Cresta Hotels plans US$1m refurbishment for Byo unit

Cresta Hotels managing director Chipo Mandela

HOTELIER Cresta Hotels (CH) will spend US$1 million to refurbish its Cresta Churchill hotel in Bulawayo as the group seeks to offer its clients a modern experience, Standardbusiness can reveal.

The announcement comes after CH relaunched its flagship hotel, Cresta Lodge in Harare last Wednesday following the completion of a one-year refurbishment that cost the group US$1,3 million.

CH operates five properties in Zimbabwe, namely, Cresta Churchill, Cresta Jameson (Harare), Cresta Lodge, Cresta Oasis (Harare), and Cresta Sprayview (Victoria Falls).

In an interview with Standardbusiness at the relaunch of Cresta Lodge, CH managing director Chipo Mandela said they were revisiting all their hotels to spruce them up.

“Hotel refurbishment is done in cycles of four to five years if it is a soft refurb or 10 years if it is a hard refurb,” Mandela said.

“When we say it is a hard refurbishment this is when you do the brick and mortar issues,” she said.

“We have been consistently refurbishing our properties from 2013 and we have done all our properties now and as a group we have spent about US$15 million over a 10-year period.

“And right now, we are going back to those hotels sprucing them up again.

“Our next destination is Cresta Churchill in Bulawayo where we will be undertaking another refurbishment to make sure that we reposition the product, but we also continue to offer our guests a pristine product.

“I think the second half of this year into next year is the refurbishment of Churchill and we are earmarking to spend about US$1 million.”

She said the bulk of the business for CH was coming from conferencing with occupation mainly being taken up by participants of those conferences.

What has helped the hotel group make these investments into its hotels is a duty exemption that was granted to tourism players in terms of upgrading their properties.

This helped the firm to import materials to refurbish all Cresta Lodge’s 171 one bedrooms.

The upgrade included the hotel’s ambience, room contents, bar, conference centres, and public areas.

Mandela said they also refurbished their restaurant, bar, cool beans coffee shop, foyer, reception, and corridors as well as installing a wireless door locking system allowing guests to check-in remotely.

She added that the reason why they decided to put money in those areas was that they were cognisant of the fact that travellers had become modern, more discerning, and demanding of top-quality products.

“It started in 2022. That is when we started refurbishing this hotel. We have taken a year, the whole of last year and early into this year to the close of this refurbishment.

“This investment came from our working capital as an organisation,” she said.

“Again, we were recipients of the duty exemption regime that has been introduced by the government, so it really helped us because a lot of the stuff that we used for the project was imported. We were able to bring it in because there were no duties.”

She continued: “And, we want to make sure that we correctly position our hotel so that when the visitors do come in, they will find us with a lot of modernity and also we are relevant in terms of the experience they are seeking.”

Related Topics