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“Umhlanga at her absolute best!”
Review of The Oyster Box

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The Oyster Box
Ranked #2 of 18 Hotels in Umhlanga Rocks
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 28, 2011

Having had the pleasure of visiting the Oyster Box Hotel a number of times both before and after her renovations I can undoubtedly say that this has to be one of the very best Hotels in South Africa.

I would classify the OBH as a small and stylish establishment that has been lovingly renovated to her former splendour. All the fantastic characteristics that I so loved about the old OBH have been retained and improved with the overhaul. When I first heard that the Hotel was going to be basically rebuilt I was devastated as I believed that an iconic land mark of Umhlanga would be gone forever. Imagine my delight when I reluctantly visited her shortly after her complete makeover and saw the already beautiful swan transformed into something so special that words escape me.

Location: Right on the beach in Umhlanga Rocks with direct access to the promenade and gorgeous 180 degree views of the Indian Ocean. The stalwart of Umhlanga, ye Olde Lighthouse, stands in a proud position in front of the Hotel. One could not ask for a better location!

Rooms: I have had the pleasure of staying in 2 types of room. The sea facing standard room was the first room I stayed in, and I was extremely impressed by the decor and attention to detail. The bed was simply dreamy and I slept with a smile on my face. The room is spacious enough with a small seating area that is tastefully decorated. The views of the ocean are simply sublime.

On my second visit I decided to book the sea facing luxury suite and was totally blown away by the magnificence of it all. Beyond spacious, exquisite decor, supreme luxury and the view was once again an absolute triumph.

To be honest both were fantastic, the latter being double the price and worth every cent!

Dining: There are many options from casual to formal dining and all are worth a try. My favourite was to sit out on the terrace and enjoy award winning curries while enjoying the fresh sea air and gazing out to sea. On many occasions my view was interrupted by a whale or pod of dolphins. I wish I was sitting on that terrace right now!

The high tea is fantastic and their piano player (Pete?) is an absolute maestro! They have live music in a number of their dining areas and bars, however the piano playing skills of the high tea music man eclipsed the others.

Service: Fantastic... what else can I say?

Things to do: Relax on the beaches, swim in the warm Indian Ocean, take a day trip into the valley of a thousand hills, visit uShaka Marine World, take a day trip to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve (see lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), gambling at Sibaya Casino, golf at Mount Edgecombe or Zimbali, day trip to Lake St Lucia, shopping at Gateway and so much more.

One more addition: The Spa at the OBH is certainly the best I have ever been to. I had a hot stone massage (spectacular), Indian head massage (wonderful), reflexology (goodness), facial (superior) and spent time on the flotation bed (dreamy). Although I did not try the Hamman experience I will definitely do it next time as it comes highly recommended.

Well done OBH! Thank you for your commitment to excellence!

Room Tip: Sea facing rooms are the ones to go for.
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  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with friends
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5  Thank mlondozi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wayne020, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded August 28, 2012

Dear Geust,

Thank you for taking the time to write your wonderful review of The Oyster Box. We pride ourselves in every aspect of this beautiful property, from the location right through to the high levels of service and cuisine for which we are so well known.

We look forward to welcoming you back to The Oyster Box, together with your friends, in the not-too-distant future.

Kind regards,
Wayne Coetzer

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,757 - 1,763 of 1,924 reviews

Reviewed December 8, 2011

Many South African have fond and romantic memories of time spent at the 'Old' Oyster Box. There is a long list of first dates, honeymoons and family holidays spent there.

The thought and research that went into preserving the best of the 'old' Oyster Box whilst modernising the hotel is unbeatable. We are always struck by the passion that everyone who is connected with the Oyster Box has for her. The enthusiasm, loyalty and professionalism of the Staff is patently obvious. In our hearts we all believe that, with training, South Africa can offer the warmest service of the highest quality. The Oyster Box certainly epitomises this belief. Through the Oyster Box and the people who work there, South Africa, at her very best, is shown off to the world! We salute you, the Oyster Box family.

With kind regards,

Mary Carlisle

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank maryc57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wayne020, Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded December 9, 2011

Dear Mary

Thank you so much for your review, I really appreciate you taking the time to write.

I look forward to welcoming back in the near future.

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

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Reviewed November 22, 2011

We stayed at the Oyster Box our last 4 days in SA and could not have been pampered more! Each and every person that works there indicated that they were delighted to meet our needs and requirements. Could have stayed forever!!! Great rooms, wonderful dining and lovely pool area.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank travelhappyCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wayne020, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded December 9, 2011

Thank you so much for your review.

I am delighted you enjoyed your time with us.

I look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2011

We went to celebrate our 21st anniversary at the Oyster Box Hotel. The complimentary airport pick up was a nice touch as we did not need to hire a car. We were welcomed at the hotel with a glass of Sparkling Wine and some fruits whilst we checked in. The hotel is an old style design which is keeping in with its history and whilst not our normal style we really liked the colonial feel. The room was a nice size and had a stunning view of the ocean. It had a balcony with a table and chairs which was perfect for the morning coffee and complimentary newspaper. The food at the hotel was of good quality and the buffet breakfast had an unbelievable array of items to choose from which was great. The service of the staff at the hotel was very very good and a lot if them even remembered your name which was impressive. The overall stay was amazing and would be highly recommended.

