Not all keys are equal. Those that have the Golden Keys, better known as Les Clefs d'Or, can unlock experiences you didn't even know you wanted. Head Concierge and Guest Relations Manager, Palvi Oddone Aquino, has brought a new guest-centric focus to Tsogo Sun's Suncoast Towers Hotel.
Helming this department in Durban's Art Deco fantasy on the North beachfront has made a palpable difference to the guest experience and I know this as I'm a repeat guest.
When I stayed there last I was impressed by a My Chef on Call initiative to personalise dining experiences and this more recent and sharper focus on upping the guest satisfaction ante is also paying dividends.
As part of a broader entertainment complex, arguably the most popular in Durban, the challenge to create a five-star hotel with glamour and elegance amid the ka-ching of one-arm bandits and fast-food outlets should not be underestimated. While joined at the hip to the hubbub, once inside the Towers it is as if the bright lights and ringing bells of the casino are a world away.
Quite the looker
Unashamedly borrowing from Miami's South Beach strip, this new build successfully creates a space that fits with the neighbouring properties and is, despite the garish neon, elegant and wonderful to look at.
Alongside a better guest experience comes a new restaurant concept. While it isn't rocket-science to create a curry restaurant in a Durban hotel, it is a very brave move as great curry, balmy beaches and rickshaw rides are what most of us expect of Durban.
The design fits in well and is a real head turner.
Jeera, (the original name for cumin) now fills the ground-floor space. They have a splendid curry buffet by Executive Sous Chef Sandren Govender that traverses that country's cuisine and the biggest selection of sambals I've ever seen on a buffet - even in India.
The South Indian fish curry popped with flavour and heat while many others were heady with spices but not hot. Lamb chops cooked in the Tandoor oven were fabulous. Guests are also welcome to order a la carte but the buffet will deliver the best value experience, especially if you have a voracious appetite. Although I avoided the sweets, it was great to see those classic and colourful Indian sweetmeats among more Western-styled cakes.
A true five-star experience
Knowing that the gym was directly above my head while sitting at the restaurant did allow me to loosen the reins a bit when it came to second and third helpings. It was great to have the chef on hand to discuss the ingredients of each dish so I could keep to my low-carb no-sugar rules.
Fancy a dip?
In a media handout, General Manager Adrian Penny says, "My vision for Suncoast Towers is to deliver individually crafted, timeless hospitality experiences through creativity, exclusivity and sheer decadence. This five-star hotel is spectacular, contemporary and luxurious and offers the perfect escape".
"One of the most unique features of the hotel is the lavishly appointed two-bedroom Penthouse Suite spanning the entire 10th floor. It comes complete with balcony and uninterrupted views of the ocean, [and comprises] an entertainment area, a large dining area, lounge with a home entertainment system, a study and two en-suite bathrooms. The fully equipped kitchen allows guests to prepare meals and entertain or they have the option of a butler service."
It certainly is my Durban hotel of choice and I look forward to seeing what they do next to raise the bar even higher.
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