The revamp of the Kampala Sheraton has over the past year, since Chris Pollard took over as General Manager in June 2011, shown some remarkable results with a face lift not only covering rooms and public areas but also extending to menus and service. The introduction of regular food festivals, hugely successful and popular with the young urban elites, has this week seen the addition of a Middle East Night every Friday, accompanied by the sounds of music from a live band. Authentic delicacies are on offer and at a cost of 65.000 Uganda Shillings, considering the variety of dishes, it is surely a bargain for those who fancy a night out on the town in elegant style.
A recent visit to the hotel and an in length talk with the Director of Sales and Marketing James Rattos also revealed the rejuvenated 10th floor Executive Club Lounge where hotel guests staying on floors 8 12, and those on the executive third floor, have access to wireless internet, three state of the art flat screen desk tops with printer facility, snack and meal options on the house around the clock, the lastest magazines and newspapers and a view across the city second to none.
On the day in question a range of breakfast cereals, fruits and juices, breads and pastries, a superior range of cold cuts and three select hot dishes made up a good range to choose from and freshly brewed espresso or a pick of fine teas rounded up the picture. Executive Chef Robert Knuckey did actually make a personal appearance to make sure that all the arrangements were as we say here Maridadi before returning to his kitchen lair. The meals on offer are on the house including for a visitor a hotel guest qualified to access the facility may bring along and talking of picture, the 10th floor view over the city centre and into the distance towards Lake Victoria is simply the best in town, at least for a club lounge cum restaurant cum meeting facility. Besides the set up of easy chairs and dining tables there is also a conference room, comfortable holding 8 if not 10 participants and this too is on the house for guests wishing to hold a quick meeting with business partners, as long as they stay in a suite or the executive rooms on one of the 5 executive floors. And water, juice, coffee, tea and snacks of course are available for the picking right there too, a valuable gesture for treasured guests, creating brand loyalty and ensuring repeat business for years to come.
The concept, though not new in the luxury hotel segment, is novel anyway for Kampala as none of the other hotels in the same range offers this level of service and such freebies, with lounges, though available for resident guests, ordinarily charging for tea and snacks, leave alone the more substantial snacks or meals one would order there from the menu.
With occupancies at the Sheraton back in the mid 70 percent region across the year it goes to show that an old favourite at times just needs a little nudge, perhaps in some cases a little kick as it happened here a year ago when Chris Pollard was installed as the new General Manager and swung into action immediately after analyzing what he found, charting out a course of revival which today bears rich fruits.
For sure the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, the Grand Old Dame of hospitality in Kampala since way back when it opened as the Apollo Hotel, is once again pulling in the crowds, and remains one of THE places to be, to go to and to be seen at when in Kampala. Watch this space.