The Comrades Marathon is a respected symbol of endurance and camaraderie in the world of long-distance running.
It’s renowned as the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon, taking you on an impressive 90-km (56-mile) course between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
As athletes from around the world get ready to tackle this challenging course, finding the right place to stay near the Comrades Marathon start line is very important.
The excitement before the race makes choosing accommodations a key part of the experience. This guide is here to help you and spectators alike find the best lodging options close to the start line.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury or budget-friendly stay, these recommendations cover various preferences.
This ensures that you can focus on your preparation, knowing that you have a comfortable place to stay before this remarkable race.
So let’s get started…
BEST Hotels To Stay Close To The Comrades Marathon Start Line
Since the Comrades Marathon switches direction every year, moving between the “up” run from Durban and the “down” run from Pietermaritzburg if the last race began in Pietermaritzburg, there’s a good chance the next one will start in Durban.
Nonetheless, I highly suggest visiting the official Comrades Marathon website to confirm and get precise details.
With that being said, we’ll look at hotels that are close to both start lines in Durban and Pietermaritzburg…
Best Places To Stay Close To The Durban Start Line:
The Hilton Durban is a popular hotel that presents a blend of corporate elegance. It’s conveniently located close to Kingsmead Stadium, just a short 5-minute stroll away.
Recognized as South Africa’s Leading Business Hotel at the World Travel Awards from 2013 to 2019, the hotel boasts 328 guest rooms with stunning views of the city or coastline.
For business needs, the hotel offers meeting rooms and a grand ballroom that accommodates up to 300 guests, making it one of the city’s most reputable conference hotels.
The hotel is just a short walk from outlets where you can fuel up for the morning race before heading out.
After the race, you unwind either at the outdoor swimming pool or hit the gym.
Distance To The Start Line: 400m (0.2 miles)
The City Lodge Hotel is an excellent and affordable choice, located just 600m (0.4 miles) from the Hilton Durban Hotel.
Every room in this hotel is air-conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV. Some rooms have a cosy seating area for relaxation. Certain units offer pool or garden views.
Each room includes a private bathroom with a bathtub. To ensure your comfort, complimentary toiletries, and a hair dryer are provided.
The closest airport is King Shaka International Airport, 27 km (16.8 miles) from City Lodge Hotel Durban. This hotel provides a convenient and comfortable stay for your visit to Durban.
Distance To The Start Line: 800m (0.5 miles)
The Onomo Hotel is conveniently located just 8 minutes walking distance from Kingsmead Stadium. This means you can easily walk to the Durban ICC and the Marine Parade as well.
The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a round-the-clock front desk. You’ll also find the perk of free parking right here.
The modern rooms at the Onomo Hotel are designed for comfort. They come with air conditioning, a shower, and a flat-screen satellite TV.
Additionally, you’ll have a work desk, a laptop safe, and double-glazed windows for a peaceful stay.
To begin your day, you have a variety of breakfast options to choose from. These range from a continental spread to a buffet setup, and there are even choices for a Full English/Irish breakfast available as well.
Notably, popular spots like North Beach and uShaka Marine World are just nearby.
The nearest airport, King Shaka International Airport, is approximately a 30-minute drive from Onomo Hotel Durban.
Distance To The Start Line: 650m (0.4 miles)
The Pavilion Hotel in Durban is conveniently located right by the beach. It’s just a 15-minute walk away from the stadium.
Not only is the hotel near the stadium, but it’s also within easy walking distance of many local attractions, including Moses Mabhida Stadium, The Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, and Ushaka Marine World.
You’ll have access to free Wi-Fi during your stay. The air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a flat-screen LCD TV, an electric kettle, ironing facilities, and a safe box.
The private bathrooms have a shower, a hairdryer, and towels for your convenience.
The hotel offers both buffet and à la carte restaurants, and there are various other dining options within a mile of the hotel.
This makes the Pavilion Hotel a great choice for both convenience and comfort during your visit to Durban.
Distance To The Start Line: 1.1km ( 0.7 miles)
Located right across from the beach, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani offers a wide array of accommodations, proudly housing 734 rooms.
From standard rooms to executive rooms, presidential suites, and luxury rooms, you have various options to choose from.
The hotel enhances your stay with three swimming pools and four restaurants serving a variety of dishes.
Some rooms come with ACs and offer stunning views of the ocean. These rooms also feature amenities like tea-and-coffee-making facilities. The en suite bathrooms come with either a bath or a shower.
Convenient amenities include on-site parking, an airport shuttle service, and WiFi, available for an additional charge.
This family-friendly hotel ensures a great start to your day with a full English breakfast buffet served daily. You can also enjoy the gym, spa facilities, and room service during your stay.
