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“Top Class”
Review of The Oyster Box

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The Oyster Box
Ranked #2 of 18 Hotels in Umhlanga Rocks
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 February 2014

The Oyster Box is a low rise, sea-front hotel done out in an attractive colonial style. it is part 1950s and part recent expansion. The hotel is well-run, friendly and spotlessly clean. The rooms are spacious and high quality. Staff are all very well-trained and helpful, especially the excellent front-desk, who were knowledgeable about local restaurants and tours (if you have a spare half day take Greg Garson's Durban tour, it's really interesting and can be booked through the front desk). The only downside is that the bars are popular and get very crowded - but I guess that means they're good! The Grill Room restaurant has great food at reasonable prices and rightly deserves its place as one of Durban's best. All in all an excellent hotel

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank SteveOsborne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking time to provide feedback following your stay at The Oyster Box.

I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed yourselves and that you were well looked after by the efficient and friendly staff, especially those on the front desk. In addition, you appear to concur on the luxury of the rooms and the restaurants, especially the fine dining Grill Room where you thoroughly enjoyed your meal.

I look forward to welcoming you back soon for another unforgettable stay.

Kind regards,

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,361 - 1,367 of 1,860 reviews

Reviewed 1 February 2014

We were very, very disappointed with our stay. Yes, the lobby looks impressive but that is the only positive comment I can make. the staff has to dress up like in a bad Bollywood movie and in general we felt like in an Indian, English-colonial Disney world! Our room was ok and clean, but nothing extraordinary. The food was terrible (breakfast and room service meals were very generic, tasted of nothing and were overcooked). the pool is not really suitable for swimming, also because it is filled with 'pool noodles'. the cookies we found in our room upon check-in were never cleared away in 5 days. the beds were turned down at the most inconvenient times (at 5.30pm when we wanted to get ready for dinner or once at 9.30 pm, when we actually were in bed already). but most disturbing were the security issues. The first night we were woken up by a phone call from the 'front desk 2 '(we saw that on the phone display).The caller hung up on us without an apology and even though we immediately informed reception and asked them to look into the matter, we never received an answer or an apology from anybody. On top of that, I found our room door and balcony door wide open 1 day when I came back from the 'pool' with no housekeeping staff even in sight on the entire floor. We again immediately informed the front desk,but This issue was also never solved, nor did we again, receive an apology from staff or management. Security showed up on the last evening 3 times though, up until 10.30pm, disturbing our sleep (we had a very early flight), thinking our door was broken, but not addressing the actual issues, that obviously a maid or some staff member left the room door open after cleaning. Fortunately nothing was stolen, but we did not at all feel safe during our stay. There was plenty of staff around, there were smiles, but yet we did not at all feel any genuine friendliness towards the guests, like in all the other hotels we visited in South Africa. The smells in the lobby and on the staircases varied from smelly fish, to moldy cleaning rags, to engine room. All in all, I CAN NOT AT ALL recommend this hotel. The price/quality ratio is very low and unless you like grand impressions over actual quality - book another hotel! Maybe this hotel once was an exceptional experience, but it is for sure no longer!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank elkspitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback with regards to your recent stay at The Oyster Box. I am truly mortified with this review as I remember all of the areas you highlighted and not only were these addressed, but further followed up personally by myself, who spoke to you and inquired if everything was dealt with to your satisfaction and if you were enjoying your stay to which you told me you were. Sadly a predominant portion of what you have posted was never mentioned during your stay.

It is also most disheartening to hear of your criticism of our staff uniforms as this is an area, akin to many; that we take immense pride in, and often receive exceptionally positive feedback. Our owners painstakingly select each and every uniform and this is done with care and consideration in order to compliment the team members, department and hotel. The room you stayed in is a firm favourite with many of our regular guests, so this too was most surprising to hear.

With regards to the food, this too was so upsetting to see and not mentioned to me while you were staying here. I have noted that you had room service and food in The Oyster Bar along with The Ocean Terrace, and ordered popular items, so I was flummoxed to hear you found the food tasteless and nothing extraordinary. We are renowned for the quality of both our food and extensive beverage selection which again is constantly updated and careful care and passion is put into each and every recipe and preparation of each dish.

