Isn’t it wonderful to be spoilt?
The Oyster Box is a beautiful five star colonial style hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban.
My uncle and aunt spent their wedding night at The Oyster Box. A generation later their daughter and new husband did exactly the same thing. And, returning from Thula Thula, I spent the night in that little piece of paradise.
And no, it was not with a brand new, sparkling spouse, or even with the companionship of my wire haired dachshund. I spent the night alone in my bed but what a blissful stay I had. Perhaps I should have kidnapped the beautiful tabby cat that greeted me at the door when I arrived, resplendent in diamanté collar! I later discovered that his name was Skabenga meaning hooligan or vagabond in Zulu! Apparently, earlier this year, Skabenga went off his food and so an appointment was made for him to see the vet. With that Skabenga vanished and was later discovered ten kilometres away. Vets obviously did not appeal to him!
Walking into the Oyster Box is an experience in itself. One enters through a beautiful revolving door. I have walked through countless revolving doors but this one is different. The door seemed to sum up the hotel itself with it’s solid old fashioned, colonial brilliance. The wood, brass and glass shimmer with an elegance all it’s own. I smiled at the doorman who welcomed me for he was kitted out in perfect in colonial Raj attire, complete with a cream pith helmet.
The Indian theme continued with lunch. Exquisite tiffin curries of every kind were served. I would love to say that I sampled several kinds of this delicious fare. I didn’t.
I don’t like curry!
My mouth was filled instead with the ambrosial delight of a prawn cocktail. Sheer heaven!
The service was exceptional with friendly people who were well prepared to go the extra mile. I must say that for the whole of my stay, I felt very much like some form of royalty. My every wish was catered for, even before I knew that I had wished it!
As I walked around the hotel, I gloried in the decor surrounding me. Light, airy colours. Soft and neutral shades adorned the walls of a traditional British Colonial interior. Pale greens, blues, tans, creams and whites contrasted beautifully against darker wooden blinds, fans and door frames. Beautiful Persian rugs, incredible hanging lamps, black and white terrazzo tiles in the reception area and foyer. There is the most outstanding original wrought iron balustrade that simply took my breath away.
In the atrium ladies were indulging themselves in the most beautiful of English ‘teas’ whilst being serenaded by a a wonderful pianist. I, on the other hand, met my cousin, Judith and her four children outside on the patio for milkshakes! The youngest daughter, Alice, was so overawed by her surroundings, especially the trees bedecked with beautiful fairy lights, that her milkshake was ignored for five minutes. Then as if coming out of a daze she announced to the world:
“Cool, this place is real cool!” before dunking the straw in her mouth and slurping with gusto.
Later that night, while dressing for dinner, I thought how apt Alice’s words had been.
Cool, this place is really cool!
That night I joined my friends, B and John for dinner. As we were walking towards the dining room, John said: “Just tell me again, who are we meeting for dinner?”
“Nobody, John,” I replied a little impatiently, “it is just us.”
I noticed a hefty kick aimed at John’s shin by B. We were led to our table. But it was not empty. My aunt, Libby, who is like a second mother to me, was there, together with my cousin, Judith and Jonathan. I was completely taken by surprise. Libs was practically dancing with delight at my astonishment.
How utterly wonderful a dinner we had that evening! The food was subliminally outstanding, beautifully served and the wine flowed.
I stood on my balcony that night, looking out onto the sea. Ships were crossing that broad expanse, their lights fireflying into the purple darkness. My Cochlear Implants were put away so the breaking waves below my window were silent. But the crashing of waves filled my head and the tangy smell of the ocean lulled me to sleep in that magical hotel.
The next morning I was in for another surprise when a friend of mine, Gorvs, arrived to join me for breakfast. “Gorvs, how utterly divine to see you but how did you know I’d be here?” Gorvs looked across at B and I clicked. “B, you are a total star, thank you!”
Seeing Gorvs was wonderful but my breakfast that morning was something else! I was able to have as many oysters as I was able to eat. They slipped down my throat, together with lemon juice and Tabasco sauce as if they were simply returning home!
My time at The Oyster Box was undefinable as far as enjoyment went. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I have realised something about myself. People are important to me. I remember going to Paris when I was twenty-one. Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. I experienced it alone. I stood there looking up at The Eiffel Tower and longed to share it with someone. The intimate delights I discovered at the Louvre were locked inside of me. I am a person that needs to share with people.
The delights of The Oyster Box were transformed to joy because I was able to share them: my nieces and nephew, B and John, Libby, Judith, Jonathan, Gorvs. How incredibly fortunate I am to have ‘people’ in my life.
I have one regret about my stay at The Oyster Box. There was a TV at the end of my bath. I never had a luxurious, leisurely soak while watching that TV.
I will save that for next time!