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“Far from being the ugly sister”

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The Oyster Box Beach House
London, UK
Level Contributor
407 reviews
101 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 559 helpful votes
“Far from being the ugly sister”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2011

It's worth pointing out that the four-bed Oyster Shack doesn't have a sea view, even though it is the sister property to the Oyster Box Beach House just across the road, which definitely does have a sea view and a rather impressive one at that. Both have the same sort of colonial, seaside feel, with cream painted floors and walls, white wooden beams, tongue and groove panelling, aged paint effects and slightly twee furnishings. Although as a couple staying in a four-bed property, three of the bedrooms were redundant, it certainly gave us plenty of choice for bathrooms. And at R8750 for a week, it was good value compared with staying in a four-star boutique hotel.

Something of a let-down was the fact that the WiFi mentioned in the advertised details didn't exist; the letting agent did suggest that we could take our laptop to the Oyster Box, which does have WiFi, but that was hardly the same and definitely not what was advertised. The Oyster Shack is well provided with flat screen TVs, including a 42" plasma TV in the living room, but given that it's clearly intended as a family holiday let, it's surprising that there's not a single DVD player in sight. There's also no air-con or ceiling fans, but sleeping wasn't too much of a problem.

The Oyster Shack has a decent sized, covered verandah with a very comfortable hanging chair and an upholstered bench. Steps lead down to a small pool with some difficult-to-manoeuvre, wooden sun loungers plus more benches and an outside table. This wasn't exactly private as there's a road in front of the property, but this gets little traffic and there's no other property overlooking it. However, from time to time, you may find a passer-by leaning over the fence and asking for money!

The kitchen is well equipped and there's a large range-type cooker. There's plenty of cutlery and tableware as one would expect given that the Oyster Shack accomodates up to eight. Breakfast can be provided by someone coming in each morning although most would find this rather intrusive. There is a dishwasher and washing machine/drier but no tabs or detergent are provided; it would have been helpful for a starter pack to be provided with these items included. The local Spar is the best source of provisions; there are various 'farm shops' around Kenton-on-sea, but a lot seem to cater for tourists rather than selling true farm produce. Further afield, there's a SuperSpar with more choice in the Rose Hill mall on the outskirts of Port Arthur; the food section of Woolworths is also good for a M&S-type experience.

There are a few restaurants in Kenton-on-sea: the floating Sandbar restaurant is quirky and seemingly a bit of a watering hole for locals, but it serves decent value, well prepared food; Homewoods is beach-side, family friendly, and serves good pizzas as well as more traditional fare; Stanleys (3.5 km on the Grahamstown road) is a pub/restaurant with superb views and an extensive menu and wine list, although the food was only average; Bushman's Grill has a superb view of the estuary with friendly service and excellent fresh fish.

A 'must do' is a visit to Elizabeth Quin's sculpture garden (R15 per head) in nearby Alexandria: a rare example of a sculptor exposing 50 years of her work to the public without a trace of hard sell or even security watching over you. There's also a 'poor man's game drive' (i.e., free) to be done on public roads running between the Kariega and Sibuya game reserves, the turning being about 12 km outside Kenton on the road to Alexandria.

Finally, a 'must read' is the 'Wisdom' coffee table book in the Oyster Shack's living room: 200 pages of superb, characterful photos of older celebrities who actually have something worth saying - Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu included.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank DELondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Cavan, Ireland
Level Contributor
190 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2010

We stayed here in Jan 2009 after spending a few days in one of the nearby game parks. We were really lucky in that we had the whole house to ourselves, three of us, for the three days we were there. It is beautifully furnished and the views of Kenton beaches are fantastic.

We regretted not spending more time here and less on the graden route.

Tiny downside, there is no air con and as the beach side of the house is almost completely glass this concentrates the heat. One of the days we were there was really windy so we couldn't open the windows and we nearly roasted in the house. However, you have to balance this with the fact that, when we were there at least, the it was great value for what you are getting overall.

