JOHANNESBURG - Tsogo Sun, the listed leading hotels, gaming and entertainment company, has invested R1.6 billion in reinventing its Suncoast hotels and casino complex located at the northern end of Durban's Golden Mile.
The hotel and casino complex was originally built by Tsogo Sun at a cost of R1.4bn in 2002 and has been extensively expanded, upgraded and refurbished over the past 24 months, resulting in the creation of 1 400 temporary jobs during construction, with the new facilities and upgrades creating an additional 700 permanent jobs.
The expanded and upgraded Suncoast was relaunched last week.
Glenn Joseph, the chief operating officer of Tsogo Sun Gaming, said the group remained committed to the development and economic growth of Durban.
“We have spent over R4bn on casino and hotel refurbishments in the past five years, R1.6bn of which has been invested into Suncoast," he said.
Zibusiso Kganyago, development director of Tsogo Sun, said the Suncoast journey went back to 2008, when they first had the vision to take the hotel and casino complex to the next level but that none of this would have been possible without the co-operation of the Gaming Board and the city.
“We are exceptionally proud of what Suncoast now offers as a truly world-class entertainment destination. In terms of retail facilities and our commitment to providing family friendly destinations, we've remained true to Tsogo Sun’s values and standards,” he said.
Kganyago added that Tsogo Sun had been joined on this journey by more than 100 women who were part of the construction team and comprised tilers, mechanical engineers, a health and safety officer, female electricians, interior designers, architectural consultants and quantity surveyors.
Mike Dowsley, director of operations at Suncoast, said it had been an incredible 24 months of development on this project.
“The fact that this build was completed in record time while remaining open 24/7/365 is an enormous achievement and testimony to the teamwork among all 57 contractors and our team of over 1 800 employees,” he said.
The entire property from floor to ceiling has been refurbished, with the floor space increased by 8 000m2 to a total of 48 012m2 – the equivalent of five rugby fields.
The redevelopment project included the addition of 10 new eateries, three retail outlets, increased casino space, a Salon Prive with 180-degree sea views, a Barnyard Theatre, a multi-purpose event venue and increased underground parking.
The casino floor has been completely refurbished with a modern new design and the number of slot machines increased to 1 850 from 1 600 machines while four new tables have been added to boost the total number of tables to 71.
The lower level features the main casino and smoking casino, child-care facility, eight cinemas, the enlarged Magic Company offering with improved facilities and state-of-the-art games, 21 eateries and retail stores to provide entertainment for all ages.
It also includes the 800m2 custom-built Barnyard Theatre, which has the capacity to seat 400 people, and The Globe, a multi-purpose events venue.
The restaurants open out on to a park-like landscaped setting, including a water play area, to cater for Suncoast’s younger crowd.
Dowsley said there was not a single entertainment destination with the spread of offerings that Suncoast had and they aimed to become Durban’s most loved entertainment destination by ensuring that there was something for the entire family and providing memorable experiences for every visitor.
“We now have the perfect mix of fast food, family dining, casual dining and fine dining across a wide range of cuisines,” he said.