Within the local area, popular attractions include Durban ICC and Greyville Racecourse. The Botanical Gardens are only 5 km (3.1 miles) away.
If you’re flying in, the King Shaka International Airport is 30 km (18.6 miles) from the hotel.
Distance To The Start Line: 1.3 km (0.8 miles)
Best Places Close To The Pietermaritzburg Start Line:
The start/finish line in Pietermaritzburg has notably been at Pietermaritzburg City Hall.
So, here are my top picks (in no particular order) conveniently located near City Hall…
Just 15 minutes walking distance from City Hall, you’ll find the inviting Thistle Hotel. This place offers comfy rooms, a terrace, free parking, a restaurant, and a bar for your enjoyment.
Being a 4-star hotel, Thistle Hotel provides amenities like room service, an ATM, and free WiFi. It even has family rooms if you’re traveling with loved ones.
The hotel rooms come with a wardrobe, flat-screen TV, private bathroom, cozy bed linens, and towels. You’ll also find a kettle in the rooms, and some even have a kitchenette equipped with a fridge, microwave, and stovetop.
When you wake up, breakfast is ready with continental, Full English/Irish, and halal options to choose from.
Pietermaritzburg Airport, situated 7 km (4.3 miles) away, is the nearest airport to this comfortable accommodation.
Distance To The Start Line: 1.2 km (0.7 miles)
If you’re aiming for a location closest to the stadium that lets you catch some extra morning sleep, consider The Inn by Ilawu.
This inn offers accommodations with convenient amenities, including a restaurant, free private parking, a bar, and a shared lounge.
You’ll find comfort in features like an indoor pool and a 24-hour front desk, along with free WiFi to keep you connected.
Each room at the inn comes with a wardrobe for your belongings. The Inn by Ilawu ensures your stay is cozy, with rooms equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom.
If you’re arriving by air, Pietermaritzburg Airport is the closest, situated just 6 km (3.7 miles) away from The Inn by Ilawu.
Distance To The Start Line: 270m (0.2 miles)
Located 8 minutes northwest of the stadium, Taunton Manor offers accommodations featuring an outdoor swimming pool, complimentary private parking, a lovely garden, and a terrace for relaxation.
Each room at this guest house comes with a cozy seating area and a TV for your entertainment.
You’ll also find a coffee machine in every room, along with a private bathroom equipped with a shower. Some rooms even have a kitchen with an oven for added convenience.
All the units at Taunton Manor come with air conditioning to keep you comfortable, and there’s a desk available as well.
Distance To The Start Line: 3.3 km (2 miles)
Situated just a short distance from Taunton Manor, this guest house is surrounded by a scenic, lush garden, creating a beautiful and serene setting.
Every unit at Lexden is adorned with stylish decor and offers ample space, complete with a cosy seating area and a satellite TV for your entertainment.
The en suite bathrooms are designed with your comfort in mind, featuring both a bath and a shower. You’ll even find bathrobes and slippers provided for that extra touch of luxury.
They also offer a full English breakfast to kickstart your day.
Distance To The Start Line: 3.1 km (1.9 miles)
Where To Celebrate After The Marathon
After completing the Comrades Marathon, many runners often celebrate their achievements in many different ways.
While there might not be specific designated spots for celebration, there are several common ways that you can celebrate after the race:
- Medal Celebration: Since all official finishers who complete the full distance within the 12-hour cut-off will be awarded badges and medals, the medal ceremony is a significant part of the celebration. Most often, they wear their medals proudly and take photos with fellow runners.
- Local Establishments: Runners and their supporters often gather at popular spots like local restaurants, cafes, and pubs in the race host city to enjoy a meal, drinks, and more relaxed celebrations.
- Post-Race Events: Sometimes, there are post-race events organized by the race organizers or local communities. These events might include entertainment and opportunities for runners to socialize and celebrate together.
How To Get To The Start Line
Buses take runners to and from the start/finish lines between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
You can buy bus tickets at registration venues, but not on race day. Check the Comrades Marathon website or app for more information.
If you’re staying close to the start line, you can also walk there.
Alternatively, you can also use your own transportation or e-hailing services like Uber or Bolt to get dropped off near the start line.
Keep in mind that parking might be limited due to the event. To avoid any stress or delays, make sure to give yourself an additional 30 minutes of travel time.
This buffer will help you steer clear of potential traffic jams or unforeseen obstacles.
Stay Safe When Walking to the Start Line From Your Hotel
The Comrades Marathon typically begins around 5:30 AM, when the surroundings are still dark, potentially posing safety risks.
To ensure your well-being You might want to consider going with a group of fellow runners. There’s safety in numbers, and being part of a group can provide extra security.
Remember, your safety and timely arrival are very important. Make the most of your Comrades Marathon experience with these accommodation and safety tips.
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