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Kingdom Hotel to shut down next year

Kingdom Hotel

KINGDOM Hotel, a subsidiary of African Sun Limited (AfSun) will cease operations on January 5 next year having been in the resort town of Victoria Falls for 23 years following a lease dispute with the owners of the property, First Capital Bank (FCB).

“Further to the announcement which African Sun Limited (Africa Sun) released to the market on July 4, 2022, we would like  to inform you  that the Kingdom  At Victoria Falls Hotel shall be closing  for business with effect  from January  5, 2023,” AfSun chief executive Peter Saungweme said in an open letter to clients.

“We would like to thank you for your past business and  support  over the years  and look forward  to continuing  working with you  at our other 10 hotels which include the Victoria Falls Hotel and Elephant Hills Resort and Conference Centre which are also  situated  in the city of Victoria Falls.”

When the lease for the 294-room property was due for renewal last year, First Capital Bank insisted on a shorter two-year lease, while African Sun wanted an extension of 10 years, arguing that the period was sufficient to recoup its investment into the hotel.

FCB owns 50% of Makasa Sun while the remainder is owned by Barclays Pension Fund.

Some of the tender requirements included bringing in an international hotel brand and making substantial investment in rebranding.

Makasa Sun had operated a hotel at the site since 1966.

AfSun occupied the hotel in 1997 and used a US$24 million loan from Barclays Bank — now FCB locally — to refurbish the facility in 1999, turning it into one of the largest hotels in the country.

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