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Indian group plans Mara ‘super’ resort

 Shipping Services Operationas Manager Bwanaheri Lali
Inchcape Shipping Services Operationas Manager Bwanaheri Lali (right) welcomes tourists who were on board Ms Silver Spirit Cruise Ship which docked at the Port of Mombasa January 29, 2018. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

India’s hospitality giant plans to establish a “super-premium” wild life resort near Maasai Mara Reserve in the next two years.

The Maasai Mara resort will be at the edge of the world-famous reserve, located on a 5,000-acre site overlooking the Mara Valley. It will be run through a management contract, said the Oberoi Group, that runs 30 hotels and resorts around the world under Oberoi and Trident brands.

Besides the resort, it will host 25 luxury tents, two restaurants and a bar to be opened in the first quarter of 2020.

“A local company with some foreign shareholding will build the property. We shall manage it,” chairman of EIH Ltd, the flagship of Oberoi Group, P R S Oberoi said at the company’s AGM.

The Delhi-headquartered group owns and/or operates over 30 luxury hotels and two river cruise ships in six countries, primarily under its Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Trident Hotels brands.

The announcement follows a string of heavy investments by leading luxury hotels in Kenya last year. The list includes Accor Hotels, Hilton, Carlson Rezidor, and Acacia Premier.

Nineteen hotels are expected to come to Kenya shortly, with a total of 3,453 new rooms in the pipeline, according to a report by Lagos-based consultancy W-Hospitality Group.

A hotel must meet stringent criteria to be classified as luxury. It must offer luxurious accommodation and public areas including a spacious reception hall, 24-hour reception and room service.

Hotel chains in Kenya are increasingly facing pressure from ultra-affluent clients who demand special service.

Kenya and South Africa are tipped as the next continental hotspots in luxury hotel investment.

A report released at the World Travel Market conference held in London between November 6 and 8 last year said the investment would be underwritten by continued flow of top-dollar clients to the region.

“South Africa and Kenya are expected to register strong growth in luxury hotels as sub-Saharan Africa continues to be popular with luxury travellers,” said Euromonitor International’s Top 100 Cities Destination Ranking 2017 report.

Knight Frank’s 2017 wealth report released in March also shows that Nairobi’s population of the super-rich grew at the fastest rate in 2016, beating Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The report, which notes that hard economic times which prevailed in the year did not slow down wealth accumulation, shows Kenya created 900 dollar millionaires in 2016.

This raised the number of the super-rich to 9,400, representing an eight per cent growth from 2015 total of 8,500.

The new group of super-rich Kenyans includes 30 individuals whose assets are valued at more than $10 million each, 10 ultra-high-net-worth individuals with more than $30 million each, and two millionaires with more than $100 million each.

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