Hospitality and tourism development and management firm Icon Hotels Group Africa (IHGA) is investing in a prime hotel facility in Juja as it moves to tap into opportunities in counties.
The IHGA founder, Mr Fred Maina, said the construction of the flagship hotel in Juja was in line with the company’s plan to devolve modern hospitality facilities in counties.
The development serves to show resilience by players in the multi-billion shilling tourism industry who have had to overcome the dwindling fortunes as a result of low international visitor arrivals.
“We are keen to leverage on our vast experience in development of hospitality properties as we seek to expand our foothold not only in Kenya and East Africa but the African continent as a whole,” Maina told Weekend Business.
The Juja hotel project located near Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) will consist of 70 air conditioned rooms designed to attract high-end clients and corporates.
Maina, a veteran hotelier, said the hotel, which is expected to be completed by 2016, will have modern conference, dining and facilities. It will also have cocktail and sports bars with large screens for sports lovers.
Other facilities in the hotel will include a fully equipped wellness centre and gymnasium, long stay hotel apartments / Penthouse on the top floor, targeting regional business, a banking hall and the shops on the ground floor and a service basement with a laundry.
“We hope to attract niche clientele looking for upmarket facilities away from the traditional city hotels at pocket friendly rates. Our conferencing will boast over-the-top technologies, like video conferencing, wireless projectors, simultaneous translations facilities,” Maina said.
“This resonates well with the new political dispensation where accent is on taking all types of services closer to the people. We hope to play our role in delivering top-tier hospitality services and conferencing to counties.
Maina explained that IHGA had launched an aggressive regional roll out plan targeting key properties across East Africa.
“We intend to enter into hotel management contracts so as to grow the Icon brand. We have a number of hotels in the pipeline that we are actively engaging with a view of getting them on board,” he said.
Already IHGA, through its hospitality consulting subsidiary GLHML, has been involved in the development of hotel projects across the such as The Palace Hotel and the Parrot Hotel both in Arusha and La-Pallise hotel and the Grand Legacy both in Kigali Rwanda.
“We are also working with King-Fisher Beach & Conferencing Resort in Pangani-Tanga and Magorrotto eco-lodge currently being developed in the lower Usambara Mountains in Tanzania,” he said.
He said IHGA is developing a management package for small micro hospitality enterprises and budget hotels with the aim of adding valve to the hotels by creating centralised operational platforms particularly in their finance and marketing functions. IHGA, Maina added, was looking at working closely with tourism stakeholders in the region with a view to enhancing intra-regional tourism trade and local domestic tourism.