If you can’t make it to Mauritius or Bali this year, don’t stress… the Fairmont Zimbali Resort on the lush and warm KZN North Coast is a luxurious and exotic escape to paradise…

An unspoiled coastline, and lush forest vegetation provides the setting for this gorgeous Zimbali Coastal Resort. Urban sophistication, exotic island-style beach design and décor, and KZN’s Zulu heritage combine to create the architectural masterpiece that is the Fairmont.

Valet parking and chilled champagne greets guests of the Fairmont Zimbali

On our arrival, our car was whisked away by a parking valet and we sipped champagne while we drank in the view of the swimming pools and Indian Ocean from the double volume glass windows in the lobby.

Sea view suite with a bath that begged to be used

Our sea view suite was the size of a small house, open plan in design, with a full kitchen, complete with stocked mini bar and a Nespresso machine – the qualifier for every good five-star hotel in my opinion.

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The lounge (with L-shaped couches and giant flat-screen TV) and dining area led onto a massive patio that also served the bedroom – overlooking the gardens, the main hotel pool and the ocean beyond.

Contemporary meets African design – with nature-inspired décor

A frosted glass sliding door revealed a shower, twin basins, private toilet and a bath that demanded a soak with signature bath salts and a glass of wine (my pre-dinner indulgence). The walk-in dressing room is a really cool feature – especially when guests are staying for more than a night and needing to unpack.

The hotel management had booked us a table at 31 Degrees – a relaxing cocktail bar where the barman recommended his specialty – Tanqueray gin cocktails – while the lounge singer crooned her way through some jazz classics to set the mood.

Dinner was a seafood buffet at Coral Tree

Coral Tree features indoor and outdoor dining options and the covered terrace on the patio is a popular option for romantic dinners with an ocean view, or relaxed breakfasts.

Friday night was seafood buffet night and the array on offer was magnificent – fresh seafood served hot or cold, in curries, salads or stews – just make sure you leave space for dessert. (And you HAVE to try the red velvet prawns… I won’t say any more – you can try them yourself).

We woke to the sound of the ocean and an in-room breakfast for two delivered to our suite

Feeling like rock stars on tour (or royals on honeymoon), we dressed in our Fairmont robes and slippers and breakfasted on our terrace. Silver covered dishes revealed the full English breakfast treatment, accompanied by freshly squeezed orange juice and an Insta-worthy fruit platter (almost) too exquisite to eat.

A 90-minute couples massage was on the itinerary for the day

The Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont is lovely – and so were our 90-minute full body massages. Pinky’s magic hands really had to work hard to dissolve the knots in my shoulders from too much typing at a desk (the knots are a fair – and happy – trade-off for hotel stays in resorts like the Fairmont Zimbali).

Time to eat again – this time at the hotel’s newly revamped Beach Cafe and Bar at the Beach Club


The poolside bar’s blue and white coastal décor provides a relaxed, casual vibe for lunch and a path to the beach behind the pool leads directly onto the sand. My poke bowl was full of healthy greens and sushi rice and my husband’s tender and succulent fillet medallions and chips gave me order envy!

One of our staff members was at the recent launch of the revamped Beach Cafe: read her review here

Pre-dinner drinks at the opulent Vinum bar (had to do those gin cocktails again) was followed by a North Indian culinary feast at OSA – the hotel’s iconic Indian fining dining restaurant – which was fully booked by guests and locals on Saturday night.

Our waiter Claude recommended the meat Thali – to give me a chance to experience a range of curries on offer at OSA – and my selection of lamb curry, chicken and prawn curry, shish kebab, fluffy pilaf rice and pickles was a sublime feast of fusion Indian cuisine. North Indian cuisine is richly flavoured rather than scorching hot, and portions at OSA are incredibly generous – my husband orderd the lamb chops – and was given five!

Lunch at Bite Pool Bar and Grill was the perfect end to the most relaxing weekend this year – burgers, salads and bigger meals are on offer and I recommend the ginger mule with a kick to accompany lunch.

The Fairmont Zimbali Resort is a dream luxury holiday destination – and a relaxing resort for both families and couples. The variety of swimming pools (the beach is not a swimming beach) and restaurants scattered around the resort means that children will never be bored and adults can have their car valet parked and not have to face the traffic again till they leave… everybody’s dream vacation!

Address: Fairmont Estate Port Zimbali Dolphin Coast, ZIMBALI
Phone: 032 538 5000
Website: https://www.fairmont.com/zimbali-resort/