Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Certifiably Excellent

Anchor's Rest - Award-Winning Accommodation in Umhlanga
Anchor's Rest - Award-Winning accommodation in Umhlanga!
"As you drive up to the front door, you'll notice it. There's something in the air. The inviting garden - rather than having been manicured to within an inch of its life - hums with exuberance and life. The driveway is clean, paved, even. The front door - always open - looks just like something you'd add to your "My Dream House" board on Pinterest.
If the dogs' warm welcome doesn't bowl you over, the charming hostess' certainly will. And when you get to your room - well, it's so much more than a home-away-from-home. It's the home you'll wish was home. One you'll come back to again and again. And again.
Yep, there's something in the air at Anchor's Rest. Maybe it's a commitment to excellence. Maybe it's love, with a healthy dash of passion for what they do."
It's sentiments like these that make us love what we do here at Anchor's Rest. We put our hearts and souls into creating the best possible stay - the kind of getaway we'd want to experience ourselves. And it just means the world to us when someone takes the time to tell us that they've noticed. That it shows.
It's almost as exciting when “those in the know” do so, too. (We prefer our guests' kind words, though!)
This year we've already been awarded four different titles, each recognising our commitment to excellence. The thing about these awards that we really love, is that they give our guests old and new the peace of mind that Anchor's Rest is a great place to stay.

TripAdvisor Excellence AwardThe TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

This is the third year that we have received this award from TripAdvisor, and we're very proud to have it again.
Here is how the TripAdvisor website describes the award on their website:
What is the Certificate of Excellence?
Founded in 2010, the Certificate of Excellence honours hospitality businesses that deliver consistently great service. This designation is given to establishments that have consistently achieved great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Establishments earning the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and have continually delivered superior customer experience.
Who is eligible to receive a Certificate of Excellence?
Accommodations, eateries, and attractions worldwide are eligible to receive a Certificate of Excellence.
How are Certificate of Excellence recipients determined?
To determine Certificate of Excellence recipients we use a variety of user-generated content. This includes review ratings, overall rating and quantity and recency of reviews. To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, a hospitality business must:
  • Maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five
  • Have a minimum number of reviews
  • Have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least twelve months


Booking.com AwardWe are also listed on the Booking.com website and have received many good reviews from guests who have booked accommodation through Booking.com.  Our Booking.com Account Manager recently delivered our plaque (photo attached), which has a 9.5 rating out of 10. She commented that she has never given out a plaque with such a high rating before!
Each accommodation establishment listed with Booking.com receives a plaque on an annual basis with their average score for the year, so we have received this for three or four years now. But this year we achieved our highest score yet, and we're delighted. We look forward to even more of these!


HotelsCombined recently announced that we have been awarded their 2016 Recognition of Excellence Award.
Here's what Monique Hazel, Hotels Combined Coordinator, had to say:
"Before we announce this to the public and media, I wanted first to let you personally know that Anchor's Rest Umhlanga has just been awarded the HotelsCombined Recognition of Excellence for 2016!
This award is in recognition for consistently achieving the highest standards of Customer Satisfaction worldwide. We know this because the team here at HotelsCombined undertook the largest analysis of customer opinions online across millions of points of data. We now have a complete and comprehensive understanding of over one million hotels worldwide, taking our team of data experts' months to finalize.
Specifically to date, we found and processed 287 opinions that your guests have posted on a variety of different websites, forums and social media, resulting in an incredible score of 9.55 out of a possible 10.
You are now representing the top 3% of accommodation worldwide for Customer Satisfaction.
Congratulations on your outstanding work!"
What we love most about this award is that it is rooted securely in the great feedback we've had from our guests - people like you, who value what we do. These kinds of reviews are the reason we work so hard.


TravelMyth Top Ten AwardIt has been interesting to see how many service-focused websites are picking up on what we do, and sharing it with their visitors. Travel website TravelMyth has let us know that “according to our hotel search algorithm, Anchors Rest Guest House and Self Catering is now ranked in the top 10 four-star accommodations in Durban – congratulations!”
When a search algorithm based on user reviews tells you you're doing something right, it must be true!

Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Durban Chamber of Commerce AwardLocal is lekker, as they say. We were awarded a certificate by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a Finalist in the 2015 Tourism Awards in the B&B and Guest House Category.  We love Durban and it's a privilege to run a business that showcases our beautiful home town. Thank-you, Durban, for this delightful vote of confidence!
There you have it: for an excellent stay, whether for business or pleasure, Anchor's Rest is the place to stay in Umhlanga. It's certified!
We're looking forward to sharing that excellence with you soon.
Book here or call us on +27 (0) 31 561 7380.

