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While international traveling makes me giddy like a shopaholic on Black Friday, most of my travels are from Johannesburg to Durban to visit my family. We do about 2-4 trips per year with our 2 boys.
Previously, we’d stay at the same hotel and do the same things, each time we went to Durban. Ascribing this to “it’s what our budget allows”. Can you guess what our experience was like each time?… relatively the same, meh!. They were predictable and boring, apart from meeting the family which brought us happiness, we dreaded our trips.
I believe, one should always try to gain new experiences and foster curiosity. It keeps hope alive. My husband entertains my curiosity and shares this feeling. We definitely needed to put more effort into planning. We were both born and raised in KZN and really wanted to explore and gain new experiences in our hometown. So we now scour the net or Airbnb for new places to stay at, as it has opened us up to new areas and experiences.
Disclaimer: Not all experiences will be great but you learn something new each time.
Our last trip was for Eid-ul- Fitr, the Eid that follows our Islamic month, Ramadaan. It was also my family’s first Eid without my dad. My kids had also kept all their fasts again which would have made their grandfather very happy. I was a mixed bag of emotions roller-coasting from happy to utterly sad. These feelings impacted my choice of the space I wanted to stay at. I wanted “space”, a little healing ground and to be around water.
I was surprised to see 516 Point Bay, in Durban, not only available, but also within budget. So let’s chat about vacation rental.
First, 516 Point Bay is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, residential penthouse apartment for rental on Airbnb by its owner Maarya. It is based in Durban South and overlooks the harbour. Currently, there’s alot of construction along most of the roads leading to the apartment. However, if you take the scenic beach or shoreline route to get there, all the way down to the south, it’s no hassle.
When you get to the apartment, there are boom gates which Maarya instructs the guards to lift for her guests. We then proceeded to the reception desk and security on the ground floor to sign for and attain the keys. There are 2 underground parking bays for this apartment. Maarya has assigned the occupancy for the apartment to be suitable for 4 but allows 5.
We arrived late in the afternoon, so none of the lights in the underground parking were on. Wasn’t a good first impression, after taking the construction roads to get there. There was face recognition software to get through to the elevator, but we used the keycard provided. The elevator floor could use a revamp. So far, we were in this “ hope this works out!” mental state. We got to the 5th floor, where all the penthouse apartments were and 516 was just a few steps from the elevator and a beautiful rooftop pool.
These are a few of the web pics of the apartment and its Airbnb profile,–>> click the link: 516 Point Bay on Airbnb
So my sons were the first to enter and they let out this huge gasp….
While lugging, I’m freaking out about their reaction. “What happened? Is it ok?” I ask, mentally preparing for the worst-case scenario. We took a flight and rented a car. So in essence this trip was costly, and we needed this apartment to work out. So I walk in, head down, focused on pulling my luggage, to get it in through the door. I look up….and this is what I see.
As you enter, you are immediately greeted by the double volume ceilings, large grey tiled floors, and fresh minimalist, yet artfully decorated space. There is a beautiful open-plan island kitchen which spills out into the dining area and lounge with wall to wall, glass doors. This leads onto the large balcony. Inside the apartment, to the right and in front of the entrance, is a passageway to the downstairs bedroom and guest bathroom and toilet. The bath tub has a shower included. The wooden staircase leading to the upstair’s room is to the right of the entrance. The stairway also has a balcony overlooking the inside of the apartment, where you can see the entire kitchen to lounge area. Both bedrooms are spacious and have balconies. The living room balcony is netted off, most likely to prevent pigeons from getting too comfortable. The bedroom balconies were open and had keys to lock the aluminum-framed glass doors.
The kitchen: has all the amenities needed for a self-catering apartment, from fridge and freezer, kettle, microwave, stove, oven, to dishes, pots, pans and cutlery. Also included are complimentary coffee, tea and sugar. There was over head lighting above the island counter, with bar stools. Everything was neat and clean. We brought a lot of food along with us, so we had plenty of space to keep them. We ended up giving a lot of food away after our stay. What can I say, “my mum loves to feed us well”.
Dining room was a 6-seater wooden table with comfortable chairs.
Living room: has a comfy leather couch stacked with yellow and light blue accent cushions. There was also a large coffee table with coasters. Throughout the apartment there are reading material and hanging art. The artwork does have faces but they are in the passage areas and not the rooms. This apartment would be great to stay at if you have an event you are attending, everyone can dress comfortably and there are many mirrors to use. We also had access to the Wi-Fi and Netflix. I wouldn’t depend strongly on the tv though, speakers may have been shot a bit. We rarely care for tv though on our trips.
The apartment also has irons and an ironing board, as well as a washing machine to do laundry. These are kept out of sight, hidden behind cupboard doors. However, you want to make sure you pack your hair dryer. The downstairs bedroom has a queen bed, and I have to say it was the best sleep I had ever had on a trip. The bed, blankets and pillows were ample, so comfortable, and in all-white. My kids enjoyed their stay in the upstairs bedroom, with strict instructions from us to not go outside onto the balcony. There were two double beds upstairs, more than sufficient for them. They alternated sleeping together in both beds. lol.
There is also a shuttered window in the room to overlook the lounge area, which was padlocked for security. I was happy with that situation. Boys can be quite experimental.
The highlight: was this gorgeous view of the Durban harbor with its slow-moving ships, boats, and fast powerboats. Cyclists and tourists, even if just a few, during this pandemic, was a relief to spot. The harbour at night was just beautifully serene, moonlight glinting on the dark waters, it was a sight. It was really lovely to stay so close by and not at all noisy as I thought it would be. Bringing me to the apartment rules, where guests must keep noise down out of respect for those residing in these apartments. I was happy with this rule, because sleeping in an apartment close to a pool usually spells disaster at hotels. It’s always rowdy and noisy with a few drunken sprawls. This was not the case at all at 516 Point Bay. Let’s not forget beautiful Ushaka very close by, which we visited twice on our short stay and the stunning view of the harbor from the rooftop pool. It was exactly the little break in this pandemic that we needed. Alhumdulillah!
Altogether a great stay, in an instagrammable apartment, that is highly suited to a family or group of friends. Maarya the Owner was also a pleasure to interact with and also checked up on us telephonically.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and take a virtual tour of the apartment and a little visit to Ushaka Marine World, that will be up soon:)
Here it is: Click here for a virtual tour