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.

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 www.threecities.co.za - Sunday Tribune