Tsogo Sun injects R220m redevelopment of two landmark Durban hotels

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Hotel group Tsogo Sun looks to merge and upgrade two landmark hotels in Durban, add more meeting space through a R220m refurbishment Hotel group Tsogo Sun looks to merge and upgrade two landmark hotels in Durban, add more meeting space through a R220m refurbishment

JSE- Listed Hotel group Tsogo Sun announced huge renovation plans to merge and upgrade two landmark hotels in Durban, add more rooms and meeting space through a R220 million refurbishment.

The company said on April 5 that it would retain its commitment to Durban’s “Golden Mile” through a R220m refurbishment, consolidation and relaunch of the Southern Sun Elangeni and Southern Sun North Beach hotels into one complex – Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani.

Tsogo had already spent R60 million upgrading the Maharani Hotel and R40 million upgrading the Elangeni Hotel on Durban's beach promenade as part of the R220 million upgrade.

“Tsogo Sun’s investment in the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani complex is a direct response to the substantial investment into the revival of the Durban beachfront promenade by the eThekwini municipality,” Tsogo Sun CEO Marcel von Aulock said.

The revamped hotel, combining the Southern Sun Elangeni and Southern Sun North Beach hotels, would comprise 734 bedrooms, 17 meeting and conference rooms accommodating between 10 and 500 people and two fully equipped business centres

Tsogo Sun managing director Gavin Wood said there had been renewed interest in Durban's beach promenade, commonly known as the Golden Mile. "There's a re-awakening of the Durban beach front. There is a lot of construction work going on in this area."

The first phase, which was expected to be completed by May 10, comprised the refurbishment of the former North Beach hotel’s Maharani Tower, which included bedrooms, the core infrastructure, the conference centre, public areas and the renovation of the external building facades.

The hotel’s main entrance would be recreated during the first phase, allowing for more seamless arrivals and better access to the complex. New food and beverage offerings within the Elangeni Tower would also be installed during this phase.

Tsogo Sun would renovate its multipurpose venue on top of the Maharani Tower during the second phase of renovations, which was expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2013. The venue would be made available for conferences, launches, themed evenings and other events.

The hotel’s Camelot Spa would open on completion of the second phase. The spa included five treatment rooms, a double treatment room with a hydrotherapy bath and a Himalayan salt room within the Elangeni Tower.

Samantha Croft, general manager of the complex, said apart from more conference facilities, the company hoped to draw back visiting sports teams, which no long based themselves at facilities on Durban's golden mile. The mile is within walking distance of the Kings Park and Moses Mabhida stadiums, as well as numerous other sporting facilities.

Wood said over the Easter holidays the group's 1700 rooms at its five hotels on Durban's promenade had been fully booked. In December occupancy rates had been in excess of 80 percent.

Apart from the Elangeni and the Maharani, Tsogo Sun has the Garden Court Marine Parade hotel, the Garden Court South Beach and the Sun Coast casino and hotel complex on the promenade. Wood said the Garden Court South Beach was being repainted and renovated.

Before the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the eThekwini municipality spent R500 million upgrading the entire beach front area in a bid to draw tourists to the city.

Hospitality players are optimistic, as hotels in SA are steadily showing signs of recovery, with occupancies across the sector rising after the recession and in the aftermath of the slump following the Soccer World Cup in 2010.

eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said the merger of the two hotels was of great significance to the positioning of the Durban beachfront and signalled the confidence of investors in the precinct.

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Hotels and Leisure  |  Durban Property Market  |  Tsogo Sun  |  Marcel von Aulock  |  James Nxumalo