13 Oct 2014
There simply isn’t a soul around who doesn’t know the name 'Beverly Hills'. It’s an integral, iconic part of the fabric of the greater city of Durban, and as the first hotel envisioned by the legendary hospitality giant, Sol Kerzner, it was arguably the first of its generation to offer a classic 5-star experience which felt like home.
The hotel is now different with modern light fittings, fresher fabrics, lighter colours, but timeless, like the expansive sea views.
Coming home means different things to different people, but one thing it always means, is a certain comfort level, which begins with the décor and design. Fifty years ago, the décor at the Beverly Hills was different to that of today, yet that thread of classic comfort has, and always will, run through it.
This beautiful old building standing sentry at theUmhlanga lighthouse, with breathtaking ocean views from most vantage points, owes its success, in part, to those welcoming layers of comfort exhibited in the curtains, carpets, lounging and dining areas.
In keeping with international and local trends, the hotel’s décor has changed considerably over the years.
Design and décor consultant to the Tsogo Sun group, David Muirhead of David Muirhead & Associates, says they’ve come a long way from the days of blue swags, and the original turquoise, blues and greens.
“For me, the Beverly Hills was always about that incredible attention to detail, the staff, the service, the décor. That gracious porte cochere, the welcome home.”
The Beverly Hills may be fifty years old, but constant, often unobtrusive shifts in décor and style have allowed guests to walk right back into their comfort zone.
The original florals and blues of the hotel gradually evolved into a fresher, cleaner, less floral look. The fabrics too, shifted as much in textures and shades, as they moved towards longevity and less busy patterns – velvets, suedes and PVC reigned.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable décor changes was the transformation of the Cabin into Elements. Muirhead says dark timbers, rich carpeting, heavy panelling - it was time to open it up, lighten it and give it a fresh, contemporary cocktail beach-bar feel. “We took our inspiration from the inside of a shell, and the entire space was transformed into shades of white.”
It was a little oasis in the Beverly Hills and it became the trendiest place for cocktails and easy dining. Modern sat happily side by side with classic, and the two complemented each other to perfection.
So, from 2008 to 2010, chandeliers were painted white, the grand piano lost its mahogany and went white, and the overblown florals gave way to simpler, earthier, often monotone colours like sand and leather.
The cabanas were transformed with classically contemporary furnishings and furbishings - never flashy, always warm, quiet and stylish. Beverly Hills’ guests walk into their chosen cabana with confidence, knowing it’ll be as comfortable, calming and easy on the eye as it was when they were last there. Different perhaps with modern light fittings, fresher fabrics, lighter colours, but timeless, like the expansive sea views.
The Beverly Hills may be fifty years old, but constant, often unobtrusive shifts in décor and style have allowed guests to walk right back into their comfort zone with a sigh of contentment at the familiarity of the surroundings. That’s what the Beverly Hills is all about.