A-LIST GUEST: Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco have stayed over at Durbans  Oyster Box hotel
A-LIST GUEST: Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco have stayed over at Durbans Oyster Box hotel

Tanya Waterworth

WHEN it’s all about yes for the guest, Durban’s elite hotels have also had their mettle tested by eccentric billionaires, romping royals and party loving celebs.

Of course mum’s the word on who wanted what, but the five star Oyster Box Hotel, which is really the last word in classical elegance in the world of hotels, has had some rather unusual requests on more than one occasion, including sourcing pigs’ kidneys as a much-desired delicacy for a guest.

No questions asked on how it was prepared, but imagination conjures up a trolley bearing a silver cloche hiding the saucy kidneys, and accompanied by crystal goblets filled with a fine wine.

On the edge of white beaches overlooking the Indian ocean, the Oyster Box has also captured many romantic moments, which would leave Lord Byron sighing and the barmaid whispering “ag shame man”.

One husband insisted his wife find a pearl in an oyster, which of course the hotel simply could not refuse, while another well-heeled and terribly busy guest who urgently needed a worthy gift for his wife, slapped R20 000 into the concierge’s hand and gave him carte-blanche in picking out the pressie. Not quite Keats, but would she ever know?

And having jewellery designed and made overnight is not unheard of in the hotel, where the girl’s best friend is on show whether swanning around the pool or sipping a glass of champers.

For those with a taste for the finer things in life, Beluga Caviar has been flown in from Caviar House in London, while one guest wanted the silky luxury of a pure milk bath and another who was less fond of Cleopatra’s ways, needed an Evian Water bath for three days in a row.

And while most guests enjoy the sound of the surf lapping against the shore, one room had to be soundproofed to block out the sound of the sea right outside the window – no easy feat.

Loads of big names have been spotted in the hotel’s gracious lobby or relaxing on the patio, including supermodel Naomi Campbell, Hilary Swank, Sir Alex Ferguson and the Manchester United Team, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco, John Cleese and former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, to name but a few.

And some are more memorable for their actions with Samsung’s president insisting that all the televisions in the hotel be changed to Samsung during his stay – and in the spirit of saying “yes”, the hotel did just that. In appreciation, the president apparently donated the whole lot when he left.

And while there is always a velvet curtain of privacy drawn over the antics of the rich and famous, New Year’s Eve often sees a spree of lavish spending which in the past has included a bottle of Chateau Margaux 1983 Bordeaux at a cool R68 000 a bottle, a 1988 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes at R30 000, while the Champagne Armand de Brignac at R10 000 is often the bubbly of choice.