By Bill Ryan
Durban - It is remarkable the way properties continue to mushroom in and around the Gateway complex at uMhlanga, and one can now add another new landmark to the landscape there.
It is Urban Park Spa & Hotel, overlooking the Porsche car dealership, and offers 92 self-catering flats and 160 residential flats. All share a communal gym overlooking a long pool with giant TV set, situated alongside the Cosmopolitan Restaurant near the hotel’s ground floor reception area.
Urban Park Hotel & Spa flats offer fully fitted kitchens, appliances and furnishings. Although there were some teething troubles when I had a stayover less than a month after it opened in December – no soap in the shower, no info sheet listing reception’s phone number and water overflowing into the bedroom through poor shower drainage – all of these little wobbles are sure to have been sorted out by now.
The self-catering flats are available for daily letting as well as long leases at affordable prices, allowing guests to experience the best of the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast for as long as they need.
The hotel is part of the Urban Park development, which consists of 160 residential flats and retail shops in addition to the hotel.
There are various flat options to choose from: studio suites, along with one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom suites.
The design of the hotel is chic and elegant, offering the latest technology in all rooms, including wi-fi, LED televisions, DVD players and iPod players.
There are seven deluxe rooms equipped with extra-length king size beds, air conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, internet and e-mail, mini bar, room safes and fold-out sofas for children under 12.
All flats have ducted air conditioning and power is guaranteed by a stand-by generator.
The open-plan and airy, four-star Cosmopolitan Restaurant on the ground floor serves meals all day and a Vida-e kiosk alongside it ensures guests have superior coffee available throughout the day.
The restaurant offers excellent and varied breakfast choices, a light-snack menu, salads, pasta, gourmet burgers, steaks, desserts and various create-your-own basket snack mixes.
The menu also boasts good curries, a standout being the R85 Butter Chicken in a rich creamy sauce, flavoured with cashews, almonds, tomatoes, spices and butter served with basmati rice, sambals and papadums.
Camelot Aqua Spa offers a variety of treatments to pamper and spoil guests. The spa has three couple-rooms, two single rooms, a pedi lounge, nail bar, relaxation area, Rasul Chamber and jacuzzi.
I tried a full-body massage and facial and felt pampered and relaxed.
Guests also have access to the indoor swimming pool and gym, while green spaces provide guests with ample opportunity to experience Durban’s wonderful weather.
Although close to Gateway, shuttles to the shopping centre as well as to the La Lucia and Ridgeside office parks, and the uMhlanga Beach, are available to guests.
Well suited to both business travellers and families this cool, airy and funky hotel is designed using natural, cool colours. A giant chandelier hangs in the reception area and large photographs of plants, as well as of New York’s Central Park, are dotted throughout.