By Prudence Minayo
Hasnain Noorani is the founder, owner and Group Managing Director of the Pride Group. The Pride Group comprises a number of businesses with the flagship company being PrideInn Hotels and resort. Other businesses that fall under the conglomerate include: Glory Driving School, Pride Drive, Pride Fuels, Shawarma Express, the Royal Kitchen Multicuisine Restaurant, Paradise Convention Center, Glory Safaris and Glory Expeditions, Cake City, Muthaiga Business Center, and Buffets of PrideInn.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
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Education and Business
Mr. Noorani graduated from the University of Nottingham with First Class Honors in Manufacturing Engineering and Management. He worked at IMI Scott Limited in the UK for a period of one year but he never got the satisfaction he yearned for.
“…… I realised engineering and talking to machines was not the field I was looking for. It was going to get boring because I liked talking to people and interacting with them, I liked new challenges so I decided to come back to Kenya,” he told Businessdaily in 2014.
He took over his father’s businesses in 2006. The businesses at the time included a car rental and a driving school.
According to the same article titled son who blew freshness into a father’s dream on the businessdaily, the then 28 year old Noorani grew the number of vehicles from 25 to over 140 within two years. He told BD that his father, Shabbir Kassam, was hesitant to give him the leadership of the business.
“I have always been good at convincing people. Initially, he did not want to give me the freedom to do things my way, but we sat down and talked about it and I managed to convince him to give me the go ahead which meant he had to step back,” he told the publication.
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He saw a gap in the 3/5 star hotel industry in the country. Thus, he chose to venture into the hospitality industry guided by the desire to offer five star services at a 3 star value. Design of the first PrideInn restaurant began in 2009 and took two years to complete. The first hotel branch opened its doors in 2011 in Nairobi with 28 rooms. Seeing how successful the hotel became within six months, Mr. Noorani was inspired to begin opening other branches.
In 2013, he had to make a very tough decision. Hasnain Noorani was given the chance to purchase PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort and Spa. The establishment boasted 300 rooms, four pools, three bars, three restaurants, and a convention center that could accommodate up to 2,500 people. While he wanted to buy it, it was a difficult situation since at the time tourism in Mombasa was at its lowest and many in the hospitality industry were exiting. While there was a definite risk, he still went for it and bought the restaurant. It was renovated and they were open for business in 2015-which he says was the happiest moment of his entrepreneurship journey.
“When, after two years of construction at the PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort and arranging its financing, we finally opened the doors on 15 December 2015. Just looking at the hotel was one of the most beautiful moments and it was something that I was proud of,” he told How We Made it in Africa.
In less than 9 years, the hotelier had managed to open eight hotels offering over 1,000 rooms to guests.
In January 2020, PrideInn had signed a deal to manage Azure Hotel. The multi-million Azure Hotel re-branded to PrideInn Azure Hotel. Located in Westlands, it targets luxury travelers. The hotel has over 100 rooms, 11 modern conference centers and the ability to host up to 800 people. The management of PrideInn believes this partnership is the beginning of exploring hotel management and that in the next decade they aim to spread their footprint across East, South and West Africa.
In August 2021, the PrideInn CEO was charged with malicious damage of property and stealing from a building in Westlands where the hotel was situated. The court was told that he had damaged the building belonging to Imran Abdulasalaam and stolen furniture, CCTVs, door locks, room equipment and fittings worth Sh36.6 million.
Hasnain Noorani denied the allegations and was ordered to deposit a Sh1 million cash bail or an alternative Sh2 million bond for his release.
The disputed premises had been rented by PrideInn from 2009 to 2015 and the lease was renewed for five more years in 2016.
Furniture and fittings had been removed during renovations before the parties got into a disagreement.