The pool is a top spot for guests given the favourable year round weather enjoyed in beautiful Umhlanga and the hotel is family friendly so the noodles in the pool (of which there are not many) are keenly utilised by our young and older guests alike. We also have our 2nd pool located in our exquisite gardens (where there are no noodles in the pool but available on request) for guests requiring another option.

My Housekeeping team will not remove items that do not perish quickly (such as the cookies made in house for our guests) as some guests prefer to enjoy them during the stay. If you had requested them removed, we would have done so with pleasure and further inquired as to what you may have liked in their place.

The early turndown times you had specifically requested with my housekeeping team, so again we are truly puzzled as to why you were unhappy, as we adhered to your preference. Unfortunately we have no record of the 21h30 turndown and have watched the camera footage to double check this and no staff member can be seen going to your room (206) at that time during your stay. My Front Desk team did reply to you with regards to the alleged call and we pulled all of our telephone logs for the morning in question and no calls were made to your room, which we again further confirmed by camera footage. I can only imagine it was another guest calling a colleague’s or friend’s room and called your room by mistake. We did apologise to you for this regardless.

With regards to your open room this was an regrettable transgression on our side as the Housekeeping lady had gone back down to Housekeeping for a stock item and this should not have happened however as you know, we did apologise profusely for this and security were sent to your room to further apologise and assess if anything was missing to which you confirmed there was not and said it was all in order.

I am complimented and commended on an ongoing basis by visitors and residents for the friendliness and genuine warmth of my staff, to such a point it is mentioned in 90% of our guest comments as something that sets us notably apart from our competitors. I can assure you the smiles and care of our team members to each and every guest is something that comes from the heart and is one of our core values. Again, it is a pity you did not intimate at any of this dissatisfaction and feeling of lack of sincerity from our team during your stay.
Lastly, with regards to the smells (again, never mentioned until now) you apparently experienced, I am once again at a loss for words. Not only do we have a specialised environmentally friendly air aroma running through our air-conditioning units, we also have exceptionally high “green” air fresheners and scents for all of our guest rooms and all public toilets throughout the hotel. Parried with this we have fresh flowers and orchids generously displayed through the hotel.

We are all very disappointed that we did not live up to your expectations, but certainly did try our utmost to address the areas of concern you communicated to us. Sadly even when I called you to check on your stay, you told me everything was fine and did not mention all of these areas you have now voiced your disapproval so vehemently about.

Please accept my apologies for not living up to your expectations as I can wholeheartedly assure you our constant focus is to provide each and every guest with an unforgettable experience and as a team we strive for this with an unwavering passion and sincere and driven dedication to a product we completely believe in and are immensely proud of.

Kind regards,
Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2014

What a way to finish a holiday! My wife and I were fortunate to be directed to the OBH for our final night of a 10 day holiday in south Africa. From the moment we walked through the door, we were treated as though we were the only people there. The attention to detail in the rooms, the sheer luxury of the rooms and the friendliness of the staff behind the front desk were awesome. The view overlooking the coast almost caused us to forgo sleep - almost! The meals on the balcony, both breakfast and dinner were classy yet relaxed and again the service was top-shelf. The attentive staff around the pool topped off a brilliant stay for us - to Wayne and his team, thank you so much. It was truly memorable.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Stuart M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for posting your wonderful review following your stay at The Oyster Box.

I am delighted that you thoroughly enjoyed your time with us, in particular, the friendly and efficient service, the luxurious rooms with attention to detail and delicious meals on the balcony with superb views overlooking the ocean.

I look forward to welcoming you back for another memorable stay soon.

Kind regards,

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014

What an amazing location, particularly given our group all stayed on the ocean side, waking up to the most amazing views each morning. The physical aspects of the Oyster Box are clearly top shelf, however, the genuine service and attention to detail ensured our group of 16 felt like we were Kings for a few days. To Wayne, Angela and all the staff at TOB, thank you for making our time in Durban a magical one!

