, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – Competition within the local hotel industry has gone a notch higher after Europe’s oldest luxury chain, Kempinski Hotels, announced its entry into the Kenyan market.
Kempinski Hotels has partnered with developers Simba Hospitality to operate an upcoming facility in Nairobi’s Westlands suburb and a tented luxury camp in the Maasai Mara, both set to officially open by the end of the year.
Simba Hospitality which is a subsidiary of Simba Corporation, will spend $35million (Sh2.9 billion) in the construction of the two facilities.
The five-star Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi’s Westlands will consist of 200 rooms and several suites including two presidential suites, while Olare Mara Kempinski located at the Olare Orok Conservancy in the Maasai Mara will consist of 12 luxurious tents.
Speaking during the announcement, Kempinski President Reto Wittwer said the hotels chain plans to expand its footprint in the African market with another facility in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, scheduled to open this year.
“Traditions don’t require hundreds of years. Of course we are privileged to have historical buildings in other places, but traditions are created and overtime become iconic. In the next 20 or thirty years, we will have to create tradition in the Kenyan local environment,” said Wittwer.
Tourism Assistant Minister Cecily Mbarire said the entry of new hotels in Kenya will ease the tourism ministry’s task of the hotel classification process which has so far received a lot of opposition from several operators.
She says the step will also help in marketing Kenya as a tourism destination and increase competition among the players in the industry, for better services.
“The coming in of these new hotels that have very high standards is going to be a challenge to other existing hotels to pull up their socks to be able to maintain some level of standard. If you are saying you are a Five Star hotel, and for example, you cannot be compared to Kempinski, then you have to think twice,” stressed the assistant minister.
Founded in 1897, Kempinski comprises a portfolio of 73 Five-Star hotels in 31 countries across the world.