As we reached the Natal midlands, near where my brother lives and also where John, Debbie and children live when they're in South Africa, I took a photo of the sunrise.
Glorious sunrise over the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands last Saturday
Five kilometers down the road, we encountered what we thought was mist; but when it hadn't lifted by the time we'd we arrived at the old age home in Durban city center, we realized we were in for a cold and wet weekend!
Cold weather in Kwa-Zulu Natal
Fortunately once we drove into the Oyster Box hotel forecourt (and the concierge offered to park the car after a porter had collected our luggage and wheeled it into the hotel), we entered a beautifully warm and welcoming reception area.
From the minute Grant checked us in, we received the five star treatment for which this hotel is famous
While I snapped away at the stunning decor in the room, Grant searched for the rugby match on television!
Each sea-facing room had its own balcony
The Durban North Lighthouse, which I remember from my childhood
Of course, I wanted to try High Tea, and although mum-in-law didn't want any, she sat with us while Grant and I sampled as much of the delicious cakes and savories as we dared!
High tea at the Oyster Box
Calorific and yummy!
I found my favorite: Lemon Meringue Pie and added two other treats just for the sake of being adventurous!
We eventually had had enough tea and cake and returned to our rooms. MIL's room was next door to ours: the hotel even gave Grant a card (key) which was interlinked with hers in case she locked herself in !
I spent the next hour adding more photos on to MIL's digital photo frame while Grant watched the game. (I think it was SA vs Oz, which is always a highly excitable and very emotional experience for Springbok fans! )
Later I walked over to MIL's room and told her when we'd be ready to go down to dinner. Then I took a shower and dressed in as much bling as I could for the evening!
Grant had dressed and was watching the rugby match while I got ready for dinner
Before dinner we sat in the lounge which had a mirrored floor. Underneath people were having a private dinner in a wine cellar. We assumed that the ceiling of this cellar was one way glass!
The lounge with a mirrored floor!
Grant and his 83 year-old mum, Pam
Me and my mother-in-law
Grant accompanying his mum back to her room after dinner
The next morning, after a lie-in, we got dressed, packed our cases, ready for the porter to collect later, and went down to breakfast.
What an eye-opener.(I'm sorry I didn't take photos of the cold buffet which contained the high tea eats the day before!)
There was smoked salmon, tuna pate in a form, sliced smoked hock of ham, sliced salami and sliced beef. And a huge bowl of oysters on ice. The deli section contained muffins, scones, croissants, a large variety of health and fruit breads. There was every type of cereal you wanted. The fruit juice trolly nearby was laden with still or sparkling water. There was a choice of three freshly squeezed fruit juices and bottles of red and white sparkling wine !
Breakfast at the Oyster Box
Inside the restaurant we were seated by the maitre d' who took our orders for hot beverages. While he was away a waitron asked what we'd like to eat. My mother-in-law asked for a cheese omelet, Grant asked for grilled smoked kippers (which wasn't on the menu but which the chef conjured up for him!) and I visited the buffet at the end of the dining room. There was such a huge selection of hot food. A chef stood by to make you any eggs you wanted and a lady next to him could cook you a pancake with the filling of your choice. I asked for an omelet and added sauteed, herb potatoes, grilled mushrooms and stewed tomatoes with rosemary. Yummy!
As all good things have to come to an end, so did this experience.
But the five star service never wavered.
While Grant checked out of the hotel, the concierge once again took Grant's car keys and brought the car to the hotel entrance. The porter loaded our luggage into the boot and three men stood by to open our doors. *sigh* One could get used to this, could one not?
We can honestly say that we were cosseted and feted from the minute we arrived at the Oyster Box hotel until we left the grounds and drove off into the street beyond.
Back at the old age home, we carried MIL's case up to her room, I set up her newly loaded digital photoframe and we said goodbye to her.
A wonderful weekend was had by all!