The Oyster Box charm…
I could happily spend days, weeks, even months staring out into the Indian Ocean, lounging beside the Oyster Box pool. It is calm, serene, perfect and beautiful. The hotel says so itself: “Where business is a pleasure.”
The hotel has kept its colonial old-world charm, with a modern twist here and there. Originally opened in 1947, The Oyster Box stands majestically on Umhlanga’s prestigious beach front, overlooking the iconic red and white lighthouse.
As one of South Africa’s most distinguished, luxury seaside hotels, the setting is bound to be spectacular. The 86 individually appointed rooms, villas, suites and the award-winning Spa sit comfortably in the lush indigenous gardens with reflection ponds and water features. The Victorian-style gazebo and small amphitheatre are perfect for intimate weddings. Birds chirping, bright flowers blooming, garden of Eden? I think so.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty: the business and conference facilities. While at The Oyster Box a couple of weeks ago, there just happened to be a group of conference goers arriving the next day, so I was fortunate enough to witness the setup and how much goes into it.
The hotel has a diverse selection of venues to suit the conference and corporate sectors and the individual business traveller, with each one of the five banqueting rooms individually decorated. Each room can be set up to suit any occasion and individual requirements. In addition, the hotel boasts a luxurious 24-seater movie theatre, which can be used for presentations. A fully equipped business centre with complimentary high-speed internet facilities is also available.
The Oyster Box’s conference coordinators are able to provide a wide range of innovative extras to make a conference or team building event, a little different. These include master cooking classes with one of the hotel’s experienced chefs, wine-tasting or food and wine pairing experience with award-winning Sommelier or a rooftop braai overlooking the ocean.
Complementing the conference and business facilities, the hotel offers a varied selection of dining and socialising options. From the laid back Ocean Terrace, complete with pizza and Tandoori ovens, serving the finest seafood and a selection of authentic curries, to breakfast – with a buffet to die for – or high tea in the light and airy ‘Palm Court’, or fine dining in The Grill Room. The innovative sunken wine cellar, with its glass ceiling and impressive wine list, houses the Chef’s Table, allowing private functions for up to 10 people. The locals’ favourite Chukka Bar, with its authentic character, the Lighthouse Bar, situated on the rooftop overlooking the famous lighthouse and the magnificent, marbled Oyster Bar, serving freshly plucked oysters from the hotel’s own oyster beds, are where the networking and fun’s at, once the day’s business is done.
There’s always time for a bit of pampering, I say, and The Spa (a leading spa of the world) offers indulgent experiences like no other. The experienced therapists are dedicated to restoring beauty and balance through individual treatments and spa journeys. Their commitment to well-being focuses on essential holistic principles, combining ancient wisdom with modern expertise. In-room treatments are also available.
I’m a ‘cat’ person, so I may be biased, but Skabenga the Oyster Box’s resident furry friend is just a delight and he adds to the hotel’s quaint, relaxed atmosphere. He even has his own Facebook page! In case you were wondering, the hotel is pet friendly. The superior garden villas accommodate both guests and pets. The inclusion of special pet menus, linen and sleeping baskets, guarantee that guests’ four-legged friends live in the lap of luxury during their stay.
Be it romance, business, or family and pet time you need, The Oyster Box is a gem of the purest kind.