The Kenyan hospitality industry is on a resurgent especially for hotels targeting business travellers and the growing middle class in the country. New players-hitherto engaged in other businesses-are now scrambling for a piece of the business travellers pie by partnering with reputable hotel brands.
This has seen the emergence of hotels such as Radison Blue in Nairobi owned by Michael Kairu, Hilton Garden Inn owned by Noorali and Manji, the Best WesternPlus owned Amjad Rahim. These are just a few of the examples that come in mind. Our focus on this piece will be on Villa Rosa Kempiski owner Mr Adil Popat.
The Popat’s family
The family patriarch Charthubhai Popat was the catalyst that sparked the enviable business empire whose tentacles are felt around the world. The father of ten opened a hardware store around Nairobi Railway Station in the 1930s.
Abdul Karim Popat
It was Charthubhai Popat eldest son, Abdul Karim Popat, who followed in his footsteps. He started out as car a dealer, buying used cars in Nakuru and reselling them in Nairobi for a profit. In 1948, the self taught accountant opened Deluxe Motors along K-Street.
20 years later, Simba Colt Motors-the flagship venture of Simba Corporation-was birthed. His company has been a market leader in transport solutions, motor sales, servicing and leasing, film distribution, cinemas, finance, manufacturing and hardware supplies, the 20th Century Plaza, Xylon Motors (Mahindra), Bavaria Auto (BMW), Simba Transport Solutions, Africa Fleet Management Solutions, Avis car rental.
Popat was kidnapped in 1998 by three men identified as Alois Kimani, James Wamae and Ken Kinyajui. The trio demanded a Ksh200 million ransom that was scaled down to Ksh6 million but the novice kidnappers were unlucky as police managed to arrest them and gun downed Alois. Abdul Karim died in 2013 of natural causes.
The scion of Abdul Karim took a detour in Simba Corporation core business by venturing in the hotel industry. The billionaire businessman, who has a rich past as an hotelier in leading five star hotels, was the brains behind Villa Rosa Kempiski.
Adil Popat opted for Kempinski over other franchises. In an interview with Business Daily, Chief hospitality officer at Simba Corporation Ltd Nazir Khamisa said they had been approached by major brands “but but felt that Kempinski was the best fit for our property type”.
Villa Rosa is under Kempinski Hotels S.A group that was founded in 1897 in Berlin with its headquarters in Geneva. The franchise boasts of 75 five star hotels and residences in 30 countries.
List of businesses owned by Simba Corporation chief executive officer Adil Popat
Apart from the 200 room Villa Rosa, Adil has two more hotels in Naivasha and Kisumu.
Olare Mara Kempinski hotels
Acacia Premier Kisumu will be operated under Simba Corp flagship Acacia brand.
Hemingways Holdings Ltd-35% Shareholding
Simba Corporation acquired 35% stake in Hemingways Holdings Ltd. Adil Popat said of the acquisition: “This investment is aligned to Simba’s goal of creating a substantial hospitality business platform with the intention to expand nationally and within the region.” Properties under Hemingways Holdings are:
Ol Seki Hemingways Mara
Also Read: 5 Star Hotels in Nairobi And Their Owners
Simba Corp will also have a stake in Express Travel Group and have a representation on Hemingways Holdings board.
Adil Popat Wealth
What’s the net worth of Adil Popat? He is a man of means who inherited the bulk of his father’s vast estate. His elder brother, Azim Popat, accused his brother of taking sh500 million shares from their family business, Simba Colt, where he is the CEO.
Azim, who has sued his younger brother, also contested the validity of the will left by their father at a city law firm. His father estate is estimated at shs2.5 billion.
Azim has also accused his brother of concealing details of trusts and banks accounts in Gibraltar, British Virgin Islands, Dubai and Guernsey.
The net worth of Adil Popat is estimated at Ksh10 billion.
Former US President Barack Obama Spending Two Night In Villa Rosa
The hotel has been hosted a number of Head of States. Their most important guest was former US President Barack Obama when he visited Kenya on 24 July 2015. It is not yet clear if Obama spent two nights at the five star hotel as reported by a section of the media.