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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4 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.

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