08 October 2013

{The Oyster Box}

Since moving to South Africa, I've constantly listened to friends and acquaintances marvel about the timeless allure of The Oyster Box.  Never quite understanding what all the fuss was about, when Jurgen found out that he would need to travel to Durban for work, we were quick to make a long weekend of it in order to finally experience the grandeur of it all for ourselves.


Throughout the six hour drive from Johannesburg to South Africa's eastern coast, Jurgen and I debated whether The Oyster Box would adequately live up to our expectations.  After everything we'd heard, it would certainly have to be pretty darn spectacular to do so.  In the end, we agreed that it would probably be a nice weekend, but also something that we wouldn't ever feel the urge to experience again.  Something that we could tick off of our bucket list. We imagined the hotel to be absolutely stunning in terms of its picturesque location and classic decor, but also a bit exclusive in a way that was out of our league.

Walking through the hotel doors, we were greeted by a host of smiling faces and offered a personal tour of the hotel facilities.  Welcome drinks in hand, we were shown to our room and then acquainted with the myriad of hotel restaurants, bars and pools, as well as the private theatre {complete with an antique popcorn machine!}.  As we sipped gin and tonics on the balcony of the picturesque Lighthouse Bar that evening, we had to agree that everyone had indeed been right, The Oyster Box truly was something special.  And we realized that it wasn't just its opulence that made it exceptional, although this aspect was certainly impressive, but rather the warm atmosphere and impeccable service.  

For instance, on the morning of our second day I realized that I'd left my camera memory card at home.  With Jurgen away at a client meeting, I asked the front desk if there was somewhere within walking distance that I would be able to buy a new one.  No, they replied, unfortunately there was not, but their driver would be more than happy to take me to get one, free of charge.  I was then promptly driven to the mall in a private vehicle, given instructions on where I would be able to purchase a memory card, and informed that the driver would be waiting for me outside until I returned.  It was enough to make a girl feel famous.

Over the next two days, we proceeded to enjoy one of the best weekends imaginable.  Each morning started with the most incredible breakfast and afternoons were spent lounging next to the pool on red and white pinstriped chairs, cocktails in hand.  As the sun would start to set, we'd head to the promenade for a nice jog along the beach and then return to the hotel to get ready for a ceremonious glass of wine in the Lighthouse Bar before enjoying dinner at either The Grill Room or The Ocean Terrace.  By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, I'm pretty sure Jurgen was ready to sell all of his assets and move in permanently.  


Throughout the weekend, I constantly overheard people fondly sharing stories of past Oyster Box experiences with family, friends and staff members.  I watched as an older gentleman walked onto the terrace with his adult children, enthusiastically recounting exactly where he and his wife met and fell in love.  I couldn't help overhearing an American guest telling a staff member about how he and his wife spent their honeymoon at The Oyster Box over twenty years ago.  I listened as a mother affectionately described to her teenage children how she and her friends used to frequent The Oyster Box when she was the age that they are now.  Having been in operation since 1947, it seems that The Oyster Box has been successful in capturing the hearts of almost everyone that's had the privilege of stepping through its doors.

  And despite our initial reservations, it's safe to say that we've officially joined the masses and fallen head over heels in love with The Oyster Box ourselves.  Plain and simple, it exceeded our expectations in all regards. 

If you ever find yourself in the Durban area, I strongly encourage you to experience the venue's old-world charm for yourself.  Even if you don't stay overnight, set aside an afternoon for lunch on the terrace or enjoy a cocktail in the Lighthouse Bar at sunset.  I can virtually guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

For more information, visit The Oyster Box website here.

42 comments:

  1. Jenna, The Oyster Box sounds like paradise! And it is SO beautiful. I loved hearing all the stories you overheard. It just makes the place even more charming :)

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    1. Isn't it absolutely stunning!? It seemed like everyone there had some previous memorable connection with The Oyster Box, so amazing to see different generations enjoying the same place. It really is quite timeless :)

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  2. Oh Jen, you make it sound and look even more spectacular - love it all!!! Now come back again x

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    1. We want to come back again! Jurgen is seriously convinced that we need to move to Umhlanga, just a matter of finding work :)

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  3. That place sure as hell beats the place I'm staying at! How romantic...and especially the guy who says he had been there twenty years prior :):) I want to have a place like that!

    I have always wanted to go to Durban b/c I have a friend from there...and of course this makes me want to go more. Dangit Jenna! :)

    And that cat looks like the one I had growing up!

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    1. Me too! After hearing him I'm convinced that every couple needs a place like that :) Please visit Durban... and also swing by Jo'burg while you're here! The cats name was Skabenga... I'm obsessed.

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  4. That place definitely looks like it oozes charm! I love hotels that are both cute and provide excellent service :) And the view looks like it is to die for!

