Once you become a mother, things like sleeping in, having your bed entirely to yourself, bathing by candle light, or browsing Pinterest for hours, seem like very distant memories.
Just imagine my excitement when I could recently book a quick solo trip to Durban to get some business & leisure ‘to do’s’ ticked off my list!
I’ll share some of my delightful Durban finds with you in another post, but first I’d love to tell you about my gorgeous ‘home’ for my two nights in Durbs: The Benjamin Boutique Hotel (&Conference Centre) on Florida Road.
When I told a friend – who is from Durban originally – that I was going to stay in Florida Road, she mentioned that I should remain alert, because Florida Road is not what it used to be. So, I was ever so slightly nervous about my stay in this vibey entertainment strip that is Windermere / Morningside. My friend remembered correctly that around 2013 Florida Road had begun to slide into urban decay. However, the formation of the Florida Road Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) in late 2013 has resulted in Florida Road slowly but surely reclaiming its place as a real Durban must-visit. Over the past year, over 230 illegal car guards were removed from the area & almost 13 000 bags of litter were collected. Sidewalk monitors, mechanical sweepers & First Thursdays are but a few of the initiatives aimed at restoring Florida Road. This is such a great example of how passionate businesses & private individuals are working together to make a real effort to turn an area around.
Naturally, like in most places in South Africa, it pays to be alert & not to stroll around the streets at night as a solo female.
Back to The Benjamin; if you are looking for accommodation in Durban, look no further than this classic gem of a boutique hotel. It is literally only five minutes away from Durban’s Main Beaches & about 15 minutes drive from Umhlanga.
I’d only briefly looked at pics of The Benjamin before my trip & I was really delighted when I arrived. One can hardly imagine that The Benjamin has 43 double rooms because it feels really quiet, homey & private.
My room faced the gorgeous pool & courtyard, so if you can, I’d say you should book a courtyard facing room. However, all rooms are equally stylishly decorated & the rooms on Florida Road’s side has double glazing to ensure that your stay is peaceful.
During my stay at The Benjamin, I got the feeling that the majority of the visitors were business travelers, but it is equally great for leisure travel. Yup, it ticks all the boxes including two conference rooms, free safe parking, WIFI, white linen, tea & coffee, air con, a small desk to work at & fluffy towels.
What impressed me most was the attention to detail. The personal touches like some snacks on arrival in my room, a chocolate on the bed (because Women’s Month), plus fresh lilies & orchids throughout this lovely four-star hotel made me feel so spoilt.
I happened to be in Durbs on the coldest two days of the year, but I didn’t mind because there was still so much to do & see.
On Friday night I wasn’t going to brave the cold for longer & decided to put on my PJ’s very early & have a cosy night of TV, working & chilling. At 6:30pm, there was a knock at my door & (together with my take-away delivery) I was sent a delicious glass of red wine, a handwritten note, a chocolate ball & bath salt. Such a kind gesture, right?
Breakfast is served from 6am & is also a real treat. On the menu: a cold buffet selection of delicious pastries, fruit, cereals, cheeses & cold meat. The hot breakfast is cooked super quickly & served with a smile.
I need to warn you that you might be tempted to just hang around your room or the pool for days purely because it is so lovely, but of course that would not be very wise because you’ll miss out on all the amazing things to do & see in the area.
What I didn’t like:
Actually, I would not change a thing, but if I really had to choose something, then I’d probably say the shower over bath. We have the same bath/shower set-up at our current place & I just don’t like it very much, but that’s just me!
What I loved:
- The beautiful view of the courtyard & pool from my room.
- A small platter of snacks in my room on arrival.
- The fresh flowers.
- The most delicious dill mayo ever – served with yummy smoked trout on the breakfast buffet.
- Classy, experienced staff from the kind welcome by Dirk at reception to Sli who serves breakfast with a spring in her step.
The Benjamin Hotel is located on 141 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban, 4001, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or +2731 303 4233.
Hope to see you at The Benjamin when I’m next in Durbs! Thank you for reading.
Images: Yolandi North © or supplied.
I was hosted by The Benjamin for two nights, but as always this review contains my honest thoughts & opinions. Thank you to Sunet & her delightful team for making me feel so welcome.