We’ll see you soon!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Running Wild

“Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived.”
― Dean Karnazes | Read Online.
Let's eat out in Umhlanga!
Your feet pound the earth in rhythm with your beating heart. Every step drives you unrelentingly forward. No two steps are alike. The paved promenade gives way to the African jungle, like a first-hand return to entropy in the middle of an average workweek. But there’s nothing average about this run. The jungle breaks and you’re on the beach ... feet pounding … heart thumping …

The sandy seashore slows you down, working every muscle in ways you never knew they could be worked. The beach, with its soft sand, is hard going for everyone.

But the run draws you on.

The rhythm of the run evaporates your stress like the ancient beat of an African drum.

Finally, your body, running on autopilot as your runner’s high takes you through the stratosphere, finds its way back to the bricks, back to the promenade. Back to base.

This is trail running.

Trail running is a relative newcomer to the worlds of sport and fitness. It’s running, sure … but seasoned with adventure and new experiences. 

Why Trail Running?

Trail running burns 10 percent more calories than more conventional jogging. It also improves balance and makes athletes more agile. Trail runners have to avoid rocks, circuit puddles, dodge branches and more - making trail running a much tougher workout.

Also, trail running works different muscles with each and every step. The range of long and short strides strengthen hips and ankles. Interesting, trail running causes less impact on joints.

It’s the way we were designed to run.

Loved by the Pros

Even professional runners add the occasional (or frequent) trail run to their workout programme. Runners at every level find that trail running reduces the risk of injuries.
Above all, though: it’s fun!

Running Deep Near Durban’s Not-So-Deep Waters

Umhlanga’s trail runs are among the most popular in the world - and with good reason. These trail runs cover a lot of different terrain:

Every run starts on the Umhlanga’s pristine promenade. The shorter run winds its way through the coastal forest, onto the beach, then back onto the promenade.

The 12km and 18km runs leave the promenade to beat a track onto the roads. Urban gives way to agricultural as they make their way through the cane fields where they cross over the N2 motorway. Each run winds back underneath the motorway. This is where runners really get their feet wet, running through a stretch of lagoon.
Morning Beach Run
Water Under The Bridge
Through the Cane Fields
Getting Your "Me" Time
They make their way onto Umhlanga’s gorgeous beach, and then finally back onto the promenade.

Trail running is the perfect way to workout both body and mind .. and Anchor’s Rest is the perfect base. Come and stay with us while you pound the promenade.

Or try something new by throwing in a trail run the next time you visit us.

We’ll go the extra mile to make your stay a delight.
Book here or call us on +27 (0) 31 561 7380.

We’ll see you soon!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Let's eat out in Umhlanga!

Let's eat out in Umhlanga!
Icy winds grip the houses. Scarves embrace cold necks. Gloves nestle around freezing fingers. Fires are lit in fireplaces, and last year’s hats suddenly find their purpose. Winter is licking the heart of South Africa …

But not Umhlanga! Mildly warm evenings relish the kiss of an ocean zephyr. Languid days melt into the ocean at sunset, inviting visitors to tickle their toes in the surf.

Durban North’s Winter Wonderland is wonderful indeed - a gentle island paradise … an epic escape from the frigid heart of the country.

Come and see!

Contented guests love the luxury of an evening stroll along our famous promenade, teeming with elegant eateries and delicious dining.

Keeping it Casual

If you’re looking to relax and “chill out”, we recommend these favourite spots - all of which are right on the promenade.

La Spiaggia Restaurant brings Italy to Durban’s north coast. Delicious, authentic Italian flavours mingle with the scent of herbs and atmosphere of love. It’s the perfect spot for a spontaneous night out.
La Spiaggia
Lighthouse Café
Ocean Terrace
Sugar Club
Maritimo’s Cabana Beach Resort boasts a charming sea-themed restaurant. The expansive white deck overlooks the ocean, bringing salted breezes to play across the faces of their guests. A late morning brunch, mid-afternoon lunch, or a dinner that you wish would never end … Maritimo’s is a charming eatery for any (or all!) of these.

For something truly nautical, the Lighthouse Café is a delight. The perfect venue for a weekend breakfast on the beach … or a lazy Sunday lunch … the Lighthouse Café’s mouthwatering menu has something yummy for everyone.  

Luxurious Lunches and Stylish Suppers

When you’re looking for something more elegant and upmarket, the local eateries do not disappoint.

The Ocean Terrace Restaurant at the Oyster Box is a local (and international!) legend. Every square inch of the experience exudes elegance and olde worlde charm. High teas fit for a queen; captivating curries reminiscent of large empires and lazy entertaining; exquisite seafood; and almost anything edible you can imagine … and all under one beautiful roof. The Ocean Terrace Restaurant has earned its reputation: this refined restaurant will not disappoint.

The Sugar Club Restaurant at the Beverley Hills Hotel describes its cuisine as culinary excellence. And they’re not wrong. The food is truly sublime. And the sophisticated atmosphere is the perfect counterpoint. Like the Ocean Terrace, the Sugar Club overlooks both the promenade and the beach.

