By Iminza Keboge
Published October 9, 2016
A United States-based hotel company has set its focus on being represented in all major gateway cities, commercial centres and established resort destinations while catering to a wide variety of market segments across Africa.
The hospitality company, known as Marriott International, says each of its brands, “including those in the pipeline, target a specific segment and support the increased inflow of visitors within that segment.”
Marriott continued its expansion across Africa with signing of new properties in Cape Town (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Cairo (Egypt) and the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius which, when open, are expected to bring its total African property and room count to 205 and 37000, respectively. Marriott says it plans to have more than 200 hotels and 37000 rooms in 27 African countries by 2025.
Marriott International made its announcement during the African Hotel Investment Conference (October 4-6, 2016) in the Rwandan capital where it officially opened the Kigali Marriott Hotel on October 4, 2016. This development has come hot on the heels of Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director of Marriott International in charge of Middle East and Africa, said in Kigali on October 5 that the world’s largest hotel company was “continuing the momentum” with its “expansion and development plans across the African continent.”
The Sheraton brand is expected to make a landmark debut on Mauritius with Sheraton Mauritius St Felix Resort and The Residences at Sheraton Mauritius St Felix Resort that are scheduled to open in early 2020; the resort will feature 152 well-appointed guestrooms and suites and 37 branded apartments and villas.
The first Element Hotels property signed in Egypt will be the largest Element Hotel in the Middle East and Africa. Situated in Cairo’s upscale Heliopolis district and scheduled to open in 2019, Element Cairo is developed by Abraj Misr Urban Development and owned by Middle East Real Estate for Development (MERED). A part of the iconic new smart and eco-friendly development, The Gate Project, the largest housing, administrative, commercial, project in Egypt and the Middle East, Element Cairo will feature 344 light-filled rooms and an atmosphere designed to fuel a life in balance and on the move.
Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi is the brand’s second hotel in the Kenyan capital. It is strategically located in the upmarket suburb of Hurlingham, close to the city centre and within easy access from the surrounding business areas of Westlands, Kilimani and Nairobi Central Business District. The 96-room hotel, a conversion from an existing hotel that is to be operated under a franchise arrangement, is expected to open in 2017.
Besides these developments in Kenya, Egypt and Mauritius, Marriott says it is constructing three new hotel properties in Cape Town.
One hotel will be under the company’s signature brand, Marriott Hotels, which will be the first Marriott Hotel in Cape Town; the second under the upscale extended stay brand, Residence Inn by Marriott, the first for South Africa; and the third the upper-moderate tier lifestyle brand, AC Hotels by Marriott, which is the first hotel under this brand for the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region.
three planned developments will add more than 500 rooms to Cape Town’s hotel accommodation offering. Bringing 189 additional rooms to Cape Town, the AC Hotel Cape Town waterfront will be located at The Yacht Club in the Roggebaai precinct at the gateway to Cape Town’s waterfront, while at Harbour Arch (the current Culemborg node), currently the location of several major construction projects, will be the site of the 200-room Cape Town Marriott Hotel Foreshore and the 150-room Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Town Foreshore.
This announcement is an extension of Marriott’s existing partnership with the Amdec Group, initiated in 2015 with the announcement of the development of the first two Marriott branded hotels in South Africa. These two properties, situated in the popular upmarket Melrose Arch Precinct in Johannesburg, are scheduled to open in 2018, and are the Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch and the Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch.
According to Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc., “Africa is particularly important to Marriott International’s expansion strategy because of the continent’s rapid economic growth, expanding middle class and youth population, as well as the increase of international flights into the continent. With over 850 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are enormous opportunities.”