I do like a bit of pampering. And the folk at The St James on Venice have it down to a T. Not too much cossetting, space if you want, but attention if you need it.
Situated in Durban’s leafy Morningside suburb, the St James on Venice is a relatively new luxury boutique hotel.
Originally the home of Corobrick founder Robert Storm who built it in 1892, it retains its original brickwork, stained glass and architecture, and has a sedate old-world charm perfectly suited to an indulgent break from day-to-day drudgery.
The quiet charms of The St James are not exclusive to residents, as many have discovered. The hotel restaurant is open to the public from Monday to Thursday for dinner and Monday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and high tea.
Experienced chef Marie-Louise Keisjer and chef Thabile Lubanyana (aptly called Angel) produce some wonderful food. I never shy away from food but I was amazed at my slender companion’s newfound capacity. A recommendation if ever there was one.
Do try the salad with glace figs, pecans and perfectly deep fried Camembert, or the champagne jelly.
The wine list certainly won’t disappoint either.
To really experience the attention to detail that makes The St James – and guests – feel special, a stay in one of the 15 beautifully appointed bedrooms is a must. The iced tea on check-in, welcome note, flowers, ribbons and bedtime handmade confectionery-cum-note – not forgetting a clean car upon departure – are among the many little delights.
The dressing gowns, slippers and linen are top class too and I’ve been wishing one of their fantastically comfortable king size mattresses would somehow migrate to my home.
The rooms lack for nothing – though you should specify whether you prefer a shower or tub. There are fresh biscuits, filter coffee, flat screen TV and wireless internet should you feel the need to stay connected. And careful attention is evident everywhere, from the spotless glass of my vast shower and wine glass to the gleaming tea service tray and coffee machine. And the super-efficient and friendly staff, under manager Sunet Pringle, keep a watchful eye over it all.
The St James on Venice is ideal for small meetings. The downstairs meeting rooms lead into the restaurant and terrace, creating a comfortable environment for corporate sessions and dinners.
The St James certainly lends itself to enjoyable occasions and is also well-placed for guests to sample the best Durban has to offer.
It is close to the trendy eateries of Florida Road while the beachfront, major sports stadiums, golf courses, as well as Jameson and Mitchell parks are also nearby. For business guests, there is quick access to the city centre and the freeway to the Umhlanga Ridge precinct.