BACKGROUND: The 5-star Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga, just outside the city of Durban, is one of the premium jewels in the Tsogo Sun crown. It celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2014 with a minor refurbishment to keep it as fresh and crisp as if it were brand new.
WHERE IS IT? The building itself has an air of sophistication on its perch above the Umhlanga Rocks beach, which is considered a prime beachfront location. The hotel is about a 20 minute drive from Durban’s King Shaka airport and is located on the seaward side of Umhlanga. It’s near enough to the town’s burgeoning business centre to be ideal business accommodation, but also beautifully situated for a leisurely seaside breakaway. All 89 rooms in the hotel have an ocean view.
ROOM FACILITIES: Check-in is very personal and welcoming. It’s not done at a large desk but in a more relaxed seated environment, which made me feel welcome and valued. The concierge arranged for my car to be safely parked on the hotel premises, which was a nice touch, particularly as I had arrived late at night. I was escorted to my suite by a member of staff who took great pains to highlight the various appliances and features in my room. He was professional and thorough, but not overbearing. The suite was sumptuous and very comfortable with high-quality finishes which underlined the hotel’s 5-star reputation. There were also some excellent touches, from a complimentary fruit basket, to chocolates, mineral water and even wine. Beverly Hills guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi with a limit of 750MB per day, per room. The log-in process is simple and connectivity speeds were very good; I was able to have a Skype video conference with zero latency in either audio or image. The connectivity extends throughout the entire hotel. My suite was truly luxurious. Aside from the very comfortable king-size bed, there was a large flat-screen TV, an individual DSTV decoder with full access to the entire bouquet of channels, a DVD player (with free access to a library of DVD titles), a kettle and tea/coffee facilities, a Nespresso machine for quality coffees, and a mini-bar. The bathroom was lavish with a separate toilet, a shower cubicle – with a rain shower – a large bathtub and a well-lit basin. It was well-stocked with premium quality toiletries. There was a walk-in closet off the bathroom.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: Breakfast is served on the Vista Terrace. There is a broad range of choice from the Continental buffet and a varied a la carte menu. Service throughout my breakfast was attentive yet unobtrusive. The food was excellent; the fruit fresh and appealing; and the pastries out-of-this-world. Other dining facilities in the Beverly Hills include: The Sugar Club Restaurant – which specialises in international cuisine and is open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner and a legendary Sunday lunch; and Elements Café Bar – a chic and more relaxed restaurant for more casual dining. In addition, the hotel offers The Plantation Club, a private dining room for intimate and exclusive functions for up to 60 people.
BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The Plantation Club is also used as a conference venue and can cater for up to 60 people. For smaller meetings, the Boardroom can accommodate up to 12 people. Audio visual equipment such as projectors, monitors whiteboards, flipcharts and notepads accompany all conferences. The Business Centre offers internet connectivity, and access to printer and photocopier facilities.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The Beverly Hills has a fully-fitted fitness centre, exclusively for guests’ use, a swimming pool and easy access to the beach, as well as access to Umhlanga’s paved walkways which are ideal for going for a run along the seaside. There is also a spa offering a comprehensive range of treatments. There is easy access to a range of sporting facilities including Golf; Squash; Tennis; and Bowling.
VERDICT: 5-star facilities and service in a convenient yet out-of-the-way location makes the Beverly Hills Hotel a really good option for your next business trip to KwaZulu-Natal.