Billionaire’s Sh500m Malindi resort opens in August

Flavio Briatore (right) with former Italian PM Berlusconi. Mr Briatore says some of the buyers have never been to Malindi, but trust him. FILE
Flavio Briatore (right) with former Italian PM Berlusconi. Mr Briatore says some of the buyers have never been to Malindi, but trust him. FILE 

An upcoming Sh500 million exclusive Malindi resort owned by Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore will open its doors in August.

Mr Briatore, who was on a one-day inspection tour of the project at the weekend, arrived at the Malindi Airport aboard a private luxury jet and went straight to the construction site where he met the contractors.

He held several meetings before leading journalists on a tour of the resort. A jovial Mr Briatore said a casino, which is one of the prominent features of the facility and the reception was complete.

“We expect everything would be ready by August and operations would begin officially,” he said. According to the billionaire, 78 per cent of the units have been sold out to “very wealthy people who love Malindi”.

Mr Briatore said some of the units were bought by people who have never been to Kenya, but did so “because they trust me”.

“From August this year, we shall be open and we expect high class tourists to begin flocking to Malindi. The hotel is now in its final phase and it is going on well,’’ he said.

He added said the project would be the first of its kind in Africa and was aimed at giving high-class services “to those who deserve and want them”.
Landscaping is expected to be completed by next month. Designers are planting more than 400 palm trees at the compound.

“This is a unique project which does not exist in Africa. Everything is set to the highest standard possible to suit the kind of guests who will be flocking for holiday.’’

The billionaire said 10 of his Kenyan employees were being trained in Italy to provide the best customer experience in line with the positioning of the facility. He said guests visiting his premises in Malindi prefer coming back because of the services.

In Africa, some of the high-end resorts are found in South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco.

They are rated according to designs, furnishings, locations, and prices while the owners are known to spend a fortune to fit the bill. In three months, the facility will be open to reviews and ranking.

This is the seventh time Mr Briatore is visiting Malindi this year since he began his investment. He also owns the exclusive Lion in the Sun Resort, which is his residence.

He visited twice with former Italian prime minister and billionaire Silvio Berlusconi this year. Some guests who have stayed at the Lion in the Sun include Formula One driver Fernando Alonso and British supermodel Naomi Campbell, at one time the billionaire’s girlfriend.

Chauffeurs will take clients to shop and will use exclusive boats to go fishing and tour the magnificent Sardenia wonder Island off Mayungu in Malindi.