Our features writer Fundiswa Nkwanyana tells us about her weekend stay at this luxurious four-star Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriot Durban Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal.
I initially thought I was lost because in order to get to the reception area, I had to walk through a small open plan retail shopping area with a boutique store and a massage parlour. Fortunately, the security guard noticed my confusion, and ushered me towards the check-in desk. I was impressed by the hotel’s urban-island-style decor that made me feel like my beach holiday had officially begun. I was pleased that during check in, I was offered welcome juice and shown where the other facilities, the swimming pool and restaurants, are located. It felt so good to walk in, and be welcome by a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
SEE ALSO: REVIEW – Protea Hotel Fire & Ice
I loved the beach-themed decor of my room, with a wallpaper that looked like waves with a decorative surfboard. For a moment, I forgot that I was in the city because my room was quiet and peaceful. I was disappointed by the view, which overlooked a dull tall building because I enjoy seeing beautiful views from my room when on holiday. The room was spacious with a bar fridge, small table and chairs as well as a TV.
OUT AND ABOUT
The hotel is conveniently located, with close travelling distance to King Shaka International Airport, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Umhlanga beaches, and it’s right next to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. During my stay, I kept myself entertained by walking on the beach, relaxing by the hotel’s pool, dining in nearby upmarket restaurants and shopping. Everything that I wanted to do was easily accessible, and the staff members were very helpful. I also loved that during the day, the hotel was family-friendly and calm. In the evening, it transformed into a vibrant space, frequented by Durban’s trendy middle-class crowd.
SEE ALSO: REVIEW: The Capital Melrose
I was sad that I didn’t have time to eat or have a drink in the upmarket in-house restaurant and bar on the ground floor because it looked very sophisticated. However, I did enjoy a scrumptious buffet breakfast with a variety of dishes to choose from. The service was efficient, and I enjoyed sitting in the outdoor seating area which had beautiful hanging plants.
I arrived at the hotel grumpy and tired after a hard week, but as soon as I walked in, the ambiance made me feel relaxed; I appreciated this. It’s always lovely to visit a place that allows you to unwind. This comprehensive hotel is perfect for families as well as solo and business travellers because there are plenty of activities to do, and it’s safe. I also love that it’s fairly priced with one night’s stay costing less than R1 700, depending on the season. I highly recommend this four-star hotel for a relaxing weekend away.