Durban - Spacious and stylish, every room at the three-star Hampshire Hotel in Ballito is the perfect oasis for a relaxing stay. Comfortable beds have fluffy pillows, customised duvets and crisp linen, making bedtime something to look forward to.
Each room allows for work and play, from a large desk to a 37-inch flat-panel television screen. You can soundtrack your stay by plugging your iPod into the alarm clock/radio or use the plug panel that enables you to connect to the TV set for your media player or computer.
TV channels include DStv and pay-per-view movie options.
Block-out curtains, a bar fridge, tea/coffee and ironing facilities, and free uncapped wi-fi make the Hampshire ideal for business stays, but roll-away bed options make it great for families too.
There is a fitness centre and security is top notch with basement parking.
The hotel is ideal for intimate events or meetings, with a fully equipped business centre and meeting rooms that have all the conveniences needed to get down to business.
Set in Ballito Business Park, near the town entrance, the hotel might not have sea views, but it’s close to the freeway, restaurants and shops.
The friendly hotel staff have been chosen because they know Ballito and Durban well, so recommendations, referrals and reservations are no problem.
Breakfasts are served in the multi-function lounge, a meeting spot for drinks and casual diners, while the spacious pool area, with a Jacuzzi, is a great spot to unwind.
The hotel is a five-minute drive from the beach.
Blue Flag Willard Beach is Ballito’s main beach with excellent conditions for surfing and body boarding. The tidal pool has two pools, a larger one for adults and a smaller pool for the youngsters.
The lengthy boardwalk is great for taking a stroll and viewing Humpback and Southern Right whales in season, while the pod of about 200 dolphins that gives the Dolphin Coast its name are frequently spotted.
There is a challenging hike to Salt Rock – with the tunnel along the route best attempted at low tide.
A 15-minute walk from Willard takes you to the quieter Clarke Bay.
Salmon Bay Beach, just south of Ballito is ideal for surfing and is the launch pad for boats. Westbrook Beach, sheltered Thompson’s Bay at Shaka’s Rock and Tinley Manor are other fabulous beaches that are not far away.
Alternatively, you take in a game of golf at one of several premier clubs, or take the children to nearby Flag Farm Animal Farm, where you can relax with a light meal while they milk a cow, cuddle and feed animals, enjoy a pony ride or use the playground.
Then there is the popular Litchi Orchard Market in Umhlali which has day and night markets with quality food, crafts and live entertainment.
Nature reserves and heritage trails are also close by – or you can leave the wild behind for some of Ballito’s more cosmopolitan charms. From spa treatments to fine dining opportunities, the Hampshire Hotel staff will direct you accordingly.
Bear in mind that the hotel only serves breakfast, so ask the staff for dining tips (Hampshire is right next to the Ballito Lifestyle Centre, where there are a number of spots).
Hampshire Hotel is proudly represented by African Insignia Hotels. Rates are from just R695 a room. Call 032 586 6000 or visit www.hampshirehotel.co.za - Sunday Tribune