It was quite serendipitous, the way in which we ended up spending the weekend of Indaba in the lap of cosy luxury at Teremok Marine in Umhlanga.
In fact, we would almost go so far as calling it miraculous. The Traveller24 team was in Durban for Indaba 2015 and what could have been a rather nasty affair after our intended hotel turned out to be a dive of note - that had actually lost our booking - a last-minute call to Teremok Marine turned out to be our saving grace.
READ: 7 weird things we experienced at Indaba
Here are seven reasons why we loved it and couldn't help expressing our absolute delight at our good fortune numerous times throughout the weekend.
(Teremok Marine Boutique Hotel/Facebook)
It's amazing how a sense of historical significance can be felt when walking into a place. Teremok is a Russian word meaning 'little hideaway' and was given to this holiday home as a name by its first owner, Constantine Vladikyn, in 1968. Constantine, fondly known as Kotchka, escaped during the Russian revolution as a young boy with the aid of the Red Cross and was raised by his mother in England. Kotchka was educated at the Cambourne School of Mines and became a mining surveyor, which brought him to mineral-rich South Africa. His daughter Nadya inherited the house shortly after Kotchka's death in 1969, which she, her husband and children continued to use as a holiday home for many years. However, in 2000 they sold it and the new owners saw its potential as a gorgeous retreat for travellers. Teremok Marine opened its doors to the public in 2003.
A boutique stay at Teremok Marine gives that personal, home away from home feel - yet, it is peppered with the luxury and attention-to-detail of a five-star stay. This is certainly highlighted by the communal lounging area where you will find a well-stocked coffee station and honesty bar. An intriguing selection of artwork, books and board games add to the unique design and interior styling, all providing a feast for the eyes and mind at every turn.
(Teremok Marine Boutique Hotel/Facebook)
The individual themes of each of the eight rooms at Teremok Marine is something you can sincerely appreciate if you happen to find yourself in a bland hotel-chain room. With a specific design and layout, each has subtle enhancements such as individual scented toiletries, mood-music and evening confectionary. The two rooms we experienced were the Vladikyn and the Palm. The Vladikyn is styled in an exuberant and velvety Baroque manner. Fuchsia paisley wallpaper, tempered with renaissance inspired furniture and artwork elegantly add to this charming suite that is an absolutely pleasure to retreat to after a busy day of exploring one of the 7 wonder cities of the world.
The Palm is a tribute to the intrepid colonial explorers of the 1800s, as well as the Indian migrant workers, who both left a huge legacy in KZN. Subtle shades of khaki, olive and green dominate this room and a plush headboard depicting the taming of a tiger is the focal point. Looking out over the tranquil garden, Palm will make you feel like you're on a voyage of discovery of your own.
The unique decor isn't limited to the rooms only. The entire house is filled with quaint little talking points. From a bright yellow pot filled with paintbrushes on a windowsill and a restored penny farthing-type bicycle, to a collection of trophies on a mantle and a gallery of animal paintings. You can spend an entire day just wandering around the interior and exploring the decor delights.
Lush gardens surround Teremok on all sides, with a crystal-clear swimming pool beckoning from the emerald green lawn. The hotel has furnished their various balconies with comfy white-washed furniture, providing exquisite outside areas to sit back, relax or even catch up on emails. Just take note, that it's not only human guests who enjoy the tall trees and surrounding greenery - Teremok staff regularly have to shoo curious monkeys from windows and doors accidentally left open.
The breakfast served at Teremok Marine reflects this homely nurturing. Guests are greeted by innovative snacks and treats, all freshly prepared in the chic, open plan kitchen. The fragrant smells of a freshly-baked apple and blueberry crumble will get your tummy rumbling and their cute, egg muffin pot-plants will fill the gap quite nicely. Adding to a pleasant start to your day is the view of the breakfast room, which overlooks the verdant suburb of Umhlanga; all enhanced by the tropical Indian Ocean. They do not serve supper but are happy to order take-always, as a convenience to guests, if you happen to be arriving late. Also, any leftover breakfast goodies are set out as a help-yourself snack buffet throughout the day.
Teremok is ideally situated on the prestigious Marine Drive, a stone's throw away from the beach. A quick 5-minute walk will take you down to the Umhlanga promenade, with the famous red and white lighthouse located close by, as well as the iconic pier. There are also a variety of laid-back, yet stylish shops and restaurants worth checking out within a 5km radius of the hotel.