Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel

Afternoon Tea became popularized in the 19th century when the Duchess of Bedford and her ladies of leisure would sit down with tea and cream scones to fill the long gap between meals. 

Today Afternoon Tea is an elegant experience to be savoured. I have had Afternoon Tea (sometimes referred to as High Tea) at some five-star venues around the world, but for me personally, nothing compares to traditional Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel.

Tea is served at Palm Court, which is the heart of the Oyster Box’s dining scene. The venue is drenched in natural light and surrounded by lush palm trees. Four magnificent chandeliers set the ambience while live piano music cascades and mingles effortlessly with the leisurely conversations. 

The waiters are ever attentive, and that first glass of champagne materializes almost as soon as I sit down.

The palatial surroundings and the beautiful piano sounds just give you a sense of glamour and grandeur. The tables are laid with fine porcelain and a handwritten card to add a touch of personal charm. 

The centre console is laden with mouth-watering pastries, cakes and scones. For those who have less of a sweet tooth, and may prefer the savoury aspects of life, fear not. There are quiches, finger sandwiches, samosas and even sushi on offer.

The atmosphere is elegant and refined, yet totally relaxed. Groups of people enjoy sipping and chatting, not a care in the world. There are people celebrating all sorts of special occasions. 

Indeed, Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box makes the perfect backdrop to celebrate everything from a baby shower to birthday, bachelorette party to graduation. 

Of course, we were celebrating our ten-year wedding anniversary, and were pleasantly surprised with a special cake from the team. 

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The selection of teas and coffees are as extensive as the food choices. We lingered over cheese plates and smoked salmon sandwiches before moving on to blueberry scones with clotted cream and preserves. 

The experience is a treat in itself, the opulent surroundingsand delicious delicacies will ensure you have an experience to remember. Worth every penny in my opinion! 

I would highly recommend Afternoon Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel whether you’re a local in Durban or passing through our beautiful city – put this one your bucket list! The experience would also make a special occasion/ celebration that much more memorable.

At the time of publishing this post, the Afternoon tea at the Oyster Box Hotel is R365 per person, and includes a glass of bubbly, tea/coffee selections and the all you can eat buffet of sweet and savoury offerings. I would highly recommend booking well in advance, especially for special occasions. 

 

Sample menu can be found here.

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Dining Options at The Oyster Box Hotel

The Oyster Box is South Africa’s number 1 Hotel, and as such you’d expect the food and drink at the hotel to be of the highest standard.

During our weekend away to this legendary establishment, we got to experience some of the dining options, and I’m happy to say, it does not disappoint.

Staying at the Oyster Box, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. Whatever you choose, it will almost certainly be an extraordinary experience.

The Hotel’s two main restaurants are The Ocean Terrace and The Grill Room.

The Ocean Terrace

The Ocean Terrace is famous for casual al-fresco dining, and is family and pet-friendly. As such, the menu offers perennial favorites such as wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and fish and chip. We enjoyed buffet breakfast in the Ocean Terrace and were blown away by the variety of options available.  

The continental breakfast spread was a large table laden with everything you could ever dream of in your wildest breakfast fantasies. Fresh charcuterie, cereals, raw honey, all-butter croissants and a parmesan wheel to name just a few. 

 

 

The hot selection included bacon, sausages, poached haddock and eggs cooked to order. Guests were also able to order from a dedicated breakfast menu, and I enjoyed Eggs Florentine one morning – cooked-to-perfection medium-poached eggs on wilted spinach topped with the creamiest Hollandaise sauce ever; and Welsh Rarebit the next morning – cooked the classic way, with cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and finished under the grill.

 

 

The dedicated pancake and waffle bar proved a hit with kids and adults alike. The cappuccinos flowed freely, and the service was extremely attentive. The perfect breakfast was complimented by the perfect view – looking out across the sparkling pool and onto the crashing waves and iconic lighthouse.

 

 

The Ocean Terrace serves al la carte lunch and dinners, and the incredible Curry Buffet is also on offer which includes and extensive selection of curries (meat, fish and vegetarian options), authentic tandoori chicken, naans and side dishes. The curry buffet is so popular they are usually booked out months in advance!

 

 

The Grill Room

The Grill Room at the Oyster Box is the hotel’s fine dining option and we got to experience a wonderful dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Steeped in history, the Grill Room is elegantly adorned with chic white linen and pristine silverware, which stand out brilliantly against the navy walls and mirror finishes. Beautiful candelabras give an ambience of old-world glamour and the vibe is one of timeless elegance and class, with a splash of luxury.

 

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We were warmly welcomed when we arrived and shown to our table. We marveled over the vibrant artwork and the intimate setting. Our sommelier helped us pick out a lovely white wine from the extensive and well curated wine cellar (we both decided on seafood mains), while our glasses were topped up throughout the night. 

 

 

The classic Gueridon service, where food is prepared and presented at the individual diner’s table and the classic Hors d’ Oeuvres trolley transport you back in time to an era of 1920’s glamour.

 

 

From amuse bouche to dessert, the beautifully plated and delectable offerings were expertly put together and tantalized our palates.

For my starter I had a Cipollini and Parsely Prawn dish: plump grilled prawns floating in a Chardonnay cream topped with caviar. Martin went for the Foie Gras pâté with red wine poached pear.

