We are fortunate enough to live, work and play on the beautiful North Coast of Durban. We have some of the most beautiful destinations on our doorstep but we don’t often get the opportunity to experience it as if we were as they would say ‘not from here’.
This particular five-star resort is a place I drive passed on my drive to my office nearly every day! I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed several lunches, dinners, events and spa treatments at the resort but experiencing it all through the eyes of a tourist with my family has been on my bucket list for the longest time!
I can clearly recall the Summer of 2015 where Brett and I lounged by their pool as a day visitor and Maddie was still growing in my belly. Brett and I held each other close together with Maddie sandwiched between us and we saw little kiddies jumping up and down in the water and we both said to one another that we couldn’t wait to one day bring our daughter to the hotel for an afternoon of fun in the pool.
We were graciously invited to Fairmont Zimbali Resort for a three days and two nights of absolute bliss! A staycation, close to home (25kms to be exact) and one where we got to experience ALL that the tropical paradise has to offer!
Fairmont Zimbali Resort is situated inside the exclusive Zimbali Coastal Estate, a luscious subtropical forest on the KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast. The majestic estate has an unparalleled biological diversity of more than 200 indigenous bird species, a multitude of brilliantly and delicately coloured flowers and an infinite number of wildlife including antelope, butterflies and reptiles. Perfectly poised in this beautiful estate is the five-star Fairmont Zimbali Resort.
We arrived via a self-drive on a Friday afternoon and felt so posh parking in front of the resort for our car to be off loaded – (cause you know you have to bring the whole house, including the kitchen sink when travelling with these little people!) and our car was taken care of by the valet parking assistant. Maddie of course had to proudly wheel in her own Trunki…
We were warmly greeted by Fairmont Zimbali Resort‘s marketing coordinator who handed us our VERY exciting itinerary which she put together for us and we checked ourselves in.
We were then shown to our room which was at the very end of the west wing of the resort but we were promised the walk down the long passage would be worth it. They were not lying! I don’t know what I was most impressed with! The spacious room or the ocean view!
One of the biggest things we have found when going away with Maddie is having two ‘rooms’ where we can leave her to sleep and still be able to do our own thing in another room. Anyone who has a baby or a toddler will know that they get FOMO and refuse to sleep if there is action happening around them. Luckily once Maddie is asleep, she generally stays asleep but it is great having a bedroom door when we can close and leave her in darkness while she falls asleep. So it was really great having a living area (with a smart TV, DVD player with a selection of kiddies DVDs – such a nice touch, a fully stocked mini bar for us to enjoy as well as a kitchen area with tea and Nespresso coffee machine facilities ( and all the necessities we needed) in our room and our beautiful bedroom almost the same size!
Can we take a moment to ooh and aah over this room! So spacious and oozing luxury with the elegant decor of stone, wood and earth tones inspired by the area’s breathtaking natural surroundings. We had our own oversized veranda which joined at our dining room area as well.
The large, luxurious bathtub was my favourite feature of the bathroom which was accompanied by Le Labo Rose 31 luxury bathroom amenities and Fairmont bathrobes and slippers! The room was also kitted out with an in-room safe, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. The room was fully air-conditioned and for those who like to keep connected, the complementary internet access was excellent and stayed connected without fault.
A generous goodie bag with the most awesome branded Fairmont Zimbali Resort goodies to ensure we had everything we needed for the weekend awaited on our bed. And everything came in threes!
Our bags were readily awaiting us in the room and we quickly unpacked our bags before referring to our itinerary…
TEA & CAKE at Dalchini
What a great way to ease into our staycation by starting off lounging in the upscale afternoon-tea lounge situated in the lobby area, Dalchini! A round of tea, coffee and a baby-chino for Maddie was in order before setting our sights on choosing something yummy out of the irresistible cake fridge and bounteous pastries and treats on display!
Sitting back with a cup of tea in hand, enjoying the beautiful view and taking in the atmosphere of the hustle and bustle of people eagerly awaiting their check-in at the reception provided a unique afternoon-tea experience.
