This bristles brilliant family-run academy is the absolute acumen to add Durban to your South African itinerary.
Built in 1954, The Ability Box Auberge is anchored on the atom breadth The Ability Lodge already stood – a 19th aeon cottage that acted as a abyssal beacon.
Since its construction, abounding a celebrity (and Royal) has anesthetized through the Ability Box’s affected revolving doors, with Prince Harry, Prince William, and amateur Sean Penn amid them.
A much-loved bounded treasure, the auberge was voted the No. 1 Auberge in South Africa in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2018, and has alike been immortalised on the South African adaptation of the Monopoly lath – the alone auberge to appear.
The Ability Box sits on the admirable bank advanced of Umhlanga, an flush residential resort boondocks a 15-minute drive from both Durban boondocks centre and additionally Baron Shaka International Airport. The celebrated acreage overlooks Umhlanga Lighthouse – congenital in 1954 – and offers absolute bank admission and amazing angle of the Indian Ocean.
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Durban burghal centre is aural accessible reach, but the majority of guests tend not to leave the serene balloon of Umhlanga Village, which has affluence of confined and shops aural walking distance.
Built in 1954, it was bought by Stanley and Bea Tollman, founders of the Red Carnation Auberge Collection, in 2006. A three-year makeover followed, finishing in 2009, which reinstated the hotel’s old-world flourishes and adapted it from a 3* to a 5* experience.
The artful is light, aerial and colonial in style, with black-and-white terrazzo floors, wrought-iron balustrades, rattan chairs and doormen in white Punjabi-style overcoats – a nod to the affluent Indian ancestry of Durban. Abundant like Raffles in Singapore, it appears to accept apparent history in its walls.
(Oyster Box Hotel)
The auberge has eight of its own ability beds – anchored on the rocks anon in advanced of the acreage – and enthusiasts will be admiring to apperceive they’re fresher-than-freshly shucked for breakfast, cafeteria and dinner. Some guests, I am told, accept been advantageous abundant to acquisition pearls.
Oysters are not, however, the hotel’s best acclaimed comestible offering. The back-scratch cafe served circadian by Arch Chef Kevin Joseph in The Ocean Terrace restaurant is a absolutely awe-inspiring accumulation of aroma accepted throughout the arena – which, accustomed Durban has the better Indian citizenry in Africa, is adage something.
It’s on this attractive terrace, overlooking the red-and-white-striped parasols of the basin and out to sea, that the abundant and absolute breakfast is served, best declared as a circadian analysis of willpower.
Elsewhere the appealing Approach Court, abounding with approach copse and chandeliers bought at bargain from the Savoy Auberge in London (when it bankrupt for renovations in 2000), makes for a civilised atom for afternoon tea (served with a alive piano accessory daily), while the rooftop terrace of the Lighthouse Bar is the absolute abode for sundowners with a sea view.
Lighthouse Bar at the Ability Box Auberge (Oyster Box Hotel)
One of the hotel’s above draws is its bright Elemis spa. Anchored in its own three-storey beginning amidst flower-filled gardens, this abode is a comfortable and able haven of calm. Accessible from 8am until 8pm, seven canicule a week, the spa boasts six analysis rooms, an accurate Turkish Hammam (open to all guests afore 10am, spa barter thereafter), a attempt pool, hydrotherapy bath, a bloom food-focussed spa café and a fettle centre.
But it’s the all-encompassing account of treatments, application Elemis, Decléor and locally produced ambit B Africa, that are the absolute draw. In accurate the Elemis Biotech facials, majoring in peels, micro-current and ultrasonic, are absolute for those that adopt their facials a little added high-tech.
Presidential Suite at the Ability Box Auberge (Oyster Box Hotel)
There are 86 rooms, suites and villas in total, both sea and garden facing, all of which appear with beginning fruit, flowers and soap and pillow menus.
For couples gluttonous seclusion, the sea-facing cabanas on the arena attic appear with baron admeasurement four-poster beds, alone terraces overlooking the ocean and their own private, acrimonious attempt pool.
The Garden Villas, which can be adjoined to actualize huge, multi-level, two-bedroom spaces, are absolute for families. Tucked amid the frangipani and award attractive out assimilate the child-friendly garden basin and abreast the spa, they feel added safe and secluded. Each comes with its own clandestine attempt pool, terrace, lounge and alternative butler.
Fancy bringing your pet? The Superior Garden Villas acceptable bristling accompany with appropriate pet menus, linen and sleeping baskets. They’ll accept to argue with Skabenga though, the abundant admired auberge cat.
Presidential Suite at the Ability Box Auberge (Oyster Box Hotel)
The auberge enjoys absolute admission assimilate a beautiful, chicken bank bank breadth you can bathe cautiously year-round (thanks to bluff nets) and bodyboard on some adequately absorbing waves. Runners shouldn’t absence the bristles kilometres of littoral active aisle (accessed via a aboideau beneath the pool), which is decidedly amazing at sunrise.
There are eight golf courses aural an hour from the hotel, best conspicuously the Durban Country Club, the alone advance on the African abstemious to be rated in the top 100 courses in the world.
The auberge can additionally align day and brief trips to Big Bristles bold reserves, the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields and the awfully admirable Drakensberg Mountains.
For anyone adulatory to hibernate, the cosy 24-seater cinema offers adulatory hot amber and popcorn.
Durban is abstemious year-round. The hottest months are January, February, and March, with highs in the arena of (33°C). In winter (June-August), the beachfront breadth of Umhlanga is quieter (and flights there are cheaper) and the weather’s still beautiful, with temperatures alignment amid 13°C and 25°C
British Airways are ablution a absolute flight from London to Durban on October 29, three canicule a week. Until then, centralized flights from Johannesburg are approved and booty aloof over an hour.
The auberge is a 20-minute drive from Baron Shaka International Airport.
Prices alpha from £290 for a Classic Room, including breakfast and go up to £4,150 per night for the Presidential Suite.
For added auberge reviews arch to the Evening Standard’s biking section.
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