Website, incredibly, doesn't even do it justice. It is really beautiful.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Murray007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
317 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 206 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 20, 2010

If anyone is passing thorugh Kenton on Sea, don't hesitate to stay here.
Wonderful, superlative, breathtaking, clean, tidy, the lsist just goes on and on.

See the pictures from the website, it says it all. Simply the best.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MandY1943
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nova Scotia, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 1, 2010

In 2008, we stayed at the Oyster Box in the luxury upstairs suite for two wonderful days and vowed that we would return. This year in May, we did just that, but for four days this time. Words can not express how pleased we were with everything.

The accommodation is absolutely top notch, with a huge king bedroom offering panoramic views of the ocean and river mouth, a luxurious and hugely well appointed bathroom, a private lounge with free wireless, bar fridge, desk, sofa and telescope, and a fantastic full length private balcony. Nice!

The staff, especially young Sarah, were very friendly and accommodating of our special requests.

The views of the ocean and river mouth are unmatched, simply stunning.

We plan to return again, only next time it will be for a week, as we still did not find the time to explore all of the bays and rocks.

If you have the time, go for the day trip to Sibuya Game Reserve, which can be arranged by Louise at the Oyster Box - we loved it.

Cheers to you, Louise, and your lovely Oyster Box....until next time.

Best regards, Kim & Peter from Canada

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank KKat57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 26, 2010

My husband and I booked in at the last minute in order to attend a function in the area - if only we had planned a much longer trip - and invited a few mates! Beautifully decorated and appointed - easy and relaxed - lovely, upmarket accommodation with truly magnificent, uninterrupted views down the coast.

Out stay was perfection from start to finish.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank cheerfulcricket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 19, 2010

We stayed one night at the Oyster Box in Kenton on Sea this weekend and it was fabulous.

We were so pleasantly surprised at Kenton and The Oyster Box, the attention to detail, comfortable room, excellent and caring service were fabulous and most appreciated. We would love to return and would take the whole house next time.

thanks and all of the best

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lekkerplek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Level Contributor
170 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2010

We booked a room in this guest house since we loved the view. Unfortunately the accommodation proved to be less than ideal. We were not told that guests renting the upstairs level will have access to the lower level of the house where we were staying. While taking an afternoon nap the 'chef' noisely started preparing dinner for the upstairs guests on the lower level of the house. We had to get fully dressed in order to fix ourselves a cup of tea in the main kitchen since the room has no facilities. We filled in a breakfast questionaire but when we showed up for breakfast the 'chef' took another 45 minutes to prepare our disappointing breakfast. She was very unfriendly and unprofessional. There are only 4 options for breakfast and I was told at the last minute that no salmon is available. I was given one tiny english muffin with two slices of tomoto for breakfast. My husband's breakfast was small and oily.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CuriousMeerkatjie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OBBH, Owner at The Oyster Box Beach House, responded to this review, May 19, 2010
“Our policy is to ensure that guests are clear about their booking, so this misunderstanding is unfortunate. Our website clearly describes the property which lets you choose between hiring the whole house, or a room within it, at different prices in line with the market in each case. As is usual, the kitchen and main lounge areas tend to be common areas. It is unfortunate that the breakfast was not deemed acceptable – we do have literally hundreds of guest comments on our own website from more than 2 years that attest to the quality of our breakfasts and our chef. But we do appreciate the feedback and will refine our standards where necessary”.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Oyster Box Beach House

Property: The Oyster Box Beach House
Address: 19 Elliot Road, Kenton-on-Sea 6191, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Greater Addo > Kenton-on-Sea
Amenities:
Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Kenton-on-Sea
Hotel Class:5 star — The Oyster Box Beach House 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautifully decorated and well-equipped modern beach house with some of the best views on the South African coastline. We offer both bed and breakfast or self catering accommodation for up to 8 guests. Located in Kenton on Sea in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We have been graded as a 5 star self catering house by the TGCSA. ... more   less 

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