Turn-downs with a twist are a turn-on

It’s often the little details that make a hotel stay memorable – like the turn-downs at Durban’s luxury Oyster Box Hotel. The offering focuses on exclusive and personalised touches.

Every morning, the hotel’s management discusses the day’s turn-downs. Regular treats include nougat, Turkish delight, coconut ice, chocolate brownies, macaroons, mini-meringues, home-made marshmallows or fudge.

Overseas visitors can enjoy a taste of South Africa, such as a bottle of locally-made liqueur; those on a romantic holiday will be spoiled with petals arranged in the shape of a heart. The turn-down chocolate is is shaped like the famous Umhlanga lighthouse.

VIPs receive a pearl in a shell, with a personalised note or card. The hotel also spoils VIPs with Oyster Box Hotel branded pens, pearl earrings or pearl pendants.

GM Wayne Coetzer explains: “It’s all about making turn-downs unique and the personal touch. It’s the last opportunity to make an impression on guests before they go to bed, and to know that you have thought of them puts them in a good frame of mind.

He adds that investing in guests’ gratification has made “a huge impact on our business”.

“By learning about our guests, we’re able to make our turn-downs unforgettable. For example, a group of corporate VIPs who recently stayed with us were serious running enthusiasts. So what we did was provide them with a running magazine for turn-down, as well as a jogging route detailing 2.5km, 6km and 10km options for their convenience.

“Another recent guest mentioned that she loved the smell of lavender, so we put a fresh lavender sprig on her pillow for turn-down as well as a lavender-scented bookmark. A further example is a guest who completed the Sani to Sea cycle, who was given some Epsom salts for their bath to help with relaxing tired muscles,” says Coetzer.

Even children staying at the Oyster Box Hotel can expect special turn-downs. All children are given the hotel’s Scabenga Book, featuring the hotel’s famous feline resident of the same name, and children’s gowns on the beds.

Apart from a sweet, youngsters who are return guests also receive a toy, such as a keyring, yo-yo, rubber duck, spinning top, beach bucket and spade set – or even a message in a bottle, which the hotel will put out to sea for them once they’ve given it back with their note.

Coetzer says guests love these special touches: “We have had wonderful comments, even letters. Some guests have commented: ‘Thank goodness you have gone beyond nougat and cheap chocolates with goodnight printed on them.’ Guests have also asked to buy certain turn-downs, like the individually wrapped lighthouse chocolates.”

He says the Oyster Box will continue to pleasantly surprise its guests with fresh turn-down ideas.

“We always try to keep our turn-downs fun and different, so we’ll do green coconut ices for St Patrick’s Day, for instance. We love to delight our guests with these special little touches and keep them coming back for more,” he notes.


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