Imperial Hotel Kisumu, a subsidiary of the Mayfair Holdings Group, has made a bold statement in the lakeside town with its new outfit that opened its doors to guests a few weeks ago.
The Imperial Hotel Express, a 55-room outfit located on Oginga Odinga Street, is targeted at the modern business traveller with its prime location in the central business district, accessibility and modern design.
Renovated from a commercial building and with an additional two storeys, the hotel gives those who choose to stay there value for their money without the frills found at the flagship Imperial Hotel in a different part of town.
The investment has come at a time when players in the tourism sector are alive to the fact that Kisumu is growing as a destination for business, domestic and conference tourism.
Dr Hanif Gilani, business development manager at Mayfair Holdings, says the concept came from the need to put up a facility to provide quality accommodation at an affordable price for travellers who needed a comfortable place to eat and sleep.
At Imperial Express, guests are provided with comfortable beds, a secure and safe environment and a nutritious continental breakfast at a competitive price.
Dr Gilani told BDLife that this concept is still new to the region, and commended his father Amin Gilani for having the insight and vision to embark on the endeavour.
“He has put his heart and soul into this and deserves all the credit,” Dr Gilani said.
He said they were motivated by the expanding roads infrastructure in the region as well as the presence of Kisumu International Airport, where at least six flights land daily.
“These developments are a good catalysts, not only for us, but for the region as a whole. More investors, entrepreneurs and business travellers are passing through Kisumu on a daily basis and they need to know that comfortable facilities exist to cater for their needs” Dr Gilani said.
“We are particularly excited at the response we have received, especially from female travellers, who now feel they have a central, well-lit, and secure environment where they can stay without worrying about their security.”
The hotel also has conference rooms to cater for small meetings. Rooms start at $50 (Sh5,280) per night.
The Express is a major boost for its sister, the Imperial Hotel, which has been the pioneer for quality accommodation in the western Kenya region for the last 30 years.
The rooms are fitted with windows that block out the noise from the nearby streets without interfering with the view of the CBD.
Mike Kamau, Group Hospitality manager, said the ‘budget hotel’ – as he described it – thrives on a culture of speed, convenience and efficiency.
He said their target clientele are those who want to be at the centre of the business they are pursuing.
“We are keen on supporting the growth of other businesses that our guests can seek services from while we concentrate on providing quality accommodation,” Mr Kamau said.
He said the pocket-friendly rates suit people who do not need to spend money on frills or unnecessary extras when just passing through Kisumu for one or two nights.
“We use solar-powered heater systems that save on electricity and water overheads. Our building has been efficiently designed and we are putting measures in place to be a green and eco-friendly hotel. Guests stand to gain from these extra savings,” he said.
The hotel was opened last month and has three rooms specially designed for individuals with special needs and physical disabilities.
These rooms allow for full use of a wheelchair. A much larger space, wider doors and a fully kitted-out bathroom provide all the requirements for an international-standard disabled room.
“We are excited to be involved in various corporate social responsibility activities and will also provide opportunities for local employment, internships and seek to create more jobs through the hotel’s value chain,” Anthony Orido, the operations manager, told us during a tour of the hotel.
The express accommodation model is being piloted in Kisumu and the Mayfair Group remains optimistic of future growth plans owing to the overwhelming response the managers say they have so far received.