Accor to replace InterContinental as manager of Crowne Plaza hotel

Crowne Plaza Hotel in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Accor Hotels will take over the management of Crowne Plaza Nairobi from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) after the property was acquired by Kasada Hospitality Fund.

The fund which bought Crowne Plaza for an estimated Sh4.6 billion from tycoon Nazir Ahmed Akbarali is backed by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and Accor, Europe’s largest hospitality group.

Kasada has received funding from World Bank's private investment arm the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which disclosed the identity of the hotel operator indicating the expected shift in branding.

The 206-room hotel complex will be an addition to Accor operations in Kenya where it is currently managing Fairmont Mount Kenya Safaris, Fairmont The Norfolk, Fairmont Mara Safari, Ibis Style Nairobi and Movenpick.

On the other hand, the loss of Crowne Plaza will leave IHG-run brands at the Fairview in Nairobi’s Upper Hill, Holiday Inn at Two Rivers, and Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport.

“Project Umbrella comprises the acquisition of a well-established hotel complex which is currently owned by Golden Jubilee Ltd and operated as Crowne Plaza by IHG. After Kasada’s acquisition Accor will operate the hotel,” the World Bank said.

Crowne Plaza has been in operation since 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya, and comprises a 206-key hotel complex with an annex which was completed and opened in 2016. The annex includes a commercial office space section.

Its acquisition comes amid heightened deal-making in the hotel industry that has seen ownership and operators changes.

Machakos-based Maanzoni Lodges has received regulatory approval to buy the three-star 680 Hotel in Nairobi for an estimated Sh1.2 billion from the Setrim Hotel chain.

Billionaire owner Chris Musau says he plans on rebranding the City hotel and upscaling it to four-star hotel standards.

In July last year, the Kenyan hotel industry registered yet another acquisition deal when the South African owners of Nairobi’s Fairview Hotel, Town Lodge, and City Lodge Two Rivers announced the sale of the three hotels to private equity fund Actis for Sh1 billion.

City Lodge Hotel Group put up the three Kenyan hotels and Tanzania’s City Lodge Hotel in Dar es Salaam for sale in plans to exit East Africa after barely seven years of operation. It plans to sell the Tanzania hotel for Sh7.3 million.

The deal scene in the Kenyan hospitality industry has also witnessed changes in management contracts over recent months.

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