Umhlanga Ridge is to get another major hotel after East London-based Premier Hotels and Resorts announced this week it would invest more than R120 million to build a new 160-room, four star hotel next door to the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board.
Premier Hotels and Resorts is a leading independently owned hotel group and owns a string of hotels across the country, including the new East London International Convention Centre. It already owns two hotels in KZN – in Port Edward and Pinetown.
The company’s managing director, Samuel Nassimov, said the new development was part of the group’s strategy of identifying and expanding into key business nodes.
“uMhlanga, as a location, is ideal as it allows us the opportunity to not only service the business tourism market, but the leisure market, too. The area has been identified as a rapid growth node and is accessible to King Shaka International Airport,” he said.
Nassimov said the hotel would be a “new build” property with conferencing, restaurant and spa facilities. “The grading of Premier Hotel uMhlanga will operate in the same way as our other premium properties. We will be offering a five-star service at four-star rates,” he said.
Eugene Oelofse, marketing manager of the group, said the hotel would be its flagship property in the province.
“It is going to be on a fantastic site on uMhlanga Ridge, close to Gateway and a few kilometres away from the uMhlanga Rocks beachfront. We have been looking to invest for a while and are glad to have acquired a prime piece of land for the project,” he said.
Oelofse said designs and planning were being finalised with construction set to begin early next year. He expected the hotel to open in early 2015.
“We are excited about the project, which is part of a major growth phase for us to establish hotel properties in key nodes like uMhlanga, Sandton and central Cape Town,” he said.
uMhlanga Tourism head, Peter Rose, said any major investment into the area was welcome and would add to the tourism offering.
“uMhlanga is an increasingly dynamic and popular holiday resort destination, and has seen major investment and growth in the past decade.
“In the 1990s we only had a few major hotels, today we have more than 16. There are highs and lows, but all are doing business,” he said.
Joop Demes, chief executive of Pam Golding Hospitality, said the industry had turned the corner following the oversupply of hotel rooms in major cities after the World Cup. - The Mercury