Radisson group to open four more hotels in Kenya

The Radisson Blu Hotel in Upper Hill Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
The Radisson Blu Hotel in Upper Hill Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Brussels-based global hotels group, Carlson Rezidor, is set to open an additional four hotels in Kenya in the next three years creating an estimated 1,000 jobs.

Carlson Rezidor currently employs about 400 people at the already operational Radisson Blu outlet in Upper Hill and construction workers at Park Inn, and Residence hotels in Nairobi.

The firm expects to open the upper mid-market Park Inn, and Residence hotels by the end of April and December, respectively.

Park Inn was initially scheduled to welcome its first guests in the fourth quarter of 2013, but the date has been postponed several times.

The hotel group is also eyeing two additional outlets at the coast and Nairobi regions.

“We are looking for space along the coast for our next project, and we are looking into having it in Mombasa or Diani beach,” said senior Vice President, Business Development, Africa and Indian Ocean, Andrew McLachlan. The RED brand introduced two years ago blends music, art, fashion and technology.

It deviates from the traditional hotel set-up and operations by allowing clients to book through an app, use their phones as keys to access rooms and other gadget to order for services.

“In Nairobi, we are planning on setting up our latest brand, the Radisson RED, that targets tech savvy and young people. We feel that the city is ready for a smart hotel and the market would most definitely understand the casual brand,” he said.

The firm, which has two hotels under the RED brand and is set to open the third outlet in Cape Town in September, also has interest in bush tourism.

It sees Kenya as a key target for its hospitality business as it remains a hub for companies setting up operations in the region.

“Nairobi is an alternative to Johannesburg. The city’s security has improved making it a good place for leisure and business. It is a great Mice (meetings incentives conferences and exhibitions) destination which drives a lot of business for us.

“Africa is currently our most important emerging market and we are looking to grow to 23,000 rooms from the current 16,400.”

The firm is set to grow the Quervos collection, a luxury brand, in Africa aggressively and has begun by unveiling The Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala. The hotel is set to be opened in the second quarter of this year. The 296-room property is being developed in partnership with the AYA Investment Group.

Carlson Rezidor was named the fastest-growing hotel company in Africa in a recently published hospitality report.

The group boosts of 75 hotels in 29 countries, where 8,400 rooms in 37 hotels are already operational. The group first entered Africa 16 years ago when it opened the Radisson Blu in Cape Town.

Other brands under the group include the Radisson, Country Inns, Park Plaza and Hotel Missoni.