Watch waves lapping the cooling sands as lovers stroll hand in hand against a rising moon … revel in the salt-sprayed air as you enjoy some of the best meals you’ll ever eat … enjoy Umhlanga in Autumn … it’s well worth the trip!

Holidaymakers, the weather is beautiful, and the water is warm. Come and have a meal and a glass of wine as you gaze at the ocean ... and smell the sea! It's right there. So close, you could touch it.

We’d love to share more of our favourite secrets with you when you come and spend the night at Umhlanga’s gem, Anchor’s Rest. Come and see why everyone hates to leave …

Book here or call us on +27 (0) 31 561 7380.

We’ll see you soon!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Falling for Fall in Umhlanga

Meet Benson: the World's Most Indulged Dog!

Autumn has arrived … although you’d never know it here at SA’s sunny North Coast.

While towns and cities further inland are starting to feel the first crisp turn in the air, it seems no one has sent the message to Umhlanga yet.

We’re revelling in hot summer days, lush green jungles, and clear skies that stretch all the way to the distant horizon, where they dive into the rolling ocean and tumble into infinity beyond the line of sight.

Summer’s height had its furnace, and that has passed. Now we ease lazily into Autumn’s amber glow with long, slow, languid days and blissful evenings, kissed by Fall’s zephyrs and soft sea-salted mists.

It’s the perfect time to visit.

South Africa - and Durban in particular - is blessed with sun, scenery, sea ... and a Rand so low that our international visitors can enjoy a more luxurious holiday (and finer dining) here than almost anywhere else on earth.

Paradise found indeed.

What to do in Umhlanga in April

Jet-setting business execs love to use Anchor’s Rest as their home-away-from-home when they fly in for business. Conveniently close to their airport and the major business hubs in both Durban North and Durban Town, Anchor’s Rest is an oasis of calm on a busy business trip - a luxurious place to unwind and recharge.

Stunning Sunrise
Morning Run
Breakfast on the Beach
Benson loves Jade
The Beautiful Umhlanga Pier

But if you’re not in town for business, (or if you have a gap between meetings) there is so much to see and do while you’re here. The beautiful ocean sunrises that greet each day make the perfect backdrop to an invigorating run on the beach. Chase your workout with a delicious breakfast on the beach and you’ll know for sure: you’ve woken up in heaven.

Umhlanga’s beach is ideal for walking along the promenade, or catching the waves with your surfboard if you’re that way inclined. For the tamer at heart, a walk on the pier is a balm to the soul, connecting you with the ocean and all of a creation.

The Gateway Theatre of Shopping is just a short drive away, and offers all the entertainment you can imagine - shopping, movies, beauty treatments, eateries and more.

Natal’s Sharks Board is even closer. What an experience! Learn all there is to know about our local shark life. These majestic creatures are quite beautiful to watch, and the Shark’s Board has a range of activities and information to show just how incredible sharks can be.

Not far away, the upmarket Suncoast Casino beckons gamblers and fun-seekers alike. Replete with a range of casino options, and some of the finest eateries in Durban, as well as movies and direct access to the beach, Suncoast makes a wonderful destination for an evening out.

Peter and I have lived in Umhlanga since it was a charming seaside town, long before it became the cosmopolitan metropolis it is today. We know it inside out, and we’d love to help you plan your outings while you’re here.

Just give us a call on +27 (0) 31 561 7380, or visit us at http://www.anchorsrest.co.za/, and we’ll make your stay one to remember.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

Warm summery regards,

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Rags to Riches - the Tale of Benson, the World’s Most Indulged Dog

Meet Benson: the World's Most Indulged Dog!

The beginning of 2008 was a sad time for us at Anchor's Rest.

Usually, we love the Autumn in Umhlanga. The air, while never cold, turns crisp and fresh. And our lush coastal greenery gets decked in colours of fire and flame. Walking our dogs around the Greyville race track is even nicer in Autumn than at any other time. All their friends come out to play as owners no longer find themselves deterred by hot summers or chilly winters. (Well, chilly for Durban :)).

But not that year.

That was the year we lost two of our beloved dogs in quick succession. We had just lost a beautiful male German Shepherd, Marcus to old age. And then - three short weeks later - we had to put our first rescue dog, Amber, to sleep as well. At a ripe old 18 years of age, she had suffered a stroke.

Our home was suddenly very empty indeed, as we went from three dogs to one in less than a month. And poor Darcy, our sole surviving German Shepherd, missed her playmates enormously.

Then - Serendipity!

One morning, as we walked dear Darcy around the Greyville track, we bumped into a friend we'd come to know during these walks - a fellow dog lover, like us. Wondering where the rest of our pack had gone, we told her the sad tale of the weeks that had just passed.

