By James Waithaka
Nairobi, Kenya – At least three major global hotel chains are set to open doors this year in newly built properties in Nairobi.
Among key hotels opening for business this year include Kempinski’s Villa Rosa Hotel, a 200-room upscale hotel located at Chiromo, Nairobi. Construction of the hotel property is near completion. It features six business suites, two presidential suites and a swimming pool.
Radisson Blu Hotel, a 244-room luxury hotel in UpperHill, is as well poised for opening later this year once construction is completed. Radisson is associated with Belgium-based Rezidor Hotel Group.
Global hotel chain Dusit International has signed a deal to operate the hotel at 14 Riverside, a mixed-use development that includes offices and retail space besides the hotel. It was completed in the last quarter of 2012.
Hemmingways Nairobi, located in upmarket Karen, is anticipated to be fully operational this month. Also set to open doors is Best Western Hurlingham, a mid-scale hotel that will offload 96 rooms into the market.
Most of the local and international hotel brands are eyeing the conferencing market which has been noted as one of the rapidly growing sub-sectors in the country.
“Conferencing is one of the most rapidly growing sub-sectors in Nairobi, and indeed Kenya,” a report released last year by HVS London, a global hospitality services consultancy.
The number of events and delegates has been on recovery mode after dipping in 2008 owing to post-poll violence. The number of events stood at 2,783, with an estimated 413,995 delegates, according to the Economic Survey 2012.
Several other hotel properties are in the pipeline, and are expected to enter the market over the next five years. These include Park Inn, a Radisson branded property in Westlands that has 126 rooms and is expected in 2014.
Next year will also welcome 52-room expansion of the luxury Serena Hotel and 128-room of mid-scale Leisure Park Hotel at Arboretum.
“Several global hotel chains are expected to enter the market in the coming years as the number of tourists visiting Nairobi continues to grow, and the demand for accommodation and conferences therefore strengthens,” the HVS report said.
Occupancy rates are expected to remain at about 68 per cent on average up to 2016. Nairobi’s position as a key commercial and transit hub in East Africa is expected to support tourism growth in the foreseeable future, with JKIA’s expansion seen as a significant catalyst.
Peaceful elections held on Monday are also expected to catapult Nairobi further as an important hub in Eastern Africa. The city is already a substantial base for the United Nations agencies.
Source: The Star