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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

HOTEL REVIEW: Radisson Blu Hotel Durban, South Africa



Introduction


When I received the final program from my host for my trip to South Africa, I was very excited. And when I discovered that a stay at Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban was part of the itinerary, my excitement heightened, and I began to count down to the trip.


Part of Radisson Hotel Group, Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban sits on the eastern coast of South Africa, in the vibrant city of Durban. The upscale hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean in Umhlanga along the Durban coastline. The hotel offers easy access to several popular destinations in and around Durban, including shopping malls and some of the most stunning beaches in Africa.


Arrival and Check-in


After four busy days in Cape Town, we touched down at the King Shaka International Airport Durban, tired and in need of rest. The drive from the airport to Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban was short, fortunately. Perhaps, this is the first benefit of booking your stay at Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban, as you don’t have to endure a long drive from the airport.

The first thing that struck me about Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban was its imposing height and elegance. Standing tall with 16 floors, Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban is one of the tallest and most elegant hotels in Africa. What struck me next was the lavish, modern, and very artistic decor and furnishing of the hotel’s reception area. I hadn't been to my room yet, but I was already beginning to create beautiful memories.

My reservation had been made in advance by my host - South African Tourism. On presenting my international passport to the front desk staff, I was checked into my room on the 10th floor. Check-in was fast, smart, and IT-driven. And armed with my smart keycard, I made my way to one of the elevators and found myself on the 10th floor. My room was waiting!


The Room


Designed with guests' comfort in mind, Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban features 206 stylish and well-appointed rooms and suites with thoughtful amenities. I stayed in a Standard Room. As I stepped into the room, I was greeted by style, elegance, and modern comfort. The room was everything I had imagined. It spotted contemporary design with inspiring local touches and artworks that capture the South African essence. I was impressed.

The room featured twin beds, flat screen cable TV, ergonomic work desk, coffee and tea facilities, iron and ironing board, electronic safe, and international plug adaptors. As part of my stay, I enjoyed free unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi as well as 24-hour room service. The room also featured floor-to-ceiling non-sliding glass windows for scenic view of downtown Durban or the Indian Ocean.


The toilet was modern and squeaky clean, and featured a bath and shower in an en-suite bathroom with smooth marble accents, magnifying mirror, professional hair dryer, and luxury sanitary products.

Other accommodation options available at Radisson Blu Hotel Durban include Superior Room, Premium Room, Executive Room, Junior Suite, Executive Suite, and Family Room. Irrespective of what your accommodation option is, all rooms are exquisitely appointed and offer a view.


But the remote was 'hidden'...


I had a problem locating where the TV remote control was. I looked for it in the 'usual' places and didn't find it. I then called the front desk, only to be told "can you see a small table by the bed? There's a blue pouch on it. Open it, the remote control is inside". I couldn't believe it. I had been staring at that pouch all the while.

While wanting to be ahead on the hospitality curve, I think that Radisson Blu Hotel Durban should keep certain things simple. They should just leave the remote control on the desk or even in a drawer rather than package it away in a pouch. Hotel guests shouldn't have a hard time locating the remote control.


Gastronomy


You can't stay at Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban without soaking in an exquisite gastronomic experience. And the Firelake Restaurant and Cocktail Bar is the venue. Located on the 6th floor, the Firelake Restaurant offers North American open flame style cuisine and master-crafted cocktails.

I had a sumptuous, delicious, satisfying, and well curated open flame breakfast at the Firelake Restaurant, while enjoying the magnificent view of downtown Durban and the Indian Ocean in the background. It was just a breakfast, but there was nothing light about it. There were just so much food items and cuisines to choose from. I settled for chicken sausage with buttered spinach and bacon. The fruit juice that followed the meal was as tasty as it was exotic.

Firelake Restaurant is the first of its kind to open in South Africa. Here, you can be sure to experience delicious North American open flame style cuisine and the art of cocktail creation. Whether you want to grab a quick breakfast or settle down for lunch or dinner, Firelake Restaurant will titillate your taste buds with authentic tastes.

For something to drink, the restaurant's expert mixologists will ensure you have a memorable experience with carefully crafted cocktails. If you love hot beverages, the bistro-style Coffee Lounge on the ground floor offers a fine selection of freshly brewed coffee and homemade baguettes for a perfect start to your day.


Location


Radisson Blu Hotel Durban is conveniently located just 20 kilometers away from the King Shaka International Airport Durban. This is a huge advantage as the drive from the airport takes only about 15 minutes.


Located in the heart of the affluent district of Umhlanga, amongst some of the best eateries in and around Durban, Radisson Blu Hotel is perfectly located and offers a perfect retreat for both leisure and business travellers. Guests can walk leisurely to Umhlanga beach or the Oceans Mall.


Other nearby attractions are Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the beautiful Umhlanga Beach Promenade, Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve, Mount Edgecombe Country Club, and Moses Mabhida Stadium which hosted FIFA World Cup matches in 2010.


Conclusion


If you find yourself in Durban, the elegant Radisson Blu Hotel is the perfect place to stay while exploring the charming city of Durban. My only regret is that I spent only a night at this hotel and didn't have time to enjoy all the hotel’s amenities.


At Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban, you will not only immerse yourself in finest hospitality luxury amidst excellent service. You will also experience exquisite gastronomy and stunning views while soaking in the charm and the beauty of Durban. I will definitely stay at Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban again.


NB: South African Tourism made the reservation for this hotel stay, but the opinions are strictly mine and are without bias.


I am an Aviation Analyst, Content Creator, Newspaper Columnist and In-flight Magazine Contributor. You can reach me on mobile: +234(0)8063724208 or WhatsApp: +23408178379876. Email: theafritraveller@gmail.com or b.uzoezie@gmail.com

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