That's when she told us she was a volunteer for the animal rescue charity, Animal Action. She took our details, and less than 24 hours later we had a call: a blonde Africanis pup had been rescued from Hibberdene beach! At that stage we didn't even know what an Africanis was - but what we did know was that we had found a new friend for Darcy.

When Sandy and I went to see him, we were introduced to a gentle, friendly puppy of about ten months. He was so emaciated that every rib stuck out, as well as his hip bones. He had mange all over his body, and lots of nicks and scabs (which I am sure were due to other stray dogs fighting with him). He was a pitiful sight indeed. But his warm, friendly nature won our hearts. We said we would adopt him - and we took him home straight away!

That was the day Benson joined our clan.

He quickly filled out, and within three months there was little trace of the hard life he'd led before. (In fact, my sister Helen says he's the most indulged dog in the world!)

Over the years Benson has crept into the hearts of many of our guests - several of whom said they were going to take him home with them! The truth is, you just can't help loving Benson. He loves to greet guests when they check in. And he had offers to live in Australia, England and Thailand.

Skinny Benson in the Early Days
Playfighting - Sabre & Benson
Head of Guest Relations - Benson and Kevin
Besties: Benson and Darcy
Darcy, Benson and Cilla
The Brat Pack: Sabre, Darcy and Benson

An Irish guest once said, “If Benson's life story was written, it could be called ‘From Rags to Riches'.”

Well, I don't know about riches. But I do know that he has a life of love and contentment - and that's what he brings into our lives, too.

Why not spend a night with us, and get to know Benson a little better, too? He can't wait to greet you at the door!

Click here to book your spot or call on +27 (31) 561 7380.

Warm festive greetings,

Monday, 12 October 2015

Getting FRESH with Anchor's Rest

As the weather warms and Spring simmers its way into a mellow summer, it gets harder and harder to stay indoors. Everything out of doors is exquisite.Durban is gorgeous all year round … lush greenery shades the highways and byways, lawns roll smugly into hazy distances and burst of colour decorate almost every space. Even in the middle of winter, Durban’s a beautiful place to be.
But as Spring’s pretty pastels are painted into vibrant Summer shades, it’s simply irresistible.
Peter and Benson vegging out with the veggies!And I’ve got an added incentive. You see, for the past few months my garden has been so much more than just the beautiful and tranquil frame for Anchor’s Rest, our personal Happy Place. In recent weeks,  our garden has also become a growing space of fresh, organic health and happiness.
That’s right: Anchor’s Rest now boasts our very own organic herb and vegetable garden.
I was inspired to start my own herbs and vegetables while visiting a friend. She had arranged charming hanging baskets of strawberries and herbs in the trees in her garden.  They looked  so fresh and cheerful … and nothing on earth beats the taste of fresh!
Jane Griffiths signing copies of her books.I just loved the whole idea! So I thought I’d start an organic garden on our patio - in containers.
Never one for half measures, I dived in and bought the best books I could find:  Jane’s Delicious Garden and Jane’s Delicious Herbs by SA’s organic gardening guru, Jane Griffiths. I pored over the fascinating pages and devoured all the bits I liked best - and then I just went for it!
I was also lucky enough to attend Jane’s workshop on Organic Gardening, which she presented in the Midlands. I took Joyce, my live in housekeeper with me. She is also growing vegetables for herself in the garden, so she was delighted to have the chance to learn to do it even better. We have a great system in place: I buy the seeds for us both, and we plant them together in containers on our patio.
Delicious displays of herbs and veggies in the MidlandsWe’ve been very busy! We’re now growing the following:
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Delicious displays of herbs and veggies in the MidlandsChillies
  • Thyme
  • Pak Choi
  • Beetroot
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes (not as easy as you’d think!)
  • Strawberries
  • Scented Geraniums (to help deter unwanted pests - they work very well!)
  • Nasturtiums and Marigolds in amongst my herbs and veggies, to deter pests
It’s been a very therapeutic way to pass the time, and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. I feel like I learn something new every week.
Joyce picks out her favourites.As I’m sure you can imagine, I have found some things easy to grow and others difficult. Watercress isn’t really suited to our warm climate, which was a bit disappointing. I haven’t had much success with peppers, either ... and those traditional climbing tomatoes are also difficult.  I’m growing cherry tomatoes instead, which are absolutely delicious.
I only use organic potting soil, fertilisers and an organic spray to control pests.
In the evenings I go onto our patio and pick my salad ingredients – what a pleasure!!  All of the garnishing on the breakfast plates is what I have grown.
Why don’t you come and enjoy a delicious, FRESHLY picked, organic side dish to your next breakfast with us … after a restful night in luxury in one of our inviting rooms. We can’t wait to see you.
Click here to book your spot or call on +27 (31) 561 7380.
Warm summery regards,