Dear Trip Advisor,
My partner took me to the Oyster Box for a night in August 2012 as a surprise, and a surprise it was. The location, the atmosphere, the rooms, the décor, the staff, the food, don’t get me started on the food. As amazing as my first visit was, my second visit was highly disappointing !
After a 10 hour flight from Thailand back to Johannesburg, I took a seven hour journey to Durban. As exhausting as my travels were, the one thing I was looking forward to was our two nights stay at the fabulous Oyster Box. WOW, was I in for a surprise…
I arrived in Durban on the 22nd December 2012, and stayed in what they call a 3* hotel as the Oyster Box was full. Whilst at the 3* hotel I decided to call the reservations desk at the Oyster Box to book our two nights stay which would be the 24th and 25th December. After six attempts to actually get through to the hotel (blame it on Vodacom) I finally got hold of the concierge´s desk. “There is no one at the reservations desk sir, can I take a message” was what I was greeted with. After an hour or so I got a phone call back, with no success I might add. I then decided to take matters into my own hands and book on line. Much easier. No fuss, no “network” problems, no leaving messages. Going forward, online reservations are the way to go it’s just very impersonal…
I got my reservation number on the 23rd December (24216SB000220) and called the hotel to find out if an early check-in would be possible (spending R11 000 on a two-night stay you want to spend as much time as you possibly can in such an amazing hotel). Needles to say, an early check-in was not possible so my partner and I went upstairs to the Light-house bar where we enjoyed a nice bottle of Haute Cabriere. Whilst getting comfy on the half-circle couches I almost sliced my foot open on the broken shards of glass that were under our table, not to mention the left over alcohol spillage and snacks that were left under the table as well… We finally got to our sea-facing king suite at about 13:30, and were welcomed with a delicious fruit basket. Bananas, grapes, plums, rotten cherries… Luckily I don’t eat cherries.
My partner and I soaked up the view from our suite, still in awe about being back at this monumental masterpiece. Later that afternoon, it was time for some fun in the sun. After unpacking our bags we went down to the beach by the lighthouse. I have to admit, the set up the Oyster box had going on the beach was very nice. It was almost as if were in an exclusive club. After the beach it was time for a quick dip in the pool and a little RnR. The pool temperature was fantastic, not too cold, not too hot. Perfect. The only thing that I was annoyed about was the lack of loungers by the poolside. We then decided that if we can’t relax by the pool and have lunch we will take a drive up the road for a quick bite to eat.
After a light lunch we got back to the room and had a bottle of champagne on the balcony. It was then time for dinner, and we decided to enjoy a good movie and some delicious food from the room service menu. I ordered a burger and my partner got the sesame seed chicken. In a nut shell, for the price of the meals and the quality of the food, a Big Mac would have been more enjoyable. As we have stayed at the Oyster Box before I was familiar with the high-tech state-of-the-art television system, so during our meal I tried to get a movie for us to watch. This mission was impossible. I eventually called reception and they said they would send somebody up to the room to have a look at what the problem is (I am still waiting for this person to arrive). I called back and was told that there was an IT problem and would be called as soon as the problem was sorted out. After waiting so long we eventually fell asleep.
It’s the morning of the 25th. “Merry Christmas sir” is what you expect to hear when you get a phone call from reception at 06:30 in the morning. Instead it was “Good Morning sir, did you order a room service breakfast”. Not a Christmas tree insight. Not even a small gift to open. The only thing we did get to open was our bill of almost R12000. I do understand that no everybody celebrates Christmas, so I don’t take this issue to seriously.
After an AMAZING breakfast (the pork sausages are beyond delicious) we then enquired about the Christmas lunch and asked if there was space for two more. There wasn’t. All blame on us for asking too late, so we decided to take a quiet drive along the coast and enjoy our Christmas day. We got back to the hotel, and felt a little famished and went to the terrace for some wine and pizza. I am not sure if the staff at the Oyster Box are over-worked during the festive season or downright lazy, but after sitting on the terrace (where breakfast is served) for almost 15 minutes I had to get up and call a waiter to please assist us. We were then escorted to the Oyster Bar and promised to be served. Really? I got up from my chair and stood at the bar for a while before calling the barman to please help up with two glasses of chardonnay. Our wine arrived at our table that had not been cleaned since the Christmas lunch. Eventually we got a waiter where we ordered two pizzas (which were delicious by the way). After pizza it was time for a stroll on the beach then movie time. Got back to the room at about 19:00 and still our state-of-the-art TV was not working.
It was the 26th of December 2012 and our stay at the Oyster Box was finally over. The room was fantastic. The staff were either over-worked, tired, or lazy none of which are excuses for the poor service. The room service food is below than average, the buffet breakfast is delicious, attention to detail was not anywhere close to 5* standards. After spending R12000 on a two night stay at this hotel we walked away thinking what a waste of money. We couldn’t even watch TV?? We got better service from the 3* hotel down the road.
Between my partner and I we have travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia and southern Africa and have stayed in some very basic accommodation and some very exquisite accommodation. R12000 is not pocket change for a two night stay at a hotel. When paying 5* rates we expect 5* service. Based on this visit I would rate this hotel a 3*. The only thing the Oyster Box has in its favor is the stunning location.
If I had to base my opinion of this 5* star hotel on this stay alone, I would not recommend this hotel to a single friend or family member, but because my partner and I have been to the Oyster Box before we know what we can hope to expect in the future.
Until next time.
Sea-facing Superior Kind Suite are the way to go !
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 9, 2013
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Thank you so much for taking the time to post a review, I am sorry your stay was less than perfect. I am delighted that your first stay with us was amazing as you are aware of the standard we try and set and achieve consistently.
Thank you for taking the time to write about the things you really enjoyed, the amazing location, the wondrful Pizza's, The beautiful beach set up.
Xmas Day was extremely busy and although no excuse the staff were pushed to the limits. We catered for over 400 guests each day, I am delighted to report that most had a fabulous time.
I am sorry you were not one of these guests.
I have sent you a personal e-mail, as I would love to invite you back and take personal care of you in the very near future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.