Off they’d go in Mary’s pale blue VW Beetle OHS 155. Off to Durbs-by-the-Sea, the Lonsdale Hotel or the Four Seasons for a whole week!
Might that be Mary’s VW outside the Lonsdale in this picture? Three cars behind the Borgward?
The cost of their stay: R2.95 each per day including meals. Mom thinks Randolph Stiller may have owned the Four Seasons. He and Bebe certainly owned the Central Hotel in Harrismith where Annie stayed, one block away from her Caltex garage in Warden Street. Only the Deborah Retief gardens between her hotel room and her office, but she drove there in her great big old beige Chev Fleetline, OHS 974; one block up to the garage. Mom – ever kind – says her legs were too sore to walk.
In Durban Mom and Annie would visit Annie’s sister Jessie (Bain Bell) and her daughter Lesley (Malcolm-Smith ) in their flat in Finsbury Court in West Street. Lesley worked at Daytons – a supermarket, Mom thinks.
They would all hop into Mom’s car and head off on a drive – to the beach, to the Japanese Gardens; and – always – to visit Annie’s bridesmaid Maggie McPherson who lived in a ‘posh flat up on the Berea. Looked like a bit of Olde England’.
Many years later – 1980’s – we would go and listen to Joe Parker in the Lonsdale. Beer-soaked, we hosed ourselves, but I don’t think Mom and Annie would have approved!
While we’re getting nostalgic, some names to remember: Gillespie Street; The Italian restaurant Villa d’Este; The Four Seasons Hotel, with its Pink Panther steakhouse; Palm Beach Hotel; Millionaires’ Club; Lonsdale Hotel (Joe Parker being rude); The El Castilian nightclub (remember The Bats?); The Killarney Hotel, where the Monks Inn used to be (“Steak, Egg and Strips” said the sign); Thatcher’s Bar at the former Parkview Hotel.
Randolph Stiller did indeed own the “Central Hotel”. He was a relative of mine. He ran it with his wife, Bebe.
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Yep, lovely people! I can see them both clearly in my mind’s eye right now. My gran Annie Bland lived in their hotel after she turned eighty till she moved to the old age home. Her uncle James Bain built the hotel back around 1880; Her father Stewart Bain owned the Royal Hotel from around the same time. She grew up in the Royal and spend her end days in the Central! If you search for BAIN on the site you’ll see lots about hotels!
Did you ever visit the hotel? If so, what year?
Yes, once, around 1980, when I was a child. Randolph and Bebe lived in Durban a lot of the time but were in residence at the hotel when we went there. I don’t know anything about their owning the Four Seasons in Durban but will enquire.
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