I indulged in a chocolate orange slice of pure heaven while Brett enjoyed a slice of the red velvet cake. They were second to none and super indulgent! I am a chocolate cake kind-of-girl and it completely hit the spot! Super moist, rich in flavour and so fresh!
MOMMY & DAUGHTER PAMPER SESSION
We then headed down to the exclusive Willow Stream Spa inside Fairmont Zimbali Resort which simply put, echoes the resort’s promise of pampering and unforgettable experiences.
Maddie and I were being treated to mommy and daughter pamper session where we were set to relax while their spa therapists treated us both to a nail prep, buff, file and polish, completed with a foot massage! Imagine my excitement… Maddie’s first time at the spa and first time getting her nails painted professionally! A girl mommy’s dream come true!
We were warmly greeted at the reception and asked to choose our colours. Maddie of course asked for pink and I went with a turquoise, mint colour.
We enjoyed some quite time in the women’s resting lounge while our spa therapists prepped our room and once they were ready for us we took our seats at the pedi stations.
Maddie surprisingly loved every moment of it. She held out both her hands and let her therapist file, buff and paint her nails. The therapists were super calm and patient with her throughout the treatment and when Maddie wanted to sit on my lap to have her fingers and toes painted, she happily assisted Maddie in ensuring she was comfortable.
I couldn’t have asked for a more special first mommy and daughter pamper session. It literally bought tears to my eyes and Maddie was so proud of her nails and surprisingly none of them smudged! The therapist even applied two coats and a top coat!
My treatment was amazing and I absolutely loved the colour on my nails!
We then headed back up to our room where two delicious platters (a cheese and crackers as well as a sweets and cookie platter for Maddie) as well as a bottle of red wine awaited our arrival. Needless to say Maddie enjoyed her marshmallows and sour worms while we enjoyed a glass and took in the view from our room
SEAFOOD BUFFET AT CORAL TREE RESTAURANT
At around 6.30pm we changed and headed to down to Coral Tree restaurant to indulge in their seafood buffet which takes place every Friday night. We loved how elegant yet comfortable the restaurant felt which put us at ease having Maddie out at dinner with us. The live entertainment added to the relaxed atmosphere.
Seafood is one of my absolute favourite meals. Whenever it is our anniversary or we have a celebratory dinner planned I will suggest a seafood restaurant because it isn’t something we eat often.
Their seafood buffet hit the spot! From sushi (even a SUSHI CAKE) to curry and a fry station where the chefs freshly whip up some lemon and herb prawns in front of you in a matter of minutes. Everything was delicious! There was a variety of salads, veggies and other accompaniments as well as a delicious dessert offering. We left really satisfied with what we had to eat!
We headed back upstairs to our room, ran a hot bath and got into bed which was turned down so beautifully with slippers, a hot water bottle and a tea cup of camomile tea! We slept like angels!
Luckily we had set alarms otherwise we might have slept our morning away! The block out curtains make the room so dark and snug that you fail to see that it is daylight. Maddie and Brett ran outside to see if they could spot some dolphins while I enjoyed a little more of a lie in. Maddie was super excited to have spotted a school of dolphins out in the ocean (that’s how close the ocean is to our window – even her little eyes spotted them!).
We eagerly got dressed, packed our beach bag for the morning and headed back down to Coral Tree restaurant, this time for a breakfast buffet!
BREAKFAST AT CORAL TREE RESTAURANT
Breakfast is definitely our favourite meal of the day and we have to say our breakfasts at Fairmont Zimbali Resort were nothing short of amazing! The variety from the freshly squeezed health juices which included a green refresher made from celery and apples, the carrot, orange and apple juice as well as the beetroot and apple juices were amazing! They even had a choice of two smoothies which Maddie really enjoyed. A coconut and banana or a berries and mint smoothie. Brett’s favourite juice offering was the do-it-yourself freshly squeezed orange juice gadget whereby you cut your oranges in half, place them in the machine and press down for the juices to fall straight into your cup. Gosh and this was only the refreshment offerings! Definitely the best I have ever been offered at a breakfast buffet!
In terms of the food offering there was something to suit everyones tastes. From sweet and savoury muffins, cakes and breads, even waffles and pancakes to your traditional eggs (in every possible shape or form), bacon and endless accompaniments.
