As an avid backpacker in my misspent youth, the South African coastline was my stomping ground, each new shaded cabana along the way was my bedroom, and fellow backpackers on the road to a more diverse life story were my brothers and sisters. For a few years into my corporate job, when travelling for work, I would still seek out my favourite old haunts, but I realised it was time to grow up – to trade in the coastal backpackers for Durban hotels.
One of the first Durban hotels I fell in love with was the easily recognisable Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel, standing tall and proud on Snell Parade; and which allows you an infinite view of the horizon from one end to the other… well, in the very least, a never-ending view of Durban’s Golden Mile. Its 449 rooms seemed a little daunting at first, but since each room is neatly and stylishly decorated, it soon began to feel personal and familiar. Every time I stop in at Southern Sun Elangeni, I make sure I get a sea-facing room (only 69 rooms don’t have an ocean view) so that I get to wake up to the sound of the ocean and claim my piece of luxurious paradise. Indeed, I would have to say that of all the options in Durban accommodation, my favourite has been well considered.
There’s only one thing that closely rivals the sound of the sea as I wake up, and that’s the amazing cuisine at the hotel’s three restaurants: The Lingela Restaurant, Jewel of India, and The Daruma Japanese Restaurant. What can I say – I like to have my cake and eat it too! Southern Sun Elangeni also has two bars, so it’s good to know that after a long day of consulting to clients and making sure my company gets to keep its top accounts, I can bring some of my clients in for a drink or two… though I must admit, that’s where I wish the shop-talk would end! And when I need to speak at an industry conference, the hotel has incredible conferencing facilities in no fewer than 12 conference rooms with loads of seating and hi-tech equipment.
So, even though it sounds like this exciting jet-setting keeps me going, sometimes I do also like to unwind and revert back to my seemingly carefree nomadic backpacking days. For that, there are many cool things to do in the vicinity of the Southern Sun Elangeni; for instance, taking Lady Luck with me to SunCoast Casino, or even taking a jog on the beach to stretch and unwind. I’m not a huge shopping fan, but when the bug does bite, I don’t mind a stroll around the Gateway Shopping Centre.
But my favourite of all my favourites is the fact that the SunCoast Spa is within the hotel and I never take a business trip or a holiday without visiting the spa at least once!