The abundance of super-cheap hotels and B&Bs in Durban means that’s it’s entirely possible to afford a quick weekend getaway in the city, even if you’re on a tight budget. Though the following budget hotels won’t necessarily pamper and indulge you with loads of extras, you’ll be safe, comfortable, and well taken care of — and you’ll have enough money left over to enjoy the sights, sounds and sea in Durban.
The Parkview is a high-rise residential apartment building/hotel that sits just off Marine Parade. It is perfect for those who want proximity to the beach and attractions of the waterfront, but don’t have the funds for fancier digs — and don’t mind that it lacks the ambiance and amenities associated with most hotels. The aging 1930s building seems to not have been updated since the 1970s, and features dark wood paneling, ancient carpets and quirky fixtures in the lobby. I wouldn’t call it an air of faded glamour — more of an air of faded kitsch. But it’s oddly charming and rooms start at about R730 (US$60) per night.
Botany Bay Lodge
This relaxed, friendly spot in the residential neighborhood of Berea, near the Botanical Gardens, offers just four Afro-colonial themed rooms from R355 (US$30) pp per night. In addition to air con, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi in the rooms, Botany Bay also has braai facilities in the yard, a swimming pool, and free breakfast. If you prefer to cook your own meals, there is a self-catering kitchen available.
This no-frills establishment offers three branches in the heart of downtown Durban, making it ideal for business travelers who want to save money while being within walking distance of nearby corporations and the convention center. Rooms are simple yet tasteful, with DSTV and air con, and the hotel(s) have secure parking and conference facilities.
Rooms start at R450 (US$37) at the Regal Inn, which is located in the North beach section of central Durban, just a short walk from the beach and the ICC. A cheap alternative to the pricier, fancier hotels on the beachfront, the Regal Inn will keep you comfortable with basic but clean rooms, air con, DSTV and continental breakfast. Note: this hotel caters to halaal customers.
With rooms starting at R550 per person, Road Lodge Durban offers great value and amenities for the economically-minded traveler. Part of the City Lodge chain, this clean, tidy hotel has 92 bright, airy rooms outfitted with elegant tile bathrooms, work desks, cable TV and all other mod cons. Located in the CBD, it is within walking distance of the convention centre, the beach, and numerous restaurants. There is no restaurant in the hotel, but a continental buffet breakfast and vending machines are available.
A step up from Road Lodge, its sister property down the road, City Lodge is similarly located but has more amenities than its counterpart. This efficient but somewhat charmless hotel offers Wi-Fi, a restaurant, a pool, a fitness room and conference facilities, and rooms with flat-screen TVs, coffee and tea kettles, wall-mounted air con, and ample closet space. None of the rooms has a particularly nice view, especially the rear-facing ones, which overlook a parking lot. This hotel is at the higher end of the scale, with rooms starting at R1090 (US$89) per night.
Bizafrika Guest Lodge & Conference Center
Located in the rolling hills outside Durban, Bizafrika is a 12-room lodge with both self-catering and B&B options. Each room is uniquely decorated with funky African prints and accessories and comes with free Wi-Fi, fridge, TV, air con, and hairdryer. The bucolic property includes acres of lawns, a pool, and extensive conference facilities, making it an ideal place for a business retreat. Prices start at R350 (US$28) per night.
This two-star hotel on Durban’s Golden Mile offers very competitive rates which reflect the hotel’s limited service policy and lack of frills, making it ideal for travellers on a budget, families, backpackers, and frugally-minded business folks. Most of the 47 rooms in the 1930s-era antique building have sea views, and basic amenities like DSTV and tea kettles. Rooms start at R350 (US$28) per night in low season.
eMakhosini on East
More affordable than its upscale sister property eMakhosini, eMakhosini on East has 45 beautifully appointed rooms that start at R575 (US$47) per night. Rooms are decorated in a delightfully decadent style, which contradicts the budget ethos. This Berea hotel also features a pool and conference facilities, plus the cozy Gibela restaurant and bar, which offers eminently affordable but high-quality food and drink.
Mandalay B&B and Conference Centre
Set in a gorgeous, sub-tropical garden, Mandalay in Durban North offers guests a peaceful retreat away from the bustle of the city. Each of the nine rooms has its own distinctive decor, and all have air con, electronic safes, DSTV, a work space, a stocked bar-fridge, and tea and coffee-making facilities. A pool, pool bar and conference centre round out the facilities, which cater mostly to business travellers. Rooms start at R620 (US$51) per night.