It has been my dream to go to the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga for a few years now. I even added it to my list of possible romantic spots for our 10th Anniversary coming up in January 2018. So when I was recently driving in the rain on a cold Friday morning from The Benjamin Boutique Hotel in Durban where I was staying to The Oyster Box Spa, I was almost a bit nervous that my highly anticipated spa visit will be a disappointment.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t disappoint for a moment. I felt indulged & spoilt, so I’d love to tell you about it:
What to expect…
There are so many reasons why the iconic Oyster Box is ranked among the most cherished & best hotels in the world. The luxury, service & location (right by the lighthouse on the beach), is just the start. The Oyster Box also has a rich Colonial-Afro-Indian culture that has been maintained over the years.
It was unusually cold & rainy outside for Durbs when I was there, which made it a great day for spa, but not the best day to photograph the lighthouse…
Year-after-year, the spa receives accolades. The most recent being the Best Hotel Spa in Africa (2015) in the World Spa & Wellness Awards; & in 2016 it was named the Country Winner at the World Luxury Spa Awards.
A visit or treatment here would be best described as a journey. It goes without saying that the therapists are really professionalism & skilled.
On arrival, I received a friendly welcome, filled out a client form & headed to the ladies room to change into my spa gown & slippers. The underfloor heating in the bathroom was so welcome because I was super cold.
Gorgeous (Phalaenopsis) orchids are found everywhere in the spa. These were our wedding flowers, so they always bring back such fond memories. Understandably, many spas have silk flowers theses days, so I was delighted to learn that the orchids are all real & grown on site!
I had one of the Signature Treatments called B|Harmonised (R 1050 for 60 minutes). My therapist for the day was Nonku who took the utmost care to make the experience one to remember; enquiring whether I was celebrating a special occasion & also adjusted the music to my preference.
The experience starts off with a foot wash ritual followed by a heavenly full body massage – focussing on back & scalp tension. It also included a foot massage whereafter my feet are slipped into warmed toweled booties. The treatment is done using the B|Africa range – created by the founder of The Red Carnation Group (of which The Oyster Box is a part).
The B|Africa range is distinctly South African in nature & marries indigenous African plant extracts (like oil from the baobab tree, marula oil, avocado butter, honey & rooibos) with the natural goodness of West Coast Atlantic sea-salts. All ingredients are sustainably harvested, the products are not tested on animals, plus no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used.
The Spa also stocks product ranges such as Elemis & Dermalogica.
What makes it so fabulous?
I was asked by a friend whether it is worth visiting (& paying the premium price for) The Oyster Box Spa. My answer is an unwavering yes! Sure, I was a guest of the spa, but here is what I honestly think: I will happily pay for this experience again with my own hard earned cash. Think about this: in the city, you can expect to pay R500 or more for a full body massage at even the most basic salons & it won’t include VIP treatment, extra spa facilities or the experience of The Oyster Box Spa. Not to mention the Instagram-pics that you can post!
On to the spa facilities which include a grooming lounge, plunge pool, gym & Infinity pool with garden views.
And a post-treatment tranquility lounge where you can curl up in your own cocoon, with a book & a cup of herbal tea. Bliss. I was so wishing that I could clone this tranquility lounge with a cocoon for our home!
I ended up spending three hours in total at the spa – had my treatment, then a healthy snack, relaxed (& dozed off from being so super relaxed) in my cocoon, then took a 20 minutes dip in the plunge pool before taking a quick shower to warm up before heading off.
This spa is for you if you…
Enjoy a luxury pampering experience & have time to enjoy it. It is important not to rush at The Oyster Box Spa so that you can thoroughly embrace the tranquil surroundings. It is also ideal for special occasions like a kitchen tea, birthday or stork tea. You can see the whole spa menu over here.
What I didn’t enjoy…
I ended up with a massive headache (due to the detox) after my treatment. This was absolutely no fault of the spa or therapist, so I’ve learnt a lesson: going forward I will have to take better care to stretch my computer neck & back, to improve my posture & exercise more.
The final verdict
When we’re next in Durban, I will certainly be back at The Oyster Box – for an overnight stay & naturally also for a spa day. Hopefully, the weather will play along too!
The Oyster Box Spa; 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319, Durban; +27 31 514 5074; firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you been to The Oyster Box or the Spa? I’d love to hear from you.
Images: Yolandi North © or supplied.
My treatment was compliments of The Oyster Box Spa, but my review remains honest.