A TRUE BLUE ROYAL TREAT
In the heart of Umhlanga Ridge, this hotel is nicely situated for either a business trip or a getaway. It overlooks the bustling Gateway Theatre of Shopping precinct, with its trendy eateries and watering holes. Umhlanga beach and the town’s famous restaurant strip, which offers more gastronomic delights, are a mere five-minute drive down the road.
The 94-suite apartment-style hotel is classy and opulent. The sprawling lobby has beautiful fabric couches, luxurious rugs, massive mirrors and oversized lamps. The restaurant comprises a circular bar, lounge, formal dining area and outdoor courtyard.
The courtyard — on a clear night — is the perfect spot for al fresco dining.
Rooms include executive deluxe rooms, executive suites, two-bedroom executive suites and two- and three-bedroom penthouse suites. I was impressed by the size of the executive suite, with its one bedroom, lounge, en suite bathroom with a sizeable tub, and balcony.
The decorators looked to the East for inspiration — traces of Thailand, Indonesia and China are evident.
Everybody from the jovial concierge to the front-desk staff and management were friendly and welcoming.
HOW’S THE GRUB
Breakfast is a sumptuous affair — a hot and cold buffet, with everything you could desire from sausages and bacon to omelettes, baked beans and strips of chicken in a creamy, spicy sauce. The all-day menu has several dishes to suit most palates, including grilled line fish, beef fillet, pastas and grilled peri-peri chicken.
The beach is the obvious attraction, as is the Umhlanga promenade, for a leisurely stroll and a view of the sea and lighthouse.
The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence gives visitors insight into these fascinating creatures with audio-visual shows and dissections. Then there’s the 26ha Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve. It has picnic sites and walking trails.
If you want to view the town from the air, the hotel can arrange a helicopter adventure.
The hotel has a spa on site, as well as conference facilities and a fitness centre.
From R1,720 per room per night, including breakfast.