MARRIOTT KIGALI ON COURSE FOR OPENING IN MID 2013
The Marriott Kigali Hotel, now under construction in the heart of Rwandas capital city with an adjoining conference centre, is reportedly on course for an opening in 12 months time, as ascertained from a team of the hotel group who are in Kigali at the moment. It is understood that a first batch of recruits has been identified and is being deployed soon in the Marriott properties in the Gulf region for training and that additional recruitment will progress as the opening comes nearer. This is aimed towards having a backbone of fully trained staff, conversant with hotel groups hospitality philosophy and service delivery and to provide quality services from day one of operations.
Marriott will be the first big league managed luxury hotel in Kigali when it opens its doors and comes hot on the heels of the market entry in East Africa by Hyatt, which took over a hotel last year in Dar es Salaam under a management contract, while Kempinski earlier this week made their formal announcement of the opening of their Kenyan properties, the Kempinski Villa Rosa in Nairobi and a luxury tented safari camp on a conservancy adjoining the world famous Masai Mara.
The arrival of global big league hotel operators like Kempinski, Marriott and Hyatt is expected to inject a new round of competition into the top level market in Eastern Africas main cities and will probably spur further investments by existing hotels rather than an outright price war, from which no one, not newcomers nor existing hotels would benefit in the least. In fact, one of Nairobis market leaders, the Nairobi Serena Hotel, is due to commence construction of a new wing with larger and more luxuriously appointed rooms before embarking on a complete rebuilding of the existing hotel, in order to maintain their position as market leaders and compete more effectively with the likes of Kempinski on both product and service delivery.
In Kampala in the meantime is construction ongoing of what is set to become the Kampala InterContinental Hotel while a group of senior Hilton executives was in Kampala three weeks ago to assess what progress has been made on the so called Hilton Kampala. This hotel has been under construction, on and off, for the past 5 years, to the embarrassment of the proposed management company which upon realizing just how bad a PR this was generating had taken the project off their website and which has been turning the owners into a national laughing stock over their full mouthed statements in the past, none of which had ever come into reality.
Be that as it may, Eastern Africa, more so since the discovery of substantial oil and gas deposits, seems to have come back into focus of the global big league hospitality businesses, which are now queuing up to join their existing colleagues from Hilton and InterContinental which are present in Kenya and Starwoods Sheraton, present in Uganda and Ethiopia already for many years. Exciting times ahead for sure, so watch this space for regular updates from the hospitality industry in Eastern Africa.