After a very busy year I needed some vacay time. Being the mother of a 3 year old this meant that I had to find a destination that is comfortable with enough relaxation options for me and at the same time cater to the needs of a little ball of energy.
With the destination decided upon I had to find the perfect hotel for us. This means searching internet sites such as TripAdvisor and trying to look at as many photo of potential hotels. After a two week search I finally decided on the Square Boutique Hotel and Spa. The hotel is a boutique hotel, which means that it is rather small (43 standard rooms, 6 deluxe rooms and one honeymoon suite), and forms part of the Three Cities Hotel chain with a four star rating. The hotel is near the Gateway theatre of shopping and (most importantly) the beach.
We arrived at the hotel quite late (9pm) and at first glance liked the hotel. The reception area was small but tidy and comfortable. Check-in was quite smooth but we were informed that the bath in our room had a crack and that we would not be able to use it. This caused some slight irritation, especially since I called earlier in the week to confirm that our deluxe room we get has a bath and shower and was assured that it did. By the next morning the gentleman who checked us in was very accommodating and tried to get us another room (what made things a bit difficult was that there are only 6 deluxe rooms in the hotel and all were occupied). Hotel staff showed us two other rooms by the next morning but since our room was really big we decided to stay in it despite the cracked bath.
The hotel and room was really comfortable, spacious, clean and family friendly. The one thing that concerned me was that on two occasions when I returned to my room after it had been cleaned I found that the room was unlocked. I mentioned this to hotel management and did not have this issue again.
The second negative aspect of the hotel was that breakfast service was terrible. We weren’t always seated by staff and they literally could not boil an egg to order! Despite this, the selection was sufficient for a boutique hotel with the usual options available.
In terms of amenities, the hotel has a gorgeous rooftop swimming pool with a beautiful view. It also has a small gym, sauna and steam room for guests to use. The hotel also hosts the Cosmopolitan restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
On the third day I went the Aqua Spa at the hotel for a facial and massage. For the most part the spa was a bit of a disappointment. When I arrived I was asked to complete a form (as usual) but the person attending to me did not acknowledge that they knew which treatments I had come for. I was also not sure who was a therapist and who was a receptionist as there were a few people in the reception area an no one seemed in command.
I received my treatment in a couples’ treatment room. The room was big (a bit too big) and instead of feeling warm and relaxing had more of a clinical feel to it. My therapist was pleasant and cooperative to my requests. The facial was average but the therapist did not have all the products with her. She left the treatment room twice to get products and left the door to my treatment room open! I was also annoyed that I could also hear other therapists/receptionists chatting during my treatment. On the positive side, the therapist gave me one of the best massages!
Another thing that irked me was that I had to pay for the treatment before I left the spa. Other hotel spas that I have been to allow hotel guests to pay for treatments when they check out. The reason given for having to pay at the spa was that they did not have their ‘book’. These seemingly small issues reflected a spa that was not run very professionally. Overall, this lack of professionalism at the spa was a disappointment and I couldn’t help feel that this spa brought the hotel down.
The hotel was perfect for our family vacation and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay in Umhlanga. Even though it is child-friendly, the hotel is not only for families and I would go there even if I was alone or with a partner. So if you are looking for a relaxing holiday try the Square Boutique hotel but avoid the spa!
– Rizwana / @rizwanaroomaney
Three Cities: The Square Boutique Hotel & Spa
250 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Durban