With its 10 hotel brands (Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites and Hilton Grand Vacations), the Hilton Worldwide portfolio has in the region of 4,000 hotels in nearly 100 countries. The group has 33 properties in Africa, with a further 19 in the pipeline. The Hilton Durban opened in 1997.
Where is it?
Adjacent to the Durban International Convention Centre and less than a kilometre from the nearest beach. It’s also walking distance from the Kingsmead Cricket Ground, whilst Moses Mabhida soccer stadium, Kings Park rugby stadium and Durban Country Club golf course are all a short drive away, as is the CBD. King Shaka International Airport is approximately 25 minutes’ drive away.
The hotel has 327 rooms, made up of guest rooms (King Deluxe; King Deluxe Plus; King Guest Room; Twin Guest Room), suites (King Executive; King Presidential; King Terrace) and executive suites (King Executive and Twin Executive). I was fortunate enough to be accommodated in a King Executive suite on the top floor, which offered great views of the city. It’s an enormous space (77m²) for one business traveller and is incredibly comfortable, with a separate lounge and work space featuring mini-bar, complimentary snacks, wine and chocolates, lounge suite and flat-screen TV. There’s another flat-screen in the bedroom, which also features a king-size bed, work desk and en-suite bathroom, with separate bath and shower. Both work desks offered high-speed Internet access via cable. My only criticism – the air conditioning in the bedroom, which didn’t appear to work, both before and after I requested a technician take a look at it. The service was speedy, but on a warm summer’s day, I needed a frosty burst of air. Not a train smash, but something the hotel should take note of.
Meeting & Business Facilities
Accommodation in one of the suites gets you access to the Executive Lounge, which offers complimentary breakfast and refreshments. From a meetings and conferences perspective, there are a host of options, with 10 meeting rooms, a grand ballroom and a polo room. The Hilton Durban can accommodate events for up to 400 delegates.
The hotel has a gym and swimming pool and also offers sightseeing tours. Otherwise, the attractions mentioned above are in close proximity, as are the Durban Botanic Gardens and uShaka Marine World, which require a slightly longer drive.
Restaurants & Bars
We dined in the Rainbow Terrace restaurant, which impressed me with its warm, attentive service, chilled white wine and comprehensive buffet offering. Features of the dinner buffet were the curries that Durban is famous for, and the succulent calamari that the onsite chef fried up in front of me, with my choice of spices. Otherwise, both breakfast and dinner buffet offerings featured heaps of both cold and hot dishes, fresh fruit, salads and breads. Otherwise, there’s the Lobby Lounge Coffee Bar (offering breakfast, lunch and pasta dinners) and the Rivets Bar. The lobby is a great meeting place for informal meetings and a drink, and is often well-populated with business people.
Top notch Durban business hotel with great attention to detail, great business-specific amenities and a great location, particularly if you are doing business or conferencing at the ICC. The hotel also has one of the most memorable doormen in Obed Mbatha, who has been with the hotel since 1997 and greets guests in his Hilton jacket, which boasts hundreds of badges. He sets the tone for the great service you receive.
Address: 12-14 Walnut Road, +27 31 336 8100, hilton.com