Capitalise on Paradise a Review by Yasantha Naidoo

It’s all zen at The Capital Zimbali Resort

Zimbali, which translates as “valley of flowers” in isiZulu, is exactly what greets you once you pass through the estate’s top-notch security gate. On the other side is a sea of green, where a lush subtropical forest boasts milkwoods and indigenous plants; the distinctive sounds of more than 200 birds, including the magnificent crown eagle; and the ebb and flow of the Indian Ocean.

A BIT OF HISTORY

Built in 1996, the gated eco estate in Ballito on the kwaZulu-Natal north coast was billed as one of the country’s finest coastal resorts, offering second-home buyers an attractive holiday destination away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It was one of the first major developments in the seaside tourist town and, with its Asian architecture, manicured gardens, glorious golf course, pristine pools, private beach and two hotels, it has cemented itself as a go-to destination for families and couples looking for an upmarket resort experience. In 2021, the Fairmont Zimbali Hotel was bought by the Capital Hotels Group and relaunched as the Capital Zimbali after an extensive upgrade.

THE HOTEL TODAY

The resort’s aesthetic is opulent, modern and tasteful. Guests arrive to a beautiful water feature, valet service, porters and a doubte Dank orrecephonsis. The glass walls ensure that the Indian Ocean is the first thing you see as you enter the hotel. The rooms include luxury ocean and garden vistas, family suites and apartments that can accommodate up to six people. You can literally watch pods of dolphins frolic in the ocean while you contribute to a strategy session from your balcony. The hotel also has meeting pods – soundproof rooms for one in the reception area. There are hi-tech spaces for in-person meetings, and space for conferences and events for groups of 15 to 750 people.

ON THE MENU

Resort-style restaurants are famed for their buffet options and the hotel’s signature, The Copper Restaurant, leaves diners spoilt for choice. There is something appealing about rows of breads, pastries and scones, fresh fruit and cheese boards in addition to cereals and cold meats – all honouring the adage that breaklast is the most important meal of the day. And for dinner, after a choice of curries, roasts, pastas and salads, the dessert selection will leave you giddy with glee. For the more selective palate, there is a fine dining à la carte menu. Options include slow-cooked duck confit with Asian braised greens, saffron, orange creamed potatoes and anise jus; and grilled line fish topped will a prawn, Wasted capers, crcaly pomme purée and sauce beurre blanc. For those who love a vibrant dining experience, The Fire Room sushi and grill is a popular option.

WHAT TO DO

Guests have a range of experiences to choose from, including golf, nature trails. spa options or, simply, sundowners. Lovers of G&Ts will swoon at the Inverroche Gin Academy, a three hour lasuns dna master class where you can produce a personalised 500ml bottle to take home. The hotel has two spectacular pools – one with a slide, which is enjoyed by youngsters and the young at heart. Adjoining the pool is a kiddies play area and adjacent to that is the Stingray Pool lounge, which whips up spectacular cocktails, making it ideal for parents to watch their offspring.

The adults’ pool offers guests optimum serenity while enjoying a massage on a shaded four-poster bed, or a book and a cocktail on a comfy recliner. The pool leads to the tranquil Mangwanani spa, which has a comprehensive list of offerings. Environmentalists will relish the three trails, which range from moderate to difficult and promise birds, wildlife, lush vegetation and sea views. There is also a 4km mountain-bike trail.

RATES

Rates fluctuate based on occupancy. A test booking for a Saturday night in mid-March offered a luxury room for two at R6,030, including breakfast. Join the group’s membership programme, La Famiglia, and you qualify for up to 20% off.

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