Travel – Ghosts and the Durban night

2012-06-29 15:48

In the still of the night, the labyrinthine passages of the Sun Coast Towers Hotel and Square take on a ghostly quality.

This is when only retiring revellers, drunks and battered gamblers along with a few winners are left to stagger into the Durban night.

Uncharacteristically quiet, it is inhabited by a menacing silence that is only tempered by the knowledge that there are a few hundred souls sleeping in the rooms above.

Its unstated presence stalks you as you quietly slouch towards doing the same.

There’s a faint sound of the waves crashing into shore, the soft echo of house music from the nearby Newscafé and other restaurants-cum-clubs along with the occasional sound of laughing strangers.

At about 3.30am, having spent the night among these Durbanites partying in the Sun Square, the idea of getting room service seems a bit troublesome.

So getting a fried chicken meal is a wise move.

Towards my room I discover a passage that connects the hotel to the Square with its casino, entertainment and food courts.

The channel meanders past the gym on the first floor where some eager beavers are already getting ready for their morning sweat routine.

The wall paint colour changes from cream to lime to indicate that I’m now in the hotel.

You have to make it through the night to discover the hotel’s refreshing charm.

The art deco design of the architecture, along with the colourful wall paint, gives the place what the keepers rightly call “classic Miami”.

At night the detail is completed by the neon lights, giving it a touch of Las Vegas.

 Their glare heralds its location in the heart of Durban’s Golden Mile.

This is the route that stretches all the way from the uShaka Marine World through to the spectacular Moses Mabhida stadium.

Some enthusiastic visitors actually take a rickshaw ride, or a bicycle to enjoy the breezy path.

One of the Sun Coast hotel’s selling points is the unobstructed view of the Indian Ocean, which you can enjoy by simply looking out through the window.

There’s also the jovial bustle of activities on the beachfront that can be viewed from the comfort of the room.

After breakfast at the Riviera Restaurant – which offers a mix of authentic Mediterranean dishes, seafood and other local favourites – it’s ideal to relax on the grassed sundeck along the pool.

It’s easy to just walk out through the gate across the strip and onto the beach.

However, the walk on the beach is likely to be a lonely affair, as I discovered.

Female and softy male companions tend to be drawn to the spa on the ninth floor of the hotel.

This will leave you to the mercy of polite strangers and the sound of seaside birds.

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