Ice cream cones on the beach, cocktails around the pool and room service spoils for dinner … nothing beats a nostalgic, South Coast hotel holiday. Our editor took a trip down memory lane when she and her family visited Scottburgh’s ‘grand old lady’, the Blue Marlin, recently.
If we’ve learnt anything over the past year and half, it’s that the simple things in life most often really do bring the most joy. A long walk on a beautiful, pristine beach. Kids giggling as they slide (for the hundredth time) down the super tube and then excitedly run back up again. Watching the sun rise over the ocean from your bed with a cup of coffee in hand.
And memories. Those are the most important things of all. Some of my fondest and happiest childhood moments were during family holidays spent in the small South Coast town of Scottburgh. Just 40 minutes south of Durban, this little village is home to so many of my favourite memories of long days spent on the beach with cousins and siblings, getting sunburnt, gobbling up ice creams and living our very best lives.
Which is why, when we were invited to stay at one of Scottburgh’s most recognised and beloved landmarks, the 70-year-old Blue Marlin Hotel, I jumped at the opportunity.
The kids were naturally thrilled about staying in an actual hotel – especially one that has direct access to a beautiful swimming (and lifeguarded) beach and very cool super tube! A family-friendly destination if ever there was one, there are loads of awesome kids’ facilities within the hotel grounds, such as the crystal clear swimming pools, playgrounds (both outdoor and indoor), a trampoline, putt-putt course, outdoor chess board and loads of space to just run and play in the beautiful, landscaped gardens.
From the moment we arrived, the Blue Marlin staff were attentive and helpful. Our two ground-floor rooms (with an interleading door) were perfect for the four of us and ideally situated for quick beach access and beautiful sun and moon rises over the ocean.
After settling in, we took a walk around the legendary 111-room (all en-suite) hotel and found ourselves enjoying a pre-dinner drink at the Ibis Bar while the kids went off to explore.
Meals are served in the Lighthouse Restaurant, which has both indoor and outdoor seating options or, if you prefer, you can enjoy your meal in the comfort of your own room with room service. The food is uncomplicated, varied and flavourful – and always served with a smile by the incredibly friendly staff. The curries, of course, are fantastic.
We were up with the sun the next morning, not only to catch the beautiful sunrise, but also because the kids were chomping at the bit to get down to the beach. I was excited too, I’ll admit, to revisit one of my favourite childhood holiday spots and see if it is still as awesome as I remembered. It is.
After a long morning of swimming, boarding, beach-walking, shell-hunting and super-tubing (the super tube is privately run, inexpensive and simply good, old-fashioned fun!), we headed back to the hotel for some lunch around the pool. The buy-two-get-one-free Blue Marlin pizzas are a must – especially when they are enjoyed with a cold beverage at the Big Blu Pool Bar overlooking the bay. Needless to say, this is where we spent the remainder of the day with the kids bouncing from one fun activity to the next while we simply lounged. For dinner that night we decided to order room service (for a fun experience) and enjoyed watching the moonrise over the ocean on our little terrace.
We opted for a lie-in on Sunday morning as it was a little chilly for the beach, and everyone devoured the hearty breakfast buffet before making our way home (the DIY pancake-making machine was a big hit).
A family holiday at the Blue Marlin really is a worthwhile experience. The hotel is well looked after and in good condition, the facilities are great and the staff super friendly. It’s a cost-effective getaway and an opportunity for locals to enjoy a relaxing break without breaking the bank! They are currently running an all-inclusive holiday special of R2700 per room, per night (includes accommodation, meals and beverages and one free Croc World voucher per person during your stay). Fantastic value for money!
STOP ALONG THE WAY …
Instead of going straight home, we stopped at Croc World Conservation Centre, which is just 10 minutes from the hotel, and we were so glad we did! What a fun day spent meeting crocodiles, snakes, birds, farm animals and other beautiful creatures, all homed in the most beautiful setting of landscaped gardens filled with indigenous and endemic vegetation. This really is a must-visit for families. Entrance is R95 for adults and R65 for kids (ages 4 to12) and they are open from 9am to 4.30pm. Details: www.crocworld.co.za