How hotels got cash from polls

Chop House at Radisson Blu. PHOTO | COURTESY
Chop House at Radisson Blu. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The elections and all the furore that surrounded them were not a gift to businesses that operate daily.

Printers, T-shirt distributors and others who were supplying campaign merchandise cashed in on the process to the last day.

However, on election week, it was a different situation all together. Most businesses in major towns and their peripheries remained closed as the wave of expectant unease swept the nation.

Hotels in the central business district (CBD) seemed to be experiencing the opposite as the observers and international press thronged into the country.

“At Crowne Plaza Nairobi, we were fortunate to have hosted the key international observers such as African Union and Commonwealth who kept us going in both accommodation and conferencing,” said Anthony Ngunga, general manager, Crowne Plaza Nairobi.


The Radisson Blu, one of the youngest hotels in the segment has also been reaping from the influx of business visitors in the past couple of weeks.

“We hosted the observers including those from the European Union and Commonwealth. The Press conferences by the different groups were also held here,” said Mary Wanjohi, Marketing and Coordination Manager at Radisson.

As part of the election process, over 6,000 observers and journalists were accredited to cover the General Elections.

All of whom required a place to sleep, wine and dine, boosting the tourism segment, especially in the large cities and towns that would have reported a drop in earnings as tourists kept to the bush segment due to fears of violence.

Even as the election fever dies down, the hospitality segment in the city is gearing itself for the state visitors that will be coming in for the swearing-in ceremonies as well as the celebrations.

Crowne Plaza are offering celebration packages that include a tailored menu, discounted accommodation and drinks as well as complimentary champagne.

According to Ms Wanjohi, Radisson is looking at accommodating head of states and other delegates who will be coming in for the swearing in of the president- elect.

“As a new hotel, we have the latest security, which is key. We also have executive and presidential and executive suites that appeal to guests,” she said.

The suites as well as security are a key part of where heads of states and other VIPs choose to spend the night.

The expansive rooms come with expansive foyers, luxurious bedrooms, lounges as well as separate living areas for guests.

Presidential suites also come with extra room for security detail, separate entrances and sit on an entire wing or floor.

Radisson offers one presidential suite and 13 executive suites. The presidential suite’s starting rate is $2,500 (Sh258,202) whilst the executive suites’ starting rate is $500 (Sh51,640) depending on availability.

Crowne Plaza Nairobi offers five executive suites out of the 206 rooms at the hotel. The price tag for the executive suite is $700 (Sh72,296) for bed and breakfast.

Tribe, Sarova Stanley, Villa Rosa Kempinski, Boma Hotel, Nairobi Serena and Hemingway’s also boast luxurious presidential suites.

Fairmont Norfolk hotel boasts four top-end suites, which are named after iconic leaders such as Jomo Kenyatta and Harry Thuku.