Durban Hotels

Sheldene Crawford, whom I acknowledge here, forwarded me extracts from a book she has concerning some of Durban’s better hotels at the time. The book dates to 1958 and was published by Victor de la Hurst. Sadly some of the hotels do not exist today and have passed into history. I have added my own comments below the pictures. where applicable.  Click on Pictures  to Enlarge.

 

The Astra was one of the late Sol Kerzner’s first forays into hotel ownership. If I remember correctly from the Astra he moved to Umhlanga Rocks and built the Beverly Hills Hotel.  It was a popular hotel and had a well attended night spot.  In later years the hotel was sold and turned into an old age home.Unfortunately the demographics of the area  changed drastically  and the whole area went down.  The old age home was more or less forced to close down and the property again put up for sale. It was purchased and turned into student accommodation. 

Caister House was originally the home of B W Greenacre of the department store fame. The home eventually was transformed into the Caister Hotel, very upmarket hotel. In 1986 the future of the Caister Hotel was uncertain and there was threat that it would be demolished and replaced by a high rise building. Fortunately the building was saved from being demolished and turned into an exclusive old age home. 

 

 The Killarney Hotel in Brickhill Road was a favourite with the Tranvalers that descended on Durban during the holiday seasons. It really was a family hotel and though not at all elegant it provided comfortable and affordable accommodation. It still serves as a hotel as far as is known but in the present situation its fate hangs in the balance.

The Edward Hotel was always regarded as Durban’s premiere hotel until the 1980’s when the multi storey glitzy hotels started to be erected along the Marine Parade. Sadly in 2020 the hotel was forced to close down as it was regarded unviable to carry on trading. At the time of writing it has been closed down. 

 

One of Durban’s finest hotels which unfortunately did not survive the demolisher’s hammer. It was pulled down and replaced by an office block.

 

The Osborne Hotel on the corner of Musgrave and Berea Road suffered to an extent when the traffic noise of the Kinmont Canyon which replaced Berea Road became untenable. It was demolished and replaced by an office block and partly medical centre.

 

The Athlone Gardens Hotel overlooking the Umgeni River was a very popular hotel at one time in that it had an open air beer garden which was well frequented by Durban folk. One of the attractions were the vervet monkeys which roamed around the area. In later years the hotel facade was much changed and after changing hands was renamed the Riverside Hotel. It was well known for its Barnyard Theatre.  The hotel continues to trade.

 

 

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17 Responses

  1. Beryl
    | Reply

    I came to Durban in the early 1970’s, but before I arrived I had met a lady called Enid Keating who with her first husband had run the Hotel Edward during the 1940s. During WW2 she used one of the reception spaces as a service mans club. Enid was kind to me when I was there and for a small lady she was a big personality.

    I didn’t stay at the Edward but was treated to a meal in the Chinese restaurant, was it called the Mandarin?

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Beryl
    Yes the Edward Hotel did have a Chinese Restaurant of note. In the 60s/70s. Peter Chen was the manager.
    I cannot find a reference to it being called the Mandarin, it may well have been, but it is referred to as The Edward’s Chinese Garden Restaurant. The hotel manager in 1968 was F T Gottgens.

    Postscript: The Chinese Restaurant was called the Mandarin Room and if you do a SEARCH on this website there is a menu and other information.

  3. Jason Quinn
    | Reply

    Good morning,

    I am the building manager of Musgrave Park, which was originally the Osborne Hotel. I was wondering if there was anyone who has any photos of the hotel before it became what it is today ?

    Any assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Jason
    If you go to the banner at the top of the page you will see SEARCH. Click on this and then type in Durban Hotels in the block that has Google in it. There is a picture of the Osborne Hotel not close up but it is there.

  5. Rina
    | Reply

    Hi,

    I am wanting to find out where the Fairview Hotel from the 60’s, is or was, please?