FAIRMONT ZIMBALI RESORT POOLS
After breakfast we headed down to relax by the hotel’s main pool. We packed Maddie’s beach and water toys for her to play with in the water. She even encouraged mom and dad take a splash – we could only get as deep as our knees. The pools are not heated and are a little icy around this time of the year.
We have visited the pools before and just love how big they are. It doesn’t matter how full the area is you always feel comfortable and have more than enough space to call your own. All the various pools at the resort cater for kids and have little steps and shallow areas where they can safely splash around in. Maddie loved her time with us in the pools while soaking up the warm sun rays.
LUNCH AT AYOBA!
After a couple of hours by the pool and allowing Maddie to have her mid-morning snooze we then headed down to Ayoba! at the Beach Club for a bite of Mexican.
I have dinned at Ayoba! before and know that their food is amazing and their selection cocktails is amazing. Both Brett and I ordered frozen margaritas to start with before indulging in a selection of the traditional Mexican fare which we knew would make our taste buds salsa to the bright, bold taste of Mexico at this vibrant poolside restaurant.
One of my favourite things about Ayoba! is the fact that it feels as if you are sitting at Fairmont Zimbali Resort‘s main pool area as it is kitted with two gorgeous pools as well as various loungers, lounging areas and umbrellas while still having the option of sitting at a table or on the deck over the pool. So Maddie could still in in the water and play while we enjoyed our starters and cocktails.
Our waiter highly recommended their cheesy focaccia bread which was definitely one of the yummiest I have ever tasted. It was paper thin and so tasty.
Maddie ordered chicken fingers and chips off the kiddies menu which is the same menu throughout the resort.
For mains Brett had tacos filled with flavourful chorizo sausage, crisp lettuce, fresh salsa, guacamole and cheddar cheese. One portion comes with three generous sized soft shell tacos. I decided to go for their pulled pork nachos which are baked in their hot pizza oven topped with marinated pulled pork served with salsa, creme fraiche and cheddar cheese. Both were nothing short of amazing!
We had to find space to squeeze in dessert because who can say no to churros right? We decided to share two different desserts because our waiter highly recommended their sopapillas – crispy fried puff pastry topped with cinnamon, vanilla sugar and frozen mint yoghurt! Just right for Brett’s lack of a sweet tooth while the decadent caramel churros were perfect for my sweet tooth! The caramel dipping sauce was absolutely delicious!
We throughly enjoyed our lunch at Ayoba! The atmosphere, the ambience of the music and the sound of the ocean (just a stone throw away) was the perfect place to relax and dine as a family.
COUPLES MASSAGE AT WILLOW STREAM SPA
After lunch we headed up to our room where our babysitter for the night took over with a movie and play time with Maddie as Brett and I headed back down to the Willow Stream Spa, this time for a couples massage!
We were both shown to the beautiful change room where we were told to get into our gowns and lock away our clothes and belongings and told to wait in our respective relaxation lounges before being escorted down to our treatment room.
I have always said that the Willow Stream Spa is one of my favourite spas in Durban. You have not experienced a massage if you haven’t had one at Fairmont Zimbali Resort! Their beds are out of this world… think a cotton cloud of comfort! So roomy and it feels as if you are lying in your hotel bed fully kitted with your warm duvet cover and the likes!
Brett and I enjoyed a 60-minute ‘Treasure Time’ aroma therapy massage and felt so completely relaxed once our treatment came to an end. Our spa therapists were amazing and focused beautifully on our respective areas of concerns and after our treatment we enjoyed some time together in the ‘great room’ for some after-treatment relaxation and a glass of ice tea.
Brett then headed back to the room while I headed to the dry bar at Willow Stream Spa for a wash and blow wave. Such an amazing service offering to have after you have had a massage, particularly an oily hair massage. So it was great to have my hair washed and blowdried (with only the best products – Moroccan Oil, I have to add) for me to refresh for our date night!
DINNER FOR TWO AT OSA RESTAURANT
We then made sure Maddie was still happy with our baby sitter and left for our dinner for two at OSA restaurant for another one of my favourite types of flavoursome cuisines… Indian food!
