the international travelers' e-guide:   SOUTH AFRICA




Holiday Inn:  There are at least four Holiday Inns in Durban.  All  are on the same street overlooking the ocean.  Figuring out which one is the one for you can present some difficulty as they are all a little bit different in architecture, style and price.  However, you should know that Holiday Inns in South Africa are substantially different in South Africa than they are in North America, although they are a member of the same chain.  In South Africa, Holiday Inns are upscale, multistoried, high rise propositions that are far more luxurious than their North  American counterparts.  These hotels  will not appeal to anybody looking for any local flavour as they are somewhat impersonal and the restaurants are generic.  The advantage to these hotels is that they can be booked in North America on the 1-800 holiday Inn reservation system.  Another advantage is that in Durban, they are all in prime upscale locations right on the beach front with spectacular views of the ocean.  All are located on Marine Parade which blends  into Snell Parade, all of which is also known as the Golden Mile.  For the purposes of clarity,  we will start with the Holiday Inn closest to the city centre at the intersection of the beach front and the main downtown street (Marine Parade and West Street) and then move our way outward down the sea front into the more residential area.  The walk from the city center to the end of the hotel strip (which includes many other hotels beside the Holiday Inn) takes approximately 1/2 hour to walk. (August, 2000)

Holiday Inn Garden Court South Beach:  C73 Marine Parade.  Tel. 27-31-3372231
Fax. 27-31-3374640.  A trip from the airport which will cost you about US$ 6.50
This is the closest  to the  city center.  It is adequate and is the least expensive of this chain, probably because it is the oldest.  We would have had no problem staying here but the locals do not necessarily consider this to be the best location because it is near too many casinos and drinking establishments. (Standard 2000 tariff per person sharing a double room in August is US$ 25.00, Single is US$ 50.00). The breakfast buffet is US$ 7.00.  (August, 2000)

Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza:  This is midway between Holiday Inn Garden Court South Beach and the Holiday Inn Garden Court North.  If the Elangeni (below) is the 90ís and the Holiday Inn Garden Court North is the 70s, then the Holiday Inn  Crowne Plaza is the 80ís with lots of chrome and glass.  Though we did not see the rooms here, the hotel appeared more than adequate.  This hotel is popular with families.  (Standard 2000 tariff per person sharing a double room in August is US$ 40.00, Single is US$ 75.00).  (August, 2000)

Holiday Inn Elangeni:  63 Snell Parade. Tel: 27-31-3621300; fax. 27-31-3325527;  E-Mail.  It is 25 kms. from the airport which will cost you about US$ 6.50.  This the newest of the Holiday Inns.  It is all marble and brass and right next door to the Holiday Inn Garden Court North.  This is the most luxurious of these hotels and also the most costly.  There are two outdoor pools, beauty salon, sauna, and gymnasium.  The Elangeni has a breakfast, lunch and a supper in their dining room which have a more extensive selection and are about double the price of the Holiday Inn Garden Court North. (Standard 2000 tariff per person sharing a double room in August is US$ 50.00, Single is US$ 79.00 including breakfast).  (August, 2000)

Holiday Inn Garden Court North Beach:  83/91 Snell Parade.  Tell. 27-31-313327361;
Fax. 27-31-313374058;E-Mail:Ý  A trip from the airport which will cost you about US$ 6.50.  This is where we stayed in August, 2000.  This sky-scraping hotel has been renovated and perhaps not all that successfully.  The main entry and registration area is small,  bland and coolly lit  but, like most hotels in South Africa, does not constitute the lobby area itself which is found on the second floor.   This hotel is adequate, the furnishings are average.  Nothing much to complain about, but nothing much to recommend either.  However, the price is exactly what you would expect to pay for this type of accommodation.  The best part is the swimming pool on the top floor which nobody uses and the spectacular views of the beach front it affords.  The staff are polite and accommodating. (2000: US$ 800.00 for four of us for seven days in a room with two double beds and private bathroom.  Standard 2000 tariff per person sharing a double room in August is US$ 32.00, Single is US$ 65.00)  The price did not include the extensive breakfast which is offered in the breakfast room, buffet style for US$ 7.00.  (August, 2000)

Hotel Blue Waters:  175 Snell Parade.  At the far end of Marine parade, this is the last hotel on the beach front (about 5 minutes from the Holiday Inn Garden Court North Beach).  Built in the early ë50s, this is a much smaller hotel than any of the Holiday Inns but it has a unique flavor in architecture and furnishings that the Holiday Inns do not have: this place must have been something in its heyday.  Appeals to an older mostly South African crowd which contributes of course to the quiet, understated atmosphere.  Every room has its own balcony,  (Standard 2000 tariff per person sharing a double room in August is US$ 28.00, Single is US$ 38.00).  A bargain to be sure and certainly a very interesting and viable option.  (August, 2000)

Karos Edward Hotel:  Near West street and close to downtown, this small elegant colonial style hotel with all the amenities and ambiance up the wazoo: mahogany and palms in pots everywhere. Fully modernised. (Standard 2000 tariff per person sharing a double room in August is US$ 71.00, Single is US$ 110.00, including breakfast).  (August, 2000)

Hilton:  Brand new, extremely luxurious but off the beach and even off the beaten track. Perhaps the reason why this hotel seemed as lifeless and empty as it did was that it is located half way between two centers of activity, the beach front and downtown.  While this might sound like an ideal location, believe us when we say it is not. . (Standard 2000 tariff for a double room in August is US$ 130.00, Single is US$ 100.00).  (August, 2000)



Do not expect too much in terms of good food in South Africa:  too much meat and  too ordinarily prepared for our tastes.  There are more decent options when it comes to Indian cuisine.  Do not feel compelled to eat only in the hotel restaurants as all along the beach front there are many different restaurants and fast food establishments that will satisfy most diners.

The Spur Steak Ranch:  In the Holiday Inn Garden Court North Beach, this is one of a big South African chain.  As the name would suggest, this is a steakhouse, heavy on the meat, light on the flavor.  Unless 50s style slabs of beef is to your liking, avoid this place like the plague.  (August, 2000)

Carpe Diem:  Hidden on the second floor of an an apartment tower shopping complex one block behind the Holiday Inn Garden Court North Beach and one block further down the beach, this small nouveau art deco restaurant and take out fish and chips joint was our best find in Durban in a one week stay.  The food is delicious and more seafood oriented than just fish and chips, offering a variety of seafood dishes.  We highly recommend this place  for its ambiance, for its tasty dishes and the convivial personality of the chef/owner.  Not only good but cheap.  (August, 2000)



The best part of Durban is the beach.  The Indian market is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are looking for South African souvenirs and various other paraphernalia.

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last updated, Dec. 28/2000