Room Tip: The sea view rooms are a must
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank ZiaCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wayne020, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded December 9, 2011

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review.

I am delighted you enjoyed your time with us.

I look forward to welcoming you back in the very near future.

Kind regards

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2011

Spent two nights at this iconic hotel for a birthday treat and it lived up to all that I'd heard about it, except it was two short. Paid extra for a sea-facing room but that was definitely worth while as we had an amazing view of the sea and lighthouse and were lulled to sleep by the sounds of the waves. Rooms themselves are a little on the small side but beautifully furnished; the balcony is great for a chillout and enjoying the view and the waterfall shower was wunderbar!
High tea was a special delight - especially when they went the extra mile to get us vegetarian samoosas, which were not on the menu that day. High tea is one of my favourite meals in a hotel and until the OB, I rated the Westcliff's experience as the best in SA, closely followed by the Table Bay and the Mount Nelson. Now, one of those has to move to accommodate the OB in my personal top three:). Breakfast was excellent (though not in the same league as that of the Table Bay), but, due to an allergy, I could not try the eponymous oysters served at breakfast.
The spa is great with a lovely hammam though fairly small and not disabled-friendly. Due to the short nature of our stay, we didn't get to try the movie theatre, but the clock library is beautiful! Perhaps the highlight of our stay (on the top floor of this 3-floor hotel) was watching the busy weaver birds build their nests from the verandah behind our rooms. The hotel has encouraged them to nest in the trees alongside and their sheer numbers and their focussed industry was truly charming to observe.
I would love to go back for a longer stay .....SAVING UP!

Room Tip: Pay more for a sea-facing room - its worth it. And if you can afford it, the suites (the two I saw...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank EishTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wayne020, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded August 28, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post a wonderful review of The Oyster Box. I am delighted to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed your two-day birthday treat stay, which included the special High Tea experience. Perhaps you could stay for a longer period next time you plan to visit us. I look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards,
Wayne Coetzer

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2011

I spent the weekend at The Oyster and it was absolutely amazing! The service was so personal. The staff were really friendly. The food was amazing. I thought the room services was a little expensive, however it was prompt and very hot!

Room Tip: Definitely get a sea facing room! The sound of the waves is really realxing.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank SashSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wayne020, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded August 28, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for writing a review of your wonderful stay at The Oyster Box. Your sea-facing room awaits your next visit and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards,
Wayne Coetzer

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Oyster Box in August 2011.
It lived up to my soaring expectations. I love the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town. It is part of the same hotel group. Her much older nipped and tucked sister didn't disappoint.

Despite undergoing a refurbishment the hotel has retained its legendary charm.

The service was excellent. The staff were professional and attentive. They couldn’t have treated Prince Albert and his bride any better.

The room was very comfortable and luxurious. A deluxe sea-facing suite on the ground floor. Perfectly sized for a couple. Some of the rooms have plunge pools. Nice enough to dip your big toe into if you're so inclined and happy to fork out quite a bit extra for that luxury. The garden facing suites are also charming despite being tucked at the back of the hotel without a sea view. They also appeared to be more spacious and some also had plunge pools. Some of the suites have a separate bedroom and a small lounge if you need space for the odd rug rat or two. You need to ask about the rooms.

The spa was great.
The main pool is in the thick of things so if you're hoping to escape the sun-starved masses, you can go for a dip in the smaller pool located in the hotel's gardens near the spa.

We dined in the Grill Room. The food didn't blow me away. It was okay. Nice even. The setting and experience were also nice enough. However, if you’re in search of a mouth watering culinary experience worthy of your dime and time there is fantastic restaurant a stone's throw away from the hotel called Ile Maurice. You need to book.

The breakfast buffet was great although many would argue that the famous breakfasts at the Beverly Hills Hotel located next door still gives the O.B. a run for its money. The cured salmon was, however, to die for.
I did order a pizza from room service. It was a bit doughy.
I didn't get to have the afternoon tea, but am told it's worth every penny and calorie.

The hotel is within easy walking distance from the main swimming beach. I'd say about 5 to 10 minutes depending on your pace. It’s accessible through a small gate near the pool that leads directly onto a promenade that winds along the sea front. I visited the hotel in winter so I can't comment on the quality of the beach (if any) directly in front of the hotel.

The lighthouse bar was amazing. Very cozy. Nice for cocktails at sunset.

The library blew my mind. What a fantastic place to escape the sun, sand and humidity.
Like the Twelve Apostles they’ve added special touches and rooms to make the hotel more interesting. There is also a small, but charming cinema dressed in red, if you favour a more intimate setting for your matinee.

If it's luxury you're after I personally believe it's the best luxury hotel on offer in Umhlanga, if not in Durban. Perfect spot for a romantic getaway.

I also sent a friend to this hotel as a wedding gift. She loved it and was made to feel special. Despite some booking hitches, which were easily forgiven following a generous upgrade, she had a fantastic time.

I would definitely recommend the hotel for those in search of luxury, elegance and charm.

I loved it so much that I may return in December with my 14 month old. However, I fear the hotel won’t be the same after that. And I’m not convinced it’s the right place for a fidgety, noisy, toddler in need of space. I think it's a good destination for more mature families.

Room Tip: Higher rooms will probably be quieter and afford better views.
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank GlobeSniffer
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
#2 Luxury Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Spa Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Romantic Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Business Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
Price Range: $342 - $1,144 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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