AN aerial view of Durban's landmark International Convention Centre...
AN aerial view of Durban's landmark International Convention Centre...
Markus Fritz, newly appointed general manager of the Hilton Durban.
Markus Fritz, newly appointed general manager of the Hilton Durban.

Another key Durban city centre hotel is getting a major investment. A R150 million overhaul of the Hilton Durban is under way.

This was revealed by newly appointed hotel general manager Markus Fritz on Friday and it is a further vote of confidence in the city’s hospitality industry.

The project would be the biggest undertaken at the hotel since it was built in 1997.

This third investment involving more than R100m in major make-overs of Durban hotels in the past year follows Tsogo Sun’s investment of R220m in the overhaul of the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani hotel complex and its recent announcement that it would spend more than R100m to revamp its Garden Court Marine Parade hotel on the beachfront.

Fritz, who moved to Durban last month from managing the Hilton in Cape Town, said the investment would ensure the hotel reflected the latest designs, standards and services of the group’s five-star properties globally.

“The overhaul of Hilton Durban will take three years,” he said.

“This is one of only a few hotel properties around the world that the Hilton group owns. While it is an investment decision by the worldwide group, it is not a foreign direct investment because the capital we are using comes from profits from operations at the hotel,” said Fritz.

Refurbishment work had already started. Part of the first phase would see the Polo Club room, currently being used as a reception area, converted into a top-notch international restaurant and bar.

“We are keeping the name of the restaurant under wraps for now, but I can say it will be global brand not yet represented in South Africa. After this phase, all the hotel’s rooms will be upgraded, including the executive suites and presidential suite,” said Fritz.

He said the upgrade would see the introduction of a new royal suite at the hotel so that it could cater for more than one head of state at a time.

Philip Sithole, the head of Durban Tourism, said: “This is exciting news for Durban’s hospitality industry. If you look at what Tsogo Sun is doing with major investments on the beachfront, this investment by Hilton will further boost the city’s upmarket hotel offering.”

Julie-May Ellingson, the chief executive of the ICC, said: “We welcome Hilton’s investment of R150m within the ICC precinct. Hilton’s enhanced product offering will certainly contribute to the Durban ICC’s overall competitiveness when bidding for national and international events.” - The Mercury