    Thank you

  6. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Rina
    The only reference I can find to Fairview is “Fairview Flats”. There is no reference to Fairview Hotel and the only hotel with Fair in the name was the Fairhaven on Marine Parade. FairView Flats were in Old Fort Road where Old Fort Road approaches the beachfront. The name Fairview was there in 1965 but in 1968 the name disappears and replaced by Carribean Holiday Flats. Looks like the Fairview changed hands and renamed. Sorry no picture and I cannot say I knew the flats but know where it was. Hope this helps.

  7. Rina
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,

    Thanks for your information, and to all your effort.

    I was watching an old movie “Sammy going South” where this boy travels from Egypt to Durban, to his aunt who owned this hotel. This was the early 60’s. It was very rural, and I wandered where it was. I thought it could be on the Berea.

  8. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    HI Rina
    Interesting link and I checked the date the movie was made 1963 so not that old. I looked under Boarding Houses and nothing with Fair or View in that section either. Looks like a fictitious name.

  9. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Rina
    On the FAD Facebook website Bill Aldridge’s post on the 8th of April says the following: –

    Does anyone remember the Bay View residential hotel in Tunmer Rd? We stayed there for a year in 1970 after emigrating. The owners were a Mr and Mrs Tully. It was basic, but very clean and the food was good. Many happy memories of our time there.

    Perhaps this is what you are looking for?

  10. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Rina,
    Further to my earlier comment.
    I’ve looked at a few snapshots from the movie “Sammy Going South” which was aired on Talking Pictures TV in the UK just recently.
    One is from footage of the Fair View Hotel and another is of the view from the hotel over what looks like a river.
    I’m only speculating but the scenes featuring Sammy (Fergus McClelland) and Aunt Jane (Zena Walker) may also have been filmed in Central Africa rather than in South Africa.
    In the movie Cocky Wainwright (Edward G Robinson) meets Aunt Jane (Zena Walker) in Central Africa where they discuss the boy’s whereabouts.
    It would make sense to have filmed the “Durban” scenes at the same time.
    Near the end of the movie there is a small piece of footage showing the sea and the Durban beachfront followed by Sammy riding in the back of a taxi, but with no identifiable view out of the taxi windows.
    After that there is another brief piece of footage showing a taxi driving north along Marine Parade.
    However, that taxi is not the one seen arriving at the Fair View Hotel as they are different vehicles.
    Also, the taxi arriving at the Fair View Hotel is left hand drive, although that doesn’t necessarily signify anything as there were cars like that in Durban in that era.
    The two identifiable scenes in Durban may have just been stock footage spliced into the movie.
    I would have attached the snapshots from the movie but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to do this.
    Perhaps Gerald could facilitate this?
    Regards.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      A belated reply to Trevor Friend. Thanks for the three photos one pertaining to be taken in Durban of the Fair View Hotel. This was to do with the film “Sammy going south”. Trevor mentions these clips in his post. In a later post Trevor Friend confirms that the pictures were not taken in Durban bar the one of the ricksha but were taken in Jinja Uganda.
      Ricksha on Marine Parade.

  11. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Rina,

    Just found the following comment on the web: –

    The Durban street scenes towards the end of the film may have been stock footage, but the Fairview Hotel, supposedly in Durban, was actually in Jinja, Uganda. The film unit did not shoot in Durban at all.

    The web site is: –

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056886/trivia/?ref_=tt_trv_trv

  12. Frank Ferro
    | Reply

    Does anyone know if there was ever a Holiday Inn on Durban beachfront that closed down?

  13. Catherine Searle
    | Reply

    Hello, I am trying to find out the address of the Ards Hotel in Durban which existed at least into the 1940’s. Proprietor was Mary Tucker (aka Case, nee Silo). I have a picture but I can’t see how to post it to this comment.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      The Ards

      Hi Catherine
      An old picture of The Ards. The address would be 185 Marine Parade.

  14. Catherine Searle
    | Reply

    Thank you! That is the picture that I had but without an address. Much appreciated! C.

  15. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    HI Catherine
    In that photo you can just see the Majestic Hotel adjoining. In time when The Ards was demolished the block of flats called High Wycombe were built on the corner. The side road is Serridge Place. The Majestic was also demolished.

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