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Iconic Multi-Billion Hotels That Have Been Sold To New Owners Since 2020

Over the last couple years, a number of renowned hotels in the country have changed hands owing to various reasons including economic constraints ocassioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, to tax rows with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) among others.

Kenya boasts a vibrant hospitality industry and is home to some of the largest hotels in the region. These establishments are owned by both local and foreign investors either individually or through consortiums. Some investors are backed by state funds.

A number of hotels in Kenya have recently been sold to new owners with the aim of revitalising the country’s hospitality industry. WoK takes a look at some of these establishments that have changed ownership since 2020.

680 Hotel

The three star Nairobi based hotel was sold to Machakos based Maanzoni Lodges for Ksh1.2 billion according to a report by Business Daily.

Iconic Multi-Billion Hotels That Have Been Sold To New Owners Since 2020
Hotel 680. |Photo| Courtesy|

After regulatory approval, billionaire businessman Jagdesh Patel hired the services of Knight Frank to sell 680 which is part of his Sentrim Hotels portfolio.

The hotel will not be part of the Maanzoni Franchises associated with billionaire businessman Chris Musau.

“Maanzoni has completed the sale of 680 Hotel. They needed a presence in Nairobi’s city centre,” an advisor to the 680 hotel deal said.

680 will now be the group’s largest earner. According to Business Daily, the hotel raked in Ksh213 million in 2018.

Fairview Hotel, Town Lodge and City Lodge Two Rivers

South African hospitality investors City Lodge Hotel Group completed the sale of the three Kenyan hotels following regulatory approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).

According to reports, the company sold the three establishments to Actis for Ksh1 billion.

Following the sale of the Kenyan hotels and planned sale of it’s other hotel in Tanzania, City Lodge Hotel Group plans to exit the East African market which has been tough on their portfolio. The company reportedly registered a loss of Ksh2 billion in 2020.

Fairview Hotel has 127 rooms; City Lodge Hotel at Two Rivers has 171 rooms and Town Lodge Upper Hill 84 rooms.

Iconic Multi-Billion Hotels That Have Been Sold To New Owners Since 2020
Fairview Hotel. |Photo| Courtesy|

Actis acquired the three hotels in partnership with a private company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Jamison Valley Holdings. The two bought the hotels indirectly through Ukarimu real estate according to filings at the Comesa Competition Authority.

Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Club

The two luxurious hotels were sold by Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to a Nepalese tycoon for a reported Ksh2.8 billion.

A deal to sell the hotels was in place during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The hotel recently announced that it was firing employees during to financial constraints brought about by Covid.

According to Business Daily, Prince Al-Waleed, through his investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding, sold his stake to the Chaudhary Group (CG).

“Prince Alwaleed is no longer in the game after surrendering the ownership of remaining hotel business in Kenya and his investment group is focusing somewhere else,” a transaction advisor who participated in the Fairmont deal told the publication.

“The transaction has been closed and now the Nepalese owners are embarking on a full 100 percent renovation that will go for a whole one year.”

Binod Chaudhary, the Nepalese lawmaker who owns Chaudhary Group has listed Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Club among his high-end investments spread across Asia and Middle East.

Chaudhary Group stated that it will add an additional 170 guest rooms and suites, 51 luxury tents and about 10 food and beverage outlets.

Iconic Multi-Billion Hotels That Have Been Sold To New Owners Since 2020
File image of Fairmont The Norfolk. |Photo| Courtesy|

Crowne Plaza

The Upper Hill based hotel was sold to Kasada Hospitality Fund which is backed by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

According to a report by Business Daily on July 26, businessman Nazir Ahmed Akbarali sold the establishment for Ksh4.6 billion.

Kasada acquired Crowne Plaza at a time when the establishment was in a row with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over a Ksh228 million tax claim. The taxman made the claim including for transfers made to owners of the hotel, but Akbarali said the payments were Ksh2.2 billion soft loans from friends and family used to build the hotel.

A transaction advisor revealed that the deal to acquire Crowne Plaza Hotel had been on the table since 2020.

“Crowne Plaza was sold but the owners have still not received the payment in full,” the advisor said.

“Plans to sell the hotel have been on the table since 2020. The hotel was struggling with bank debts.”

The hotel which was opened in 2010 operated under the InterContinental Hotels Group. The tycoon later constructed the Crowne Plaza Annexe – a mixed use space offering office space and accommodation in 2017 for Ksh1.1 billion.
Iconic Multi-Billion Hotels That Have Been Sold To New Owners Since 2020
File image of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Upper Hill, Nairobi. |Photo| Courtesy|
The annexe is 15 floors and has a clientele comprising travellers, businesses, and revellers.
According to reports, Akberali had planned to sell the hotel in 2020 but his plans were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic which ravaged the hospitality industry across the world.