Planning a trip to South Africa’s Durban? If so, you’d probably welcome some suggestions on where to stay. Durban is a sprawling city with many great options for accommodation. From luxurious beachfront hotels in seaside locations like Umhlanga to the city center, or more tranquil spots in areas like Musgrave, Morningside, and Glenwood, there are plenty of places to choose from.
If you’re looking for a beach holiday in Durban, Umhlanga is the place to be. The buzzing seaside town is known for its sandy beaches, spectacular coastal views, vibrant nightlife, and wide selection of restaurants. The promenade along the beachfront is lined with palm trees and offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.
Glittering above the waters of Umhlanga Rocks Beach is the Umhlanga Lighthouse. This iconic 69-foot lighthouse was built in 1954. On a clear day, you can capture stunning photographs of the lighthouse with the glimmering Indian Ocean behind it. If you come back after dark, you’re in for an even more magical experience, with the revolving light reaching out nearly 30 miles over the water.
1. The Oyster Box
Overlooking the Umhlanga Lighthouse and Indian Ocean, the terrace at The Oyster Box is one of South Africa’s best sundowner spots. The hotel is the pick of Umhlanga accommodations, located in the heart of Umhlanga Rocks and within walking distance to restaurants and shops. The rooms at the five-star Oyster Box are decorated with rich fabrics and furnishings. There are two outdoor pools, an award-winning spa, and the Ocean Terraces restaurant overlooking the Indian Ocean. Ocean Terraces offers a delicious seafood and curry buffet and The Grill Room offers premium steaks and seafood dishes.
2. Beverly Hills Hotel
Also located in Umhlanga, the clifftop Beverly Hills Hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean from its waterfront terrace and guest rooms with ocean-facing balconies. The Sugar Club Restaurant offers great views of unspoilt beaches and there’s a gym and heated outdoor swimming pool on site.
The City Center
The city center of Durban is a great place to stay if you want to be close to all the popular attractions. The main attractions are within walking distance, so you’ll save both time and money on transportation, and there’s no shortage of restaurants, cafés, and shops. Perhaps visit uShaka Marine World — the largest aquarium in the country — or maybe take a magical gondola sunset or evening boat cruise to experience the sights and lights of the Durban Point Waterfront.
3. The Edward Hotel
Situated on the Durban beachfront, the Edward Hotel — with a history stretching back over 100 years — is well-positioned for guests looking to explore the vibrant neighborhood. Situated 320 feet from the beach, along Durban’s Golden Mile, guests can enjoy walking or cycling on the promenade adjacent to the hotel. This famous Art-Deco-style hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean with half of the recently refurbished rooms having uninterrupted ocean views. The Edward also features a panoramic rooftop pool and terrace ideal for sunbathing and making the most of the Durban sunshine with an ice-cold beer, gin and tonic, or sundowner cocktails.
A long list of princes, presidents, millionaires, and celebrities have stayed at The Edward since it opened its doors in 1911.
4. Umhlanga Drive Boutique Hotel
Situated near both Umhlanga Rocks Beach and Durban Beach, the 12-bedroom Umhlanga Drive Boutique Hotel — formerly known as Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel — is also close to popular attractions like uShaka Marine World. Moses Mabhida Stadium is just a stone’s throw away, and for shopping enthusiasts, one of Africa’s largest malls — the Gateway Theatre of Shopping — is a 4-mile drive. The hotel is also less than 2 miles from the beach. Umhlanga Drive Boutique Hotel features an infinity pool with panoramic sea views, a terrace perfect for relaxing and taking in the views, and rooms with sea views as well. Keen golfers, beginners or pros, should note that there are fantastic golf courses nearby, with lessons available for any level of golfer.
For those artsy folks, Glenwood offers a vibrant, artistic community with a range of galleries, restaurants, antiques, museums, theater productions, and street art exhibitions. Whether you’re looking to buy some local art from one of the many galleries or enjoy a night out in the bustling cafés and bars, there’s plenty of options. It also has a fascinating view of top-rated eateries that serve worldwide cuisines. Glenwood is more of a hipster area — the proximity to the University of KwaZulu-Natal has made the area extremely popular with students.
5. Mesami Hotel
Located in the bustling center of Glenwood, Mesami Hotel is a three-star, contemporary eco-hotel within walking distance of the upmarket Musgrave Centre and Durban’s most trendy restaurants. This is a good place to stay to explore attractions like the Botanic Gardens and Natural Science Museum. It’s also close to landmarks like Durban City Hall and the Port Natal Maritime Museum. This is a good accommodation at an affordable price.
For a more tranquil suburban neighborhood experience during your Durban stay, then Musgrave is the place to be. Musgrave is one of the oldest residential suburbs of Durban and retains some of its original homes, constructed in the late 19th century. Just minutes away from the city center, this is a desirable destination for locals and tourists alike. With tree-lined streets and leafy, peaceful parks, this is an ideal location for those looking to explore the city without being in the heart of the hustle and bustle.
There are also plenty of boutique stores, cafés, and restaurants to explore in Musgrave. Musgrave is home to the Durban Botanic Gardens, Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden, established in 1849. It is also known as one of the most architecturally rich sites in Durban, as it mixes Victorian and Edwardian structures with vibrant colors and cubist designs.
6. Coastlands Musgrave Hotel & Conference Centre
Close to the Durban Botanic Gardens and under 5 minutes away from the spectacular beachfront, uShaka Marine World, and the city center, the four-star, 101-bedroom Coastlands Musgrave Hotel has beautiful beach views. It is situated on the ridge of Musgrave’s popular Ridge Road and is close to Durban’s vibrant Florida Road.
Morningside is the place to stay if you think you might like to party. Located just north of the city center and close to beaches, Morningside offers a vibrant nightlife from happy hours at local pubs to late-night clubs. As well as having plenty of places to party, Morningside is also conveniently located near the beaches. From surfing lessons to cycling tours and rickshaw rides, there are plenty of ways to explore the area. Morningside’s primary attraction is Florida Road, where you’ll find galleries, coffee shops, unique store art, and some great restaurants.
7. Quarters Hotel
Located on Florida Road’s famous restaurant strip and only 5 minutes from the beaches, the Quarters Hotel is a collection of four Victorian homes that have been restored by award-winning architects to create a unique boutique hotel with lots of charm and character. The hotel is located in an area often referred to as Durban’s “Dining District.” Durban’s famed Golden Mile is only a short drive away as are Moses Mabhida Stadium, Windsor Park Municipal Golf Course, and the famed Durban Country Club. There are 25 rooms here, ranging from standard to superior and a family room.
Between family, luxury, budget, and boutique, there are so many options for accommodation in this seaside destination. Hopefully I have given you some ideas and inspiration for your next Durban visit.