 

 

For our mains I chose the seared Norwegian Salmon with lemongrass butter (served on the side -so decadent!) whilst Martin explores the Dyad of Lamb: a crumbled lamb shank with minted butter and pan jus.

 

 

We both settled on the dessert tasting plates which included passionfruit and elderflower cheesecake, Chocolate custard brownies, green tea mouse, grape jelly and a raspberry macaroon. Additionally, we were treated to a slice of decadent chocolate cake for our anniversary, which was such a special touch.

 

 

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The Grill Room is fine dining at its finest. The service is second to none and the food is exceptional in every way. The partnership of head chef Kevin Joseph and Bea Tollen works like magic to make any experience at the Grill Room one you will never forget. It is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.

The dress code is semi-formal and no children under 12 are permitted.

Bars at the Oyster Box

The Oyster Box also boasts 3 bars serving light meals and world-famous cocktails. The Lighthouse Bar makes a wonderful spot to enjoy sundowners whilst watching the waves crash a few meters away.

 

 

Private dining can be accommodated in the famed wine cellar which is sunken just below the Oyster Bar (beneath a glass ceiling!) and makes for a unique setting for dinner parties, corporate functions, tastings or special events and offers a Chef’s Table for up to 10 guests. Bespoke menus are created for every occasion and the resident Sommelier will present a selection of wines from the Diners Club Diamond award-winning wine list, which boasts the finest selection of South African and international vintages.

 

 

As you can tell from my review, I’ve only just scratched the surface of what this impeccable hotel has to offer in terms of food and drink. Experiences are unique and will be fully catered to the individual tastes and desires of each patron.

All in all, the dining options at the Oyster box are many and varied, the only thing that remains steadfast is the quality of the food and drink, and the impeccable service.

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A Lux Weekend at the Oyster Box Hotel

Sandwiched between the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean and the hub of Umhlanga, the Oyster Box Hotel sits proudly amidst tropical gardens. Occupying prime position in front of the historic lighthouse, guests who step through the revolving front doors are immediately transported into a luxury experience like no other.

We recently spent a memorable weekend at the Oyster Box to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, and it’s bound to be an experience I’ll never forget.

Check-in was a breeze, with a chilled glass of sparkling wine in your hand. OBH sends out a guest preference card to all guests prior to arrival, so they know exactly how to make your stay special. You can choose your pillows, soap and other amenities even before you set foot on their property.

The lobby is an oasis of calm and luxurious touches. Giant flower installations and sumptuous sofas dotted the area with large collections of art and Art Deco objects drawing the eye.

We were welcomed with a “Good Afternoon Mr and Mrs Dewolf”, and was greeted by this salutation throughout our stay.

Our bags were whisked up to our suite, while we followed, still sipping on the bubbly. The suite was breathtaking, old world colonial charm.

A bottle of champagne sat chilling in an ice bucket on the antique console table. The suite comprises of 2 rooms, one a large sitting area with a flat screen TV, minibar and loads of closet space. There was fresh nougat cookies (made in house), hot chocolate and a Nespresso machine with various capsules.

The bedroom was a focal point with an extra large king size bed, beautiful desk and en-suite bathroom.

The bathroom was large by hotel standards, with a deep-soak tub and his and hers vanities. The shower was separate and had the most amazing rain shower that seemed to melt away the day’s stresses. Not that I expect one can be too stressed when staying at the Oysters Box. I particularly loved the B Africa bathroom products… forget typical hotel minis, the Oyster Box spoils guests with deluxe travel sized amenities… which I’m not ashamed to say I happily brought home with me! – I dare you to find a hotel conditioner that leaves your hair as soft and silky.

Both the bedroom and the lounge led out to a private balcony, equipped with table and chairs and loungers. The view of course, was breathtaking. The waves lapped steadily a short distance away as we stared out onto the famous lighthouse.

The hotels resident mascot, Skabenga graced us with his presence. He recently celebrated his birthday and his party was fit for a king! It seems that he thoroughly enjoys his prestigious status at the Oyster Box hotel… though honestly, who wouldn’t?

We returned from dinner on our first night to find a romantic turndown service.

Rose petals were strewn across the floor, arranged on the bed, and thoughtfully laid around the bath. Together with the bath crystals and bath milk, it was hard to resist!

The hotel has a 24-seat cinema that screens movies on schedule and on demand. The best part? Complimentary candy and fresh hot popcorn is served while you enjoy your movie. You may also order from the bar if you prefer. The plush leather seats and blankets provided by the hotel made for a movie experience like no other!

A total of 14 pools and ponds can be found on the property. All the Villas and a number of rooms have gorgeous garden views and face onto one of the two large fresh-water swimming pools.

There’s a choice of bars and dining options, as well as an award winning spa… both of which we got to experience on our stay… but more of that in another post.

From looking at the prime position, the gorgeous decor and luxury amenities, it’s easy to see why the Oyster Box Hotel is consistently voted the Number 1 hotel in South Africa… but I truly believe that what sets this establishment apart from other 5-star hotels is the staff. The warm smiles are more than welcoming, they’re genuine, and never in short supply. Every staff member went out of their way to greet us, even in passing, and there was never a request that was too big or too small. The warmth radiates through the team and makes every stay at the Oyster Box truly memorable.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking to celebrate a special occasion, but perhaps most importantly, to anyone looking to make memories that will last a lifetime.

A huge “thank you” to the team at the Oyster Box for hosting us!

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