Looking for a convenient base in the city? This new, no-frills hotel has a top location, says MELANIE VAN ZYL
A no-frills base near the Durban beachfront
Onomo Hotel, Durban KWAZULU-NATAL
Hailing from Morocco, Onomo is a proudly African hotel group that’s launched its latest SA stay in the centre of Durban. It’s not much to look at from the outside, and there isn’t anything ‘exotic’ about this hotel; it’s a stripped-down, contemporary experience that prioritises clean rooms at an affordable rate – and it works.
You can expect all the services of a regular hotel (excellent and unlimited Wi-Fi, a gym and outdoor swimming pool, rooms with air con, a TV and tea and coffee station), but with some great sustainable practices thrown in too. There are sensor lights in the public areas throughout the hotel and greywater systems for irrigating the garden, plus low-flow fittings on taps to reduce water usage (don’t worry, the flow is still more than strong enough).
There’s a wonderful, sunny breakfast terrace to enjoy Durban’s fabulous climate, and the open-plan central lobby grows busy in the evening as it houses both the reception area and restaurant, O’Taste (there’s a wide meal selection, with everything from pasta to bobotie and lamb shank; mains hover at the R110 mark). However, upstairs in my room, the double-glazed windows ensured no disturbance from the busy city outside.
The clientele is predominantly business travellers (it’s close to three convention centres) and this is undoubtedly the hotel’s primary target market; it’s also near Kingsmead Stadium. But my Friday stay saw a transition to families and holidaymakers using it as an affordable, central base for a weekend break.
All rooms and suites sleep two and only one has a balcony. Be sure to request a room overlooking the Promenade, or with views of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and city lights at night. BEST FEATURE The location. It’s a five-minute, three-block walk to North Beach, where I watched the surfers as the sun came up and joined active locals on the Promenade (pack your tackies!) There’s also a generously late checkout time of 11am.
COST Room only from R560 pp sharing, or with breakfast from R725 pp.
CONTACT 031-492-3917, onomohotel.com
LEFT The sunny Promenade is popular from early in the day. BOTTOM, FROM LEFTThe hotel is central, and kids will be glad to know it’s not only near the beach but a short walk from Durban Ice Arena; the lap pool is perfect for a quick workout or dip; the airy, light interior of O’Taste restaurant.