The Beverly Hills Hotel has long been a favourite of mine for random lunch dates and sundowners with friends.
With its prime location on Durban’s pristine North Coast, views of the Indian Ocean, and its proximity to malls and cafés and some of the city’s best restaurants, this gem is the perfect city escape within the city.
The grand dame of KwaZulu-Natal, Beverly Hills, opened its doors in December 1964 and was Sol Kerzner’s first hotel, and the first five-star hotel in South Africa.
It was built with the intention of attracting celebrities from abroad, and that’s exactly what it did, with Maurice Chevalier and Marlene Dietrich the first celebs to grace the floors.
The hotel has remained an icon hotel ever since. Known for its luxury rooms, popular Sunday buffets and for hosting royalty, politicians, international superstars and more, it has many drawcards. However, it is the staff that make it what is and what keeps the royals and celebs coming back.
Looking to celebrate our anniversary, my partner and I did not want to leave Durban but still wanted to have a special weekend. The Beverly Hills was a no-brainer.
Driving down Lighthouse Road towards the hotel, you are transported to a different world once you enter the hotel grounds. The bellman was prompt to open the car door and, after seeing my face, his lit up with a sense of familiarity.
After taking a few sips of the sparkling wine presented upon checking in, I was told my initial booking had changed. I scored an upgrade from a standard room to a luxury cabana when management found out it was my anniversary.
At this point I should tell you that accommodation style is varied but all rooms have dramatic, uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. All the rooms have plasma-screen TVs and a DVD library is available at the hotel.
While the style is classic, it carries a relaxed theme in keeping with the hotel’s beach-resort status.
There are four beautiful junior suites which are spacious and sumptuous. There are 10 large luxurious cabanas (eight cabanas and two cabana suites) which are beautifully furnished in cane and sumptuous fabrics, with large travertine tiles, mirror bathrooms and a sliding door leading on to private patios.
Then there are two presidential suites at the top of the hotel and 89 standard rooms.
The attention to detail by staff was overwhelming, but in a good way. It was authentic and not forced; they really want to make your stay a memorable one and are not putting on a show. After settling into my room and enjoying the sweet platter laid out, I went for a little walk around the hotel grounds.
There are two restaurants, a gym, a shop, a business centre, a pool that is heated when the temperature drops, a spa and direct access to the beach and promenade.
Although my partner and I planned to venture out for dinner, we decided to dine at the Sugar Club restaurant in the hotel. This was probably the best decision we made all weekend.
The staff were warm and welcoming and, because our hotel booking was an anniversary one, our table was covered in rose petals.
If it’s something more relaxed you’re looking for, the hotel’s cocktail lounge, Elements Café, is a great option or a walk up to Chartwell Drive will give you more than enough options with restaurants lined on the street.
Our room led directly onto the pool area which was fabulous, we could lounge on our private patio and sip champagne (which we did) or walk a few steps to the communal lounge area. Also, I have never slept on a hotel bed that was as comfortable as the one in my cabana.