Park off at Urban Park Hotel

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iol travel feb 25 urban reception area from restaurant SUPPLIED While the entrance to the hotel is quite bling, the rest  including the bar area  is subtle, in hues of grey.

Durban - Urban Park Hotel, the latest addition to Durban’s high-end hospitality range, has all the practical features for a self-catering stay as well as all the upmarket touches of a five-star hotel.

The 92-room monolith is just a few blocks from Gateway, at the end of Meridian Drive, across from the Porsche dealership.

My friend Jonny and I went to spend a complimentary night at the hotel, which included a spa treatment in-house.

We battled to find the place, circling the hotel a few times before eventually realising our mistake.

It turned out the signage for the hotel wasn’t ready – understandable considering the hotel had just opened.

A grand, gold chandelier demands your attention as you walk towards the reception, a huge, luxurious couch under it.

iol travel feb 25 urban nt Bar Area 1 While the entrance to the hotel is quite bling, the rest  including the bar area  is subtle, in hues of grey. SUPPLIED

Apart from those slightly over-the-top displays, everything else seemed subtle and tasteful.

The walls are a greyish silver, adorned with giant pieces of art. The charming staff manage to be discreet but also ever-available.

A sunken restaurant is to the left of the front desk. Next to that is the in-house Vida e Cafe.

Both the restaurant and coffee shop face the infinity pool, which is, oddly enough, placed at ground level, rendering the infinity aspect pointless.

A giant screen is suspended above the pool, so you don’t have to miss a minute of whatever match you were watching if you go for a swim. It seems like a good idea, but I’m not yet convinced.

Jonny went off for his massage (he would later describe it as “strange” because he had to disrobe even though it was a facial massage) while I kicked back and watched Serena Williams destroy some poor Russian player.

We were given two adjoining suites. The larger suite had a smartly equipped kitchen complete with washing machine/tumble dryer (nice touch), lounge area with a wall-mounted flat screen, and a small but adequate balcony.

A doorway led to the bed and bathroom. There was a double bed, a night stand, a large bath tub, toilet and shower.

The smaller suite had just one room. In it was a kitchen (washing machine included) , two single beds, a flat-screen TV set, a bathroom with a shower but no bath, and no balcony.

Although minimal, the suites had an easygoing charm. They felt more like mini-apartments than hotel rooms.

The hotel is serene, comfortable, clean and upmarket with everything at hand – a gym, conference centre, restaurant and spa. Its proximity to Gateway – a five-minute walk away – makes it a convenient option.

The self-catering aspect makes it more affordable. Not bad, Durban.

l Current rates start at R500 for a studio apartment, room only. Call 0861 000 333 or visit - Sunday Tribune

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