Recently I had the great pleasure of spending a night at the Royal Palm Hotel in Umhlanga. I had never stayed there before, but Hubs and I were pretty darned excited. You see, Umhlanga is, to us, the hub of all excitement and nightlife in KwaZulu Natal. Sure, the Midlands has it’s quaint and romantic charm, and Durban itself has night clubs and bars. But Umhlanga will always hold my heart when it comes to a night out. Umhlanga Village alone is amazing, as you can literally pub-hop without having to catch a taxi, and there is an abundance of incredible restaurants too.
The Royal Palm is also right across the road from Gateway Theature of Shopping and just over 18km from King Shaka International Airport. Basically, the most ideal spot for businessmen, shoppers and anyone wanting a good meal or great entertainment.
Hubs had to work in the morning, but as soon as he was done, we hopped in the car, and headed down to Umhlanga. We stopped in at a few places for a drink or a light snack, and then made our way to the Royal Palm to check in.
I loved the reception area, that has a huge open area with a sophisticated lounge section and very high ceiling – you can look up and see the corridors of all the floors of the hotel, which is quite impressive and eye-catching. Our check in was an absolute breeze, super fast and the lady on reception was very efficient.
On checking into our room, we were both super impressed – the room is basically a mini suite in itself. I loved the cherry blossom wall paper and huge bed, but what I loved most were the Asian-inspired sliding doors. So gorgeous!
I loved that there was a little kitchen area too, with a microwave, fridge and a kettle, so if you’re not really one to eat out, you can fix yourself a meal in the comfort of your hotel room too.
The lounge was comfortable with a couch, chairs and a TV too, and went out onto a small balcony with table and chairs. It was just a pity that the weather was so overcast and drizzly, +-or it would have been lovely to enjoy a drink outside. The view wasn’t anything to get super excited about either, as it overlooked the back of the hotel onto a back road. However, the views from the other side of the hotel do look out on Palm Boulevard with Gateway and all the restaurants to see – great for people-watchers!
We had dinner booked for 5:30 that evening at the recently renovated Thyme Restaurant at the hotel, insanely early but there was a big international rugby game on just after 7pm that we wanted to catch. The staff were more than happy for us to grab our dinner that early (even though the restaurant technically only opens at 6pm) and Sthembile, our waitron was an absolute breath of fresh air – bubbly, friendly and hilarious.
I decided that it was definitely time for a cocktail, and chose the Sex On The Beach (R60) and Hubby opted for the Long Island Iced Tea (R65) and both were very tasty. We both placed our food orders and enjoyed a discussion on the upcoming rugby game.
Our food actually arrived super fast, and I have to say, we were impressed. Even though the menu isn’t incredibly varied, there is definitely something for everyone. And – it comes out cooked to utter perfection. We often have issues with how our steaks are cooked, as we’re both very fussy, but the chef did an outstanding job.
Hubs went with the 350g Beef Fillet ‘Chasseur’ (R210) with mushrooms and bacon in a red wine sauce and served with garden vegetables and potato wedges, and it was honestly perfectly cooked. Enormous portion too, so much so that my Hubby had to take part of it away with him!
I felt like something a little lighter than red meat, and chose the Grilled Half Chicken (R130) in lemon and herb sauce, and served with garden vegetables and potato wedges. Once again, beautifully cooked and so juicy, and even my veggies were done to perfection.
Between the perfectly cooked food (we even thanked the chef as we were so impressed) and the great service, we had a wonderful time at Thyme.
The hotel also has a newly refurbished bar, which boasts an impressive selection of craft gins, as well as other drinks. Definitely a spot to grab a nightcap at!
We had a fun-filled night out in Umhlanga – South Africa won the rugby after all, so Hubs was in a GREAT mood – and slept like the absolute dead. Even though it was drizzly, the weather was still so humid, and luckily the hotel room had a fantastic air-conditioner to keep us cool during the night.
Check out was just as quick and easy as check in, so much nicer than the lengthy reception visits at other hotels, where you’re required to sign about 100 forms and fill out a survey. We headed over to Thyme restaurant again after check out, where we had breakfast. There was a nice variety of food, and it was tasty and hit the spot, however the service could be improved on.
Our stay, while brief, was definitely a good one. Quick, efficient service overall, and lovely big, clean rooms. What we liked best though, was how central the hotel was to SO MUCH. Definitely a great spot for both business and pleasure alike!
You can check out the hotel website HERE, or you can contact the hotel on (031) 581 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make a enquiry or a booking.
**DISCLAIMER – while we were hosted by the Royal Palm Hotel and Thyme Restaurant, all opinions are honest and my own.**