4319 Travel Guide
There was trouble brewing in the Monegasque paradise between Prince Albert of Monaco and his bride Princess Charlene, long before they tied the knot on July 1. But you would think that they could at least try and enjoy their honeymoon in South Africa?
After all, they were staying in the presidential suite of the Oyster Box Hotel on the beach in Umhlanga Rocks. The suite alone spans two floors, with its own private elevator, two bedrooms, two marble bathrooms with views of the ocean, a study, a lounge, a dining room that seats 10 and a fully equipped kitchen. Oh and its own swimming pool.
But sadly the strain of the allegations that Prince Albert fathered yet another child out of wedlock may have forced him to seek out his own less luxurious hotel room at the Hilton in Durban, ten miles away from the Oyster Box.
We've been waiting for the big renovation of Durban's iconic Oyster Box Hotel to get finished up in South Africa – and now the wait is over. Last week the new Oyster Box was unveiled with an 800-guest party including all the local celebrities, with at least one prince and one king along for the fun.
The Oyster Box is often described as an "architectural treasure" of Durban, so the new owners (the Red Carnation group) have been careful to leave all the good historic bits of the place intact. That includes murals, paintings and antique furnishings, and to complement all that they use natural timber and stone features in a lot of the décor – and the result looks pretty impressive.
South Africa is soon to have a new address for luxe, lust and haute cuisine curry when the Oyster Box reopens in mid 2009.
The 87-room Durban digs with the aphrodisiac-inspired name was recently snapped up by U.K.-based Red Carnation Hotels, which has closed the hotel to update its colonial look. The makeover is set to include a mode facelift that will meld technological must-haves like high-speed WiFi, flat-screen, satellite TVs and CD and DVD players in guest rooms with a mélange of the Oyster Box's original artwork and new, more contemporary pieces the continued tradition of fresh oysters at the hotel's Lighthouse Bar (the hotel has its own lighthouse, of which it's the official warden).