The Best Hotels to Book in Umhlanga, South Africa

The Oyster Box Hotel offers poolside views of Durbans red-and-white lighthouse
The Oyster Box Hotel offers poolside views of Durban's red-and-white lighthouse | Courtesy of The Oyster Box Hotel /
Pierre de Villiers

Initially a vacation village north of Durban, Umhlanga has grown into one of the most popular holiday playgrounds in South Africa – its warm waters and warmer hospitality drawing scores of local and international tourists. Located a stroll away from sandy beaches and must-snap sights including the red-and-white lighthouse and Whalebone Pier, it’s no surprise the town is home to some of the best hotels in KwaZulu-Natal – now bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Beverly Hills, for landmark luxury


A bronze-toned suite in Beverly Hills, Umhlanga, with a balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean
Courtesy of Beverly Hills /

No, you don’t get Rodeo Drive or celebrity house tours at these Beverly Hills. What you do get are sensational views of the Indian Ocean from your private balcony. Located between Whalebone Pier and the lighthouse, this 1960s Umhlanga landmark offers a next-level culinary experience at restaurant the Sugar Club – a perfect spot for Sunday lunch – and the Elements Café Bar, where you can wash down fresh oysters with chilled champagne.

2. The Oyster Box Hotel, for an unforgettable stay


A suite in the Oyster Box Hotel, with a large bed and views of Durbans red-and-white lighthouse and the Indian Ocean through large windows
Courtesy of The Oyster Box Hotel /

One of the most loved seaside hotels in South Africa, the Oyster Box has an unbeatable location on Umhlanga Beach, opposite the lighthouse. Pick from rooms that overlook either a garden or the Indian Ocean – having a bath while watching the waves roll in is heavenly – and make sure you say hello to the longest-serving hotel resident. That’s Skabenga the cat, who can usually be found catching 40 winks in the lobby.

3. Sandals Guest House, for coastal views


The outdoor pool at Sandals Guest House, surrounded by wooden decking and loungers
Courtesy of Sandals Guest House / Expedia

The four rooms and one apartment – sleeping four – at Sandals Guest House are all beautifully decorated with earthy tones, but the real treats are outside. Soak up the sun on a wooden deck surrounding the swimming pool, take in sweeping sea views from the patio or have a few Castle Lagers while watching the sunset from an open bar area.

4. Royal Palm Hotel, for adventurous souls


A living area at Royal Palm Hotel, with a range of tables and seating options
Courtesy of Royal Palm Hotel /

The Royal Palm Hotel – with 94 luxury apartments – is a great base for seeing the wider KwaZulu-Natal province. Ask the front desk about joining a game drive or dolphin tour, going hiking or mountain biking, and visiting historic Zulu battlefields. Closer to the hotel, you can give your credit card a workout at the gargantuan Gateway Theatre of Shopping – or catch rugby at Kings Park Stadium, home of the Sharks and an occasional international match venue.

5. Teremok Lodge, for a five-star spa experience


The exterior of Teremok Lodge, with loungers - one joined by a bucket and two glasses of champagne - surrounding a pool
Courtesy of Teremok Lodge /

While Teremok Lodge offers a comfortable stay in stylish surroundings, it may be the spa that lingers longest in your memory. The bespoke experiences at the two treatment rooms include a session with a master therapist, and there’s a superb range of face, body and slimming treatments. A nice touch is a small shop selling bottles of old-fashioned sweets, handmade jewellery and designer clothing.

6. Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Durban Umhlanga Ridge, for '60s nostalgia


The outdoor pool area of Protea Hotel Fire and Ice by Marriott Durban Umhlanga Ridge, with 16 loungers and a range of surfing paraphernalia - including a Volkswagen camper van - surrounding it
Courtesy of Protea Hotel Fire and Ice by Marriott Durban Umhlanga Ridge / Expedia

The sight of an old Volkswagen van with a peace symbol on its side parked next to the swimming pool sets the tone at this 1960s-and-surfing-inspired hotel. The wave-riding theme extends to the interior, with surfboards mounted against the wall in the underground car park, while huge murals show surfers gliding across the water in the blue rooms. If that inspires you, Umhlanga Beach and its rad tides are nearby.

7. Garden Court Umhlanga, for outdoor luxury


An aerial view of the Garden Court Umhlanga courtyard, including a pool and tree-lined seating area
Courtesy of Garden Court Umhlanga /

The Garden Court knows how to start your weekend right, offering a discount on sundowners at the Ukuphela Bar and pool area on Fridays. The hotel is a five-minute drive from the beach and just a four-minute walk to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping – but there is plenty to enjoy within the grounds, including a sensational buffet and outdoor heated pools among palm trees.

8. Forest Manor Boutique Guesthouse, for golf lovers

Boutique Hotel

An ace location near Whalebone Pier, the Moses Mabhida Stadium and some of the finest golf courses in South Africa make Forest Manor a favourite among travellers looking to pack in as much as they can on their holiday. If you prefer to linger at the hotel, enjoy the eye-popping interior design – check out those ornate rugs – and the dining area next to the pool.

9. Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel & Convention Centre, for business on the move


Three beds in a Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel and Convention Centre room, also containing chairs and a TV
Courtesy of Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel and Convention Centre /

A four-star hotel only a few minutes’ walk from Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel is known for fantastic views of KwaZulu-Natal’s north and south coast and great conference facilities – and the milkshakes. Yes, the Saffron Restaurant here is famous for its shakes, as well as a wide range of cocktails and one of the best health food selections in the region.

Looking for more plush hotels in South Africa? Check out our guide to the best hotels to book in Knysna, South Africa, for every traveller, or try these places to stay in Graskop, bookable with Culture Trip. For more options, see these hotels in Bloemfontein.

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