Where to Stay in Durban: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018
Durban's long stretch of beautiful beaches, famed for their warm water and great surfing, are among the city's top attractions. Collectively known as the Golden Mile, this area just east of the Central Business District, features tourist accommodations in all budgets, especially around North Beach. You'll also find a promenade with shops and restaurants and uShaka Marine World. More hotel options are found in the trendy suburbs, like Morningside, Berea, and Glenwood, that spread north and west of the downtown area. The CBD itself, which is known for colorful markets like Victoria Street, is best visited during the day, and not a place most tourists want to stay - although there are some quality budget and mid-value sleeping choices right on its edge. Durban is also famous for its Indian cuisine, especially curry, and a local speciality know as "Bunny Chow," and Florida Road in the Morningside suburb is the city's main dining district, and a great place to eat local. There are lodging options here as well.
Where to Stay for Luxury
In a quiet Morningside location with sweeping city views, African Pride Audacia Manor Boutique Hotel is an elegant, old-world, romantic, five-star boutique hotel. Accommodation is inside a 1928 colonial-style mansion, and spacious rooms feature balconies and period wood furnishings. A delicious breakfast buffet is included. There is also a restaurant with patio seating for lunch and dinner, an outdoor pool and hot tub, and the opportunity to arrange in-room massage treatments.
Right on the North Beach promenade, which is part of the Golden Mile, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward is a good-value luxury option. In a building dating back to 1911, the hotel has a charm often lacking in chain hotels - check out the photos of old Durban displayed in the stairwells. Rooms are clean and comfortable, and many have direct ocean views from furnished balconies. There is an all-day buffet restaurant, rooftop pool, and underground parking. Service is excellent.
The Hilton Durban is located between the CBD and the Golden Mile, right next to the International Convention Centre, and is a top luxury bet if you're looking for a larger branded property with consistently good service and cleanliness. Rooms are modern, with comfortable beds, workstations, and marble baths, as well as city skyline views from large windows. Book a higher floor for the best views. There is an on-site restaurant and pool.
The Oyster Box is located a little farther out of town in the ritzy Umhlanga Rocks suburb, where Durban's A-list crowd hangs out. Easily the area's top luxury property, it is a beautiful fusion of Mediterranean and colonial European style, with doormen in pith helmets and red-and-white striped cushions on sunloungers by the pool. The location is right on the beach near an old lighthouse, and some rooms offer views of both. The on-site restaurant is excellent, serving a delicious breakfast buffet - just keep an eye out for monkeys who will steal your food.
Where to Stay: Mid-Range
One of the best-value mid-range properties, Royal Hotel is just at the eastern edge of the CBD, and the location may turn off some. But once inside, you'll find a lovely old-fashioned hotel with Art Deco touches. Rooms are elegant, comfortable, and clean with nice linens and city views. There is a swimming pool and restaurant on-site.
Another well-priced property, Coastlands Musgrave Hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms in the Musgrave suburb, about five miles from uShaka Marine World. The rooms have free Wi-Fi and satellite TV, and the best come with private balconies and city views (just make sure you book on a higher floor). There is also an outdoor pool, coffee shop, fine dining restaurant, and a spa with three treatment rooms.
Slightly more expensive, but right in the heart of the Florida Road dining buzz, Quarters Hotel Florida Road, inside an elegant Edwardian-style house, is another top mid-range choice. The upscale rooms are decorated with French antiques, and some have four-poster beds and private patios. Breakfast is included, and there's an airy restaurant with a terrace for other meals.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Durban has a number of budget options that are very similar in price and amenities. They tend to be located either near North Beach and the Golden Mile or on the outskirts of the CBD.
Right on the promenade in North Beach, just a few minutes' walk from the ocean, the Parade Hotel offers clean budget rooms with sea views. The staff is cheerful and efficient, and the included buffet breakfast gives you fuel to start the day.
A little farther west towards the CBD, but still just a 10-minute walk from the beach and in the vicinity of numerous restaurants, Road Lodge Durban is another excellent budget choice. It features small but clean rooms and friendly service. The property is child-friendly, and babysitting can be arranged.
Just a few blocks south of the CBD and across from Durban Harbour, the Riviera Hotel offers basic but clean rooms. The included breakfast is very good, and the staff is friendly. There are plenty of taxis waiting outside.
Where to Stay for Families
A favorite splurge for families is the luxe Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani on North Beach. There are family rooms and suites, some with kitchens, to choose from, and accommodations are stylish and modern with flat-screen TVs, ocean views, and Wi-Fi. You'll have plenty of variety for eating with 11 on-site restaurants. There are also three pools and a spa.
Also in North Beach, Belaire Suites is a more affordable family choice. Comfortable suites come in a variety of sizes and bed configurations and are relatively basic but spacious and clean with kitchenettes. The included buffet breakfast is a plus, as is the location right off the sand.
Where to Stay for Romance
Tucked away in the quiet Durban North suburb, Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel is farther out from downtown's main attractions but perfect for a luxury romantic holiday. Let them know you're celebrating a marriage or anniversary before you arrive, and they'll leave a love message in rose petals on the floor. While not directly on the beach, it is close, and many of the stylish rooms at this modern boutique hotel feature ocean views. Beds are super comfortable, and the rooftop infinity pool is fabulous. There is also a restaurant on-site.
In the hip Morningside suburb, home to the Florida Road entertainment district, The St. James on Venice is another excellent romantic choice. The boutique luxury guest house is set on a quiet, leafy street across from the historic St. James Church, in a building dating back to 1892. Rooms are elegant with modern touches like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, and some feature views of the church or tranquil gardens. The restaurant here is excellent, offering delicious, well-presented food and the option to dine on the outdoor terrace. Breakfast is included in the rates.