Room Tip: Indian Ocean sides are a must!
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Thank Simon Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking time to provide me with feedback following your group stay at
The Oyster Box.

I am delighted that you all enjoyed your time here, in particular the amazing ocean views, the efficient and friendly service and the attention to detail throughout the hotel.

I look forward to welcoming you back in the near future for another memorable experience.

Kind regards,

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

Hotel is located directly at the seashore and the end of a dead end street.
Excellent service by well trained personnel. Great view from room to the sea.
Breakfast (huge buffet!) and afternoon snack can be enjoyed on a large terrace overlooking the sea.
The staff is very attentive to particular needs, as in my case I’m allergic to lactose. The cook of the grill himself checked the particular requirements with me personally after I had informed the waiter and verified after dinner if everything was fine, which I could confirm.
Laundry service was excellent too.
With no exception a wonderful experience and a place to return to soon!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Biker4711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to provide me with some feedback following your recent stay at The Oyster Box.

I am absolutely delighted to hear that you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves, in particular the beach location with superb ocean views, excellent service from the efficient and friendly staff and delicious food specially prepared for you.

I look forward to welcoming you back for another memorable visit soon.

Kind regards,

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2014

From the roof top bar to the gleaming reception and spotless corridors, this hotel is asking me to stay there. Unfortunately we went only for lunch but will probably go back and stay few days when in the area.
Lunch was excellent and the service immaculate.
All at reasonable prices by European standards.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank royvocking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for posting your review following your visit to The Oyster Box to enjoy lunch.

I am delighted that you enjoyed your time here and that you are already planning your next visit to again experience the delicious food and efficient and friendly service.

I look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2014

I don't think we have ever visited somewhere where the staff are so welcoming, friendly and supportive.

Our stay started with a welcoming glass of champagne (also on the breakfast menu along with oyster). A visit to the Lighthouse Bar is a must too.

A real treat recommended for the start or end of a trip to the Eastern Cape - so worth a trip up to Thanda too and I see they do a nice package we might be taking again in a year or two.

Swellegance on a stick !!

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank TheBookwright
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OBHumhlangaRocks, General Manager at The Oyster Box, responded to this reviewResponded 30 January 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for posting your review following your stay at The Oyster Box.

I am delighted to learn that you enjoyed yourselves and that you found the staff to be welcoming and friendly. The staff really care about our guests and their wish is that all guests return for another enjoyable stay.

I look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards,

Wayne Coetzer
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Oyster Box

Address: 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks 4319, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Umhlanga Rocks
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Spa Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Romantic Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Business Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
#2 Luxury Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks
Price Range: £254 - £745 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Oyster Box 5*
Number of rooms: 86
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
THE LEGEND LIVES ON… AT THE OYSTER BOX Standing proud on Umhlanga’s beachfront, directly on the beach and overlooking the Indian Ocean, the 86-room Oyster Box, is one of South Africa’s best-loved hotels. Renowned for generous hospitality, attentive service and exceptional cuisine The Oyster Box offers all the colonial charm and nostalgia of a bygone era, but with all the modern comfort and amenities. Dining venues include the casual ‘Ocean Terrace’, serving casual and al fresco fare and a Curry Buffet, to the legendary, fine-dining ‘Grill Room’. The ‘Palm Court’ serves a lavish, traditional ‘High Tea’ daily, with live piano accompaniment. The Oyster and Lighthouse Bars are the hottest spots in town for sun-downers.The Spa is equipped with six treatment rooms, a Hydrotherapy Bath, grooming lounge, plunge-pool, state-of-the-art gym, Infinity pool and Tranquillity Lounge and offers the latest in health and wellness teatments.Facilities include two swimming pools, a private library, luscious tropical gardens and an intimate, 24-seater movie theatre. The Oyster Box is KZN’s premiere wedding and honeymoon destination and the ‘venue of choice’ for the conference and business market.Time spent at The Oyster Box will leave you with magical memories to last a lifetime. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Oyster Box Umhlanga Rocks

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