By Staff Writer
The hotel industry in Kenya has been on a downward spiral in the last two years and things seem to be getting from bad to worse. A number of these once popular hotels have either been sold or in the process of being disposed. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Kenya lost over kshs100 billion tourism revenue in 2020 as the number of foreign visitors shrank by two thirds. This writer takes a look at the 4 and 5 star hotels that have been sold (or on sale) and their new owners.
Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi
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It was almost painful to watch the once iconic Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi wind up operations in Kenya after 53 years of providing world class service to local and international guests including Heads of States. The 5-star hotel’s largest local investor with a stake of 19.2 percent was Sovereign Group while Development Bank of Kenya had a 12.99 percent stake. The late president Daniel arap Moi’s private secretary Joshua Kulei, Ahmed Jibril and Rodger Kacou had less than one percent stake in the hotel. The largest shareholder with a stake of 33.8 percent was The Intercontinental Hotels Corporation Group.
Kenya Hotel Properties Limited (KHPL), the company that owns the building-where the 389-room facility has been operating, is said to be considering turning the building into offices blocks, mini hotels and shops.
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Fairview Hotel, Town Lodge and City Lodge Two Rivers
The three hotels are owned by South African City Lodge Hotel Group, who are exiting the East African market after 7 years of operations. The company recorded losses of kes2 billion by the end of 2020. The new buyers are Actis and Jamison Valley, a secret company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The transaction will be carried through Ukarimu real estate funds.
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Outspan Hotel and Treetops Hotels
These two iconic hotels are owned by Aberdare Safari Ltd. The 120 acre Outspan Hotel is a sight to behold with its colonial architecture and its rich history as the home of Lord Baden Powel, the founder of the Scouts movement. The cottage where Lord Baden lived until his death is known as Paxtu and was turned into a museum. The Paxtu Museum drew over 3,000 visitors annually.
The International Scouts Association board member Anthony Kitonga has revealed that they are considering buying the hotel.
“We have serious interest in this venture because of the Paxtu and its significance in the scout movement, and would be keen to preserve the historical hotel. The board will be meeting to discuss the same,” Mr Kitonga told the Standard.
The hotel is going for kes550 million.
Sentrim Hotels (680 Hotel, Boulevard Hotel, Samburu Lodge, Sentrim Tsavo, Sentrim Mara, Sentrim Amboseli)
The hotels were put up for sale by Kenyan Indian billionaire investor. The 680 Hotel, in the heart of Nairobi, is going for kes1.95 billion. Reports on a section of the media indicate that the property has already been sold but information on the new owner remains scanty.
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