND LIVES ON… AT THE OYSTER BOX Standing proud on Umhlanga’s beachfront, directly on the beach and overlooking the Indian Ocean, the 86-room Oyster Box, is one of South Africa’s best-loved hotels. Renowned for generous hospitality, attentive service and exceptional cuisine The Oyster Box offers all the colonial charm and nostalgia of a bygone era, but with all the modern comfort and amenities. Dining venues include the casual ‘Ocean Terrace’, serving casual and al fresco fare and a Curry Buffet, to the legendary, fine-dining ‘Grill Room’. The ‘Palm Court’ serves a lavish, traditional ‘High Tea’ daily, with live piano accompaniment. The Oyster and Lighthouse Bars are the hottest spots in town for sun-downers.The Spa is equipped with six treatment rooms, a Hydrotherapy Bath, grooming lounge, plunge-pool, state-of-the-art gym, Infinity pool and Tranquillity Lounge and offers the latest in health and wellness teatments.Facilities include two swimming pools, a private library, luscious tropical gardens and an intimate, 24-seater movie theatre. The Oyster Box is KZN’s premiere wedding and honeymoon destination and the ‘venue of choice’ for the conference and business market.Time spent at The Oyster Box will leave you with magical memories to last a lifetime. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Oyster Box Umhlanga Rocks

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