The menu at OSA restaurant has an extensive offering of signature grills (for those who would prefer something other than curry) as well as a taste of India from aromatic chicken Tikka Masala curry to a prawn korma in a cashew nut cream sauce.
For starters Brett had the tandoori chicken avocado salad which was accompanied with mango, roasted cashews and pecan nuts, sweet fried onions and coriander with a spicy lime dressing. Totally unlike my husband to start off with a salad but he really enjoyed it. I decided to have the squid fry masala. The baby calamari tubes were coated in light masala batter and accompanied by chana dal chutney and yoghurt sauce. I very interesting take on what you’d expect your battered calamari to taste like. I really enjoyed the spiciness to it!
For mains Brett ordered the Rogan Josh curry with slow cooked lamb leg cubes cooked in mild Kashmiri curry sauce. I went for the seafood curry with prawns, mussels, calamari and line fish cooked in a creamy tomato, onion and coconut sauce with mustard seeds. We both throughly enjoyed our dishes! Definitely a true representation of a good gourmet Durban curry!
For dessert, I squeezed in their baklava samosas. Because… baklava samosa!!! The phyllo pastry parcels were filled with molten Madagascar chocolate ganache served with rich lemon dipping sauce… Heavenly!!!
We then wrapped up dinner and headed back upstairs to our room to relieve our babysitter and we had a fast asleep little angel in our bed.
On Sunday morning we made the effort to wake up earlier to try catch the sunrise over the sea from our room but it was overcast but it was a special day as it was Father’s Day so we spent some extra time snuggling in bed with dad.
After we eventually decided to pull ourselves from our super comfy soft bed, we headed down to the breakfast buffet at Coral Tree Restaurant to try all the other goodies we couldn’t fit in yesterday and we were surprised to find some new goodies added to the selection.
After breakfast the concierge team happily organised us a lift down to the Bush Buck Club within the Zimbali Coastal Estate for Maddie to enjoy the playground for the morning. She was super excited to get to ride on the golf cart down to Bush Buck as she had her eye on them since we arrived. Her face says it all…
BUSH BUCK CLUB
I really love Bush Buck Club! I have been to a few birthday parties here before but haven’t visited since they did the revamp and absolutely love what they have done with this kiddies space…
There is a massive jungle gym, bikes, a plastic house, trampolines and an indoor play area in the restaurant which serves delicious food, coffees and cakes.
Maddie had a blast burning some energy running around, climbing, riding and jumping away.
We then called for another golf cart to take us to their private beach access gate which is found at the Beach Club through Ayoba! It is a short walk and two guards sit at the gate patrolling the area so it is completely safe. It isn’t however a swimming beach as the waves are very strong and there isn’t a lifeguard on duty as there are throughout the hotel’s various pools.
It is a great beach to walk along, let the kids play on and just relax on.
We spent the rest of our morning back at the hotel pool to wash the sand off our feet and have one last splash before and headed back up to our room to let Maddie have a sleep.
We packed our bags and got them taken to our car and woke Maddie up just in time for us to ‘check out’ and have our last meal at Fairmont Zimbali Resort. This time for their Father’s Day Sunday roast lunch.
Having spent three amazing days and two nights at Fairmont Zimbali Resort we can honestly say the retreat is so tranquil and it was amazing to experience it as a guest to the hotel to fully experience the utmost in stylish comfort and unrivalled service they are so well-known for. The variety of dining options, being able to fully relax and unwind at Willow Stream Spa and enjoying the non-stop uninterrupted view of the Indian Ocean made this a trip of a lifetime and one my family and I will never forget.
If you are a local or stay in another province I would highly recommend booking a weekend or even a week at this establishment if you are looking to spoil you and your partner or your family. The location, the resort, the food, the service and the accommodation is outstanding!
Thank you to the Fairmont Zimbali Resort team and staff for hosting us. We will definitely be back to linger a little longer in all that you have to offer!
DISCLAIMER: We were invited by Fairmont Zimbali Resort to experience their facilities as their guests and I have been paid to write about and share our experience on social media. Despite being paid to write this review all opinions and experiences are in no way influenced and are 100% accurate and fair.
Until next time…
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