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    1. Seriously, I've never experienced service like I did here. It's almost as though they thought of things before you could even think of them yourself. Amazing!

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  5. Oooh well done! Now I just want to go there!
    http://johced-ourjourneytoeverywhere.blogspot.com/
    xxx

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    1. Oh Johlet, you and Cedric NEED to go there. You guys will love it :)

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  6. Everything looks so perfect, and to be next to the poolside, looking out to the ocean, is where I would want to be, or playing with the kitty!

    I love looking at all your pictures, beautiful places!
    Xo
    Keeping it thrifty

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    1. I don't think a better location in Durban exists! The classic decor coupled with the lighthouse and the beach is unbeatable :) And that kitty's name is Skabenga... I could not get enough ;)

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  7. Oh my gosh, sounds like a fab weekend! The place looks so gorgeous and you captured everything beautifully with your words and photos! I've fallen head over heels in love with it too and I haven't even set a single foot in it. Hope I get to go there someday!

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    1. I hope you get to visit too! Even just enjoying a cocktail there is an incredible experience. I don't think there's any other place quite like The Oyster Box :)

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  8. Wow! I SO want to be there right now.

    <3 Daryl
    Unlost

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    1. I wish you were there now too! It would give me the perfect excuse to go back ;)

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  9. this looks so incredible, Jenna. I loved following along on Instagram and I am seriously considering going to Durban just to visit this place!

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    1. You guys would love Durban! It's completely unique to the rest of the country. My only advice would be to go sooner rather than later, as I've heard Durban is intolerably hot and humid during summer. If you do visit, make sure The Oyster Box is on your to-do list. It literally blew me away... I may just have to hide in your suitcase ;)

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  10. I love all of the pops of red in these pictures.

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  11. My gosh... This is a real place?! It seems like they got everything right, from the decor to the customer service to the unbelievable experience. Glad you were able to have one of your own :)

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    1. Even now I can hardly believe it was real myself! Everything was amazing... but the service was out of this world. It was like they thought of things you needed before you could even think of them yourself. How do they do that!? It must be what famous people feel like all the time :)

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  12. What a fun and colorful place. And those oysters look delish.

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    1. The oysters were delish... and the best part about them was that they were included in the breakfast... which meant you could eat as many as you wanted for free. It was heaven!

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  13. That driver story is unreal. If only all hotels could be half as accommodating as The Oyster Box. All the red contrasting the blue makes me so happy, too.

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    1. I know, right!? And if you knew the typical standard for service in SA then this would blow you away even more. I don't know how they do it, but I'm glad they do. I also loved all the red and white pin stripes coupled with the blue ocean... amazing!

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  14. Beautiful photos! Glad I found you through Travel Tuesday link-up!

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  15. Oh Jenna - your Instagram pictures already had me hooked on The Oyster Box (best hotel name ever?) but this post just convinced me I have to make the trip to Durban on our next trip down. The only challenge I guess would be to get motivated to leave the property! So incredibly lovely. xx

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    1. YES! Durban definitely needs to be on your list! And when you go be sure to invite me... I'll hide in your suitcase if I have to ;)

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  16. Love, love, love.

    And those striped lounge chairs... yes.

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    1. I know, I want those striped loungers for my own home one day. They're amazing!

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    1. Don't they just pull at your heart strings? ;)

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  18. Heaven! The Oyster Box is definitely heaven! Obviously the fuss about it is warranted :)

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    1. Obviously, right!? Now I feel stupid for ever doubting its amazing-ness. Rookie mistake.

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  19. What a fabulous hotel! I'm sure you had a pretty memorable stay there! :) And the service that you've described really sounds superb!

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    1. It was beyond incredible. Dare I say our best hotel experience ever?!

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  20. Wow! That place looks gorgeous!! Everything about it.

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  21. this sounds like a seriously fabulous hotel! I love all the little graphic details in your pictures, like the striped chairs and the b&w tile floors.

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  22. oh WOW! I bet you were hoping that it wouldn't be as special as everyone said because then you wouldn't orient ALL YOUR FUTURE TRAVEL AND MONEY PLANS around it. but now... haha!

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  23. Oh wow, it is beautiful! I haven't been there but have wanted to for so long... you're reminding me of all the things I wanted to do in SA that I never did! I'll have to start an "SA bucket list"... ;)

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  24. SO going for a spot of tea or a cocktail in December.

    P.s. I love the pic of you with the sunbeam thingy behind your head!

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  25. I have fallen in Love with the Oyster Box everytime I am there. U actually cannot describe the place. U have to physically go look for yourself. We had the curry buffet dinner on the Terrace in October. In December we will be frequenting the beautiful Lighthouse Bar. Its really a spectacular venue and hotel!

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)